Mla Format Song Title In Essay

Ask the MLAworks-cited list

How do I cite song lyrics?

The way you cite song lyrics will vary depending on how you access them and how much information you include in the body of your essay.

If you cite song lyrics from a CD you listened to, you might simply refer to the song in your essay:

“You say you got a real solution,” the Beatles sing in “Revolution 1.” 

You can then provide a works-cited-list entry for the album that contains the song. Follow the MLA template of core elements: list the name of the performer or band as the author, the name of the album as the title of the source, the publisher, and the date. In the optional-element slot at the end of the entry, list the format:

If you cite song lyrics from a booklet accompanying the CD, list a description in the “Title of source” slot and the name of the album as the title of the container:

The Beatles. Booklet. The Beatles, EMI Records, 1968.

If you cite lyrics from a Web site, provide a description in place of the title. Then provide the name of the Web site, publication information for the site, and the URL:

The Beatles.  Lyrics to “Revolution 1.” Genius, 2017, genius.com/The-beatles-revolution-i-lyrics.

Published 11 October 2017

Simply put: no.

APA's Publication Manual (2010) indicates that, in the body of your paper, you should use italics for the titles of:

  • books
  • periodicals (journals, magazines, newspapers)
  • films
  • videos
  • TV shows
  • Microfilm publications

Beyond APA's specific examples, know that certain types of titles are almost always written in italics. 

Use italics in a word-processed document for the types of titles you'd underline if you were writing by hand.  A general rule of thumb is that within the text of a paper, italicize the title of complete works but put quotation marks around titles of parts within a complete work. 

The table below isn't comprehensive, but it's a good starting point

Titles in ItalicsTitles Placed in "Quotation Marks"
Title of a periodical (magazine, journal, newspaper)              Title of article in a periodical
Title of a book   Title of a chapter in a book
Title of a movie or playName of an act or scene in a movie or a play
Title of a television or radio series   Title of an episode within a tv or radio series
Title of a musical album or CDTitle of a song
Title of a long poemTitle of a short poem
Names of operas or long musical composition
Names of paintings and sculptures

Title of a short story

On an APA-style reference page, the rules for titles are a little different.  In short, a title you would italicize within the body of a paper will also be italicized on a reference page.  However, a title you'd place in quotation marks within the body of the paper (such as the title of an article within a journal) will be written in normal lettering and will not be in quotation marks.

Here are some examples:

Smith (2001) research is fully described in the Journal of Higher Education.

Smith's (2001) article "College Admissions See Increase" was published in the Journal of Higher Education after his pivotal study on the admissions process.

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