Citing a song -How to cite a song in Harvard and APA Reference format

Citing a song -How to cite a song in Harvard and APA Reference format

You might easily get into the trap of thinking that referring to a piece of music or its lyrics is less important than referring to an author or a piece of literature. However, this is not the case. Every work of art should be accompanied by suitable citations in order to prevent being accused of plagiarism.

You will learn why songs are important and how to cite a song in various formats from this guide. One of the best ways to get people excited, energized, or calmed down is through the use of music. It is common for us to use the term “song” to refer to a song with lyrics, like one we hear on the radio.

Songs, like poetry, share elements with the spoken word and the written word. In any case, they’re a unique form in and of themselves. Singing and speaking both use the voice, contain meaningful words, and feature a catchy melody. To convey meaning, songs and poems both employ the power of words. Before they are published, both are generally written down.

As a result, it reveals that songs are musical compositions with lyrics, verses or a poem that convey the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the people who sing or recite them.

The song is powerful. It has the power to make people cry or feel strong emotions, and a song can become strongly associated with a person, an event, or a location. Songs have a personal feel to them as if they were written specifically for the listener.

Songs can be used to teach people how to improve their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, as well as sentence patterns, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Another advantage is that it makes people feel comfortable and relaxed because it has a pleasant atmosphere, which helps them perform better.

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Even though songs are very important, it is critical to consider why it is important to cite songs or works in general.

To avoid plagiarism, citations are utilized for more than just that. They are also used for many other purposes.

By citing other works and artists, you can acknowledge their influence on your own work. The ideas, words, or research of others must be properly cited in any document or research work.

Relying on someone else’s words, music, rhythm, instruments, and ideas can be a way to show your appreciation for their work. You acknowledge and respect the intellectual property rights of a certain creative by citing their work. Many creatives have spent years on a single project, and you may draw from their knowledge and experience to help you with your own work.

All you need to do is express your gratitude for their assistance. The understanding of the subject matter will be further demonstrated to your viewers or readers if you cite the work of experts in the field. Your citations serve as a map of your field, allowing you to find your way around it as a sailor does with the stars.

You should always provide specific citations so that your viewers can determine where you got your information. For the sake of accuracy, it is recommended that you keep a list of all the sources you consult when working on a project. Printed books are not the only sources that require acknowledgement. Any words, ideas or information taken from any source requires acknowledgement.

More interestingly, there are several different citation methods. Short referencing guides for three commonly used styles are available from The Learning Centre website:

the Oxford (footnote/bibliography)

the Harvard (in-text) method

the APA (American Psychological Association).

Citing a song in APA

Reference list entry structure:

Songwriter last name, R. P. (Copyright year). Song title [Recorded by R.P. Last (performer’s name/musical group)]. On Album title [Medium of recording]. Record label name.

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It is important to note that; If the songwriter and performer are the same person, leave out the bracketed data [Recorded by _______] following the song title.

Reference list entry example:

Tony, A. (2013). Do I want you to know? [Recorded by Air Waves]. On AM [Album]. Domino Records.

In-text citation structure & example:

(Songwriter last name, Year)

(Tony, 2013)

Citing an album

Reference list entry structure:

Recording Artist or Group. (Date). Album title in sentence case [Album]. Record label name.

Reference list entry examples:

Adams, P. (2002). Forever yours. [Album]. Virgin Records US.

Loud Bang and the Love Shot. (2010). Slow Motion [Album]. ATO Records.

In-text citation structure & example:

(Recording artist last name, Year)

(Adams, 2002)

(Loud Bang and the Love Shot, 2010)

Citing a classical music album

For a classical music album, write the name of the composer as the author and the individuals/group who recorded the album in square brackets after the album title. At the end of the reference, include the original date of publication.

Reference list entry structure:

Composer last name, R. P. (Date). Album title in sentence case. [Album recorded by group/last name, R. P..]. Recording label. (Original work published date)

Reference list entry example:

Hopkins, A. (2011). And the waltz goes on. [Album recorded by A. Rieu & Johann Strauss Orchestra]. Decca. (Original work published 1725)

In-text citation structure & example:

For albums that have been rerecorded or reissued, including the original publication, write a slash, then include the date of the version you are using.

(Composer last name, Year)

(Hopkins, 1725/2011)

Citing an album that has been reissued or re-recorded

Include the original date of publication in paratheses after the recording label.

Reference list entry structure:

Recording Artist or Group. (Date). Album title in sentence case. [Album recorded by group/last name, R. P.]. Recording label. (Original work published date)

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Reference list entry example:

The Love Shot. (2015). Love Dues [Album]. UMe. (Originally published 1969)

In-text citation structure & example:

For albums that have been rerecorded or reissued, including the original publication, write a slash, then include the date of the version you are using.

(Recording artist’s last name, Year)

(Beyonce, 2001/2015)

Citing a song in Harvard format

You will need to give the full source information for each source that you referenced in your paper in a Harvard citation list, arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name (or artist). If you’re going to release a full-length CD or vinyl album, you’re going to have to adhere to this fundamental structure: Surname, Initial(s). (Year of Release) Title [Medium]. Distributor Location, Distribution Company.

In practice, then, our Surname example above would be listed as:

Bottom of Form

Adams, D. (2001) Truth: All in for Love [Vinyl]. United States, Warner Records.

For a digital recording, such as a streaming service or download, include a URL and a date of access at the end of the reference:

Karl, A. (2005) You mean me well [Spotify]. United States, Atlantic Records. Available at: (Accessed September 18, 2020).

And if you want to cite a specific song from a longer recording, simply add the song title before the album name:

Sia (2020) “Unstoppable,” Folklore [Spotify]. United States, Republic. Available at: on September 18, 2020).

In the end, it is important to give credit for any kind of work. You now know the different reasons why citations are important, which is something that can’t be said enough. When you’re working on your next project, you should pay close attention to the practice of citing sources. Doing so will give you an edge in your field because you know more about it.


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