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Finding Digital Scans of Sheet Music?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the why-not-we-scan-everything-else dept.

109

Crymson asks: "I've been trying to find a repository of sheet music out on the web. I'm mostly interested in Classical, although scores for Brass pieces would be nice. I'm sure with Google digitizing all the books of the world, someone must be digitizing all of the sheet music. I don't want special viewers, and I don't want to pay out the nose for music that *may* be what I'm looking for. Where is a decent repository of free sheet music?"

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109 comments

Copyright is copyright (5, Informative)

hedronist (233240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601620)

Good luck. The copyright on sheet music is the same as for other works. If published before 1923, it's in the public domain, between 1922 and 1978, 95 years from publication date, after that, it's life of author + 70 years.

In short, almost none of it can be legally scanned *and distributed*.

For more authoritative info, google on "length of copyright" and "sheet music", or see http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use _Overview/chapter0/0-a.html [stanford.edu]

Re:Copyright is copyright (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601754)

Yeah, and it's not like you can go grab a recently printed score of Bach, scan it and put it on the web. Although Bach's work may not be covered by copyright, the particular printing you're copying probably is. Yes, that's right, the actual way the printing company formats the score and arranges it on the page is copyrightable. So what are you going to do, track down an ancient piece of parchment and scan that? No. The only sane thing you could do is get out your favourite paint program (not score program, they probably copyright the output of it) and draw your own score, preferably from memory, then put it under a permissive license. Just be sure to note that you're not claiming copyright over the public domain work, otherwise your copyright will be easily challenged. Putting the whole thing into the public domain might be possible.. although I suppose you could be sued for negligence if you made a mistake in your transcription.

Re:Copyright is copyright (5, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602212)

Although Bach's work may not be covered by copyright, the particular printing you're copying probably is. Yes, that's right, the actual way the printing company formats the score and arranges it on the page is copyrightable. So what are you going to do, track down an ancient piece of parchment and scan that? No. The only sane thing you could do is get out your favourite paint program (not score program, they probably copyright the output of it) and draw your own score, preferably from memory, then put it under a permissive license. Just be sure to note that you're not claiming copyright over the public domain work.

You are assuming that there have been no changes in musical notation since Bach and that there are no other significant problems in preparing a score suitable for modern performance.

If you are listening to a performance of Bach, it is almost certainly an orchestra's unique (and copyrighted?) interpretation of the work, and not an attempt at a mechanical, note-by-note, transcription of the score in manuscript.

Copyright is alright. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16602284)

"No. The only sane thing you could do is get out your favourite paint program (not score program, they probably copyright the output of it) and draw your own score, preferably from memory, then put it under a permissive license."

You mean like the GNU compiler copyrights the output? No the only sane thing he can do is ignore most of the advice here, and go to a good university library that has sheet music out of copyright. A laptop and a portable scanner will do the rest, and while he's there he can read through the section on copyright, like most of you should have done in the first place.

Re:Copyright is copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16602328)

The only sane thing you could do is get out your favourite paint program (not score program, they probably copyright the output of it) and draw your own score, preferably from memory, then put it under a permissive license.

If any score-printing program claims copyright on its output, get another one. As for your other points -- (1) make sure you're copying an arrangement that predates 1923, because arrangements are copyrightable and (2) you don't need to copy it from memory. Since the music and the arrangement are out of copyright, the content is freely copyable. Just don't duplicate the font selection, the organization of the page (though you can follow standard musical notation styles), or any textual matter not part of the original work.

Re:Copyright is copyright (4, Interesting)

Frodrick (666941) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602710)

it's not like you can go grab a recently printed score of Bach, scan it and put it on the web. Although Bach's work may not be covered by copyright, the particular printing you're copying probably is.

I have a fairly major credibility issue with that statement. Could you cite some sources for your assertion? - (Not including music publishers, of course)

My understanding of copyright law is that it requires a certain amount of creativity before something is considered copyrightable. Rewriting and reformating just isn't enough. I would normally expect that public domain music would only be freshly copyrightable IF enough new work had been added to justify adding the new publisher's name to the "Composed by" line.

There are a number of content middlemen (Music, video, sheet music) out there who are under the impression that every time they reissue the same work, copyright begins anew. They are wrong.

Everyonce in a while, a publisher will attempt to render public domain material copyrightable by introducing a deliberate error. Then they claim that copiers have infringed their copyrights on the errors. When challenged, this, too, fails the necessary "creativity" test for copyrightability.

"not score program, they probably copyright the output of it"

Not possible. While the program remains copyright, of course, the copyright of the output belongs solely to the author. I have used some of these programs; they allow you to set your own copyright notices.

Re:Copyright is copyright (2, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602998)

Making a definitive text from a very badly scrawled manuscript is hard work. Engraving that text according to traditional techniques (which the best Bach publishers do) is immensely laborious, taking 8 hours for a single page. It's copyrightable, the same way that making out the tiny marks on papyri or vellum to give us a critical text of Plato or Petronius means that, say, the Oxford Classical Texts are copyrightable.

Everyone's an IP expert, but nobody actually is (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603936)

Haven't you heard? Intellectual property issues are just one of many things that the C++ coders and 14-year olds that comprise the Slashdot reader base pretend to be authorities on. I'm also intensely interested to learn about this mysterious "how the notes are printed" copyright on public domain music.

