11 of the Best Free Sheet Music Sites

Sheet musicIf 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 percent 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”.

1. International Music Score Library Project A collection of public domain scores and scores from modern/current composers who are willing to share their work.

2. Mutopia A collection of public domain classical sheet music.  Their collection of modern editions is also growing.

3. The Gutenberg Sheet Music Project A sister project of the electronic book-sharing site Project Gutenberg

4. Choral Music Public Domain Started in 1998, this site is devoted to choral music

5. Band Music PDF Library They describe their collection as “music from the Golden Age of the American town band”.

6. Sheet Music Fox has public domain music as well as links to other sites containing copyrighted music.

7. Free Scores like some of the other sites, this one contains a variety of public domain scores and 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.

9. Sibelius Music A place for Sibelius users to share their compositions and arrangements.  Not all are free, but you can include the word “free” in your search terms to narrow the choices.  There are more than 92,600 scores on this site.

10. Mus Open A collection of sheet music and mp3s.  Mus Open are even starting a collaborative text book project.

11. Public Domain Sherpa 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.

Image courtesy t8contempo on Flickr

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13 Responses

  1. “Free” doesn’t always mean music is in public domain or without copyright…

    On SibeliusMusic.com, “free” usually means that a visitor can print out a score without first paying for the copy of the music! But most of the scores by self-publishers or small publishers of contemporary composers are copyrighted editions, just like common printed sheet music bought from any music store. So it is not free to distribute, arrange or transform, unless you get the publisher’s and the composer’s permission. Transposing directly online before printing is ok, though, when that option is set by the publisher.

    BTW, the search function on SibeliusMusic has been dysfunctional for months, so if they haven’t fixed it yet (any day now, it is said), it’s better to google for “sibeliusmusic” + your search terms, to get a relevant result!

    • Yes – you’re absolutely right Maria, as I noted under the link to the final website in my list, Public Domain Sherpa. Many of these titles are $$ free, but it’s absolutely necessary to check the copyright implications by checking the licensing arrangements for each title. However, with the growing support for Creative Commons I imagine there will be an increasing number of sheet music titles available in coming years which you will be able to arrange or transform with pre-approval from the composer.

  2. Wow, looks great. Thanks for sharing these links and useful music teaching resources that most music educators out there can use today in their classrooms and studios. Creative and innovative music teaching doesn’t mean it has to be expensive; music teachers like us can still use it without overspending. Using innovative music teaching software and applications can take our music teaching experience to the next level. I also do agree with what Maria and Katie have said on the availability and accessibility of free sheet music as well as the importance of checking the licensing arrangements for each title. Again, thanks for this post and more power. See you around. Til your next posts!

  3. […] 11 of the Best Free Sheet Music Sites: “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 percent of the titles are also copyright-free so you can arrange, transpose or transform the original to your heart’s content”.  Hat-tip: James Frankel […]

  4. Very helpful. Thanks!

  5. Two very helpful resources:
    http://wikifonia.org, hundreds of free leadsheets, you can transpose on site, publish and edit the sheets.
    http://pianofiles.com, hundred thousands of sheets to trade.

  6. […] -Assistive Music Technology: “So just what is the SoundBeam and how does it work? SoundBeam is a device that converts […]

  7. Just a thought – some music of mine (published by Faber Music and available at all good music shops) turned up on the Sibelius site – some rude person decided to create a copy and make it free without asking the permission of my publishers or myself.

    So free music in this case was fell off the back of a truck free, and everyone printing it off and saving their dollars was doing so was participating in the theft.

    An underwhelming example of ‘free’.

  8. […] (Englisch) zum Einstieg in MuseScore zu finden sind. Viel wichtiger für mich ist jedoch der Post 11 of the Best Free Sheet Music Sites, der, wie der Name schon sagt meine Sammlung von Seiten für freie Musik […]

  9. […] 24. Music Tech Tips – Author Katie Wardrobe runs a music technology training business in Australia and is also a qualified teacher. When asked about her blog, Wardrobe describe it as a site which “demystifies” the use of technology in the classroom by providing video tutorials and articles which give “concrete step-by-step instructions explaining how to get the most out of notating, recording, teaching, learning and playing music.” Recommended posts: “Tutorial: How to Convert Audio Files Using iTunes,” “Cool Online Instruments and Games for the Music Classroom,” ”Musescore in 10 easy steps,” and “11 of the Best Free Sheet Music Sites.” […]

  10. Thanks! This received me additional than something I’ve discovered up to now.

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