Preparing an Abstract

The Program Committee chooses presentations based primarily on the abstract as submitted, so it is important to write an abstract that the Committee will understand and can evaluate fairly. The purpose of the abstract is to convey to the reader what will be said in the presentation. Do not merely describe the subject or list the topics to be covered. Rather, state the main point of the presentation, outline the subsidiary points, and summarize the evidence offered, so that someone who has not heard the presentation can know in brief what it will say and can evaluate its contribution to our knowledge and understanding of music. The abstract, like the presentation itself, should be clear to an audience of musicians and music educators of all kinds, not just to those with a narrow specialty. While it may be necessary to set the context or lay out the problem to be addressed, this should be kept to a minimum. Proposers of performances or lecture-recitals should state why the music is significant and include the duration of each work to be performed.