Style guide for incipits?

How should incipits be handled?


  • title: incipit
  • title: "incipit"
  • title: «incipit»
  • title (incipit)
  • title ("incipit")
  • title («incipit»)
  • title, incipit
  • title, "incipit"
  • title, «incipit»
  • omit incipits

Should they be separated by a colon, comma or put in parentheses? Should they contain quotation marks and if so, which ones? Double quotes ("incipit") or as written in the booklet (that could be «incipit», „incipit“, “incipit” etc depending on the language)? Or should they be omitted if the track can clearly be identified from the work title?

What is the official guideline on this?

1 Like

First off, what is incipit? :thinking:


An incipit is the opening words or lines of a text, in this case lyrics. It’s sometimes used in place of titles especially for archaic works which may not have an actual title.

1 Like

I guess it’s mostly used in classical music. See e.g. Wagner’s “Ring des Nibelungen” (, where the incipit is basically the official title of the track.

The case I’m interested in is when the song’s title AND the incipit is given. Take for example track 2 of
Here, the submitter of the disc chose to add the incipit in parentheses and replaced the guillemets («incipit») with hyphen-minuses (-incipit-).

1 Like