Notes Style Sheet


  • most important composition, but best-known composition (CMS14 p. 221)
  • late-nineteenth-century music, mid-nineteenth-century music, early-nineteenth-century music (CMS16, p. 379), not "late nineteenth-century music"
  • music of the late nineteenth century; music of the early nineteenth century (CMS16, p. 379: "Noun forms [of centuries are] always open.")
  • but music of the mid-nineteenth century (CMS16, p. 383; "mid" forms a closed compound); similarly, in mid-August, in mid-1944.
  • F clef (roman, no hyphen). NGD2 uses F clef (italic, no hypen); NHD uses F-clef (roman, with hyphen)
  • Compound words formed with prefixes are normally closed (no hyphen). Thus "nontraditional" (not "non-traditional"), "coeditor" (not "co-editor"), "subtype" (not "sub-type). See CMS16, 7.85, for a list of prefixes thus treated, with examples. Exceptions:Use hyphens before capitalized words (neo-Nazi) and numerals (pre-1945).

  • Notes does not hyphenate compound nationalities (African American, Chinese American, and the like) even when used adjectivally. If the first term is shortened, however, do use a hyphen (Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian).
En Dashes
  • "Use the en-dash to connect dates, pages, pitches, and keys, and in a compound adjective of which one element contains a hyphen or consists of two words" (Holoman2, 2.31; see also CMS16, 6.78–80). En dashes are not found on standard QWERTY keyboards. In Microsoft Word, go to Insert/Symbol to insert an en dash. Authors can generally skip the en dash, and use hyphens instead; the manuscript editor will replace these with en dashes where appropriate.
    the Db–D#–Db figure 
    G major–G minor–G major 
    W. S. Gilbert–style verse 
    pitch-class–number notation
  • Compound adjectives take an en dash when used as the equivalent of to, and, or versus to express a relationship of linkage or opposition (MW11 under hyphen in "Handbook of Style," p. 1607)

      Pulitzer-prize–winning (hyphen + en dash)
      Weill–Lenya Archive 
      Mozart–Da Ponte operas 
      text–music (when indicating linkage or opposition)

Em Dashes

"Em dashes are used to set off an amplifying or explanatory element and in that sense can function as an alternative to parentheses, . . commas, . . or a colon—expecially when an arupt break in thought is called for" (CMS16, 6.82).

Ex.: "Especially for the women who wrote only a song or two, they—or their husbands or fathers—frequently published their own songs."

In some publications, an en dash—preceded and followed by a space (i.e., " – ")—is used in place of the em dash. When quoting such a passage, substitute a true em dash (without the spaces).

Quotation Marks
CMS16, 13.28: "Quoted words, phrases, and sentences run into the text are enclosed in double quotation marks. Single quotation marks enclose quotations within quotations; double marks, quotations within these; and so on. (The practice in the United Kingdom and elsewhere is often the reverse: single marks are used first, then double, and so on.)"

For quotation marks, the French, Spanish, and Italians use guillemets (as in «quotation»). German quotations usually take reversed guillemets (as in »quotation«), or split-level inverted quotation marks („quotation").

"Single quotation marks may be changed to double, and double to single. . . . Guillemets and other types of quotation marks in a foreign language may be changed to regular single or double quotation marks" (CMS16, 13.7).

With other punctuation (CMS16, 6.9–11):

  • Periods and commas precede closing quotation marks. (In British style, only punctuation marks that appear in the original text are included inside the quotation marks; all others follow the closing quotation marks.)

  • Colons and semicolons follow closing quotation marks.

  • Question marks and closing exclamation points follow closing quotation marks, unless they are part of the quoted matter.

  • "When single quotation marks nested within double quotation marks appear next to each other, no space [or punctuation] need to be added between the two. . . ."