The following websites provide free and paid access to online sheet music and bibliographic information on music. The list below represents only a small sample of these kinds of resources. Be sure to check back regularly for updates.

Published sheet music is often protected by copyright, which means that it cannot be uploaded (i.e., reproduced) online unless the copyright has expired or the copyright holder has given permission for the material to be posted on the Web.

Sheet Music Consortium

From the website:

The Sheet Music Consortium is a group of libraries working toward the goal of building an open collection of digitized sheet music....a large proportion of the original sheets in participating collections has been digitized, allowing users direct access to the music itself.

Extent: 360442 records across 41 participating institutions (February, 2017)

The 20th Century Violin Concertante

Online archive of rare, unpublished violin concertante music created and maintained by Tobias Broeker. Includes a 2800+ page catalogue of repertoire (13,000 works from 7,000 composers) and a number of violin works transcribed from the original manuscripts available for free download in PDF format.

MIMO - Musical Instrument Museums Online

The world's largest freely accessible database for information on musical instruments held in public collections. MIMO now contains the records of over 55,000 instruments.

Digital Resources for Musicology

From the website:

This website provides links to substantial open-access projects of use to musicians and musicologists. With a burgeoning number of digital resources available, remembering titles of sites and pathways to them can be difficult. Digital Resources in Musicology (DRM) is organized topically and provides a rapid search tool for specialties within heterogeneous collections.

Classical Discography Database

From the website:

This Discography is the product of more than a decade of research in the archives of major recording companies in the United States, and in Western and Central Europe, concentrating principally, but not exclusively, on the “LP” era from 1950 to 1979. Because documents for many other recording companies active during this period have been lost, the compiler has used other sources, including library catalogues and dealers’ lists, in order to document these recordings. In spite of this limitation, the aim is to include all significant labels from the LP era. Labels so far surveyed include Ariola-Eurodisc, Columbia (Europe and America), HMV (Europe and Japan), Deutsche Grammophon, RCA Victor, Philips, Telfunken/Teldec, Erato, Decca (USA and UK), Argo, Oiseau-Lyre, Vox, Westminster, Capitol, and many others.

The Operetta Research Center

From the website:

The (Stichting) Operetta Research Center Amsterdam is an initiative developed out of the work of musicologist Dr. Kevin Clarke and a circle of international musical theater researchers devoted to the history of the genre. One emphasis of the Research Center’s activities lies on the so called “Silver Operetta”, i.e. works from 1905 to 1945.

Georges Bizet Online Thematic Catalogue

Washington University has announced the launch of an online thematic catalogue to the works of Georges Bizet. From the homepage:

This is primarily a list of Bizet's works, providing essential information about the history and content of each one. It gives information on manuscript and printed sources, on documentary materials relating to the composition, performance and publication of each work, and is intended to provide a full historical documentation of Bizet's work as composer and transcriber.

Unlike traditional thematic catalogues of composers published as books, this one is designed as a website, managed by the Humanities Digital Workshop at Washington University in St. Louis, and deposited at the university's Olin Library...

Sheet Music Paper Templates

Looking for blank music staff paper?

Download over 30 templates in either PDF or PostScript file format for piano, chorus, orchestra, ensemble, and more here.

Carl Nielsen Works Catalogue (Online)

From the homepage:

The Carl Nielsen Works Catalogue (CNW) is the first ever thematic-bibliographic registration of all Nielsen’s compositions...Biographical as well as bibliographic information has also been drawn from a number of other sources, among others the Carl Nielson Letters, the publication of Nielsen’s other essays, and the current bibliography available in the journal, Carl Nielsen Studies, all affiliated with The Royal Library.

This online thematic catalogue of Nielsen's work is hosted by the Royal Library at the Danish Centre for Music Publication.

Opera and Ballet Primary Sources

From the homepage:

Welcome to Opera and Ballet Primary Sources, a site devoted to the promotion of opera and ballet research. The site is currently limited to an index to primary sources useful for opera and/or ballet research available in digital form on the Internet. We are also preparing a guide to music copyists associated with resources in the index and a bibliography of music catalogues that contain information on copyists.

