Recommendations on How to Quote Song Lyrics in an Essay

Recommendations on How to Quote Song Lyrics in an Essay

Like poems, plays, novels, comic books, and other compositions, songs contain lyrics that can support people’s opinions. It may sound strange and unusual for the first time, especially if the title is unpopular. A few years ago, it was hard to believe that products of sound recording medium holders would be so valuable. However, times change extremely fast, and today it’s normal to see how people put lyrics inside quotation marks.

However, people need help finding out how to make the quotation correct, sometimes in short. Modern language association format looks complicated for beginners because even minor issues with song lyrics could lead to negative consequences. So, it’s better to avoid them. Following advice from professionals helps to understand everything about correct quotation marks usage. Keep reading if you want to find out more about in-text citations.

Use Quotations and In-Text Citations Correct

As already mentioned, song titles could become valuable information sources for students working on scholarly papers. Song lyrics may also become the subject of analysis on the same level as novels or poems. Who knows, maybe you’ll find an important term in the citation. If such practice looked unreal a few years ago, today, it’s normal. However, when quoting song lyrics in an essay, following the guidelines for citing sources in your chosen citation style is essential. Some may be obvious, but often people need help citing music lyrics.

  • Use quotation marks to indicate the beginning and end of the lyrics

This tip is vital in case you put music lyrics into long sentences. If other constructions surround the phrase, it makes sense to show where the quote starts and where it ends. Teachers read assignments very carefully, and you may expect negative consequences once lyrics inside quotation marks are placed wrong.

The following sentence provides an example of correctly citing music lyrics. According to the line, “love is all you need, ” love is the only thing needed. As you see, the word “love” repeats twice very closely, but readers won’t be disoriented because of the quotation marks. If the lyrics are longer (more than two lines), remove them from the essay writing by indenting them and placing them in a separate part. After this, the writing will look much better.

A block quote is required for long quotations or those with more than four lines. There, the entire section is indented from the paragraph above it. Cite music lyrics using Modern Language Association format by putting the artists’ names in parentheses, such as (The Beatles), followed by the punctuation.

  • Include the songwriter’s name and the song title in your citation

MLA style citation rules require students to be very specific with the information they cite. So, it’s essential to mention the song title. It’s important to show where you take the note from and provide the author’s name. If you know the album title and release date, you may also include that information. Parenthetical in-text citations should include the artist’s name and the time containing the cited lyrics. Below is an example of correctly citing music lyrics.

In the chorus, Bush sings, “if I only could / I’d make a deal with God / And I’d get him to swap our places” (0:51–59).

As you can see, the author and the timing of the cited lyrics are mentioned. When you quote song lyrics and mention them in the bibliographic entry, you may begin with the artist’s surname and first and second names, respectively. You also may support the artist’s name, song title, and URL link for music available online with periods. To understand what exactly this means, look at the citing music lyrics example below.

Knowles-Carter, Beyoncé Giselle. “Irreplaceable.” Lemonade, Parkwood Entertainment, 2009,


For the first time, following the rules of in-text citations may take a lot of work, mainly due to specific punctuation. However, regular practice always brings positive results; if you follow the guideline, even MLA style won’t look complicated.

Quoting Song Lyrics Correctly – Simple Recommendations

Regardless of the type of writing, citing song lyrics according to the set rules is essential. With several reference styles, it may be complicated to adapt to the requirements presented for each type. However, to be honest, everyone interested in essay writing should know how to cite information from different sources. So now, we will tell more about quoting music lyrics.

The first example is based on song lyrics from a CD. In this case, you may use the MLA style template. First, the name of the performer comes in an author’s place, the album’s name as the source title. After that, you should mention the publisher and the date.

If you get the quote from a booklet accompanying the CD, the description should come in the “Title of source” slot and the album’s name as the title of the container. It’s unnecessary to mention the sound recording medium holder who took the song to the CD.

Citing lyrics from the website has other requirements. First, you may provide the description and the website’s name. Only then comes the information, such as the publication date and the URL. You don’t need to mention the sound recording medium as it’s optional for the citing.

Quoting Lyrics in References With No Mistakes

Following several recommendations is required to use the sound title in references correctly. It’s important not only for Modern language association format but for all styles. For example, more than putting phrases in quotation marks are required. Luckily, people have found different academic styles, and following them makes the task of quoting music lyrics easier.

The APA style requires the following elements in citing:

  • author
  • date
  • title
  • source

If we talk about song or track reference, the author of the lyrics and the recording artist is usually the same person. If an artist uses a first name and surname, you can mention the name and initial in the reference.

However, if it’s about citing a song recorded by another artist, the rules of using quotation marks change a bit. In this case, you don’t need to mention the publication date of the original work or the name of the song author.

Quotation Marks and Italics – The Difference

People often need clarification about when to use quotation marks and italics. However, there is a slight difference between these two types of citing, and it’s time to explain everything.

Italics are used when something (in our case – song lyrics) is mentioned for the first time or if it’s a title.

Quotation marks should be used to refer to a phrase or sentence. An average EssayWriter mostly wants to use direct quotations to reproduce the cited words’ exact meaning. However, if you form a citation in your essay writing, you may add other elements like the author’s name, song name, and other important information. Unfollowing this rule may lead to a lower mark.

Final Words

Today it’s OK to read essays and see lyrics inside quotation marks. It makes the writing unique and brings new information, helping authors support their opinions. However, citing song lyrics correctly is essential to ensure it will give everyone the expected result. If you face problems creating in-text citations or references, people ask, “can I pay someone to write my paper?” With support from talented writing specialists, the task becomes much more accessible.


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