How to search music scores on the Internet

Music, Scores

The Internet is a huge library; getting lost or “beat around the bush” is easy. So here are these tips for searching sheet music as accurately as possible. Keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, not everything is found on the Internet. It is possible to find a lot of information (useful or useless, it’s up to everyone), but it can be frustrating or disappointing if the score you are looking for cannot be found; it may not exist. In that case, I propose to enrich the Internet and write the score yourself, later sharing it with the world through cyberspace.

1. You must know what you are looking for

 “Cheshire Puss,” […] “Come, it’s pleased so far,” thought Alice, and she went on. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where—” said Alice. “Then it doesn’t matter which way you go” said the Cat.

Have you read Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll? The scene cited is a clear example of a meaningless search. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, “then it doesn’t matter which way you go” in your search.

2. Add the words “Music Score” or “Sheet Music”

Get to the point. Specify in your search that what you want is a sheet with notes. This way you eliminate the possible videos, audios, books, biographies, and everything you are NOT looking for.

Remember that in English there are many ways to refer to a music score: Sheet Music, Music Score, Partiture, etc.

3. Know the name of the composer you are looking for.

It doesn’t matter that you don’t know exactly the spelling of the name, the search engines interpret what you wanted to write and suggest an approach.

In this search, the DuckGoGo search engine corrected my error typing the name Beethoven.

4. Know the name of the Musical Work you are looking for.

As you must guess, it does not matter that you do not know exactly the writing (do not worry if it is in another language). You will be more likely to find the works by name.

5. Instrumentation

If you specify the instrument for which you want the score, you will help the search engines to give you a better result.

6. Equation of success in the search for scores

Musical score, Musical work, Composer, Instrument

If you specify those words in your search (the order does not matter), the probability that you will find what you are looking for will be very high, even if you do not know exactly the full name of the composer or the full name of the work.

My example in spanish

7. Use the Scores Specialized Pages search engines

Sites like Mutopia Project or Petrucci Music Library have a search engine in sight. Using them helps filter the results and brings you closer in your search, and they can give you similar suggestions.

Two entries have already been published on this site, one with a list of pages specialized in classical music and the other with a list of pages specialized in Japanese animated music.

Can you think of another tip to improve your search for sheet music?

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