This resource will allow you to search and find digitized opera libretti hosted on the Internet Archive. Navigate to the Index to Internet Resources page to begin searching online libretti. Click here to view an example.

 

Digital Scores and Libretti from the Loeb Library - Harvard University

From the homepage:

The scores and libretti in this Virtual Collection include first and early editions and manuscript copies of music from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries by J.S. Bach and Bach family members, Mozart, Schubert and other composers, as well as multiple versions of nineteenth century opera scores, seminal works of musical modernism, and music of the Second Viennese School. Many, such as variant editions of nineteenth century operas and related libretti, fall into intellectually related sets that are meant to be seen and used together. As a group, they give scholars a window into the study of historical performance practice that cannot be duplicated using the holdings of any one other library.

In the study of primary sources, detail matters: marginal notations or a copyist's handwriting can be just as important as the simple fact of the notes on a page of music. By providing digital versions of historical editions from its holdings, the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library seeks to make available primary source materials that scholars have found important for their research.

The Clarinet Quintet Reference Tool

A reference database of clarinet quintet repertoire developed by clarinet professor Dr. Donald L. Oehler and library student Peter Shirts at the University of North Carolina. The database currently contains information on approximately 170 works from the clarinet with string quartet genre. Each entry includes author, country of origin, title, movement names, publisher, date, duration, clarinet type, and a thumbnail image of the first page of music (when available). Entry additions will be ongoing.

Sibley Music Library, University of Rochester - Musical Scores Online

Scores and books in the public domain
Over 21,000 public domain music scores
Many of these are unique to the Sibley Music Library collection

MusRef: A Guide to More than 7500 Print and Internet Resources

Devoted to music and dance bibliography and reference. The site consists of five main features:

  • An online bibliography of music and dance bibliographies and reference sources (both print and online)
  • A blog devoted to music and dance bibliography and reference
  • Basic introductions to reference tools intended to help students understand how reference sources can guide them to appropriate research materials
  • Links to unpublished bibliographies
  • A corresponding Facebook page designed as a forum for interested librarians, scholars, and students

IMSLP Petrucci Music Library

The most comprehensive collection of public domain scores and parts on the Web. The International Music Score Library Project plans to include all public domain scores and scores by composers who wish to make their music available free of charge.

Choral Public Domain Library

A large collection of publicly available choral music, in various formats.

Variations

Contains scores digitized during a project at Indiana University. It includes a wide variety of music (orchestra, piano, voice, opera, chamber, solo instruments, etc.)

Sheet Music From Canada's Past

A comprehensive collection of Canadian music; includes over 20,000 patriotic and parlour songs, piano pieces, sacred music, and novelty numbers, some dating back to the 1700s. Besides the expected Canadian imprints, it includes music by Canadians or about Canada published anywhere in the world.

Online Music Scores

From a professor at Acadia University, a large collection of scores from various periods and instrumental/vocal types.

The Free Sheet Music Guide

A list of sites that have free music. Includes classical and popular music.

J.W. Pepper's e-print Digital Music Delivery

e-Print allows you to purchase music and immediately download and print it on your own printer. Using Scorch technology developed by Sibelius (a leading manufacturer of notation software), Pepper now gives you the option of "instant" delivery on many standard titles. You must download the Scorch plug-in if using your own computer, and pay for the piece using your credit card. You can often transpose the piece to another key before purchasing it, and play a RealAudio or MIDI file of the piece.

Score Exchange

Requires Scorch software if you are using it from your own computer. Approximately 20,000 scores available for free or for purchase. All the scores can be played back via the computer's soundcard or MIDI software if you have it. Many scores can be transposed into the key you want at the click of a button, and some even allow you to change the instrumentation.

Here you will find music resources available elsewhere on the Web. These are in addition to our subscription-based resources found on our Electronic Resources page