Creepy Song Names In Essays

This part of the Manual of Style covers title formats and style for works of art or artifice, such as capitalization and italics versus quotation marks.


See also: Wikipedia:Article titles § Italics and other formatting, and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Text formatting § Italic face

Italic type (text like this, marked up with pairs of apostrophes as ) should be used for the following types of names and titles, or abbreviations thereof:

Major works[edit]

  • Audio albums (musical or spoken-word)
  • Books, multi-volume works (e.g. encyclopedias), and booklets
  • Non-generic names of major independent compositions (see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (music) § Definitions – italics for more detail):
    • Musicals, operas, operettas and other self-contained pieces of musical theatre
    • Named oratorios, cantatas, motets, orchestral works, and other compositions beyond the scope of a single song or dance:
      • Symphony No. 2 by Gustav Mahler, known as the Resurrection Symphony ... (generic vs. non-generic name)
      • Stravinsky's Cantata is a work for soprano, tenor, female choir, and instrumental ensemble ... (unnamed cantata)
      • On an Overgrown Path (Czech: Po zarostlém chodníčku) is a cycle of thirteen piano pieces written by Leoš Janáček ... (named piano composition)
  • Comic books, comic strips, graphic novels and manga
  • Computer and video games (but not other software)
  • Court case names, but not case citation or law report details included with the case name: Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)
  • Named exhibitions (artistic, historical, scientific, educational, cultural, literary, etc. – generally hosted by, or part of, an existing institution such as a museum or gallery), but not large-scale exhibition events or individual exhibits
  • Films (including short films) and documentaries
  • Paintings, sculptures and other works of visual art with a title rather than a name (see MOS:VATITLE for more detail)
  • Periodicals (newspapers, journals, magazines)
  • Plays (including published screenplays and teleplays)
  • Long or epic poems
  • Officially named series of major works: The Lord of the Rings film series(see § Series titles below)
  • Syndicated columns and other features republished regularly by others
  • Television and radio programs, specials, shows, series and serials

Actual medium of publication or presentation is not a factor; a video feature only released on video tape, disc or the Internet is considered a "film" for these purposes, and likewise an e-book is a book, a webcomic is a comic strip, a music album only available from the artist on a limited-edition USB drive is a real album, a TV series only available via streaming services is still a series, etc.

Minor works (any specifically-titled subdivisions of italicized major works) are given in quotation marks (See Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Text formatting § When not to use italics for details).

Website titles may or may not be italicized depending on the type of site and what kind of content it features. Online magazines, newspapers, and news sites with original content should generally be italicized (Salon or HuffPost). Online encyclopedias and dictionaries should also be italicized (Scholarpedia or Merriam-Webster Online). Other types of websites should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

These cases are well-established conventions recognized in most style guides. Do not apply italics to other categories or instances because you feel they are creative or artful (e.g. game or sport moves, logical arguments, "artisanal" products, schools of practice or thought, Internet memes, aphorisms etc.).

Similar cases[edit]

Some similar cases that are not titles of works include:

  • Certain scientific names: named genes (but not proteins encoded by them); genus and a lower taxon (e.g. species and subspecies), but not higher taxa (See WP:Manual of Style/Text formatting § Scientific names for details)
  • Specific, named transportation vehicles (but not prefixes, classifications, identifying numbers or other designations for them), including ships, spacecraft, trains, and locomotives (but not smaller conveyances such as cars or buses). Example: {{xt|USS Baltimore (CA-68), the lead ship of the Baltimore-class cruisers (See WP:Manual of Style/Text formatting § Vessels for details)

Link formatting[edit]

To display text in italics, enclose it in double apostrophes.

If the title is also a wikilink but only part of it should be italicized, use italics around or inside a piped link to properly display the title:

  • Casablanca is produced by or .
Without piping, this wikilink would display – and incorrectly italicize – the disambiguation term, which is not part of the film title.

