how to format lyrics in an essay

how to format lyrics in an essay

The Artist. (1995). The Album. [CD]. City: Recording Studio (Recorded 1994).
If you’ve used a website instead of a physical copy, you should provide the URL, after the year.

Include the details of the recording in your works cited or references page. In MLA format, include the artist’s name, song title, album name, name of the recording manufacturer, publication date and the sound recording medium, for example:
When incorporating lyrics into an essay, put the lyrics inside quotation marks. Short quotations can be integrated into a sentence, such as, “In the song ‘Hey Jude,’ the Beatles sing…” followed by the lyrics in quotation marks. Long quotations, or those that are four lines or longer, need to be set off in a block quote, where you indent the entire quote from the paragraph above it. To cite the lyrics in Modern Language Association format, write the artists’ name in parentheses, such as (The Beatles), followed by the ending punctuation. To cite in American Psychological Association format, include the artist, copyright date and track number in parentheses, such as (The Beatles, 1968, track 1). Note the comma between the artist and year and between the year and track number.

You’ve got a wife, a hot one too
I’m peer-reviewing/editing a paper for a final in my English course and in it, the author has a character singing a song (of the author’s creation). The character is singing in dialogue, like so:

Lyrics are allowed to be quoted, with a few exceptions. Under the fair use doctrine of the United States copyright law, a phrase, bridge or section of a song can be quoted in small portions. The law isn’t specific as to the percentage of words from the song you can use or how many words in total you can quote from a particular song in the text.
A research paper that isn’t publicly published can use a limited portion of a song to convey a point. Acknowledgment of the author of the song, not just the artist, is required to be included with in-text citations. The reference page of the paper needs to also include the artist, author (if different from the performer) and album name, if applicable. A CD reference requires the quote of the passage followed by a reference to the author and the CD title. This can be done in the essay and then referenced in the works-cited-list entry. The works-cited-list entry requires the artist or author of the song lyrics, album name as the source title, the publisher and date that the album was released for public consumption followed by the form it was published in, such as CD or MP3. If the lyrics chosen to highlight a point in the essay are from a website, provide a description rather than a title. Follow that with the official name of the website and any publication date or information connected to the quotes being published on that site. Attach the URL to the end of the listing with proper punctuation for the entry.

Janey, a letter came today
And a picture of you.
Your expression so like your father’s
Brought back all the years.
(Larsen, 2004, p. 13)

Gershwin, I. (Lyricist), & Gershwin, G. (Composer). (1926). Someone to watch over me [Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald]. On Ella: The legendary Decca recordings [CD, 4 vol]. Santa Monica, CA: The Verve Music Group. (1995)


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