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Library Subject Guides

Music: Programme Notes

Programme Notes

A normal part of a concert programme for contemporary or classical music performances, they give

  • historical and background details on each piece and, if necessary, the composer
  • a sense of what to expect and possibly what to listen for.


They may include information about, and quotations or commentary from, the composer, conductor or performers and contextual details of the musical era of the piece. For contemporary pieces, it is common to include notes provided by the composer.

Similar notes in commercial recordings are called disc notes, sleeve notes or liner notes.

UC Library Music Resources

Liner notes in CDs

Search for CDs in UC Library

Electronic books

Find ebooks about composers, music periods or the repertoire for your instrument

Print books

See the Books and ebooks page to locate books on the library shelves.

Electronic journal articles

Search for scholarly online full-text journal articles about composers and compositions, etc.

Web Resources – New Zealand

Web Resources – Other Countries

See the article below for tips on finding more programme notes on the web

APA 7th Referencing of Programme Notes

If the notes are within a webpage on a website, reference as that type of reference. If it is important to do so, indicate in your assignment text that the details come from the programme notes. For example

Gardner, J. (2008). Blessed unrest: For piano trio. SOUNZ.

If the programme notes are on a separate webpage or booklet, include a [Description] after the title if ‘programme note’ or similar wording does not occur in the title. For example

Huscher, P. (2020). Pietro Mascagni, Cavalleria rusticana, Melodrama in one act [Programme notes]. In Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti, Symphony Center presents, February–April 2020 (pp. 30–36). Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Keller, J. M. (n.d.). Notes on the program: Concerto for orchestra no. 1, Naughty limericks, Rodion Shchedrin. New York Philharmonic.