Public domain books certainly don't share the same characteristic--it is only meaningful additions to those works, such as annotations, that are subject to copyright under Section 103(b) of the U.S. Code. [cornell.edu] As far as public domain sheet music is concerned, I would interpret this to mean that additional parts for new instruments as well as significant re-arrangements of existing parts for other instruments would be subject to copyright for an otherwise public domain work. It goes without saying that the new copyright is not extended to the pre-existing portions of the original work when a truly derivative work is created (Id.). That is why I sincerely doubt that the well-settled body of case law on the subject would vindicate the grandparent, since not even the statutes themselves appear to support his claims.

I smell bullshit on this "actual way the printing company formats the score and arranges it on the page is copyrightable" idea. But hey, random Slashdot poster # 50,515 was modded up for his unsubstantiated claims, so they must be true!

Re:Everyone's an IP expert, but nobody actually is (0, Flamebait)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16604508)

If you don't like it, don't read the site dickhead.

Re:Everyone's an IP expert, but nobody actually is (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606818)

If you don't like it, don't read the site dickhead.


I'll stop reading when you and people like you stop trying to frame your poor understanding of intellectual property laws as the authoritative truth. Pretending to be an authority on something that you obviously don't understand only serves to perpetuate misunderstanding of intellectual property issues, in the Slashdot community and elsewhere.

Where you have attempted to help, you instead do harm. People will now read your "+4 Insightful" comment and think that what you wrote is actually true. I doubt you will be modded down despite the harm you have caused.

I would rank you as worse than most, because rather than try to support your understanding of the issue with good argument (an admittedly hard task, because your point is based on no law or facts to speak of) you choose to:

1.) Completely ignore the other poster who also wanted you to present some evidence of your claims and
2.) Call me a name like some school kid

That's damn impressive. Well played, poster # 50,515. Well played!

Re:Everyone's an IP expert, but nobody actually is (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16615694)

Anyone who gets their legal advice from Slashdot deserves everything they get. Get off your high horse.

Re:Everyone's an IP expert, but nobody actually is (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16617508)

Fair enough.

Re:Everyone's an IP expert, but nobody actually is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16606548)

OK, Mr IP Expert, explain how there is copyright on databases that consist of nothing but collections of public domain information?

You can't reason about copyright law. It is what it is.
.

Sure thing, coward (1)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606688)

explain how there is copyright on databases that consist of nothing but collections of public domain information?


Simple. Electronic compilations of public domain works, such as Gutenberg, own a copyright on the compilation itself, taken as a whole, but never on the individual works that make up the collection. It's not a distinction I expect you to understand, but you could at least make a good faith effort to try. Why don't you read Section 103(b) of the Code instead of trying to get strangers to explain things to you online? There are two possibilities here: Either you're too lazy to follow the link to 103(b) that covers the exact question you just asked, or you did read the relevant law on that subject and still don't understand what you read.

I won't bother explaining it again. Just read what I wrote here. [slashdot.org] You should take some steps to educate yourself rather than try to place that burden upon me. Frankly, I don't care if you remain ignorant or not.


You can't reason about copyright law. It is what it is.


This made me laugh out loud. Please explain this to the judges who interpret copyright laws every day based on reason and precedent. The law isn't "what it is." That's why we have an entire branch of government dedicated to interpreting the law. I mean, you lack even the rudimentary foundation to understand this stuff--all you're capable of doing is meekly criticizing those who do.

Re:Everyone's an IP expert, but nobody actually is (1)

CoughDropAddict (40792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16618350)

While your skepticism is taken, I have been interested in this issue for many years, and while I do not have specific case law, I make the observations:
  • several public domain music sites share this interpretation, presumably after doing their legal homework. See the Mutopia Project's page about legal issues [mutopiaproject.org] , and a similar page at CPDL [cpdl.org] . Since it is in these sites' interest to distribute, the fact that they share this interpretation does not bode well for a more liberal reading.
  • As a musician, every modern score I have come across (including modern scores of early music, of which I perform a lot) will have a Copyright (C) the year it was published. So the publishers are at least attempting to assert this right. Some editions (like the New Novello Choral Edition of the Messiah) also include notes specifically forbidding even public performance of the music from the edition without payment. I always find this extremely offensive.
  • There are some unarguably creative things that go into editing music -- for example, deciding what the real note is when the original manuscripts only have a smudge, reconciling differences between different manuscripts, etc -- and there will often be significant scholarship that goes into resolving these issues. Almost every edition I have encountered (even of music as recent as the 20th century) includes scholarly work like that, which would probably make a judge sympathetic to the idea that the printing is copyrightable.
As much as I dislike it, GP's claims are fairly well-accepted among things I have read on this issue.

Everyone's an IP expert .. I was a patent examiner (1)

pbhj (607776) | more than 7 years ago | (#16619156)

>>> "The term "original" also involves a test of substantiality - literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works will not be original if there has not been sufficient skill and labour expended in their creation. But, sometimes significant investment of resources without significant intellectual input can still count as sufficient skill and labour."

See http://www.patent.gov.uk/copy/c-applies/c-original .htm [patent.gov.uk]

>>>"Published editions of literary works such as magazines, anthologies of poems and so on, where there may be more than one copyright owner, may afford copyright protection in their own right for the typographical arrangement of the edition. Copyright in your typographical edition lasts for 25 years."