Italicizing Wikipedia article titles[edit]

Further information: Wikipedia:Article titles § Italics and other formatting

If the title of a Wikipedia article requires italicization, there are two options:

Quotation marks[edit]

This section is about use of quotation marks in titles of works of art or artifice. For use of quotation marks generally, see WP:Manual of Style § Quotation marks.

Minor works[edit]

Italics are generally used only for titles of longer works. Titles of shorter works should be enclosed in double quotation marks ("text like this"). It particularly applies to works that exist as a smaller part of a larger work. Examples of titles which are quoted but not italicized:

  • Articles, essays, papers, or conference presentation notes (stand-alone or in a collected larger work): "The Dos and Don'ts of Dating Online" is an article by Phil "Dr. Phil" McGraw on his advice site.
  • Chapters of a longer work (they may be labeled alternatively, e.g. sections, parts, or "books" within an actual book, etc.)
  • Entries in a reference work (dictionary, encyclopedia, etc.)
  • Single episodes or plot arcs of a television series or other serial audio-visual program: "The Germans" is an episode of the television programme Fawlty Towers
  • Exhibits (specific) within a larger exhibition
  • Leaflets, flyers, circulars, brochures, postcards, instruction sheets, and other ephemeral publications
  • Sections within a periodical, including features, departments, columns (non-syndicated), titled cartoons (not syndicated comic strips)
  • Segments of a play, film, television show, etc., including named acts, skits, scenes, and the like
  • Short poems: "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost
  • Short stories (textual or graphic): "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" by Ambrose Bierce
  • Story lines that span multiple issues of a periodical
  • Songs, instrumentals, arias, numbers in a musical, movements of longer musical piece, album tracks, singles, and other short musical compositions: The Beatles' song "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" appears on the album also titled Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • Speeches, lectures, and conference presentations (only if given a specific title)

This convention also applies to songs, speeches, manuscripts, etc., with no known formal titles but which are conventionally referred to by lines from them as if they were titles: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.[note 1]

The formatting of the title of a pamphlet, which is on the divide between a booklet or short book on the one hand and a leaflet or brochure on the other – specifically, whether to italicize the title or place it within quotation marks – is left to editorial discretion at the article in question. Anything that has been assigned an ISBN or ISSN should be italicized. Another rule of thumb is that if the work is intended to stand alone and to be kept for later reference, or is likely to be seen as having merit as a stand-alone work, italicize it. Use quotation marks if the item is entirely ephemeral, trivial, or simply promotional of some other work or product.

Additional markup[edit]

If a title is enclosed in quotation marks, do not include the quotation marks in any additional formatting markup. For example, if a title in quotation marks is the subject of a Wikipedia article and therefore displayed in boldface in the lead section, the quotation marks should not be in boldface because they are not part of the title itself. For further information, see Wikipedia:Manual of Style – Punctuation.

Titles in quotation marks that include (or in unusual cases consist of) something that requires italicization for some other reason than being a title, e.g. a genus and species name, or a foreign-language phrase, or the name of a larger work being referred to, also use the needed italicization, inside the quotation marks: "Ferromagnetic Material in the Eastern Red-spotted Newt Notophthalmus viridescens" (an academic journal article containing an italicized phrase), and "Ich Bin Ein Auslander" (a song with a German-language title).


There are cases in which the title should be in neither italics nor quotation marks (though many are capitalized):

