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International Music Score Library Project has reopened!
October 20, 2008 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Rejoice, classical music lovers! After closing in October 2007 due to copyright issues, the International Music Score Library Project (previously) has reopened! (In June, but there's no FPP about it.) From a quick overview, it seems the site has most of every major (pre-20th-century?) composer's opus - far more than any other "free sheet music" website.
posted by archagon (10 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool, thanks. Tangent: why is it that guitar tabs are universally available for copyrighted songs, but it's near impossible to find free sheet music even for public domain folk songs? (This site has "Pop Goes the Weasel" and some German folks songs.)

I can't even figure out how to buy sheet music following Google links. For example, I was looking for "I like the Christian Life", the old Byrds/Louvin Brothers Classic, which I'd happily pay a few bucks to download as sheet music. All I got were links that led to thick books of Christian sheet music, none of which included that song.
posted by msalt at 11:31 AM on October 20, 2008


Could someone here please transcribe the midi files and post a link?
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:08 PM on October 20, 2008


That's a good question, msalt. I had a similar experience recently looking for sheet music for a common twentieth century piece. Sheet music is an area where useless SEO bots showed up before humans did.

Mark my words, sheet music will change a lot in the next few years. Someone will make an affordable, easy-to-use, iTunes-style system for downloading new sheet music, and print-on-demand will explode a few months later.

This will be great news for you, but bad news for the guy with a ponytail who runs your local music store.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:14 PM on October 20, 2008


StickyCarpet: har har. :)

msalt: I would guess it's because most people who create tablature for all those mega-killer TAAAAB sites are mostly uninterested in anything written before 1955 (and mostly before 1995). Folk music is, well, just not that popular. I'd love to see a resource like that, though. Old folk songs that are still around are usually pretty danged awesome.
posted by nosila at 12:43 PM on October 20, 2008


Thanks archagon! I've been meaning to take some challenging classical music and use it to improve my guitar technique!
posted by Chan at 12:55 PM on October 20, 2008


I was going to do this as a front page post, but its worth mentioning that this site has the sheet music to Terry Riley's "In C" here.
(pdf file)
posted by wittgenstein at 5:09 PM on October 20, 2008


its = it's.
posted by wittgenstein at 5:12 PM on October 20, 2008


This is awesome. As a music-geek teenager, I spent hours photocopying (out of copyright) classical pieces for piano, but several moves later, the copies are no more. I've already found several favorites on IMSLP. Thanks archagon!
posted by [user was fined for this post] at 6:16 PM on October 20, 2008


Let me put it this way: is there some kind of unique copyright protection that sheet music has but tablature doesn't? Is there any reason I couldn't work out my own sheet music for various folk songs and post them as PDFs?
posted by msalt at 9:03 PM on October 20, 2008


I theorize that a large part of the reason sheet music has not been more widely copyright-infringed is that the actual customers realized early on that subverting the system would have a long-term downside if the publishers went out of business and their catalogues were no longer available. When I was studying violin 15+ years ago, photocopy machines were already available, but the attitude was very against making copies. I don't know if the fear is well-founded or not...
posted by mzurer at 7:00 PM on October 26, 2008


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