Tools of the Trade: Great Sites for Free Sheet Music

Whether you are learning an entire role or just an aria or song, having the sheet music itself is of course indispensable.  However, many singers find themselves in situations where they need to review the music quickly to assess the suitability of a piece, or perhaps they’ve left their originals at home and need an aria for an upcoming audition out of town.  Here is a list of sites where you can find sheet music online (in no meaningful order):

  1. Indiana University: http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/variations/scores/ Selected public domain opera and song literature scores, as well as some online sound recordings.
  2. IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library" http://imslp.org/wiki/Main_Page: Virtual library containing public domain music scores and/or sheet music as well as scores from composers who are willing to share their music without charge. It also contains a forum where those in need of a score can post a request.
  3. Mozart Neue-Ausgabe: Internationale Stiftung Mozarteum: http://dme.mozarteum.at/DME/nma/start.php?l=2  Contains the musical text and the critical commentaries of the entire Neue Mozart-Ausgabe (Bärenreiter editions).
  4. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek online: http://www.digitale-sammlungen.de/ A treasure trove of digitalized scores and other books.  Although the site does have an English section, the German side is easier to navigate.
  5. Free Scores: http://www.free-scores.com/  Our project is to distribute for free the most important choice of free scores from public domain and from original composers with restricted licenses. A little clunky to navigate, but worth a look. Also, not everything is actually free, but a number of free things can be found.
  6. Choral Public Domain Library: http://www2.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page Site contains free choral/vocal scores, texts, translations, and other useful information.
  7. Eastman School of Music: https://urresearch.rochester.edu/viewInstitutionalCollection.action?collectionId=25  Eastman also has a blog discussing the process http://digitalscores.wordpress.com/
  8. UCLA/Sheet music consortium: a group of libraries working toward the goal of building an open collection of digitized sheet music http://digital.library.ucla.edu/sheetmusic/
  9. Harvard college library: a list with many resources for online scores and other music scholarship: http://hcl.harvard.edu/research/guides/onmusic/
  10. Virtual Library of Musicology: http://mdzx.bib-bvb.de/vifamusik_e/index.php?pcontent=startseite Contains an extensive digital library with the latest scholarly research and online resource
  11. Piano Files: http://www.pianofiles.com/  A napster style service where you can browse uploads from other users or request specific pieces from other members. Registration is free.
  12. Duke University http://library.duke.edu/music/sheetmusic/collections.html Contains a list of free sheet music sites.
  13. Google Books: http://books.google.com/ Allows you to preview books and scores.  
  14. Art Song Central: http://artsongcentral.com/ Art Song Central is principally an archive and directory of free, printable sheet music for singers and voice teachers. An emphasis is placed on standard classical and traditional repertoire.  It also contains IPA transcriptions for every German, French, Italian and Latin song in the index.
  15. Repertoire Online: http://www.repertoireonline.com/ A smaller archive which contains 100 Free Sheet Music selections including: art songs, opera arias, & sacred music.
  16. Vocal Sheet Music: http://vocalsheetmusic.net/ Free downloads of vocal sheet music in PDF format. The collection includes art songs as well as selections from operas, oratorios, and other vocal works.
  17. RowyNet: http://www.rowy.net/list-vocal.html A medium sized archive of vocal song literature.  Also contains a list of links to other public domain download sites.
  18. Werner Icking Music Archive: http://icking-music-archive.org/ The Werner Icking Music Archive contains a miscellany of subject-specific musical material including a subdirectory containing scores, sound files, typesetting source files, additional README-files and more. Site also contains a terrific list of other public domain resources: http://icking-music-archive.org/oth_mus_archives.php
  19. University of Michigan Libraries Music Library Scores Collection: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/s/scores/  This resource is comprised of scores held in the Music Library's general and special collections. Works featured here represent a variety of styles and genres, including songs, solo and chamber music, operas, and compositions for orchestra.
  20. The Internet Archive: http://www.archive.org/ small collection of public scores with sound files.
  21. The Johns Hopkins University’s Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music: http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/ The collection consists of over 29,000 pieces of American popular music. The collection spans the years 1780 to 1980, but its strength is its throrough documentation of nineteenth-century America through popular music.
  22. The Mutopia Project: http://www.mutopiaproject.org/  The Mutopia Project offers sheet music editions of classical music for free download.
  23. Library of Congress’s African-American Sheet Music, 1850-1920 Collection: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/sheetmusic/brown/ This collection consists of 1,305 pieces of African-American sheet music dating from 1850 through 1920.
  24. Library of Congress’s Music for the Nation: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/mussmhtml/mussmhome.html This collection contains more than 62,500 pieces of historical sheet music registered for copyright: more than 15,000 registered during the years 1820-1860 and more than 47,000 registered during the years 1870-1885. Included are popular songs, operatic arias, piano music, sacred and secular choral music, solo instrumental music, method books and instructional materials, and music for band and orchestra.
  25. copy-us: http://www.copy-us.com/ copy-us is an internet publishing house for contemporary music; it contains a small amount of downloadable vocal music.
  26. Free Sheetmusic Library: http://www.bh2000.net/score/sacrbach/ Although this site is mainly devoted to larger orchestral works, it also contains pdf versions of Bach’s Church Cantatas.
  27. The Sheet Music Archive: http://www.sheetmusicarchive.net/ Offers free (limited) and subscription (unlimited) downloads.
  28. Sibelius Music: http://www.sibeliusmusic.com/ Offers free and fee-based downloads.  Search allows for filtering of available free scores.  Free software plugin required to use.  
  29. Musica Viva: http://www.musicaviva.com/ Contains free downloadable classical music, an encyclopedia of music, an instrument gallery, a lyrics database, a music database and a small collection of sound files.
  30. Performing Arts in America 1875 -1923: http://digital.nypl.org/lpa/nypl/lpa_home4.html  With visual and audio images drawn from the extensive archival collections at The Library, the site features an authentic look American music from the beginning of the modern age, all brought to you in original documents (including some sheet music samples).

Care to add to the list?  Please email us at help@yaptracker.com if we’ve missed any resources or post a link on our facebook page at www.facebook.com/yaptracker.  Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement of the sites listed or their respective practices.

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