  • Scripture of large, well-known religions (see details at § Scripture, below)
  • Legal or constitutional documents: temporary restraining order, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Bill of Rights
  • Descriptive titles: a reference to or description of a work or part of a work when not using its actual or conventional title: 137th graduation address, conference keynote speech, an introductory aria, Satie's furniture music, State of the Union address, Nixon's Checkers speech;[note 1] also: the season finale of Game of Thrones, not the "Season Finale" of Game of Thrones(for media franchises such as series of books, films, etc., see § Series titles below)
  • Traditional games (including sports): hopscotch, blackjack, rugby football, American football
  • Software other than games: iTunes, traceroute, Sobig
  • Commercial products other than media works Cheerios, Toyota Sportivo Coupe, Silly Putty
  • World's fairs and other large-scale exhibition events (e.g. with their own grounds and spanning more than one building), and concerts or other large media events: Expo 2010, Cannes Film Festival, Burning Man, Lollapalooza
  • Works named by a generic title: Symphony No. 2 by Gustav Mahler ..., Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 ..., The Magnificat by Schütz, ... the Adagio sometimes attributed to Albinoni
  • Smaller parts of larger works when they are simply numbered sequentially, and the title appears that way in the work (or a preponderance of reliable sources about the work): To Kill a Mockingbird, Part One, Chapter 1
  • Names (not to be confused with titles) of some works of art such as illuminated manuscripts: the Vienna Dioscorides (which is a copy of De Materia Medica by Dioscorides)
  • Names of well-known archaeological artifacts: the Rosetta Stone
  • Names of buildings


See also: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Capital letters § Religions, deities, philosophies, doctrines and their adherents

Scriptures of large, well-known religions should not normally be italicized. For example, Bible, Quran, Talmud, Bhagavad Gita, Adi Granth, Book of Mormon, and Avesta are not italicized. Their constituent parts, such as Book of Ruth, New Testament, or Gospel of Matthew are not italicized either, as such titles are generally traditional rather than original ones. However, the titles of specific published versions of sacred texts should be italicized, such as the Authorized King James Version or the New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud.

Many relatively obscure sacred texts are also generally italicized, particularly if the work is not likely to be well-known to the Wikipedia reader, if the work was first published in modern times and has not undergone substantial changes, or if it might be unclear that the title refers to a book. For example, The Urantia Book, The Satanic Bible, Divine Principle, and Gylfaginning should be italicized.

Series titles[edit]

Descriptive titles for media franchises and fictional universes (including trilogies and other series of novels or films) should not be placed in italics or quotation marks, even when based on a character or feature of the works (Tolkien's Middle-earth writings, the Marvel and DC universes in comics, Sherlock Holmes mysteries). However, the following should be set in italics:


Place adjacent punctuation outside any italics or quotation marks unless the punctuation is part of the title itself.

  • Johnson spoke often of Huckleberry Finn, his favorite novel. – The comma is not part of the title and therefore is not italicized.
  • George Orwell's well-known essay, "Politics and the English Language", condemned the hypocrisy endemic in political writing and speech. – The commas are not part of the title and are therefore outside the quotation marks.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a 2000 adventure film. – The comma and question mark are both part of the title and are therefore italicized.

Capital letters[edit]

For capitalization in Wikipedia article titles, see Wikipedia:Naming conventions (capitalization).

In titles of English-language works, every word except for definite and indefinite articles, short coordinating conjunctions, and short prepositions is capitalized (including subtitles, if any). This is known as title case. Capitalization of non-English titles varies by language (see below).

Wikipedia normally follows these conventions when referring to such works, whether in the name of an article or within the text. For other article titles, Wikipedia uses sentence case. In sentence case, generally only the first word and all proper names are capitalized (this is also true of section headings, captions, etc.[1]). Examples: List of selection theorems, Women's rights in Haiti.

WP:Citing sources § Citation style permits the use of pre-defined, off-Wikipedia citation styles within Wikipedia, and some of these expect sentence case for certain titles (usually article and chapter titles). Title case should not be imposed on such titles under such a citation style when that style is the one consistently used in an article.

Always capitalized: When using title case, the following words should be capitalized:

  • The first and last word of the title
  • Every adjective, adverb, noun, pronoun, and subordinating conjunction (Me, It, His, If, etc.)
  • Every verb, including forms of to be (Be, Am, Is, Are, Was, Were, Been)
  • Prepositions that contain five letters or more (During, Through, About, Until, Below, etc.)
  • Words that have the same form as prepositions, but are not being used specifically as prepositions

Not capitalized: For title case, the words that are not capitalized on Wikipedia (unless they are the first or last word of a title) are:

  • Indefinite and definite articles (a, an, the)
  • Short coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor ; also for, yet, so when used as conjunctions)
  • Prepositions containing four letters or fewer (as, in, of, on, to, for, from, like, over, with, etc.); but see above for instances where these words are not used as prepositions
  • The word to in infinitives.