See http://www.patent.gov.uk/copy/c-applies/c-write.ht m [patent.gov.uk]

I don't claim to be an "expert" on matters of intellectual property. I've been out of patents for a couple of years two so I probably back to being current with other laymen.

I am of the impression (which appears to be supported by these texts) that the engraving of musical notation is considered sufficiently labourious and artistic to warrant a further copyright term. Some older scores (I gather) must be translated in the same way that Anglo-Saxon might be translated to modern English. Such translation affords copyright protection (cf. The Holy Bible, NIV, etc.).

PS: I don't code in C++ (any more) and I'm slightly older than 14 too. So you must be a Patent Attorney as you use a non exclusive form of "comprises"??

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16604044)

Here's something [gutenberg.org] that somewhat goes along with what he's saying, but it's different in slightly subtle ways.

The sheet music may very well be copyrighted due to small, even minor, variations that the publisher put in it. Not so much the formatting, though I suspect in some more extreme cases (i.e., not just changing the font and page width) that the new work could be copyrighted. So all that needs to happen is that a publisher get a hold of Bach's original work, or at least some old copy of it, change a few notes, and they could then copyright that. That's why organizations like Project Gutenberg are so important.

Tricky wording (2, Informative)

BeeBeard (999187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16604128)

Good resource, but make sure you don't misunderstand this statement from that linked FAQ:

The problem with these practices is that a publisher, having added this copyrighted material, or edited the text even in a minor way, may simply put a copyright notice on the whole book, even though the main part of it -- the text itself -- is in the public domain!
(emphasis added)

That "may" that I bolded DOES NOT MEAN that the publisher has a legally enforceable new copyright (i.e. it doesn't mean "may" as in "they are permitted"), only that this is a common tactic that a publisher might employ to try to give the impression that they have created a new work that is subject to copyright.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

Frodrick (666941) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606524)

The sheet music may very well be copyrighted due to small, even minor, variations that the publisher put in it. Not so much the formatting, though I suspect in some more extreme cases (i.e., not just changing the font and page width) that the new work could be copyrighted.

Deliberate errors in the work introduced for the purpose of making the work copyrightable do not meet the necessary creativity test. Nor do any formatting changes, punctuation, or spelling changes, such as changing British to American spelling.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16608692)

Deliberate errors surely would not count, but in the case of music, changing a measures for the bass line would qualify. However, the copyright would only apply to the new work, not the old. The problem is that finding the old work becomes difficult and we are left with only the new work which has a copyright notice on the front. That is where Project Gutenberg comes in. They find works with a clear Title Page which has a copyright notice that has obviously expired and then they publish it in the public domain forever keeping that work there.

For example, right now I am reading the Icewind Dale Trilogy. There are publishing mistakes of missing or wrong punctuation and sometimes even misspelled, missing, or wrong words are present. Those are obviously publishing mistakes and fixing those would not qualify as copyrightable. However, if Salvatore were to see the mistakes, and rather than just fix them, replace the entire sentence/paragraph with something new, then those new sentences/paragraphs would qualify as being copyrightable. The problem is that the publisher puts a new copyright notice on the entire work, and rightly so I think. Not because of legalities, but because it would be ridiculous to be reading a book and suddenly see (begin new copyright)...blah blah blah...(end new copyright). But that does leave it difficult to know what is the copyrighted material and what is not.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

Uncle Rummy (943608) | more than 7 years ago | (#16610362)

That may be, but deliberate errors are commonly used to prove an infringement of copyright. For example, map makers are known to do this [straightdope.com] .

I actually bumped into this first-hand back in my college days - I was flipping through an ADC map and noticed a road way in the middle of nowhere named "Pink Floyd Road". So, of course, my buddy and I decided to drive out there to see whether *ahem* one of the street signs might have fallen off the post. Alas, after 45 minutes of driving in circles around corn fields we conceded defeat and went home.

Re:Copyright is copyright (2, Informative)

RR (64484) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606276)

it's not like you can go grab a recently printed score of Bach, scan it and put it on the web. Although Bach's work may not be covered by copyright, the particular printing you're copying probably is.
My understanding of copyright law is that it requires a certain amount of creativity before something is considered copyrightable.

My understanding is that a lot of music, especially older than Classical period pieces, do involve a bit of creative work. The source materials are highly fragmentary: They were written before copyright was widespread, and the most widely published (and complete) editions are buggy. Even the authors had conflicting editions, as they had to compose for what instruments were available rather than The Vision of the Reasoning Man with a paying popular audience, and they had misprints. Earlier pieces, especially, were often not written until somebody in the 19th Century decided they were worth preserving (especially folk music), or the manuscripts were considered worthless and discarded (like a lot of Bach's work), or the only copies were destroyed in some random church fire (I'm thinking Schutz).

Any reasonably scholarly edition printed today will have an extensive story about which source manuscripts they used, how they adapted them to modern typographic conventions, what did they change because the editor thought it was a typo, where the ossia come from, and any other details. I think they're mostly found as compilations of, like, 12 Sonatas for Solo Flute from Telemann, or Organ Music by Bach including the entire Trio Sonatas and Orgelbuchlein and several more pieces.

Any purely performance edition will have the editor, the composer of the bass realization, the composer who filled in the whatever number of measures that were lost to history or never composed (think Christopher Tolkien but worse source material), and whomever else was involved in the adaptation. Performance editions often deviate in interesting ways from scholarly editions. They're also much easier to find in stores and libraries, often adapted to instruments that the composer never saw or heard.

