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Writing Program Notes: Home

This guide will assist you in researching and writing engaging and informative and engaging program notes for concerts and recitals.

Program Notes

Program notes enhance and deepen an audience's understanding and appreciation of musical compositions performed in recitals and concerts. The task of creating effective program notes requires significant application of research and writing skills, in order to reach audiences with varying degrees of musical knowledge. 

This guide will assist you in researching and writing clear, informative, and engaging program notes.


It is never too early, once you have decided the selections on your program, to embark on the research!

Possible Information To Include In Program Notes

You may wish to include information from any of these possible categories:

Biographical notes about composer 

Biographical notes about librettist/author of text

Historical notes (e.g., first performance, reception of work)

Historical context (e.g., current events at time of composition)

Musical style, genre, and/or structure of work

Extramusical association of work

Legacy or influence of work

Relation to other works on concert program (if concert is thematic)

Personal information (why work was chosen for the concert)

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Rick McRae
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Sibley Music Library
27 Gibbs St.
(585) 274-1370