Skip to main content

Digital Scores: A Guide to Online Notated Music Sources: Introduction & Contents

Guide Updates

  • June 14, 2017: updated in MEI: RISM.
  • June 9, 2017: newly added: Digital Resources for Musicology (RL); Irish Traditional Music Archive, Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary (both STC); Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music; Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections (both SM); Boosey & Hawkes, Music Sales Classical (both in PV); updated in PV: J.W. Pepper: My Score.
  • June 8, 2017: newly added: International Harp Archives: Scores, Irish Sheet Music Archives (both STC); updated in PS: IMSLP.
  • June 6, 2017: newly added: LibraryMusicSource.com and MT-Katalog, Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig (both PS); International Guitar Research Archive (STC).
  • June 4, 2017: newly added: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (MLC); Hoagy Carmichael Collection (STC); IN Harmony: Sheet Music from Indiana (SM); updated in MLC: SLUB Dresden.

Last four updates displayed; for earlier postings, see the Other Resources & Update Archive tab.

About This Guide

This guide is very much a work in progress, begun in the summer of 2016 and launched in a presentation at the 2016 Rome meeting of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives, and Documentation Centres (IAML). The goal is to produce a selective list of digital score websites arranged in broad categories to facilitate access to and discovery of this expanding body of online material that comes to us from a diverse, disparate, and diverse body of sources. These include library digital initiatives, academic organizations, commercial publishers and vendors, aggregators and resource providers, creative commons repositories, and the websites of artist-composers.

Scope of content :

  • Free online access provided by institutions, rights-holders, or intermediary sources. Most of this material is in the public domain.
  • Fee-based access to content via institutional subscription or individual purchase.
  • The collective term "scores" has the broadest possible context (beyond standard musicological and bibliographic definitions), and casts a wide net to include all notated music in all formats, whether published or in manuscript, such as orchestral scores, vocal arrangements, choral literature, chamber music parts, piano music, liturgical chant, folk songs, transcriptions, jazz lead sheets, and manifold other options in all genres of music from all periods.

Criteria for inclusion:

  • Sites are currently maintained and curated.
  • There is a significant, critical mass of content, or the content is of exceptional importance or uniqueness.
  • The many smaller or very specialized online digital score collections not individually cited in this guide are included within various cited resource bibliographies or portals. They are listed alphabetically (with links) under Other Resources in the final tab of this guide.

Further notes:

  • As much as possible, header links point directly to the digital score content of a site, and often not to the website's homepage. These may be direct links from the site or fabricated links containing imbedded, preformatted searches that retrieve digital score content. From these landing points, users can then explore the retrieved content or take other paths to specific digital score content included within the resource. Some annotations contain additional links to specific score content or helpful lists. My goal has been to guide users as much as possible to the resource's digital score content rather than leaving them on their own to hunt it down from the website (sometimes requiring drilling down several layers and/or negotiating unfamiliar languages) or crafting searches (on sometimes unfriendly interfaces) that may lead to unsatisfactory or limited results.

Contact the Author

Darwin F. Scott
Senior Music Librarian

Arthur Mendel Music Library
Woolworth Center of Musical Studies
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1007
E-mail: dfscott@princeton.edu

Darwin F. Scott

 

This guide began developing in late-May 2016 for its inaugural June launch at the 2016 Rome IAML meeting.  It  grew substantially in October 2016 for an evening panel presentation by eight music librarians on digital scores at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is now expanding to its present form for a "year-later" status overview in late June at the 2017 IAML Congress in Riga.

I encourage recommendations from those consulting this guide for additional resources that meet the selection criteria as well as feedback for improving its utility and correcting inevitable errors or broken links. When submitting resources for consideration, please include URLs and a short justification for inclusion. Please note that there are still a number of identified sources to add to this guide and they will be filling the columns soon. By its very nature, this is a work in continuous development and constant revision, especially as the world of digital scores continues to grow. (June 6, 2017)