The obvious solution is to find the piece that you want on paper (or practice enough to compose or improvise credibly), and if necessary adapt it to your instrument. If you read the liner notes on any reasonably scholarly performance recording, they often describe which sources they used, and how they filled in the missing pieces themselves, largely because they're experts showing off, but probably partially because they can't risk the copyrights.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

0v3rj0y3d (1009739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607398)

My understanding of copyright law is that it requires a certain amount of creativity before something is considered copyrightable.
I have a fairly major credibility issue with that statement. Could you cite some sources for your assertion? - (Not including music publishers, of course)

Re:Copyright is copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16612310)

One big problem with classic vocal scores is that many times they have english translations in them. The english translation is what
the publisher can hold you up on. Schermier produces many cheap scores of public domain works by dead white europeans, but pretty much they all have both the original words and english translations printed on the same page. Schermier charges a license fee to opera companies to use
their english translations.

So It might be possible to buy a Schermier score, white out the english translations and then scan and publish the original language only, but
it is not very practicle.

Opera Company Executive Director

Re:Copyright is copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16603390)

You very erroneously assume that a score is just a score. However, for a single piece of music you can find a wide number of different scores for it--these are called 'arrangements'. It takes a lot of time and effort to rework a piece for a different size orchestra than the one it was originally composed for, or to modify it so it can be performed in a shorter timespan. It's pretty clear you don't know much about music or musical notation.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603556)

The only sane thing you could do is get out your favourite paint program (not score program, they probably copyright the output of it) and draw your own score

Try LilyPond [lilypond.org] : "music notation for everyone."

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 7 years ago | (#16613908)

Thanks. It looks hard to use - but free is better than $hundreds for Finale and Sibelius and it looks like it gives more control.
I'd mod you Informative if I had any mod points now!

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603998)

Couldn't we make some sort of OCR program for music that could scan in the music, and turn it into an actual representation of the notes, and then print that such that it contains the notes, but doesn't contain a scan of the actual copyrighted material It would make it a lot easier to pass the music around if it was just a bunch of notes rather than a huge JPG or tiff. You could probably even feed the file to a midi player and listen to the song.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16604462)

Basically what you just said was: can't we make an automatic process to turn a non-machine-readable document into a machine-readable document. And the answer almost always is: no, we can't. But I've got a better idea. Instead of OCR, let's just scan 1% of the document into an image. That's fair use right? Ok, so now lets set up a website where we show that 1% to budding young musicians and get them to play it with their midi hardware. Once 10 people have played the same piece of music, let's compare the results. The most uncommon result we'll drop, the rest we'll average together. Ok, now throw away that 1% of the document and scan in another 1%. Eventually we'll get the whole piece.

Re:Copyright is copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16605216)

Programs that turn sheet music scans into MIDI have been around for quite some time. The one I used to use (sorry, forget the name) did so with very little fussing as I recall. I used it to create a "tape" of sorts of my solo pieces in high school so I could get them in my head more quickly.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

honkycat (249849) | more than 7 years ago | (#16610658)

And now you're all part of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement instead of simple copyright infringement!

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

treeves (963993) | more than 7 years ago | (#16613998)

There is such software but it costs $hundreds and the OCR part is TERRIBLE! I'm talking about Sibelius - a good music notation program, and Photoscore (IIRC), it's awful OCR companion. You can download a demo version and try it for yourself. I did, and that's why I have the opinion I have.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

adrianmonk (890071) | more than 7 years ago | (#16605372)

The only sane thing you could do is get out your favourite paint program (not score program, they probably copyright the output of it) and draw your own score,

If you want to typeset a score and avoid having the software place restrictions on the output, there is no need to resort to the pain of using a paint program! Just use some software like MusiXTeX [jpn.org] .

As a matter of fact, it appears that some people have already been doing this and making available some free sheet music. They have an archive [icking-music-archive.org] , and it seems to have lots of stuff in it. For example, just look at what they have for J.S. Bach [icking-music-archive.org] . (As soon as my printer finishes, I'm about to go annoy my neighbors with some Prelude and Fugue in D minor.)

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16605470)

That's cool, thanks. I suggested they use a paint program simply because something like you suggested is probably a LOT too hard for most musicians to use.. so they're likely to be tempted to use a proprietary program, which despite what the people who replied to my original post will tell you, often do make claims on their output.. for example, they often use custom fonts, which are copyrighted, and therefore you don't have the right to redistribute works written using those fonts.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16605972)

What I generally do is translate somebody else's midi file in Sibelius, and then re save it as a midi, and then print that midi in Finale. I'm pretty sure that means nobody can have any part of my copyright, since I'm completely rewriting the whole score twice, with heavy editing.

rhY

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

CoughDropAddict (40792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16618162)

So what are you going to do, track down an ancient piece of parchment and scan that?

For Bach, there is luckily a very old but reputable edition called Bach Gesellschaft [wikipedia.org] . It was published between 1851 and 1900.

(not score program, they probably copyright the output of it)

IANAL, but this is no more likely than MS Word copyrighting the output of your essays, or Photoshop copyrighting your pictures.

Just be sure to note that you're not claiming copyright over the public domain work, otherwise your copyright will be easily challenged. Putting the whole thing into the public domain might be possible.. although I suppose you could be sued for negligence if you made a mistake in your transcription.