Other styles exist with regard to prepositions, including three- or even two-letter rules in news and entertainment journalism, and capitalization of no prepositions at all at many academic publishers. These styles are not used on Wikipedia, including for titles of pop-culture or academic works.

Hyphenation: The general rule in English to not capitalize after a hyphen unless what follows the hyphen is itself a proper name (as in post-Soviet) is often ignored in titles of works. Follow the majority usage in independent, reliable sources for any given subject (e.g. The Out-of-Towners but The History of Middle-earth). If neither spelling is clearly dominant in sources, default to lowercase after a hyphen, per the general rule.

Subtitles: Not everything in parentheses (round brackets) is a subtitle. For titles with subtitles or parenthetical phrases, capitalize the first word of each element, even if it would not normally be capitalized, if the element is either:

Do not capitalize a normally lower-cased word:

Where subtitle punctuation is unclear (e.g. because the subtitle is given on a separate line on the cover or a poster), use a colon and a space, not a dash, comma, or other punctuation, to separate the title elements. If there are two subtitles, a dash can be used between the second and third elements.

Incipits: If a work is known by its first line or few words of text (its incipit), this is rendered in sentence case, and will often be the Wikipedia article title. Examples:

Capitalization in foreign-language titles varies, even over time within the same language. Retain the style of the original for modern works. For historical works, follow the dominant usage in modern, English-language, reliable sources.

Non-English titles should be wrapped in the template (inside surrounding italics or quotation marks), with the proper language code, e.g.: .

Indefinite and definite articles[edit]

A leading A, An, or The is preserved in the title of a work (including when preceded by a possessive or other construction that would eliminate the article in something other than a title: Stephen King's The Stand). Be aware that the may not be part of the title itself, e.g.: the Odyssey, the Los Angeles Times but The New York Times.

The leading article may be dropped when the title is used as a modifier: According to a May 2017 New York Times article.

An indefinite or definite article is only capitalized at the start of a title or subtitle. This includes embedded titles, e.g. a book chapter titled "An Examination of The Americans: The Anachronisms in FX's Period Spy Drama" contains three capitalized leading articles (main title, embedded title, and subtitle).


For works originally named in languages other than English, use WP:COMMONNAME to determine whether the original title or an English language version should be used as the article title. For works best known by their title in a language other than English, an English translation of that title may be helpful. If the work is also well known by an English title, give the English translation in parentheses following normal formatting for titles: Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons). Where the work is not known by an English title, give the translation in parentheses without special formatting in sentence case: Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen (Weeping, lamenting, worrying, fearing). In references, square brackets are used: Il Giornale dell'Architettura [The journal of architecture].

Typographic effects[edit]

Main page: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Trademarks

Do not attempt (with HTML, Unicode, wikimarkup, inline images, or any other method) to emulate any purely typographic effects used in titles when giving the title in Wikipedia, though an article on a work may also include a note about how it is often styled, e.g. in marketing materials. When giving such a stylization, it is not italicized or placed in quotation marks as a title; this confuses readers, who are apt to think such markup is part of the stylization when it is not.

  • Right: Alien 3 (stylized as ALIEN3) is a 1992 American science-fiction horror film.
  • Wrong: ALIEN3 initially received mixed reviews from critics.

For typographic effects that do not represent actual mathematical or scientific usage, it is preferable to use HTML or wiki markup, not Unicode equivalents, for superscript and subscript. When giving a stylization, do not attempt to mimic specific fonts, font size quirks, uneven letter placement, coloration, letters replaced with images, unusual upper- or lower-casing, or other visual marketing (see WP:Manual of Style/Trademarks, WP:Manual of Style/Capital letters).

If a stylization that readers might look for can be created as an article title, redirect it to the actual article, and include on the redirect page: ALIEN³.

