One day, you pick up your instrument and feel the urge to play something new. Another day, you hear a song on the radio that you desperately want to play. Sounds familiar? If yes, you are probably aware that there is lots and lots of sheet music available online.
But, what are some good websites for sheet music? Is it even legal to download it? We’re going to take a look at the best websites and give you advice on how to stay on the right side of the law!
8notes is an English site that has been around since 2001. It has a large library of music for all kinds of instruments, choirs, orchestras, and voices. The arrangements are made by contemporary classical composer David Bruce (founder of the site), and other composers he has hired. Because of this, it is okay to print and play the arrangements, since they retain copyright over the sheet music. You can also choose a subscription plan, but 90% of the content on 8notes is free.
Scribd isn’t strictly a site for sheet music. You will find books and audiobooks, too. Anyone can upload documents that they want to share with the world. There is a fine selection of music, including songbooks you get access to if you subscribe. They have everything – from classical music, to the songs you hear on the radio nowadays. The subscription will cost you $8.99, which is a good price considering how much music in original arrangements you gain access to.
Musicnotes was founded in 1998 and is older than any other site on this list. For this reason, they have a really vast selection. It’s not a free site, i.e. downloading sheet music will cost you. It’s a great choice if you are looking for something specific. Let’s say that you have a young piano student that doesn’t read music very well but wants to play Let it Go. Or perhaps you want to play Habanera from Carmen on the alto saxophone. Go to musicnotes.com!
Sheet Music Direct is owned by Hal Leonard (music publisher). It’s a good place to look for high-quality sheet music from all genres and instruments. It’s not a free site, but the music is cheaper in comparison with many other websites. If you play a lot, you can get a subscription that gives you online access to all the sheet music, plus a 50% discount on downloaded or printed music.
MIC stands for Music Information Center. Many countries have their respective association of composers and an MIC linked. This way, you can contact each MIC and typically rent or buy scores and parts for music not published by a regular music publisher. One example is the Swedish MIC which can found here.
Respect copyright laws when using sheet music
If you go to any of the listed websites to get sheet music, you won’t be breaking any laws. But what if a friend says that you can photocopy their music? Or what if some random guy on the internet uploads sheet music to a blog or a fishy website?
Copyright laws exist to protect those who have created the music. Read more here about what a composer has to say about copyright.
Music that was composed before 1923 is automatically public domain. For this reason, you need to be more careful when obtaining modern music. Meanwhile, it’s perfectly fine to copy classical music most of the time. Read more about copyright laws here.
We hope that this list will prove useful to you. In fact, we’re confident that finding good sheet music will be a piece of cake now!