How to Write About Music: The RILM Manual of Style

The dual focus on
abstracting and music results in a succinctness and clarity not to be found in
these other, broader, style guides. With not a word to be wasted, RILM’s
style manual explicates the matters of neutral language, dead language, and
punctuation (from the serial comma to the em dash) through the lens of music.

This lens also allows for the illumination of issues specific to writing
about music. The preferred spellings of composers’ names (ex. PÎtr Il’i?
?ajkovskij), as well as the correct capitalization for work and movement
titles, are supplied in an effort to achieve a functional unity among the
disparate forms and variations. Only in RILM’s manual will one read about the
correct hyphenation for pre-Classical and postimpressionism;
only in RILM’s manual will pick up the correct italicization for printed,
electronic, or audiovisual materials.

Of course, non-musical issues are still given weight, from the
capitalization of geographical terms to non-Western honorifics to the
transcription of dialect. Because RILM is an international organization,
Cyrillic and Chinese characters (including Mandarin as well as dialects and
non-Han languages) are treated with more importance than they might be in the
style guide of English-speaking countries or locales. The style guide is
constantly growing to include the most recent musical phenomena as well as
those that are non-recent, but recently-discovered. Rather than a rigid, dated
series of rules and reasoning, The RILM Manual of Style is
ever-expanding and indispensable resource.

Rebecca Lentjes

image_description=How to Write About Music: The RILM Manual of Style
product_title=How to Write About Music: The RILM Manual of Style
product_by=Edited by James R. Cowdery
product_id=ISBN: 1-932765-03-4