This is nothing but speculation.

Re:Copyright is copyright (5, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601786)

If published before 1923. . .

Like Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.

In short, almost none of it can be legally scanned *and distributed*.

And in any case, he doesn't actually want scans, even if he doesn't know that. What he wants is music that has been digitally encoded in a free and open standard, so that there are readers the can interepret and print it.

The basically means ABC and Lilypond files:

http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/abc/ABC-FAQ.html [mit.edu]

http://lilypond.org/web/ [lilypond.org]

KFG

Music is PDF. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16601948)

"And in any case, he doesn't actually want scans, even if he doesn't know that. What he wants is music that has been digitally encoded in a free and open standard, so that there are readers the can interepret and print it."

Wow! You mean that music symbols are closed and proprietary? Whew! Good thing we caught it, before it was too late.

Re:Music is PDF. (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16604874)

Wow! You mean that music symbols are closed and proprietary?

Of course not, that's why he wants ABC/Lilypond files - so he can have freshly typeset standard notation sheet from human readable and editable source notation instead of crappy scans of degraded hundred year old sheet (because while the source material may be in the public domain, recent printed editions are not) - with midifiles for performance reference thrown in as a bonus.

KFG

Re:Copyright is copyright (2, Informative)

WowTIP (112922) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603822)

Lilypond and Mutopia [mutopiaproject.org] should keep him busy for a while...

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

supasam (658359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601798)

Almost none? Like Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, lets just say a shit load of classic kick-ass, right?

I don't know about brass music, but it seems like SOMETHING should be available. Maybe someone can come up with a sheet-wiki?

MIDI to the rescue (2, Informative)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602762)

Here's a limited solution.

Find a midi file, import it into garageband, change view to score/notation, print.

Re:MIDI to the rescue (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603082)

Many MIDI files, due to limitations of score-to-MIDI converters, are missing many things. Lilypond lacks support for exporting slurs and glissandi, and as far as I know the MIDI format doesn't even support aleatorism (notated in scores with a wavy line) or detailed instructions for the performers.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602216)

Your information is correct, although it makes me wonder why there hasn't been any torrent sites that specialize in sheet music. Surely there would be a sizeable user base for such a thing.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607424)

A sad reflection on society? At least there is still a huge market for books.

Re:Copyright is copyright (1)

Marsala (4168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602750)

I don't think he's looking for something that's necessarily free. And even if he isn't, I'm not.

The fact is that there's nothing analgous to iTunes for sheet music. If you want the music for a contemporary song, then you're stuck having to purchase a whole book filled with other songs just to get the one you're after. Same situation as buying a cd used to be in 1998 was.

While I'm not so hot on paying $20 for a book of 20 songs when I'm only interested in one, paying $1 20 times for 20 songs I do want and could go fetch whenever the impulse struck would be awesome. While it probably won't be a billion dollar a year service, it'd still be better for both hobbyists like me and copyright holders if they could sell their wares more efficiently.

You *can* do it yourself. (1)

hedronist (233240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603372)

I wrote the first post in this sequence, but I feel like I missed an opportunity to talk about how you *can* actually do something like this. I have a good friend, Sarge Gerbode, who, although an apparently mild-mannered man, keeps causing fusses whereever he goes. First he did it by being one of the first persons to stand up to the Church of Scientology *and win in court* (no mean feat), then he did it in the world of Lute Music.

Lute Music? Yeah, lute music. At his site (http://gerbode.net/) you can find over 3,000 lute songs (the front page says 2,000, but I just did an quick scan) that he has transcribed to Fronimo 2 & 3 and TAB (tablature formats) plus PDF and MIDI. Many of these he copied from the original manuscripts in European libraries. He's been at this for quite a few years now.

Since the transcriptions are his own, he holds copyright to them. This isn't easy, but it's a labor of love for him. Obviously, others could do this in other genres, but it takes a fair bit of commiment.

Re:Copyright is copyright (3, Insightful)

kaliphonia (1018908) | more than 7 years ago | (#16604526)

Actully there are sites like iTunes for sheet music. http://www.musicnotes.com/ [musicnotes.com] has been around for about 7 or 8 years now and has been working on the iTunes model since before iTunes even existed. They have over 50,000 legally available sheet music downloads avaialable - almost all popular music. If you can't find it there, you probably won't find it anywhere. Plus, you can download individual songs and are not forced to buy a full book (although if you want to buy the book, they sell those as well). Hope this clears things up.

Re: lilypond music repository (1)

HelloKitty (71619) | more than 7 years ago | (#16610328)

theres always the lilypond music...
http://www.mutopiaproject.org/ [mutopiaproject.org]

MusicNotes (4, Informative)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601644)

www.musicnotes.com [musicnotes.com] is not free, but the site is pretty slick and to my knowledge is the largest online sheet music retailer. They do have some free sheet music, and they have a browser plugin that lets you preview (and play) the music.

Check Here (5, Informative)

Who235 (959706) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601718)

This looks interesting [dmoz.org]

I think you should be able to find something here.

BTW, GIYF.

Re:Check Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16607306)

BTW, GIYF.

WTF does that mean? Google it, you fucker?

Re:Check Here (1)

ZooDog (714750) | more than 7 years ago | (#16608300)

I had to look it up. Google is your Friend [google.com] .

A library? (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601750)

I mean, I'm just guessing here. But I'd go to a music library.

