Notes Style Sheet



  • most important compositionbut best-known composition (CMS17, p. 449)
  • 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 (CMS17, 7.89 no.4, under "mid"); 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 CMS17, 7.89, 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 CMS17, 6.80). 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 DbD#Db figure 
    • G majorG minorG major 
    • BACH 
    • W. S. Gilbertstyle verse 
    • pitch-classnumber 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; CMS17, 6.80).
    • composerpianist 
    • Pulitzer-prizewinning (hyphen + en dash)
    • WeillLenya Archive 
    • MozartDa Ponte operas 
    • textmusic (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 abrupt break in thought is called for" (CMS17, 6.85).
    • 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

  • CMS17, 13.30: "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 from languages other than English may be changed to regular double or single quotation marks." (CMS17, 13.7)

  • With other punctuation (CMS17, 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. . . ."