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Information for Authors

1. Authors are advised to consult recent copies of Music & Letters to ascertain the suitability of their material for the journal. We publish articles on a wide range of topics, ranging from antiquity to the present day and embracing musics from classical, popular, and world traditions; the journal has a particular reputation for encouraging fruitful dialogue between musicology and other disciplines. The journal does not impose a strict word limit on submissions, but published articles generally range from c.8,000 to c.15,000 words. Authors are encouraged to contact the Music & Letters editorial office if they need to seek advice on the suitability of their material for the journal prior to submission, preferably by email ( musicandletters@oup.com ). The editors may also be contacted by post at the following address:

The Editors
Music & Letters Editorial Office
Faculty of Music
11 West Road

2. The Editors consider all submissions in as timely a manner as possible; contributors will, however, understand that the reviewing process can take some time. Music & Letters operates a two-stage double-blind reviewing process: manuscripts are initially assessed by the editors, and may be rejected at this stage where they are found to be unsuitable for the journal. In this case, feedback will be provided to authors to explain the decision that has been made. All other submissions are sent to external readers following this initial assessment; the editors’ decision is then made on the basis of the expert reports provided by readers, which are made available to authors. Note that the editors’ decision must be regarded as final.

3. All submissions must follow the Music & Letters Style Guide for Authors, which can be found here. The Editors reserve the right to return submissions that do not conform to these guidelines.

4. Initial submissions must include a main text file and an abstract of c. 150 words. Where it is required, illustrative material may include music examples, tables, plates, and figures. These should be placed in separate files and identified by captions. Captions should also be written out in full in a separate file. The abbreviations Ex. and Exx. are used for examples, Fig. and Figs. for diagrams, and Pl. and Pll. for plates. An author biography of c.50 words is required for any article that is accepted.

5. It is important to consider carefully the number of music examples, tables, plates, and figures required, and the restrictions on the way in which these can be presented in the journal. All illustrative material must serve a specific purpose within the argument of the submission. Note also that it is the author’s responsibility to secure and pay for permission to reproduce any material in copyright, and that this must be done in a timely manner as soon as a submission is accepted. While the editors try to be sympathetic to complex manuscripts, we reserve the right not to consider for publication material that is poorly presented or that is unsuited to our format.


Preparing your manuscript

1. Manuscripts must be submitted online. Once the manuscript has been prepared according to the instructions above it should be uploaded to http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ml .

2. Since Music & Letters conducts double-blind peer reviews, submissions should include no identifying author information; the author’s name should not appear anywhere in the submission, including in the footnotes, or in any supplementary files. A separate title page (designated as Title Page) should be uploaded with author details and any acknowledgements.

3. The main manuscript should be prepared using a word-processing program such as Word, and saved as a .docx, or .rtf file, designated as ‘Main Document’. All files in these formats will be automatically converted to .pdf format upon submission.

4. Any supplementary material that is to be submitted for review, such as tables, plates, music examples, and figures, should also be uploaded. A word-processing program may be used for these, as for the Main Document, but other file types, such as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, may also be used. We prefer, but do not require, music examples to be set in Sibelius. When naming files, simple file names should be used, avoiding special characters and spaces. The file names must have the correct suffix, e.g. .doc, .docx, .rtf, as appropriate.

5. At the time of submission, plates and figures may be submitted at low-quality resolution. However, if the article is accepted for publication, plates and figures will need to be resupplied at publication-quality resolution, using applications capable of generating high-resolution .tif or .jpg files (1200 dpi. for line drawings and 300 dpi. for colour and half-tone artwork). For information on preparing plates and figures for publication, see http://cpc.cadmus.com/da

6. The online submission software will automatically create a single .pdf file containing the main text, supplementary files, and reduced-resolution versions of any figures that have been submitted. This document will be used when the manuscript undergoes peer review. The submitted files will appear in this .pdf sequentially, as specified on the submission page. There will be an opportunity to enter figure/plate captions and to check the .pdf file prior to final submission

Submitting your manuscript

7. In order to submit files authors must log into ScholarOne. Note that the system has a list of supported browsers and versions, which can be accessed from the ‘Get Help’ button on the submission site.
a. Authors who have already used the system can use their existing User ID and Password to login.
b. Authors who are unsure if they are already registered on the system are advised to use the ‘Forgot your password’ button, and to follow the on-screen instructions, in order to receive a reminder of their login details.
c. Authors who are not already registered can do so by clicking on the ‘Create account’ button on the login screen, and following the on-screen instructions.
d. It is important not to create a new account if problems are experienced with logging on or finding a manuscript. Please contact musicandletters@oup.com instead.

