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Guide to Digital Scores: Introduction & Contents

Guide Updates

  • Oct. 22, 2016: newly added: Internet Culturale (MLC); Schubert Online and Schumann Autographs (University Library, Bonn) (both to MEI); updated in SC: Virtual Music Rare Book Room; updated in SM: Sheet Music Consortium, World War I Sheet Music (LC), Yiddish American Popular Sheet Music (LC), Yiddish Sheet Music (Brown)
  • Oct. 19, 2016: newly added: and My Score (J. W. Pepper) (both CAMJ).
  • Sept. 18, 2016: newly added: Trove (National Library of Australia), Juilliard Manuscript Collection, The Morgan Library & Museum, Saxon State and University Library Dresden. Music and Theatre Library of Sweden (all MLC); Josquin Research Project (MCE); updated in MLC: Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Sibley Music Library.
  • Aug. 26, 2016: newly added: Digital Sheet Music Archives, launched same date (RL); Ignaz Pleyel Early Editions (M&EI); Digital Library of Slovenia, Polona (both MLC); African American Sheet Music (SC); Carl Nielsen Edition (MCE).

Last three 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 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 creative 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 individual purpose (by individuals) or by institutional subscription.
  • 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, links point to the digital score content of a site, and often not the website's homepage. These may be direct links from the site or links containing imbedded, preformatted searches that retrieve digital score content. From these, users can explore other ways to explore the digital score content included within the resource.

Contact the Author

Darwin F. Scott
Senior Music Librarian

Arthur Mendel Music Library
Woolworth Center of Musical Studies
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544-1007

Darwin F. Scott


This guide began developing in late-May 2016 and remains in a beta stage, although it will be growing rapidly through the rest of October in preparation for an evening panel presentation by eight music librarians (Thursday, November 3)  on digital scores at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Musicological Society in Vancouver, British Columbia. I happily welcome recommendations for additional resources that meet the selection criteria as well as feedback for improving its utility and correcting errors or broken links. When submitting resources for consideration, please include URLs and a short justification for inclusion. Please note that there are many resources already identified to add to this guide and they will be filling the guide soon. By it's very nature, this is a work in continuous development. (Oct. 17, 2016).