11 of the Best Sheet Music Sites
This post was updated 8 September 2016
If you’re a music teacher on a tight budget it can be difficult to find the money to purchase sheet music for the myriad of music ensembles, instrumental and vocal students you may have at your school.
It’s good to know that these days there are literally hundreds of websites that offer free sheet music and a large percentage (not ALL) of the titles are also copyright-free so you can arrange, transpose or transform the original to your heart’s content. I’ve listed a few sites below, but if you’d like to find more, just search Google for “free sheet music”.
The IMSLP (Petrucci Music Library) website houses a collection of public domain scores and Creative Commons licensed scores from a range of composers. There are more than 110,400 works by more than 14,400 composers and the site also includes some MP3 recordings of performances that are available to download.
A collection of classical sheet music in the public domain. Their collection of modern editions and arrangements is also growing. All the music on Mutopia has been typeset using Lilypond notation software and the Lilypond files are freely available, alongside the PDF version of the score.
The Gutenberg Sheet Music Project was a sister project of the electronic book-sharing site Project Gutenberg from approximately 2001-2006. Although it is no longer active, there is still an accessible collection of completed scores on the site.
Founded in 1998, the Choral Music Public Domain site focuses on sharing free choral and vocal scores as well as texts, translations and other useful information. There are currently more than 3600 choral and vocal works by at least 2754 composers.
Described as a collection of “music from the Golden Age of the American town band”, the Band Music PDF Library includes marches, waltzes, rags, theater music, solo works and more.
An advert-heavy site that has public domain music as well as links to other sites containing copyrighted music (available for purchase).
7. Free Scores
Like some of the other sites listed above, this one contains a variety of public domain scores and also scores from current composers. Check the licence page for details of how each piece can be used.
8. EZ Folk
Folk songbooks from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s printed in their entirety for ukulele, guitar, banjo and harmonica. The site also includes “how to play” tutorials and courses.
8Notes.com offers original arrangements of free public domain songs and instrumental pieces. The sheet music is provided in a GIF format (lower quality image format). You can pay $20 to subscribe for a year which gives you access to the PDF versions of scores and removes the ads from the site. They also have a useful riffs/licks section if you just want to know the basic main riff of a pop song
10. Mus Open
Mus Open is a non-profit focused on increasing access to music by creating free resources and educational materials. The site has a collection of recordings, sheet music, and textbooks.
Although the sites above offer free sheet music it’s wise to be aware that not all titles are completely copyright-free. Public Domain Sherpa offers a run-down of many sheet music sites (including ones not listed here) and lets you know whether the music may be subject to copyright restrictions.
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