8. A new manuscript should be submitted by going to ‘Author Centre’ and selecting ‘Submit a Manuscript’, then following the on-screen instructions. There are up to seven steps to follow. In order to move from one step to the next authors should click on the ‘Save and Continue’ button on each screen, or on the ‘Previous’ button to return to the previous screen. Note that material entered on each screen will not be saved if the ‘Back’ and ‘Forward’ button on the Web browser is used. The Submission process can be stopped at any stage by clicking on the ‘Main Menu’ button: in this case, everything types into the system is saved, and the partially completed submission appears under ‘unsubmitted manuscripts’ in the ‘Author Centre’. The submission process can be restarted by clicking on the button ‘Continue Submission’ against the relevant manuscript title.

9. When submitting a manuscript, it is important to enter manuscript data into all the relevant fields, following the detailed instructions given at the top of each page. It may be useful to have the original word processing file available so that the title and abstract can be copied into the required fields.

10. Manuscript files are uploaded to the system via the ‘File Upload’ screen.
a. Individual files should be entered using the ‘Browse’ buttons and select the appropriate ‘File content’ type.
b. The document’s designation should be selected from the pull-down menu. As noted above, the main file should always be designated ‘Main Document’. Note that any document designated as a ‘Supplementary File’ will not be included in the single .pdf created by each submission and will not therefore be available to external readers.
c. Files are uploaded by clicking on the ‘Upload Files’ button. The steps above should be completed until all files are uploaded.
d. When the upload of each file is completed, a confirmation window will appear. Authors are required at this point to provide legends and ‘file tags’ for tables, plates, music examples, and figures to link the relevant files to texts in the main document.
e. The system will create a single .pdf containing all the files for a submission once all the files have been uploaded. The order in which the files should appear in this .pdf should be indicated at this stage. Authors have the opportunity to view the .pdf file by clicking on the blue HTML button or a PDF button to check that the material is in the correct order.
f. If the files are not correctly uploaded, they can be removed and the upload process repeated via the ‘File Upload’ screen.

11. Once the upload process has been completed satisfactorily, the ‘Next’ button should be clicked to bring up the ‘Review and Submit’ screen. The system checks that all mandatory fields have been completed, and that the manuscript proof has been viewed. At this stage there is a final opportunity to edit the information that has been provided. The ‘Submit’ button should be pressed in order to complete the submission process.

12. A confirmation screen will appear once the final submission has been made. Authors also receive an email confirmation of the submission. This includes the assigned manuscript number, which should be used in all correspondence. If an email confirmation is not received, the manuscript has not be submitted successfully, and will remain in the ‘Unsubmitted Manuscripts’ section of the ‘Author Centre’.

13. Submitted manuscripts can be found in the ‘Submitted Manuscripts’ area of the ‘Author Centre’. Among the information listed there, the ‘Processing Status’ section provides information on the status of the manuscript as it moves through the review process.

Getting help

14. Any author who experiences problems during the online submission process should consult the Author’s User Guide, (http://mcv3help.manuscriptcentral.com/stalkjddfesd/MC3Help.htm), which provides detailed submission instructions, as well as ‘Movie Tutorials’. It is also possible to consult the Music & Letters Editorial Office for further assistance.


For information about this journals policy, please visit our Author Self-Archiving policy page .


Details of all funding sources for the work in question should be given in a separate section entitled 'Funding'. This should appear before the 'Acknowledgements' section.

The following rules should be followed:

  • The sentence should begin: ‘This work was supported by …’
  • The full official funding agency name should be given, i.e. ‘National Institutes of Health’, not ‘NIH’ (full RIN-approved list of UK funding agencies) Grant numbers should be given in brackets as follows: ‘[grant number xxxx]’
  • Multiple grant numbers should be separated by a comma as follows: ‘[grant numbers xxxx, yyyy]’
  • Agencies should be separated by a semi-colon (plus ‘and’ before the last funding agency)
  • Where individuals need to be specified for certain sources of funding the following text should be added after the relevant agency or grant number 'to [author initials]'.

An example is given here: ‘This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health [AA123456 to C.S., BB765432 to M.H.]; and the Alcohol & Education Research Council [hfygr667789].



In line with most academic journals, Oxford Journals require contributors to obtain clearance for any copyright materials reproduced in their articles. The fact that our journals appear in an online version, some with downloadable sound examples may further complicate the position. The law governing copyright, especially as it refers to non-print media, is far from clear but the following guidance is offered in good faith; of necessity, these guidelines are not comprehensive, but rather a simplification of the law governing copyright. Furthermore, these guidelines are based on English Law only. You should always seek advice when in doubt.

