Music recording [from Audio visual source using APA 5th ed.]


There is a standard form for referencing a piece of recorded music (American Psychological Association, 2001, p. 267), though some thought needs to be given to the type of music (classical, pop, jazz, etc.) - the APA guidance is easier to follow with popular rather than classical music. The standard form details ‘Writer’ in the ‘Author’ position. To make this clearer for works which are solely music, the option ‘Composer’ has been added.

Standard Form

Writer/Composer, Intials. (date of copyright). Title of song/composition [Recorded by artist if different from writer/composer]. On Title of album [Medium of recording: CD, record, cassette, etc.]. Location: Label. (Recording date if different from copyright date)


Arlen, H. (n.d.). Any place I hang my hat [Recorded by Cleo Laine]. On Cleo at Carnegie Hall [Cassette]. London: Towerbell Records. (1983)

Palestrina, G. P. da. (n.d.) Missa: Dum complerentur [Recorded by Christchurch Cathedral Choir]. On Mass for Pentecost and motets [CD]. Wyastone Leys: Nimbus Records. (1987)

Porter, C. (n.d.). Love for sale [Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald]. On The complete Ella in Berlin: Mack the knife [CD]. New York: Verve. (1960)

Citation in Text

... in "Any place I hang my hat" (Arlen, n.d., track 1) , the song ...

... new style of flowing polyphony (Palestrina, n.d., tracks 1-7) brought ...

... striking topic for a popular song (Porter, n.d., track 7) which was typical ...


  • It is uncommon for copyright dates of compositions to be given on music recordings. With classical compositions the dates of composition are likely to appear in liner notes; failing this, they may be obtained from major reference works such as Grove's dictionary of music and musicians. (n.d.) is the standard abbreviation where no date is known.
  • When dealing with modern popular songs it may be desirable to place the name of the artist (e.g. Madonna) in the posiition of the composer if the writer of the song is unknown. Please check with lecturers if this is acceptable before submitting work.