Scores to download

Written By: David Read Comments: 0

If you wanted to browse the score of a Beethoven or Brahms symphony, until now you probably had to visit a specialist music shop or one of those rare things, a music library.

This is no longer the case, following the opening of the IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library, which has 21,000 musical scores for free download. So whether you want to follow Mahler's score of his stormy 5th Symphony (Peters, 1904), check our the tricky bits of Mozart Requiem (Breitkopf & Härtel edition, EU only) or see the score of a Bach Cantata to play along in the chorales, you can download the scores at no cost.

Although not completely comprehensive, they've got the complete symphonies of Brahms, Bruckner, Dvorak, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens, Schumann, plenty of Berlioz, Borodin and complete editions of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. The opera repertoire is mainly represented by vocal scores, but plenty of full scores are there too.

Of particular interest to trombonists is the complete solo part and piano reduction for Rimsky Korsakov's Trombone Concerto.

As many people realise, copyright laws allow composers and publishers to profit from their works for only a limited period. Under UK law, a publication is protected until 70 years after the death of the composer, and a new engraving provides is protected for 25 years, but this leaves plenty of the original publications available. Due to differences in laws between Canada (where this site is based), US, UK and EU, some titles are illegal to download in some regions, and the website is generally clear which, if any, regions do not consider a work to be in the public domain.

The fledgling website was originally closed due to complaints from large musical publishers. However, this summer the site reopened, having received legal support from the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic to ascertain its legality.

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