Re:A library? (1)

Gribflex (177733) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603282)

Actually -- that's a pretty good place to look.
The poster did ask for digital copies - but assuming that s/he would be willing to do the work of scanning/copying the music a Library is a great resource. Most Universities that have a music program will also have a good library of sheet music.

Torrents (2, Informative)

Conception (212279) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601802)

Though, not particularly legal, there are sheet music torrent sites out there. I don't really want to name them, obviously, but if you do some research you can find them.

Mutopia (5, Informative)

lobotomy (26260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601824)

Try Mutopia [mutopiaproject.org] . Quote:
All music in the Mutopia Project is free to download, print out, perform and distribute. There are now 756 pieces of music available!

Try Mutopia (4, Informative)

brownsteve (673529) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601892)

I've found some goodies at the Mutopia Project [mutopiaproject.org] . This website has many out-of-copyright pieces that have been typeset by volunteers and uploaded for all to use. Music is available in PDF, MIDI, and LilyPond [lilypond.org] (an open-source Finale-ish format).

Re:Try Mutopia (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16605996)

Let me assure you I have attempted Lillypond and there is nothing Finaleish about it. Except of course that Finale ALSO sucks compared to Sibelius.

Not having a decent FOSS score writing program is really discouraging. It seems like it would be a very easy kind of program to write, and would benefit a lot of poorer musicians, both in impoverished areas here in the US, and for impoverished musicians in the third world.

Having a few good OLPCs and a decent music editing program could really improve music literacy all over, if you wanted to get even more serious.

rhY

Library? (1)

non-poster (529123) | more than 7 years ago | (#16601940)

I know this doesn't answer your question, but I don't believe there is anything stopping a person from walking to their local library, borrowing a book with the music printed in it, and scanning it.

I won't even try to guess at the legality/morality of this.

I've found a legal loophole. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16602010)

Scans [blogspot.com] are easy to make legally, as long as it's for eductional purposes.

The Sheet Music Archive (5, Informative)

JonLatane (750195) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602092)

The Sheet Music Archive [sheetmusicarchive.net] , ugly as their site may be, has a TON of good public domain, classical music available for free download. They limit your downloads per day with a cookie, but I think a clever-minded individual like yourself could get around that (and if you're not clever, in Firefox, Tools->Options...->Privacy->Show Cookies, search for sheetmusicarchive.net and delete whatever is there). I've used them for years in my piano studies.

Re:The Sheet Music Archive (1)

osgeek (239988) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602310)

You'd think that they could just mirror the site to a few places... or maybe let Google cache the pdfs.

Sheet music sites (2, Informative)

fiferjim (948078) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602108)

I use a few sites for sheet music, but mainly http://www.sheetmusicarchive.net/ [sheetmusicarchive.net] and http://www.dlib.indiana.edu/variations/scores/ [indiana.edu] . A lot of music publishing companies (Dover's a good example) publish facsimile editions, and keep them in the public domain. So that's where these sites get a lot of their music.

Sheet Music Archive (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16602194)

http://www.sheetmusicarchive.net/ [sheetmusicarchive.net] hosts a ton of free sheet music, but limits you to 2 downloads per day. You can purchase a CD containing the entire archive for $20 USD, however.

Choral music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16602196)

Maybe not specifically what you're looking for, but the Choral Public Domain Library: http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page [cpdl.org] is a good source for free classical choral music online.

Some ideas... (5, Informative)

CyberZCat (821635) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602198)

http://www.8notes.com/ [8notes.com] looks promising they're free at least. If you want more recent songs, you'll usually have to pay to download them from commercial sites, but you can save and print them right away after paying. http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/ [sheetmusicplus.com] is a good example.

Another thing you can do is find a midi of what you want to play (use a midi search engine: http://www.musicrobot.com/ [musicrobot.com] or http://www.vanbasco.com/midisearch.html [vanbasco.com] ) and open in a sequencer and print the track(s) you want. Anvil Studio is a free program which can do this. http://www.anvilstudio.com/ [anvilstudio.com]

There's (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602314)

There's a fair amount of misery in the comments for this Ask /.


It's a bit like Oscar's Orchestra [toonhound.com] ... ._. What's the world coming to?

Another "Not Quite, But..." (1)

thepropain (851312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602344)

Wrong section of the orchestra, perhaps, but Power Tab (http://www.power-tab.net/ [power-tab.net] ) renders guitar tablatures as sheet music. Also imports MIDI. The program's free, but last I checked the legality of most of the guitar tab sites was in question...

icking, etc. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16602386)

The largest collection of sheet music I have seen on the Internet is the Werner Icking Music Archive, at http://icking-music-archive.org/ [icking-music-archive.org] . http://imslp.org/ [imslp.org] also has a decent collection, as well as Mutopia, which has been previously linked.

CPDL (1)

vandy1 (568419) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602596)

Try the Choral Public Domain Library [cpdl.org] , which has 8301 scores that a free to use (and counting). Of course, the fact that it's PD music means that there's nothing prior to 1923... But that works well enough for me, Purcell et al died many, many years ago :)

Cheers,

Michael

Buy a good edition (1)

dimension6 (558538) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602646)

I've played classical my whole life, and recently tried to find some music online for free. There is some material available, but what I've seen doesn't yet come close to a good edition (Barenreiter, Henle, etc.). If you're going to be spending more than a few hours on the pieces, then you should invest in a good (and probably copyrighted) edition. Unless you're sightreading for a gig or something, you'll probably be spending countless hours with the music you buy, so the cost is low for the amount of time you'll use it. Another advantage with a copy you purchase is that it will last longer than a copy on inkjet paper (and unbound). Preserving all your markings are very important (at least it was for me as a violinist). If you're looking to use music just for fun, then try a music library, if you have one around.

