If you cannot find here the music you are looking for, you might find it on one of the following sites hosting music under free licensing terms:
- The Mutopia Project
- Collection of sheet music published under the Creative Commons License, including a lot of high quality 19th century guitar music. They only accept music in Lilypond format.
- Great edition of all works of Victoria transcribed by Nancho Alvarez from the original 16th century prints. All editions may be used freely for public performances. Additionally there are online facsimiles of some original 16th century part books.
- The Choral Public Domain Library
- Worldwide largest collection of vocal music editions that I am aware of. Note that despite its name not all editions are freely usable, as the site also allows to post music editions under "all rights reserved" terms. So, before using a score from CPDL, make sure to always read the licensing terms printed on the scores.
- Manfreds Notenpool
- Editions of mostly romantic 19th century choir music transcribed by Manfred Hoessl from 19th century editions that he has found in the attic of his parish church.
- Free Sheetmusic from Johan Tufvesson
- A decent collection of rare 17th and 18th century chamber music, many of them not available in any other modern form.
- Laura Conrad's editions of early music. Most were arranged for her recorder ensembles, but as it is mostly vocal music, the site is of considerable interest to choirs as well. For didactic reasons she prefers to publish the music as partbooks.
More exhaustive lists of both free and commercial music archives on the internet can be found on
- www.notenseiten.de - a search engine for a selected set of download sites (in German)
- The Free Sheet Music Guide - a site full of obtrusive ads, but among its commented links some interesting and extraordinary sites are listed
An invaluable treasure of public domain music lies dormant in library archives. The following libraries make scans of their material available online:
- Saxonian State Library Dresden
- Its online library includes a number of manuscripts with baroque chamber music, most notably by Telemann. The manuscripts are mostly in modern notation and very legible, thereby allowing their direct use as performance material still today.
- The Royal Library of Denmark
- Its online library includes a lot of interesting rare music from the classical era (around 1800). Unfortunately, most of the earlier prints from before 1700 are incomplete (missing part books), but some are complete.
- The Music Library of Sweden
- This library has a number of interesting rare collections. Its online library includes the autographs of Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758), a Swedish baroque composer.
The music typesetting software that I use is probably not suited for everybody, because it has no point and click graphical editors, but requires the music to be coded in some ASCII encoding.
The programs differ in the ability of typesetting features and (somewhat related) in the complexity of the ASCII music code:
- This is the easiest to use program which is GPL licensed and based on the abc music notation. It currently supports however only one voice per staff, yet it is unique in its extensive support for tablature notation.
- This is a commercial (though inexpensive) program which allows a lot of output tweaking and supports more than one voice per staff. Its most serious drawback is that it is bar oriented, which can make it unsuitable for early music.