In essence it is necessary to ensure that clearance is gained for the following:

  • reproduction and distribution in printed form of copyright textual or graphic material or music;
  • reproduction in electronic form and dissemination on-line of copyright textual or graphic material or musical or dramatic works;
  • reproduction in electronic form and dissemination on-line of copyright sound material (eg a sound recording); and
  • reproduction in electronic form and dissemination on-line of performances of music and/or words (eg a song embodied in a sound recording).

While the owner of the rights in a sound recording may also own or control the rights (eg of the performer) in the performance recorded, it would be wise to get confirmation of this from that owner when seeking a clearance, and to make it clear that a licence of both categories of rights is being requested.
Finally you must respect the author's moral rights. This means being careful to ensure that the author and source of any material used are identified sufficiently, and that no material used is subjected to any derogatory treatment.


There is no restriction on the inclusion of non-copyright materials in either the printed or the electronic version of the journal, but be aware that there may be rights in performances of public domain works. Terms of copyright in literary, dramatic, artistic and musical works (whether published or not) depend both on when and where the work was first published, and on if and when the author has died and on the residence and nationality of the author. The rules are complicated, but the general rule is:

  • copyright expires seventy years after the end of the calendar year in which the author died;
  • if a work was unpublished (and this term has a broad meaning including public performance and broadcasting) at the date of the author's death, then the period of copyright protection will be the longer of:
1. seventy years after the end of the calendar year in which the author died; or
2. fifty years after the end of the calendar year in which the work was first published (in the case of works first published before 1 August 1989) and fifty years from 1 January 1990 (in the case of works first published after 1 August 1989).

In the case of an unpublished document you will need to seek permission from the owner of the document as well as the owner of any copyright in the document.

New editions: A new copyright may exist in a new edition of an existing work. If the new edition contains material alterations which suffice to make the totality of the new edition an original work, then the new edition will be a new copyright work. This is so whether or not the existing edition is in the public domain. Copying the existing work will require no consent if it is in the public domain, but that copying must be done from the existing work and not from the new edition. If the existing work is still protected by copyright, then permission for use must be obtained from the rights owner. If the new edition is used and the old edition is still in copyright, permission must be obtained from the owner of the rights in the new edition and, if that owner does not also own the rights in the old edition, from the person who owns the rights in the old edition. Copyright on typography and music setting (engraving) lasts for 25 years from publication.

Sound recordings: In the case of sound recordings, copyright in the recording generally lasts for fifty years from release. Release has a wide meaning and includes broadcast and public performance. That means that you do not need permission to reproduce clips from original recordings that were released over 50 years ago; reissues (for instance CD compilations of historical recordings) may however be protected by a new copyright, as will sound recordings which have been remastered or digitally enhanced. Rights of performers performing on sound recordings generally last for the same period as the copyright in the sound recording.

Multiple copyrights: As you will gather from the above, a single publication will have multiple copyrights. For a musical score, these typically include the composer, the editor or arranger (if any), and the music setting; in the case of songs and operas the lyrics or libretto will be copyright, too. The publisher will normally handle all these rights. For a recording there will be a number of separate copyrights relating to the performance but they will usually all be handled by the record company, although it may sometimes be necessary to get separate permission from performers; you should check with the record company. Where the work itself is copyright, however, you will have to obtain permission for that separately from the publisher. Material can be considered out of copyright only if all the relevant copyrigh


Make sure you do not apply for permission when you do not actually need it! There is one important circumstance under which permission is not required, and you should consider carefully whether it applies in your case.

Where copyright is in force, it is legal to quote brief extracts from books, articles, or musical works for purposes of review or criticism, provided that the source is acknowledged. In this context 'musical works' is believed to include both scores and recordings, and this provision is believed to extend to electronic as well as to print publication. However you must note the following:

  • 'brief' is generally understood to mean no more than 5% of the work and, in any event, no more than is necessary for the criticism or review in question (note that individual items in collections, eg songs, count as works in their own right)
  • you cannot include the materials just for illustration; the legality of the quotation depends on the presence of critical commentary on it or its use for critical commentary on another work. For instance it might only be legal to reproduce an extract from a recording if you were commenting on the performance or the work recorded.
These provisions do not however apply to illustrations or figures in books, since each illustration or figure is treated as a separate copyright item. You will need to obtain permission to reproduce them from the publishers, or where they are credited to third parties from those third parties.


In most cases the best place to start applying for permission is with the music publisher. Publishers of most music published in the UK can be found by searching on the web site of the Music Publishers Association http://www.mpaonline.org.uk

You need to write to the copyright holder or owner of the rights in the performance, explaining what you want to reproduce and the nature of the publication; you may have to pay a fee. In the case of textual and graphic material there will normally be little problem; publishers and libraries are used to handling such enquiries.

