I'm trying to reference some sheet music in a bibliography.

The work was composed by Mussorgsky in 1867, but re-written ("arranged") by Rimsky-Korsakov in 1886 and published by W. Bessel & Co. out of St. Petersburg.

The APA guidelines here and here are clear. The reference should look like this:

Mussorgsky, M. (Composer). (1886). Night on Bare Mountain (Rimsky-Korsakov, N. Arr.) [Sheet Music]. St. Petersburg: W. Bessel & Co. (Original work published 1867)

or more generally:

author (role). (date). title (editor, editortype) [entrysubtype] location: publisher. (Original work published origdate)

However, the closest I can get is:

Mussorgsky, M. (1886). Night on bare mountain (N. Rimsky-Korsakov, typearranger) [Sheet Music]. W. Bessel & Co. (Original work published 1867)

I got that by using the biblatex documentation and the biblatex-apa documentation document to create the folowing *.bib:

  author       = "Modest Mussorgsky",
  role         = "Composer",
  year         = "1886",
  title        = "Night On Bald Mountain",
  entrysubtype = "Sheet Music",
  editor       = "Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov",
  editortype   = "arranger",
  location     = "St. Petersburg",
  publisher    = "W. Bessel \& Co.",
  origdate     = "1867"

Then I include this in my preamble:


The differences in descending order of priority:

  1. The role = "Composer" is not respected. Though APA guidelines describe this as a "role", I'm not surprised this didn't work because bibtex doesn't describe "role" the same way. But is there a way I can get "(Composer)" in there?

  2. If I leave editortype empty, Rimsky-Kosakov is credited here as an editor ("Ed."). It would be more accurate to credit him as an arranger ("Arr."), but the built-in editortype in biblatex only support editor, compiler, founder, continuator, redactor, reviser, collaborator, organizer. Is there a way to extend this?

  3. "St. Petersburg:" is missing. If I try other "style" choices, then location appears before the publisher as expected. Did I do something wrong, or should I just use publisher = "St. Petersburg: W. Bessel \& Co."? Maybe APA has changed since 7th edition (when the music stuff was defined) but location is pretty important when referring to these really old publishers. My current strategy is to merge the location field into the publisher field.

  • 1
    Note that the APA style blog that wants the "(Composer)" (blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2011/09/…) is for 6th-edition APA style, but current biblatex-apa implements 7th-edition APA style. The reference for 7th-edition APA style apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/examples/… does not have an explicit "(Composer)" in any of the examples.
    – moewe
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 14:27
  • 1
    Similarly the "St. Petersburg" is not needed with 7th-edition APA style as that generally drops the location and only has the publisher. None of the examples on apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/references/examples/… feature a location. (6th edition was different and wanted the location in several cases.)
    – moewe
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 14:29
  • Good answers for points 1 and 3. I love how bibtex's implementation of APA is more current than my own knowledge. I guess that's another benefit of bibtex over writing it out manually. Looking forward to hearing about point 2.
    – Stewart
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 14:35
  • 2
    you get the composer with AUTHOR+an:role= {1="Composer"}, in the bib (if you really want it). And you can define a string for the Arr: \NewBibliographyString{typearranger} \DefineBibliographyStrings{english} {typearranger = {Arr.}} Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 14:37
  • Fantastic! That works! If you write up an answer, I'll be happy to accept it. If you don't care about the cred, then I'll write it up as an answer tomorrow.
    – Stewart
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 14:43

1 Answer 1

  1. Adding a "(Role)" was true in the 6th edition APA, but is no longer required in 7th edition APA. If you really want to add it, use:
author+an:role= {1="Composer"},
  1. Add the following to the pre-amble to make editortype accept "arranger":
\DefineBibliographyStrings{english}{typearranger = {Arr.}}
  1. Location isn't required in 7th edition APA anymore.

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