Format and Presentation of
Programme Notes in Diploma Exams

If you have not read the part about Content and Research for Diploma Programme Notes, that is a good place to start. You may return here after.

3. Format

Trinity Presentation Format

A neatly folded A4 (A5) programme is recommended, printed clearly and on good paper. The first page should show the titles and timings of the pieces, with following pages giving the notes for each piece.

Remember that programme notes, your dressing and performance presentation is given a ten mark weightage in the exam.  Always be as professional as possible.  Try to reach the standard of presentation you would expect from a professional concert.

ABRSM Presentation Format

1. Type or print your notes in black.

2. Include the following on your title page:

  • full title of diploma, including instrument for performance diplomas
  • date of exam
  • word count (exclude title page)
  • works in the order of performance

3. Number pages consecutively.

4. Do not include a bibliography.

5. Do not include your name anywhere on the notes.

6. Include your declaration form with your notes.

4. Presentation Pointers for Writing

It is quite a list below but following all the guidelines is necessary for top marks.  In any doubt, refer to any well-written programme notes to follow the presentation conventions in writing for music.

  • Use good grammar.
  • Be clear and direct.  Avoid long, contorted sentences.
  • Use your own words.  Avoid plagiarism.
  • Have a thorough understanding of what you write especially if you are preparing for Viva Voce.  Be prepared to discuss points raised in your programme notes as well as sources of information.
  • Be interesting.
  • Have a look at some professional concert programmes for reference for content and presentation.
  • Spellcheck and proofread your notes.
  • Constantly check the word count and adapt your notes accordingly.

    Titles of works and composers
  • Include the full name of the work, key and catalogue number in the title.
  • Include the first name of a living composer or if more than one composer bears the same surname.  The composer's years of birth and death if applicable are included.
  • List each movement of the work.

    Use capital letters for:
  • Musical periods
  • Specific titles e.g. Second Piano Concerto
  • Titles of movements e.g. Allegretto

          Use italics for:

  • Titles of books and musical works
  • Dynamics
  • Foreign terms

          Use single quotation marks for:

  • Nicknames to compositions e.g. 'London' Symphony
  • Short commentary by composers or critics (less than 2 lines)

         Use indent without inverted commas for:

  • Longer commentary (more than 2 lines)

› Format and presentation