How do I cite measures from a musical score?
Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook. For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook.
Measure numbers can point readers to the pertinent section of a source more precisely than page numbers:
Mozart supplies a gently rocking melody for Figaro and Susanna’s private reconciliation (measures 275-93).
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus. The Marriage of Figaro (Le Nozze di Figaro). Dover Publications, 1979.
If you cite measures repeatedly in your work, identify them using the abbreviation “mm” listed in Merriam-Webster:
Mozart supplies a gently rocking melody for Figaro and Susanna’s private reconciliation (mm. 275-93) but sets the Count’s public repentance and his wife’s sublime forgiveness more grandly (mm. 420-30).