In an earlier article I wrote about the Petrucci Music Library, also known as the International Music Score Library Project. This is a great resource for finding public domain classical music for orchestral music and solo instruments such as piano, violin, cello and guitar.
In this article I will take you on a tour of other web sites I use for downloading public domain music.
Free web sites
Cantorion. Free sheet music with search capabilities by composer, instrument, type and difficulty. For example , here is the page of Guitar music where I found the very popular piece Romanza, also known as Spanish Romance.
Werner Icking Music archive. This site has now merged with the IMSLP and has been a very useful resource for baroque music in particular.
Mutopia Music Project. The site description reads “The Mutopia Project offers sheet music editions of classical music for free download. These are based on editions in the public domain, and include works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Handel, Mozart, and many others. A team of volunteers are involved in typesetting the music by computer using the free LilyPond software”.
A s well as PDF files, you can download the source files used to make the PDF files, and MIDI files which are useful for playback to hear the music.
Project Gutenberg – The Sheet Music Project. From the web site: “Project Gutenberg volunteers have been engaging in digitizing public domain sheet music, using a variety of techniques, to enable study and performance. For the most part, the musical pieces created have been chamber music, with composers such as Brahms and Beethoven.” There isn’t a lot of music here but worth browing.
The following sites offer public domain music but at a low cost. Usually the costs are quite reasonable compared to buying expensive paper editions from music publishers. I think it is is a good idea to support these sites as they offer a well-organised collection of music at reasonble prices.
Everynote. This site has been running for many years and I have bought several pieces for violin and piano. I like this site as you can download the first page to check the difficulty of the piece and assess the scan quality. Here is the “Devil’s Trill” sonata by Tartini which I know from Vanessa Mae’s version.
Sheet Music Archive. Many years ago this web site offered sheet music for free with a daily download limit of just a few pieces. They had an offer of buying the complete collection of their music on CD for $20 which I did. This is a very valuable resource of piano music. Now you can subscribe to the site.
Piano Public Domain.com. I haven’t used this web site but you need to purchase credits to download the music. Credits range from 3 cents to 20 cents depending on how muc h you pay. This site could be useful if you can’t find what you are looking for on one of the free sites.