Semantic markup and special characters in titles should be preserved when they convey meaning not just decoration, especially if omitting them would make the title difficult to understand or cause it to not copy-paste correctly. Examples:

  • According to section 4.5.1, "The a element", in the HTML5 specification
    This should not be done for titles inside Citation Style 1 and Citation Style 2 templates, however, as it will negatively affect COinS metadata output.
  • E=mc²: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation by David Bodani (2001)
    To ensure correct copy-pasting, it is preferable to use Unicode superscript or subscript characters when possible, rather than HTML or wiki markup, which are purely typographic (Unicode is not the same character as with superscript markup). Special characters can be used in citation templates.

Abbreviation of long titles[edit]

Main page: Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Abbreviations

When it is impractical to keep repeating a long title in the same article, it is permissible to use a source-attested abbreviation of it. This is usually introduced on second mention, with a parenthetical "hereafter": "It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" (hereafter "ITEOTWAWKI"). Some other examples include OED for The Oxford English Dictionary, LoTR for The Lord of the Rings, and STII:TWoK for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (it is not necessary to use camel case, as in LotR, unless most of the reliable sources prefer such a spelling). Such an abbreviation need not be mentioned in the lead section of the article unless the work is very commonly known by the abbreviation (e.g., GTA for the Grand Theft Auto video game series), or the lead is long and the abbreviation is needed in the lead. Such abbreviations follow the italics or quotation-marked style of the full title.

A common convention in literary and film reviews is to use the first major word or two from the title (or subtitle, for franchise works) in the same manner, e.g. Roger Ebert gave Eternal Sunshine a rating of ...", for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Although this approach may be also used on Wikipedia, it can seem unencyclopedically colloquial if used for works that have short titles to begin with. Also avoid this usage if confusion could occur, as when the abbreviated form could refer to another element in the same franchise that is also mentioned in our article (Shannara adapts literary high fantasy ... would not work well at our article on The Shannara Chronicles, because "Shannara" appears in the titles of the books on which the TV series is based). Abbreviated forms should be retained as-is in direct quotations (and may be clarified if necessary with square-bracketed editorial insertions).

It is common to shorten a reference to a work in a series to just its subtitle on second and later mention, or when the context already makes it clear what the overarching title is.


  1. ^ abThe title given to Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech appears in quotation marks because it is derived from a line in the speech; the title given to Nixon's Checkers speech does not appear in quotation marks because it is derived from the name of a dog mentioned in the speech, rather than a passage quoted from the speech.

Great music pierces the soul…and can sometimes terrify it. Over the centuries, composers, like nearly all artists of every variety, have been fascinated by the subject of death and by the supernatural–the world of witches, goblins, ghosts, and demons. Composers have given us Dances of the Dead, frightful tone poems and songs, scary opera scenes, and even whole symphonies on the subject of death and the afterlife. Below are ten of the scariest pieces of classical music ever written, in order of frightfulness, from ten to one; they are guaranteed to make your Halloween much more terrifying!

10. The Noon-Day Witch, by Antonín Dvořák

Antonin Dvorak reveled in traditional Bohemian fairy-tales that, unlike our sanitized and Disney-ized ones, were generally designed to scare the heck out of disobedient children by invoking the specter of a visit by some mythological monster. For inspiration the Czech composer drew on the folk ballads of Karel Jaromír Erben, which were well-known in Bohemia. The Noon-Day Witch tells the tale of a mother who warns her son to behave lest the witch get him. When the witch does indeed appear at mid-day, the frightened and regretful mother grabs her son and runs, chased by the witch. The mother eventually passes out, and when the father returns, he finds that the son has been inadvertently smothered to death by his unconscious wife. Dvorak’sThe Water GoblinandThe Golden-Spinning Wheelare similarly gruesome.


9. The Isle of the Dead, by Sergei Rachmaninoff

Rachmaninoff composed this symphonic poem in 1909 after viewing a black-and-white reproduction of Arnold Böcklin’s painting of the same name, which depicts an oarsman and a standing figure clad in white in a boat, shepherding a coffin across the waters toward a small island of rock, with tombs hewn into its surface, and tall trees at its center. Rachmaninoff’s music, which at its outset seems to depict the paddling of the oarsman and the undulation of the waves, employs the theme of medieval Dies Irae chant and maintains a brooding, gloomy mood throughout its twenty minutes, which is punctuated by three orchestral climaxes, and which ends in grim resignation.



