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Online catalogues and downloadable music


  • The IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library offers (it says) 77,475 scans of public domain/copyright-free scores from many periods, plus 1,335 MP3 recordings. Unusually, there's also a users' forum and encouragement for composers to submit material. IMSLP has merged with the Werner-Icking Archives, and now it's a remarkable source for freely downloadable music of all periods.
  • The CMME Project intends to offer free online access to new, high-quality early music scores produced by today's leading experts. You can view transcriptions in several formats, with or without barlines, words, etc. Some scholarly commentary. Downloading for practical use is still to come. When properly under way this could be a first-class resource. In May 2009, it offered 'A Choirbook for Henry VIII and his Sisters', a complete edition of the Occo Codex, and some miscellanea.
  • Some of the British Library catalogue can be searched online. 
  • Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads Digitised copies of over 30,000 ballads in several major collections. Intended for research purposes; fees required for performance or reprinting.
  • Handlo offers "E-mail delivery of choral music scores from our current list. Rapid delivery of 4,600 scores with a further 1,750 scores available on request". They make a small charge for each piece, but you can then make as many copies as you like without further charge, for amateur use. Have sometimes been known to set a piece specially on request.
  • Sheet Music Galore They say: "The immodest intention of this webpage is, in the course of time, to cover all recorder sheet music commercially available by e-commerce on the Internet". At Aug 2012 it claimed to have around 12,000 items.
  • The Viola da Gamba Society of America has a music page offering the complete 5-part and 6-part fantasias of John Jenkins and excerpts from the Manchester Viol Book as freely downloadable PDF files.
  • Captain Tobias Hume's "Musicall Humours" transcribed for free download
  • Digital facsimiles of a huge amount of lute tablature
  • Laura Conrad's "Laymusic" transcription site, with many freely downloadable pieces published under the imprint Serpent Publications. A good supply of renaissance music such as Ruffo, Janequin, Lapicida, Le Heurteur and the usual better-known name, in exquisite notation, usually without barlines.
  • Steve Hendrick's Music Collection - downloadable scores, mainly renaissance dance and song. Connected with the lively Society for Creative Anachronism ("an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating pre-17th-century European history")
  • Paul Butler's arrangements - like Steve Hendricks, Paul Butler is connected with the Society for Creative Anachronism. He has arrangements of many dance tunes, mostly Playford, some renaissance amd medieval pieces, and some traditional folk tunes.
  • Alain Naigeon's score collection - pdf files of renaissance pieces. (Also in 'Encore' format, for those who have this software.) Same site leads to his sound recordings of the same pieces.
  • http://www.lysator.liu.se/~tuben/scores/ Free sheet music by various 17th and 18th century composers, especially violin material including some rare Swedish, maintained by Johan Tufvesson
  • Musica Viva - Download sheet music in gif form for free, or high-quality pdf for a small fee.
  • Wayne Cripps's tablature page - lots of lute music in tablature, from medieval (Dufay) to baroque. Downloadable in high-quality pdf or eps formats.
  • The Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL), part of the Choral Wik,i is "the largest website devoted exclusively to free choral sheet music". The downloadable catalogue contains 8,800 scores, with a good proportion of classical and pre-classical. A page of texts and translations is being introduced. Readers are welcome to contribute. Singers should definitely take a look.
  • The Mutopia Project Out-of-copyright editions computer-set by volunteers, freely downloadable. Great idea but still needs to increase its stock (sign up as a volunteer if you have spare time): as of 31 May 2007 it held 300 baroque items, mainly Bach and Handel. Monthly e-newsletter and a discussion group.
  • Hans Mons offers a small amount of early music, mainly renaissance, free to download, in nice pdf files.
  • Cipoo.net is another public domain choral music site.
  • Arenaï offers a small number of copyright-free downloadable pieces from the French renaissance period, in pdf and midi form. However, the ensemble seems to have disbanded, and the site was last updated in 2002; some of the links are now defunct. Download what you want soon, while the site still exists.
  • Ottaviano Petrucci seems to be the name of a collection of free scores assembled by Arnold den Teuling, containing polyphonic renaissance music, often arranged for harp or keyboard; Gregorian chant in modern notation; Bicinia from Obrecht to Mozart; and music "dating from baroque until yesterday". Throws up annoying pop-up windows.
  • Joseph Casazza has an un-named site with some renaissance dance music; 2-part transcriptions of Jean d'Estée's Premier livre de danseries and Casazza's own 4-part settings of tunes from Arbeau and the 'Old Measures'