Leopold Auer Graded Course Copyright Status

July 10, 2023, 3:40 PM · Hi Everyone,

There has been some discussion here about the availability of Leopold Auer's well-known Graded Course of Violin Playing (8 books).

My understanding is that these works are copyright for 1926 or 1927 by Carl Fischer which, according to the Library of Congress guidelines, means they might now be in the public domain.

A beginner student has asked me if these are available yet for downloads as PDFs. I have checked with IMSLP but did not find these works among the other Auer scores.

If these books are indeed out of copyright, does anyone have links to possible download sites or any information on their status?

Many thanks.


Replies (16)

July 10, 2023, 11:22 PM · That's strange. I thought I remembered seeing the Auer books on IMSLP at some point in the past. If you're not trying to buy them you could try the Maia Bang books off of IMSLP (besides the last one). She was a student of Auer and if I remember correctly he approved of them. I hear that they are pretty similar to the Auer books just more accessible to younger students.

I've considered starting students with the Auer books in addition to using Suzuki and other collections for repertoire and using Etude books, but I haven't given it a try yet.

July 10, 2023, 11:47 PM · Greetings,
In my opinion the Bang books are vastly superior to the Auer books which are rather boring and (perhaps) focus excessively on not the world’s most exciting bowing exercises. A diligent adult might do well on them but I find them rather dated. A lot of the beginning exercises in Simon Fischer’s basics along with some nice tunes works a heck of. A lot better in my opinion.
July 12, 2023, 8:01 PM · Thanks very much for the replies. The posting was not about the quality of Auer's course but its availability. If anyone has any information about the copyright status of this work, please post that information to the list. If the books are in the public domain, then perhaps they can be uploaded in the future to IMSLP as PDF scores for those who might wish to use them. All the best. David
July 12, 2023, 11:48 PM · I bought volumes three and four of the Auer books at TMEA several years ago, and they are new-looking editions. I would be very surprised if they are out of copyright, given that the publisher (Carl Fischer) has clearly spent quite a bit of money on them recently. The copyright page says 1926, and then “copyright renewed.”

I don’t think you’re going to find these for free, at least not legally. For what it’s worth, I have seldom used any material out of either book because holy smokes they are boring.

July 13, 2023, 12:18 AM · Indeed. An Auer feels like a lifetime.
July 13, 2023, 2:43 AM · I dip into these volumes as a ressource, not as a method.
I don't think Auer ever taught a beginner in his life.
I took over a little girl who had "been through" Vol.1 (bowing only) with success, but she was right-handed and I failed to really awaken her left hand. I strongly suspect Auer (and many other top violinists BTW) was left handed.
July 13, 2023, 3:34 AM · I bought book 8 for my own use with a teacher I had and other than the 1 or 2 exercises I did from it I never touched the book again. Even as an undergrad student at the time, it was pretty boring for me as well which is the main reason I haven't bothered with the other volumes.
July 13, 2023, 8:29 PM · I have now posted a request for copyright information and possible PDF uploads of Auer's course at the IMSLP Forum. According to the Library of Congress guidelines, it appears that copyright renewal does not affect the original publication copyright status, only later versions of the work which have been substantially altered. Many of Auer's works are now available on IMSLP, including the original editions of works republished at a later date. I am not an expert on this issue, so I'll be interested in what the response is on the IMSLP Forum and here. Again, this posting is about the copyright status of this work, not about its usefulness. Best wishes. David
July 14, 2023, 2:30 PM · Mr. Boyle,

Not addressing their quality and modern usefulness: why not buy them regardless?
I have certainly bought new old sheet music that I suspect is by now out of copyright. Just prefer having them professionally printed out for me, and only use IMSLP/other PDFs when offered no other recourse.

Out of topic, I do not think they are too bad myself, just must be judiciously used. I had some volumes when I was young, including the last one-if I recall correctly.

Edited: July 14, 2023, 7:49 PM · Because students may only need an exercise here or there or perhaps a section from one of the books. Young students usually don't have extra money to spend on scores or courses they are only going to use one part of and perhaps never use again. This is why sites like IMSLP make them available and why they are so popular. So, to return to the copyright issue: why not have the Auer books available in PDF, if they are in the public domain, and give students the choice of printing out what they need or buying full-sized scores from Carl Fischer? Thanks for your reply. David
July 15, 2023, 10:03 AM · Mr. Boyle,

It is likely I may have been poorer when I purchased my old book(s). Was still very excited about these even, but was possibly a fool, "old", or both for thinking back then buying the whole volume was a good idea. Even older now, and none the wiser.

Did this person tell you "I am poor and can only afford an exercise at a time" or are you making this assumption based on what you would do if you were himself/herself?

My honest view in this case is to download away, and do not care or mind about what lesser minds such as my own think on the internet. No need to thank me-I have provided no useful thoughts, nor any reply properly addressing your needs.

Be well, and best wishes to you and your students.

July 16, 2023, 7:44 PM · My OP was prompted by a beginner student I know and my own experience of using Auer many years ago and also the need to buy scores and sheet music at that time. I am not a violin teacher. It is extremely important to make sure works are in fact out of copyright and in the public domain before making them available for download. All the best. David
Edited: July 29, 2023, 10:27 AM · i have the first 3 books (courtesy from an user from here), and all i can say is "these books are HAAAAARD" at least for a starter on the violin.
book 1 is all open strings (that's ok), book 2 teaches absolutely all the fingers positions in 1st position from the very start, chromatics, extensions, all without too many exercises for each one. (and it's all cramped in the pages, so tiny it can be a little hard to not lost yourself). it's like the pupil must be born with flexibe and auto-tuned fingers.
it advances way toooo fast, and in book 3 (the one you start to do real exercises and pieces) it looks like it's suited for a grade 3 (or even 4, i think) student. i feel the student can complete the first 3 or 4 grades on the violin, start 3rd position and use Auer's book 3 and 4 as an exercise / etude book for 1st pos. and it will still be a little hard for him. there's a bach sonata (or something like this) on book 2!
Maia Bang's books are the 'lite' version of this method, so much better to enjoy the pieces and exercises. (and you still can complete the first 2 books of maia bang and still go to book 2 from auer and it will still be hard too!)
what i think is: if you want something auer-like, go with maia bang.
but don't start with the first exercises (that is too boring for me too), start with your own or another method, teaching the pupil until he is ok with C scale. then, start in the C scale from maia bang and go from there. it's very effective!
and go to auer if you think you student can handle the difficult exercises, it's sure to make them a machine if they persuade enough!
oh, at least the scale and arpeggios from book 3 (and book 4?) are very very useful, i'm using them to practise every day. isolating them is very good with any other method.
July 29, 2023, 11:48 AM · Copyright can be a messy issue, as the law has changed over time, and differ3nt countries have different laws.

I am not a lawyer. My understanding is tgat in tye United States the 1998 copyright term extension act allows for a total of 95 years of protection including renewal. Thus I believe that the Auer work published in 1926 is in the public domain. However, there are exceptions. One would need to seek professional advice.

July 29, 2023, 4:31 PM · As I mentioned, I have submitted Auer's course to the IMSLP Forum for consideration as a PDF upload if one of their members wants to scan the books. So far, the consensus there seems to be that the course is in the public domain, but I'll let them decide. Whatever its merits, I think it should be made available for download if it is indeed out of copyright. If anyone on this site has all or some of the books, they can contact IMSLP to see what the upload procedure is. All the best. David
August 6, 2023, 4:50 PM · so, David, any answer from IMSLP? i can upload the first 3 books if it's ok. i just don't know how to do it, but i will search if i know it's ok to do it.

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