Maybe we could host some? (2, Interesting)

Ankh (19084) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602818)

I experimentally put a couple of pages of sheet music on fromoldbooks.org [fromoldbooks.org] yesterday. I'm not sure how useful they are, but I'm contemplating adding a lot more out-of-copyright sheet music.

I'd be willing to host good quality scans from other people, too, but it has to be demonstrably out of copyright -- I'm not interested in "legal loopholes" here. I'd suggest using 1200dpi greyscale and then adjusting "curves" to make a clear, sharp image. Both the music and the typeset score must be out of copyright, as well as the lyrics. In the US and Canada this is generally easy to determine, but for music produced in other countries it can be arbitrarily difficult; anything printed before 1820 or so is pretty safe though.

This doesn't really help the original poster very much unless I happen to have some specific piece of music, of course!

Choral public domain library (1)

dborod (26190) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602842)

The Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL) is a repository of editions of music in the public domain. www.cpdl.org/

Just down the street (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#16602846)

Where is a decent repository of free sheet music?

Easy - try you local Public Library. Heck, you can probably search their catalog online, just to maintain that required eek element,

Free-Scores.com (2, Informative)

dilbert627 (561671) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603296)

http://www.free-scores.com/index_uk.php3 [free-scores.com] This is the best resource I've found. The quality on some is better than others, but they have a pretty good selection of classical pieces.

What I'm really looking for... (3, Informative)

Crymson4 (1018850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603458)

Ok, perhaps I wasn't overly clear in the original post - what I'm really looking for are some Trumpet solo pieces that are Renaissance period. I'm active in the SCA (medieval re-enactment) and while I know that the trumpet wasn't present in its current form, it's what I know how to play. So, I'd like to find some period pieces that I cna play by myself. Most of the classical stuff I find is for strings, or full arrangements for an orchestra. I'm interested simply in trumpet solo pieces. Does that help narrow it down any? Thanks for the replies so far!

Re:What I'm really looking for... (1)

vandy1 (568419) | more than 7 years ago | (#16604000)

Well, plugging "trumpet public domain" into Google gets me a page of trumpet pieces from the mutopia project [mutopiaproject.org] , but the thing is the most prolific authors of trumpet pieces were not renaissance - and the later ones are, by most people, considered far more grandiose. I would instead recommend you visit a conservatorium library to find what you want.

Cheers,

Michael

Re:What I'm really looking for... (1)

Crymson4 (1018850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16604196)

Interesting find, thank you! That's been helpful. I'll expand my search, and see what I can come up with.

Re:What I'm really looking for... (1)

sheldonb (68034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16605088)

Have you checked out the SCA Medieval and Renaissance Music Homepage:
http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/music.html [pbm.com]

Re:What I'm really looking for... (1)

braindrainbahrain (874202) | more than 7 years ago | (#16610126)

I have not been active in music for a while now, but when I played renaissance music on the recorder, a friend of mine was downloading MIDI files by the boatload of renaissance pieces for the cornetto, the ancient ancestor of modern horns. He would then convert the MIDI to a printable score.

Perhaps it's easier to find the MIDI file of a piece you're looking for than the actual score?

Re:What I'm really looking for... (1)

gymell (668626) | more than 7 years ago | (#16611004)

I'm not into the SCA myself, but I am into early music including early brass. There aren't going really to be trumpet solos from the Renaissance for a couple of reasons. For one thing, much of the secular instrumental music (aside from keyboard and lute) prior to the Baroque period wasn't notated, because music notation was still developing and many people couldn't read music. The invention of the printing press certainly helped in that regard, but that music tended to be geared more toward vocal, sacred, or polyphonic instruments and/or ensembles. So much of non-keyboard/lute solo instrumental music probably wasn't written down or published, it was more likely to be improvised.


And there wasn't really a concept of "solo trumpet" as you're thinking of it - it was definitely more of an ensemble instrument, particularly because it didn't have the capability to be a solo instrument without having valves. The first true solo I can think of for trumpet is the Bach 2nd Brandenburg, much later than the time period you are looking for. Bach must have known some amazing trumpet players - if you hear that piece played on period instruments it's really incredible.


A couple of suggestions - first ditch the trumpet for period music. A cornetto can be had for under $500 (http://www.jeremywest.co.uk/cmi/index.html). It looks nothing like a trumpet, but uses a brass mouthpiece and so is considered a brass instrument but with a much more subdued sound than a modern trumpet. It has recorder-like fingerings, and as a trumpet player you should be able to pick it up quite easily. It will go really well with the whole SCA environment, both visually and aurally.


Second, go the the Choral Public Domain library and find some pieces you like. Lively madrigals would probably work for what you are looking for. Take some of those melodies and adapt that for instrumental playing - add some ornamentation to make it more interesting. If you can get some fellow SCA'ers to join you with some percussion instruments, there you have it.


Another option is to go to your local university library (normal public library won't likely have a large selection) and look up Renaissance instrumental consort pieces. You might be able to adapt some of the parts to become more of a solo.


