Where do people download music sheets for free?

Edited: November 22, 2017, 3:58 PM · There's a list here of websites.

but I'm curious where people usually get theirs.

Replies (23)

Edited: November 22, 2017, 4:31 PM · I download out-of-copyright classical sheet music from IMSLP.org .

Lately I might google something like this:" "IMSLP Mozart violin concerto" I will probably get a list of the violin concertos at the site with orchestra parts, solo parts, piano accompaniments and maybe links to some recordings. For me they have downloaded for printing especially well with the Firefox browser.

It is worth playing with various searches at IMSLP where there are probably as many as 4000 composers and their works listed and available.

November 22, 2017, 5:24 PM · Depends on what you're looking for.
November 22, 2017, 5:33 PM · I agree that it depends on what you're looking for. When I type "Haydn String Quartets IMSLP" I get hits. When I type "Philip Glass Violin Concerto IMSLP" I am directed instead to places where I can pay for it. And they don't have *any* Jean-Luc Ponty tunes.
November 22, 2017, 5:58 PM · Try this site in addition to the IMSLP site noted above: http://classicalsheetmusicgratis.org/violin
November 22, 2017, 7:49 PM · I will download music just to take a look, but I also buy sheet music because I like studying the fingerings and bowings of various editors.
November 22, 2017, 10:32 PM · IMSLP if it's not copyrighted, otherwise I either google it (there are sometimes free samples or full scores), or get it from a library.
November 22, 2017, 10:36 PM · I get a lot of mine from IMSLP like many others here.

For Guitar I used to get a lot of scores on the delcamp forum.

There is also the mutopia project, musopen, 8notes (shiver) and others.

November 22, 2017, 10:58 PM · My daughter has been practicing with Prof Bruce Berg's PDFs lately. It's wonderful to be able to get updated editions for free.
Edited: November 23, 2017, 1:38 AM · In IMSLP you can easily find pieces by specific composers, or alternatively music for any number or combination of instruments. Hover over "Scores" then click on "Instrumentation/genre". Then, if you like, "Instrumentation" and "Chamber-Instrumental". "Show" will then give you the choice of music from 1 to many players. After that "sub-genres" gives you the choice of a specific instrument or combination of instruments. Having groped your way through the labyrinth, Aladdin's cave opens!
November 23, 2017, 1:59 AM · Mr. Jones, I admire your melding 2 completely different stories and cultures.
November 23, 2017, 3:15 AM · It's just a talent. I could have added "onto a garden of delights" but not much grows down there
November 23, 2017, 4:17 AM · Many libraries have large collections of hand-written music that is now getting digitized and made available for free. Some of that material will eventually show up on IMSLP, but not all.
When I am browsing for new material to try out I will start with the IMSLP material, but once I decide that I am going to work on a piece I buy a better edition - often Urtext. Much as I use Spotify and Naxos Music Library to decide which CD's to buy.
Edited: November 23, 2017, 6:42 AM · Like Julie, I enjoy bound editions, and I don't mind shelling out for a piece that I'm going to enjoy working on for a couple of months. However being the only one in a quartet who feels this way gets expensive. :)

Seconding Kiki's comment, Bruce's editions are great. Many years of teaching experience and deep insight therein.

November 23, 2017, 9:20 AM · I'm glad that some have discovered my editions of Bruch G, Lalo Symphonie Espagnole, Saint Saens #3, and Mendelssohn. They are notated on finale, have an urtext version, and piano reduction. You can download them for free at https://www.baylor.edu/music/index.php?id=925996
November 23, 2017, 9:50 AM · Bravo Bruce for your excellent editions. My only issue with them is that there aren't more!
Edited: November 24, 2017, 4:41 PM · If you have an interest in Irish instrumental folk music, then a very good source is https://thesession.org/, which is free. Immediate membership is there if you want to contribute to the website's lively discussion forum or to submit tunes.

Thesession currently has over 16,000 tunes in its database, increasing by the day. Most of the tunes are Irish, but there are also tunes from elsewhere in the British Isles, and further afield.

Each tune is in two formats: one is a versatile ABC notation (ideal for sending music as a text file), and the other is a good quality sheet music equivalent of the ABC version. The sheet music can be printed out from the screen, or you may copy and paste if you wish.

Each tune entry is usually accompanied by comments from the membership, who often post different versions of a tune (this is common in Irish folk music), each of which can be printed from the screen.

November 23, 2017, 8:35 PM · I am using 8notes.com and fiddlerman.com. Probably to easy for most other people, but good for beginners.
December 16, 2017, 12:14 AM · @Paul Deck: The reason you won't find Philip Glass at IMSLP is because he is a contemporary composer whose music is still in copyright. IMSLP (which is in Canada) only has music whose copyright has expired in Canada (only 50 years after the death of the composer, as opposed to 70 years internationally, and longer in the US thanks to Disney Corp. and Mickey Mouse). Many of the pieces there are available but still in copyright in the US and the rest of the world that have longer than the 50 years of copyright protection that Canadian law offers. Read the disclaimers on each piece before you print them out, as it would be illegal to do so in the U.S. if they are still in copyright here. If someone is still alive, or dead less than 50 years, you will not find their music at IMSLP at all.
Edited: December 16, 2017, 9:29 AM · Joel, yes -- I chose the Glass concerto specifically to illustrate that very point. But you made it more clearly. I didn't know the difference between US and Canadian law. That's important.

Another place to look for free stuff is Musescore. You're less likely to find a Mozart concerto there -- more likely to find an arrangement of a Christmas carol for woodwinds, etc.

December 16, 2017, 9:34 AM · I only use those services when the music is out of print, which is quite annoyingly too often; then I print it out. If the music is in print and public domain, I prefer to have a "proper" score of the parts involved regardless-PDF scores are not for me.
December 16, 2017, 8:53 PM · IMSLP has modern, self-published compositions.
December 17, 2017, 11:35 AM · Like Adalberto, I like to have a "proper" score too. If I'm going to study a concerto, it needs to be a scholarly modern edition. But if one of my kids is playing a part in a Haydn string quartet at music camp, I'm not buying a whole opus with score and parts just for that.
December 22, 2017, 5:41 PM · www.scoreexchange.com used to have some free scores, but they just changed their policy. They all MUST sell for a price; however, that price can be as little as $0.01. There is a FAC sheet here somewhere that listed www.sibeliusmusic.com; however, that site is now shut down (Scoreexchange took its place).

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