You may wish to include or adapt the following when writing:

[name of journal], which is published by Oxford University Press, is a scholarly journal with a limited print run. It is also published in an electronic (web-based) version, accessible only to authorized users. I am therefore seeking clearance for both the printed and the electronic versions of the journal for the life of the work. As a scholarly publication, the journal does not offer any remuneration to authors and I would therefore ask you to consider reducing or waiving any fees in respect of this permission.

Sound recordings: The situation is more complicated in the case of sound recordings, largely because record companies are not yet used to handling such requests. As you will only be reproducing a short extract from a recording, an enlightened company will see this not as undercutting sales but as offering free publicity. For this reason it may be advisable, when writing to large companies, to address your letter to the marketing rather than the rights division.

You may wish to include or adapt the following when writing:

[name of journal], which is published by Oxford University Press, is a scholarly journal with a limited print run. It is also published in an electronic (web-based) version, accessible only to authorized users. The electronic version includes a facility for sound examples, and I am writing to request permission to include and use an extract from one of your recordings as a sound example in the way just described, for the life of the work. Full details of the recording will be given. As a scholarly publication, the journal does not offer any remuneration to authors and I would therefore ask you to consider reducing or waiving any fees in respect of this permission.

A problem you may run into is being offered permission for the electronic version on the basis of a fixed-term or renewable license only, which we would unfortunately be unable to accept. In this case, contact the editorial office.

You may have difficulty in determining exactly who holds the rights for older recordings. The National Sound Archive ) (a division of the British Library) has information on this and will be glad to advise. The National Sound Archive may also be able to supply CD copies of recorded extracts for journal submissions, with the copying charges paid by the Archive from an educational trust fund (but please note that responsibility for copyright and other rights clearance remains with the contributor).

Mechanical rights and performance rights:
1) In the UK: MCPS/PRS Alliance. The MCPS (mechanical rights for sound recordings, UK) and PRS (performing rights, UK) have formed an alliance which means that it is possible to apply to both of them for permission in tandem. This is good news and should make research and clearance more straightforward: http://www.mcps-prs-alliance.co.uk

2) In the US: Mechanical rights: The Harry Fox Agency in New York is roughly equivalent to MCPS for the US: www.harryfox.com

Musical extracts from films: Unlike the reproduction of film stills (where film companies sometimes have little interest in granting permission for academic publications), film companies are very keen to license permissions for the use of musical extracts, and will usually charge. Academic publications might be an exception, and we can expect them to be a little more flexible for a journal article, but it means it is very important to emphasize academic journal publication whenever submitting a permission request to a film company.

Music in facsimile:
Permission for music in facsimile works in much the same way as any other illustrative material, so permission should usually be sought for use of the photograph, even if the original object (such as a book) is out of copyright. Usually the best place to start is with the publisher, or in the case of an out of copyright book, the library or collection where the book is held. Where the music itself is still in copyright, then of course the rights have to be cleared as well.

If you have queries about clearing permissions for your article, please contact the editorial office.


Article authors can claim 25 offprints free of charge plus 1 gratis copy of the issue in which their article appears. This is not an automatic service and authors must order their copies by logging on to the Oxford Journals Author Services site. Review authors can claim 1 gratis copy of the issue which their article is due to appear in through the same site.


Music and Letters authors have the option to publish their paper under the Oxford Open initiative; whereby, for a charge, their paper will be made freely available online immediately upon publication. After your manuscript is accepted the corresponding author will be required to accept a mandatory licence to publish agreement. As part of the licensing process you will be asked to indicate whether or not you wish to pay for open access. If you do not select the open access option, your paper will be published with standard subscription-based access and you will not be charged.

Oxford Open articles are published under Creative Commons licences. Authors publishing in Music and Letters can use the following Creative Commons licences for their articles:

  • Creative Commons licence (CC-BY)
  • Creative Commons Non-Commercial licence (CC-BY-NC)
Please click here for more information about the Creative Commons licences.

You can pay Open Access charges using our Author Services site. This will enable you to pay online with a credit/debit card, or request an invoice by email or post. The open access charges applicable are:

Regular charge - £2000/ $3200 / €2600
List B Reduced rate developing country charge* - £1000 / $1600 / €1300
List A Free developing country charge* - £0 /$0 / €0
*Visit our Developing Countries page for a list of qualifying countries.

Please note that these charges are in addition to any colour/page charges that may apply.

Orders from the UK will be subject to the current UK VAT charge. For orders from the rest of the European Union, OUP will assume that the service is provided for business purposes. Please provide a VAT number for yourself or your institution, and ensure you account for your own local VAT correctly.

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