Also, do yourself a favor and find some good recordings by Ensemble Doulce Mémoire, Concerto Palatino, etc. Learn to appreciate the sound of early brass instruments.

Re:What I'm really looking for... (1)

Crymson4 (1018850) | more than 7 years ago | (#16611460)

Yeah, I've noticed that the traditional trumpet didn't exist, so I've been trying to find "brass" in general - not fanfareish, but things that I could make work. Your suggestion of the Cornetto is a good idea, I'll look in to that. Thanks for the rest of the great info!

Mutopia Project dot Org (1)

glavenoid (636808) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603586)

Doesn't have everything, yet...
http://www.mutopiaproject.org/ [mutopiaproject.org] Has quite a few public domain transcriptions of classical music. In many file formats to boot, eh!

Limewire (1)

tezbobobo (879983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603734)

It's not ethical but I've found that a lot of sheet music can be found on limewire.

Library of Congress collection (1)

clem.dickey (102292) | more than 7 years ago | (#16603742)

The Library of Congress has some American items online, here are the home page [loc.gov] and the music collection [loc.gov] .

Score (3, Informative)

bellyjean (1018896) | more than 7 years ago | (#16604140)

Pianofiles [pianofiles.com]

Gamingforce (1)

pianoben (993940) | more than 7 years ago | (#16605130)

www.gamingforce.com

Registration required, but once registered, the forum "The Concert Hall" under the heading "Gamingforce Audio" is *the* place to find interesting sheet music.

Also performance videos.

Torrent site (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16605300)

http://pianosheets.org/ [pianosheets.org]

Yay! (1)

Caspian (99221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16605322)

Bach warez!

Conservatives (1)

leonbrooks (8043) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606170)

Quoting your tagline:

--
With spending like this [twu.net/cct [twu.net] ], just what are "conservatives" conserving? (Homophobia?)

The answer is: Their own social positions.

Conserving homophobia would probably earn them too much money, as well. Like smoking, homosexuality can prove very expensive in, well, odd little ways. Too easy to justify mean/nasty stuff against the savings.

It's also a bit too definite for conservatives. Fingers can be pointed, innocence can be cast aside, scarey stuff. Especially because your own failings (whatever they are) will be next in the spotlight. Not conservative enough. They can get away with blaming the linked-to spending as circumstantial. For now.

Multiple Copyrights (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#16606934)

There are multiple copyrights in a piece of music.

The tune in itself is copyrighted, and the words (if there are any) exist under a separate copyright of their own. So you could, for instance, sing Hal David's words to a tune of your own invention and not owe Burt Bacharach anything. There was a fad in the 1980s to set new words to the tunes of advertising jingles, turning them into crappy love songs. And at least one record has had to be re-released with the words sung to a different tune; it was some sort of dance thing from the early 1990s that, as was the fashion of the time, borrowed an existing tune.

So that's potentially two copyrights. When a song is published as sheet music, it is eligible for another copyright because there is a creative step: that of expressing it in musical notation in such a way that it can actually be played on an instrument. (OK, you might not think it's particularly creative, but this is what the courts have decided over the years. Given a sufficiently persuasive argument, the courts might change their minds.) Bear in mind that some instruments have a limited compass, and even certain sequences of the available notes may not be physically possible due to mechanical constraints (e.g. on the harmonica, some notes are played by exhaling and some by inhaling. You can't repeat DFAF -- the notes of a Dm chord, and all "draw" notes - indefinitely). So there is arguably some skill in arranging a tune to "fit" an instrument.

Musical notation is, to all intents and purposes, a programming language (though not computationally complete according to Church and Turing). While there's no IP in a mathematical operation, a program which performs that mathematical operation is copyrightable. If someone re-implemented all the functionality of Microsoft Office in Python+GTK, they wouldn't be violating any copyright, because Microsoft's copyright only covers the original VisualBASIC (an educated guess; I'm not sure what language it was actually written in, but you know what I mean) source code and its compiled analogue.

So there are potentially three separate copyrights in a piece of music, before anyone even performs it ..... and when they do, any recording of the performance will be subject to a fourth copyright!

Werner Icking Music Archive (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16607046)

http://icking-music-archive.org/ [icking-music-archive.org]

hth

Sheet Music Consortium (2, Insightful)

sonsonete (473442) | more than 7 years ago | (#16607828)

You might check out the Sheet Music Consortium [ucla.edu] . This is an effort by music libraries at UC Los Angeles, Indiana University, Johns Hopkins University, and Duke University to digitize much of their public domain sheet music. Also includes links to other on-line sheet music.

midi files are sheet music (1)

Akatosh (80189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16608198)

Back in the day when midi's were popular I discovered that it was somewhat trivial to open up a midi file with a score based midi editor, transcribe whichever part I wanted to my instrument of choice and press 'print'. Midi files are common enough that you can easily find a midi of any song ever and they're not subject to legal problems like digital images of the actual score or mp3s.

blah blah copyright blah (2, Insightful)

mr din (1004285) | more than 7 years ago | (#16611138)

alt.binaries.sheet-music

Re:blah blah copyright blah (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#16612190)

The first rule of Usenet: you do not talk about usenet.

Public Domain Music (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16613614)

Well, I'm not sure about sheet music for instruments, but here's a public domain site for vocal music.

http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page [cpdl.org]
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