Free? Did that just say free? It most certainly did. Musician’s no longer have to spend hours searching the shelves at their local music store just to find one piece of music that they may or may not like. The beautiful internet is full of freebies and for musicians that means free sheet music! I can’t speak for all musicians but for me finding a new piece of music to learn is like getting a new pair of shoes.
What is Sheet Music?
For anyone reading this that is now asking “what is sheet music?” Let me explain. Sheet music is individual pieces of music that is not found within the pages of a book. There are a lot of sheet music that can be found within a larger collection but often times we pay for an entire collection and only play a few pieces. I have several piano books that contain up to 100 individual pieces but I only play 4 or 5 of them. The wonderful thing about sheet music is you don’t have to fight with the pages to stay open.
How Can I get This Sheet Music?
Accessing sheet music on the internet has never been easier. Not only can you access it but many times you can listen to it and preview it before you even attempt to download the piece of music. Many of the sites will offer the sheet music as a PDF file that you can download and print. I have found that some of the PDF files even work quite well on my iPad, eliminating the need to print every new piece that I find.
Enough With Chatter…….
Now that we’ve cleared up what sheet music is, how we can get it and that we can indeed find free sheet music online lets have a look at 5 websites that offer free sheet music that we can add to our collections.
8notes.com is a website that is mostly dedicated to sheet music but also provides other resources such as lessons and tuners. According to the websites About Us page, approximately 90% of the site is free. The website provides sheet music for a wide variety of instruments which is categorized and easy to access from their main page. They also indicate the playing level of each piece, as well as, provide a midi recording for many of the pieces.
To learn more about 8notes.com or to browse their selection of sheet music you can find them by clicking the following link.
Music-scores.com has a combination of free and paid sheet music. They have a page that is dedicated to free sheet music. Non-members are limited to 3 downloads a day but can return the following day for 3 more free downloads. There is a wide variety of sheet music for many different instruments and instrumentation’s available.
To see their selection of free sheet music click on the following link.
The Mutopia Project
All sheet music provided by The Mutopia Project is completely free. They provide access to classical music that is based on editions in the public domain, as well as, modern editions, arrangements and new music. All of the music found on the website can be downloaded, printed, copied, distributed, modified, performed and recorded.
For information about the Mutopia Project please click the following link.
Musopen is a non-profit website that provides sheet music, recordings and textbooks to the public for free. According to their about page their mission is to set music free. Their sheet music is well categorized by composer, instrument, time period, and genre.
For more information and to browse their selection click on the following link.
IMSLP (International Music Score Library Project)
All the sheet music found on IMSLP is completely free. They believe that music should be accessible for free to everyone. Their selection includes music by classical and contemporary composers. Their scores are easily accessible and have been categorized in a number or ways including composer, time period, and instrumentation.
To learn more about IMSLP click on the following link.
Whether you are a beginner or a professional musician all of the websites mention above just may have a piece that you will enjoy. I certainly found an abundance of pieces that I am interested in. While I encourage all musicians to purchase music whenever possible (its always a good idea to show our composers some love) it is great to have such a large variety of free music at our finger tips. The internet has provided composers and musicians a brand new way to share music with each other. We no longer have to make a special trip to the music store to find a new piece of music to add to our repertoire.
It would be greatly appreciated if you could leave a comment regarding your experience with any of the above websites after you have browsed and perhaps downloaded some new free music to play and enjoy.