8. Asrael Symphony, by Josef Suk

Written in memory of his father-in-law, Antonín Dvořák, Czech composer Josef Suk at first intended his symphony to contain joyful sections, praising Dvořák as well as burying him. But when Suk’s wife died midway through the project, the devastated composer made the entire work an unremittingly sombre and indeed frightening affair. Asrael is the Angel of Death of the Old Testament, and in the symphony’s foreboding first movement the listener may well imagine the specter coming for him.


7.  “Witches’ Sabbath” from Symphonie Fantastique, by Hector Berlioz

The dance of death was a medieval notion, in which death would come to us like a terrifying lover, ready to embrace us and take our souls to the next world. The image inspired many compositions: Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns, Jean Sibelius’ Valse Triste, Franz Liszt’s Totentanzfor piano and orchestra, and the second movement of Gustav Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. Topping all of these for sheer creepiness is the “Witches’ Sabbath” from Symphonie Fantastique, the tale of a tormented artist whose opium dream causes him to imagine all sorts of horrors, from his own death to this infernal dance of female conjurers.


6. “Toccata and Fugue,” by Johann Sebastian Bach

It’s opening notes evoke images of haunted houses and spooky old castles better than anything else in the repertoire.


5. Jedermann, by Jean Sibelius

The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius wrote this incidental music  in 1916 to accompany Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s eponymous play. The original story, The Somonyng of Everyman (The Summoning of Everyman), was a fifteenth-century morality play by an unknown author, which depicted a deceased soul’s attempt to justify himself before the Almighty by pointing to the good works he performed in his lifetime. The first hour of Sibelius’ music consists in large part of a series of dirge-like and sometimes spooky adagios and largos, which establish a mood of unrelieved foreboding and pathos. Even the concluding Gloria, indicating the salvation of the Christian, is a bit creepy.


4. The Masque of the Red Death, by André Caplet

André Caplet was a contemporary and friend of Claude Debussy. Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s short story about the plague, Caplet composed this chilling piece for string orchestra (later arranged for string) quartet and harp. When the red-robed figure “knocks” near the piece’s end, you may well jump out of your seat!


3. Wolf’s Glen Scene from Der Freischütz, by Carl Maria von Weber

One of the most famous sections in all of opera, the Wolf’s Glen from Der Freischütz (The Free-Shooter, or The Marksman) scene takes the prize for spookiness in musical drama. In addition to the musical score below, a staged version (with English subtitles) can be viewedhere.


2. Die Erlkönig, by Franz Schubert

How can a four-minute song for solo voice and piano be more terrifying than a piece for full orchestra? When it is Schubert’s Erlking. This song tells the tale of a father and son riding on horseback in the forest, when they are confronted by the specter of the evil Erlking. The lyrics can be foundhere.


1. Night on the Bare Mountain, by Modest Mussorgsky

Poor Mussorgsky. No one thought the Russian composer could orchestrate well. Thus both his friends and later composers tinkered with his works, notably his opera Boris Godunov, and the ten-minute tone poem, Night on the Bare Mountain (originally titled St. John’s Night on the Bare Mountain). His mentor Mily Balakirev pooh-poohed the effort, and Mussorgsky himself re-worked the piece for chorus and vocal soloist. For a century, Night on the Bare Mountain was known only in theorchestration by Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov. But Mussorgsky’s original versions have recently and rightly come into vogue, and they posses their own unique power and wildness. The opening measures of both constitute the most chilling music of all. 

Here is the version for chorus and soloist, which Mussorgsky planned to use in his unfinished opera, Sorochintsy Fair.


Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. 

Published: Oct 31, 2014

0 Replies to “Creepy Song Names In Essays”

Lascia un Commento

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *