We give you the scuttlebutt on academic journals—aiding you in selecting the right journal for publication—in reviews that are sometimes snarky, sometimes lengthy, always helpful. Written by Princeton University graduate students and Wendy Laura Belcher.
For those interested in publishing musicology articles for an international audience.
Music and Letters is published four times a year by Oxford University Press. Though most articles are musicological in nature, the journal encourages interdisciplinary submissions.
The journal presents itself as having a large international audience. Among those in the field, we know that it is popular particularly in the United Kingdom but also in the United States. More research would need to be done to see how it compares with other flagship journals in the international market.
Much of the content in the journal includes intersections between musicology and the epistolary tradition, citing letters between various figures in order for readers to gain deeper understanding about music.
Another unique aspect about the journal is its lengthy review section. Each issue contains about four original research articles, but also approximately 16 reviews, certainly the longest of any of the other journals in the field. Articles are on the longer side, about 30 pages, but still are not as long as JAMS articles. Looking at the past issues, the content seems to be similar to JAMS’s, with the exception being that the review sections is much longer.
Another interesting submission guideline is that the website explicitly encourages potential authors to read previous issues of the journal to see if their work would be a good fit (although this is a good practice for submitting to academic journals in general).
As previously mentioned, the journal does encourage submissions from a diverse array of fields, but in actuality, many of the submissions seem to focus on common practice era music or about white composers. There are not as many articles with an ethnomusicological focus as some other journals.
Though exposure to a broad audience is useful for musicologists, the style guide may present a barrier for potential authors, particularly those from the United States. The style guide for almost all of the major journals in our field follow Chicago style, but Music and Letters uses their own citation style. The journal also encourages British spellings of words (except they prefer ‘realize’ to ‘realise’ and other similar -ize words). Perhaps this does not affect their submission rate, but it is still a barrier for academics that may be used to other guidelines. (Although, of course, American citation guidelines present obstacles for people from different countries.)
Useful for Submission
Grammar: Must use British English (New Hart’s Rules and/or The Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors)
Word Count : generally ranges from 8,000-15,000 words
Issues per year : 4
Current volume number : 99
Articles per year : about 16 original research articles; about 65 reviews!
Citation style : Their own citation style
Abstract length (if required): 150 words max
Relevant Editors : Rebecca Herrisone, Sam Barrett, Stephen Downes, and Benedict Taylor
Open Access : Some articles are, but most are not
Online : Yes (on the Oxford University Press website) but one needs institutional or membership access