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Music: Instructions for Printed Recital Programs

Instructions for music students to use in formatting their recital programs, including a guide to researching the program content.

Formatting Work Titles

  • Place foreign titles in italics; all English titles and generic titles (Sonata, Concerto, etc.) are in regular font.  
  • Include proper accents and other diacritics for foreign words. Add diacrital marks by using the Word "insert symbol" function. Avoid copying and pasting other sources to prevent inconsistencies in spacing and font type or size.                                
  • When an opus number exists, place a comma after the title and list the opus number after the abbreviation for opus. (e.g., Op. 23).
  • If the work has a designated number, consider it part of the title and capitalize accordingly (e.g., Sonata No. 1).
  • List the key in title case for works with generic titles that have one tonal center (e.g., Sonata no. 1 in C Minor).
  • If there is a commonly cited thematic catalog for the composer (BWV numbers, Köchel numbers, etc.), place it after the work title and any other identifying numbers (e.g., Sonata No. 16 in C Major, K. 545).
  • For multi-movement works, list the tempos or movement titles underneath the work title, with a  .5" indentation (create a new cell for it).

                  If there are no tempo markings or movement titles, Use Roman numerals to                   identify the different sections (i.e. I, II, III, IV, etc.).

  • If this is the first performance of a piece, include the date of composition in parentheses followed by an asterisk. On the last line of the program, include the following explanation: * first performance. If dates of works are important for the recital (i.e., all modern works, several works by the same composer that highlight changes in style, etc.), you may include them.
  • Be aware that the title of a musical composition may be designated on a particular edition under any one of several variants or formats. Consult the Research tab of this guide for advice on reconciling discrepancies and establishing the clearest, most accurate title.


  • Work titles in English are in title case, unless specified otherwise by the composer.

                             Blue Bells of Scotland

  • Foreign languages have other capitalization schemes.

             In German, capitalize the first word and all nouns.                             

                                      Fantasie über ungarische Volkmelodien                             

            In Romance languages,  capitalize the first word and proper nouns only.

                              Danse sacrée et danse profane  

                              Castillos de España

                                    but:   Capricho español


Excerpts from Larger Works

  • The larger work is on the same line as the composer, with the selections printed underneath with a .5" indentation.
  • Movement titles/tempo markings follow the capitalization and italics rules of work titles.
  •  If works are selected from a suite or another type of work with a defined sequence, provide the number(s) of the selection in addition to its title.

Chopin: Prelude in A-flat major, op. post. (composer's authograph manuscript)

"Prelude in A-Flat Major, op. posth" by Frédéric Chopin - Library of Congress[1]. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -,_op._posth.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Prelude_in_A-Flat_Major,_op._posth.jpg

Coltrane: A Love Supreme

"A Love Supreme" by Original author, John Coltrane. Reproduced from the archives of the Smithsonian - Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -