Kelvin Smith Library
This guide brings together information about music scores¹ available online, with brief description and commentary on each.
Side tabs include:
Public domain downloads. This includes free music that can be printed for use, and constitutes the largest section. Clicking the tab without pulling down gives you general download sites. This is further subdivided via pull-down tab to focus on specialized sites: music for various mediums or functions, sites devoted to specific composers, etc. Note that in the case of living composers, downloads might be free, but the music is still under copyright, and performance rights fees (ASCAP/BMI) will apply.
Music for viewing. This is music which is either contractually forbidden to download (e.g., DIAMM) or where downloading is made difficult, though more often than not it remains possible. (On a Mac, option-clicking the relevant line in the Activity window will do it.) These are usually facsimiles and other works which are of more scholarly than practical use.
Commercial sites. Print music on demand (the sheet music version of audio downloads at the iTunes Store).
Note that if "free" is more important to you than "online", Kulas Music Library and OhioLink have large holdings of physical print music. The CWRU holdings of popular print music are slim, but other OhioLink institutions collect more extensively in that area. Also, there are licensed databases which are 'free' for the use of CWRU students. These are worked into the list where appropriate.
¹ The term "score" is used in the popular sense of "musical notation" as opposed to the sense of "musical notation of more than one simultaneous performer's part". Solo instrument music, lead sheets, and the like will be included.
Content and expertise shared within this guide are due to Jeffrey Quick, library assistant at Kulas Music Library from 1998-2020. Jeffrey remains active as a composer, having begun his career in 1967, including stints of early music performance since the early 1980s. Prior to joining Kulas he was assistant manager for a local music store, seeing, as he put it, "the glories and problems of the 'bricks-n-mortar' approach to print music retailing."
Revised and updated 7/1/21.