The following guidelines are designed to assist those interested in submitting articles for publication in Choral Journal, the official publication of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).
Approximately 25% of submissions are accepted for publication as a feature article based on the original submission draft. An additional 20% are recommended for revision and re-submission for a second review.
*Note: ALL accepted submissions will go through an editing and proofing process to align with Choral Journal style.
Articles not conforming to the guidelines may be returned for revision. Articles submitted for review should be concise and contain primarily new or original information or research relevant to the choral art. This is not meant to exclude a fresh and creative approach to standard materials. Lengthy articles should be divided into sections separated by subtitles to lead the reader through the article.
Approximate word count lengths are below.
Note: Submissions will not be rejected outright due to length; these are merely guidelines.
Feature article: 4,000-6,000 | Column Article: 1,500-3,000
Reviews: 500-700 words with a maximum of 1,200 words
**Due to the nature of the anonymous vetting process, no article will be guaranteed publication by the editor until it passes through the editorial board. This is to ensure integrity of the submission process and the Choral Journal. A request for revision is not a guarantee of publication. Scroll to the bottom of this page to view the Choral Journal’s notice of confidentiality.
The author should use a writing style that is direct and easily understood. Extremes of academic stuffiness, research terminology, vague generalities, and overworked educational jargon should be avoided. The final draft should be carefully proofread and free of grammatical errors. Quotations should be brief and should not make up the majority of the material. Referenced material should be indicated by superscript and cited in endnotes (not footnotes), which should be numbered consecutively and formatted in the style of Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. For a quick citation guide, click here .
All footnotes should be converted to endnotes before submission and pages should be numbered.
For articles with musical examples/figures, placement of musical figures should be indicated within the body of the article (i.e., “Figure 1”). Permission of copyright owner should be given underneath each musical example (e.g., copyright year, publisher, and a reprint permission statement). It is strongly encouraged that the author obtain all necessary copyright permissions prior to submission; however, in the event that the publisher requests proof of acceptance prior to granting permission rights, authors can submit their article with the understanding that they will need full copyright permission prior to scheduling should their article be accepted.
All articles submitted are subject to a blind review by 3-5 members of the editorial board. Articles are accepted for publication when board members determine that the article contains information that pertains directly to the general interests of the national ACDA membership.
Expanded criteria for acceptance are:
1. Topic is of national importance or will interest many readers. Editors of state or division newsletters welcome articles on topics of local or regional interest.
2. Article offers new knowledge of or insight into the topic. Articles that rely heavily on secondary sources are seldom judged to offer new knowledge. For example, extensive citations from New Grove articles are usually rejected. A compilation of widely scattered secondary sources, however, might effectively demonstrate a new hypothesis.
3. Article will challenge readers’ thinking.
4. Material is timely. Anniversaries of composers or choral events offer timely opportunities for articles.
5. Premise is well defined, supported, and developed. The purpose of the article should be clear. The author should supply convincing evidence to support the thesis.
6. Scope is appropriate: neither too narrow nor too broad. An example of too broad a scope would be an article that introduced a composer, presented biographical information in detail, and then compared all the composer’s cantatas point-for-point with the cantatas of Telemann and Bach. Such an article could be made appropriate in scope by reducing the biographical material to a paragraph or two that discussed aspects of the composer’s life and works that were important to the present study. Works relevant to the thesis could then be selected for analysis.
7. Information is precise, accurate, and well documented. Sometimes writers use vague, subjective adjectives to describe musical elements (e.g., a “wonderful” melody or “beautiful” harmonies or “fine” orchestration). Precise, objective descriptions are more effective at convincing readers that the work is wonderful, beautiful, or fine.
8. Article is well written and material flows in an easily read narrative style.
9. Most of the ideas seem to be the author’s, and quotes enhance the article. Secondary-source quotes offering analytical descriptions of scores are not as strong as original musical insights, unless the source of the citation has special significance. Analyses that take a “road-map” approach to the score by simply listing all musical events as they occur cause readers to lose interest.
10. Material is not readily available in other publications. If a topic has been covered in a recent book or journal that overlaps Choral Journal readership, it is assumed that readers who are interested in that topic will find that material. Material that may be considered common knowledge by some may be new to nascent conductors and, if originally presented in a new context, can prove valuable.
11. Submissions may not promote a company, person, product, institution, performing organization, or choral program. Exceptions may be made at the discretion of the editorial board if it deems the preceding to be of unique and national importance to the field.
12. Authors are urged to use discretion with the use of first-person prose. Second and third person can lead to awkward phrasing, in which case first person works better. There might also be a way to rephrase entirely. For an interesting discussion on this topic from the Chronicle for Higher Education, click here.
The Choral Journal receives many interview/discussion submissions. Preference is given to interviews with choral “greats” on a national stage, timely interviews (a relevant composer/conductor anniversary of some kind), or interviews discussing topics that will be of national interest. State and division newsletters will publish articles and interviews on the local stage. Interview questions need to go beyond just personal references and include insight into the interviewee’s thoughts on choral music that will be applicable for a wide range of readers. Interviews should not be merely transcribed verbatim but should be cleaned up to enhance readability and flow. Interview submissions should include an introduction written by the author.
** The Choral Journal retains ownership and all copyright privileges of manuscripts and accompanying material published in the Journal. Authors wishing to reprint their manuscript in another publication must request reprint permission from the editor, which will be granted as long as the following statement appears in the reprint version: “Permission to reprint was granted by the American Choral Directors Association.”**
How to Submit an Article
Articles should be submitted via email to Amanda Bumgarner, Choral Journal editor: . Submissions are accepted at any point throughout the year. However, please note that all submissions received after October 31 may be held for review until January 1 of the following year to allow the editorial board time during the holiday season to focus on their own professional commitments.
Please submit the following:
- Your article in Microsoft Word format and PDF.
- Any pertinent figures/photographs/etc.
- A completed submissions form.
Click here to download the submissions form.
Notice of Confidentiality
The Choral Journal uses a blind peer-review process. Peer review is facilitated by the Journal, and the Journal editor mediates all interactions between reviewers and authors. The Choral Journal Editorial Board is held to the highest standard regarding the professionalism and confidentiality of the review process. A peer reviewer may choose at their discretion to reveal their identity. Peer reviewers will: Disclose potential conflicts of interest; Commit to remaining unbiased in their assessments; Provide professional critique in a constructive manner. Authors of article submissions are free to consult with a colleague or mentor about their review, but they must treat peer reviews as confidential correspondence and refrain from posting/sharing the content of a review on social media. The Choral Journal editor reserves the right to edit peer reviews for tone, clarity, and concision, and for the protection of the reviewer’s anonymity.
Submissions for the Review Columns
For choral review submission information, click here for an analytical guide to reviews. Click here for a PDF of the review process. Click here to submit music for review.
To submit a book review, contact Gregory Pysh,
To submit a recorded sound review, contact David Puderbaugh,