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Submission Preparation Checklist

As part of the submission process, authors are required to check off their submission's compliance with all of the following items, and submissions may be returned to authors that do not adhere to these guidelines.
  • The submission has not been previously published, nor is it before another journal for consideration (or an explanation has been provided in Comments to the Editor).
  • The submission file is in OpenOffice or Microsoft Word document file format.
  • Where available, URLs for the references have been provided.
  • The text is single-spaced; uses a 12-point font; employs italics, rather than underlining (except with URL addresses); and all illustrations, figures, and tables are placed within the text at the appropriate points, rather than at the end.
  • The text adheres to the stylistic and bibliographic requirements outlined in the Author Guidelines, which is found in About the Journal.
  • If submitting to a peer-reviewed section of the journal, the instructions in Ensuring a Blind Review have been followed.

Author Guidelines


Style Guide for Authors

African Music (ISSN 0065-4019) is an accredited annual peer-reviewed journal published by the International Library of African Music, Rhodes University, P.O. Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa. The journal publishes articles from original research, not previously published that are contextualized studies of African music and music with its roots in Africa such as diaspora styles.  

The Editor welcomes submissions of articles, and book, website, CD, Documentaries and Blog reviews.

Authors must use Times New Roman font (12 pt for the article text; 10 pt for figure captions and footnotes). Articles of between 6000 and 8000 words must be submitted as Word documents via email to the editor at or after registration.  

ABSTRACTS must be placed at the beginning of the article. The abstract should be in one paragraph, have no more than 250 words, and include, the overall purpose of the study and the research problem; a coherent argument and knowledge of previous research; the basic approach to the research; major finding as a result of the analysis; a brief summary of interpretations and a conclusion. The abstract should serve as a surrogate for the article. For a very comprehensive and helpful guide to writing an abstract you may want to view the following:

INTRODUCTIONS should have three paragraphs. The first paragraph should provide an introduction to the music, region, and context. The second paragraph should outline the topic and approach of the paper- is it to be a detailed music analysis of the music, using ideas from Agawu, Locke, Nzewi, and others, where the author will define a model for analysing the examples to follow, or is it a paper about musical change, which will look at social aspects of being a musician in contemporary Asante-land within the nation of Ghana? The third paragraph normally outlines how the paper is structured.

All AUTHOR NAMES must be REMOVED from footnotes. If and when necessary, write (author) instead of the name.

All authors must SEEK PERMISSION to use images, scores, and transcriptions, if they belong to another source.  

Formatting must follow the style guidelines as indicated below:


1) First page  

Title: Upper case BOLD

by lower case italics - not bold

Author’s name:  all Upper Casestraight text – not bold





2) Headings

Section/topic Headings:  Use sentence case, which means ONLY the first letter of the first word of the heading is in upper case), the entire heading must be bold.  

Example of heading:   Performance contexts

3) Citations

USE In-text citations, not footnotes or endnotes to cite publications, interviews and pers. comm. – as shown below:

Several pubs: (Hale 1994, Schultz 2001, Duran 2000) Note: no comma after author surname

Single pub: w/ year only (Duran 2000) w/ year & p# (Duran 2000: 45) multiple pp#s (Duran 2000: 22-27, 33) Note: space after colon

Interview: If person’s name does not appear in the preceding text, then it is: (A. Tracey interview 1 June 2015)

Interview: If person’s name appears in the preceding text, then it is: (Interview 1 June 2015)

Interviews by author

Davis, Rev S.J. Antony. Harare, Zimbabwe, 27 March 2000.

Tracey, Andrew. Grahamstown, South Africa, 30 June 2005.

Interview sourced from website article or blog: (if author’s name is given state author’s surname and year article was uploaded. If no author’s name is given put web address inside parenthesis ( Make sure the font remains the same.

Pers. Comm. in text: (A. Tracey pers. comm. 4 Aug. 2015)

4) Footnotes

  • Use Footnotes, not Endnotes. Use footnotes sparingly and make them as brief as possible.
  • NOTE: In the body of the article and in footnotes all foreign words must be in italics.
  • Font type in footnotes is Times New Roman with font size 10.

5) Formatting Paragraphs

The first line of the first paragraph immediately under a heading is NOT indented; thereafter, the first line of a new paragraph is indented 5 spaces until the end of the section.

6) Line Spacing

  • Do not space down an extra line for new paragraph but indent the first sentence of the new paragraph 5 spaces.
  • Space down an extra line after the end of a paragraph when it is followed by a new section heading, but do not add a space after the heading. Begin paragraph text in the first line immediately under the heading.

7) Figures

All illustrations are given figure numbers including transcriptions, maps, photos.  Do not use the word Example or Photo. Use Figure for all illustrations, no matter what kind.

  • Authors must always credit their source of figures e.g. transcriptions, maps, photos.
  • Figure caption example: Figure 3. “Gganga alula” tone cycle split into okunaga and okwawula.
  • Photo caption example with photographer credit: Figure 1. The nnanga. Photograph by Author.
  • Figure 2. Early Kwanongoma soprano marimba. Photograph by Garth Meske.
  • Figure with an example of a transcription: Figure 2. Transcription by Author. If not transcribed by author then it is: Figure 2. Transcription by Andrew Tracey.
  • Figure with an example of a composition: Figure 3. “Name of composition”. Score by composer, with permission. If not the author’s composition. OR Figure 3. “Name of composition”. Score by Author. If the author’s composition.
  • If date given: Figure 4. A female performer of KAKAU band at the World AIDS Day, Buyekela, Bukoba, 1 December 2008. Photograph by Author.
  • Referring to a Figure in the text: (see Figure 3)
  • Ensure that the Figure is placed at the exact point where it is first mentioned.

8) Referencing (use the word References – not Bibliography as the heading for the reference list – make it bold and align left). Keep references to your own publications to a minimum.

Use the Chicago Referencing Style.

Updated on 16 March 2021.

Lee Watkins.




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