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International Music Score Library Project

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IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library

The IMSLP homepage as of May 2007
Type of siteMusic score library
RegistrationOptional (required for contributing)
Available language(s)Catalan, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
OwnerProject Petrucci LLC
Created byEdward W. Guo (Feldmahler)
LaunchedFebruary 16, 2006
Current statusReopened (June 30, 2008)
(Closed October 19, 2007 – June 29, 2008)

The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP), also known as the Petrucci Music Library after Ottaviano Petrucci, is a project for the creation of a virtual library of public domain music scores, based on the wiki principle. Since its launch on February 16, 2006, over 51,000 scores, for over 21,000 works, by over 2,800 composers have been uploaded, making it allegedly the largest public domain music score collection on the web.[1] The project uses MediaWiki software to provide contributors with a familiar interface.




The site launched on February 16, 2006. The library consists mainly of scans of old musical editions out of copyright. In addition, it admits scores by contemporary composers who wish to share their music with the world by releasing it under a Creative Commons license. One of the main projects of IMSLP was the sorting and uploading of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach in the Bach-Gesellschaft Ausgabe (1851–99), a task that was completed on November 3, 2008. Besides J.S. Bach's complete public domain works, all of Ludwig van Beethoven's, Frédéric Chopin's, Johannes Brahms's, Handel's, Corelli's, Faure's, Sibelius's, Schumann's, a large percentage of Franz Liszt's, and others are available as well.

Besides providing a digital repository, IMSLP offers possibilities as a musicological encyclopaedia, since multiple and historical editions of a single composition can be uploaded, and musicological analyses and historical commentaries accompany the scores.

IMSLP is officially recommended by MIT,[2][3] which also used it extensively in some of its OpenCourseWare courses.[4][5] It is suggested as a resource by the Sibley Music Library[6] and by libraries at other universities such as Stanford University,[7] University of California, Los Angeles, [8] Brown University,[9] University of Pennsylvania,[10] University of Wisconsin–Madison,[11] Oberlin Conservatory of Music,[12] Manhattan School of Music[13] University of Maryland,[14] University of Washington,[15] University of Cincinnati, [16] University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee,[17] Appalachian State University[18] in the US, McGill University[19] in Canada, University of Oxford, [20] University of Cambridge,[21] University of Edinburgh [22] University of Bristol [23] in the UK, University of Melbourne [24] in Australia, and others.


In 2009, IMSLP won the MERLOT Classics award for Music.[25] It was named one of the Top 100 Web Sites of 2009 (in the "Undiscovered" subsection) by PC Magazine.[26]

Closure and reopening

On October 19, 2007 the IMSLP closed following legal demands from Universal Edition of Vienna, Austria.[27] The cease and desist letter expressed concern that some works that are in public domain in the server's location in Canada with copyright protection of 50 years post-mortem, but which are protected by the 70 years post mortem term in some other countries, were available in those countries. The administrator of the website, known under the nickname Feldmahler, decided to close down the repository, but left the forums online so that discussions into the best way to proceed could be made:[28]

On Saturday October 13, 2007, I received a second Cease and Desist letter from Universal Edition. At first I thought this letter would be similar in content to the first Cease and Desist letter I received in August. However, after lengthy discussions with very knowledgeable lawyers and supporters, I became painfully aware of the fact that I, a normal college student, has neither the energy nor the money necessary to deal with this issue in any other way than to agree with the cease and desist, and take down the entire site. I cannot apologize enough to all IMSLP contributors, who have done so much for IMSLP in the last two years.

Feldmahler (project leader)

In response, director Michael S. Hart of Project Gutenberg offered support to keep the project online.[29] This offer was declined by Feldmahler, who voiced concern about having the project hosted in the United States, and consulted the Canadian wing of Project Gutenberg.[28] On November 2, 2007, Michael Geist, a prominent Canadian copyright academic, wrote an article for the BBC discussing the specifics and the wider implications of this case.[30]

This case is enormously important
from a public domain perspective.

IMSLP went back online on June 30, 2008. Since its reopening, IMSLP has been using a strict copyright policy, where uploaded files are only made accessible for download after the copyright status for three most frequent copyright regimes has been reviewed by staff members.

Current Operation

IMSLP states on its site[31]that it is owned by Project Petrucci LLC. Physical contact information is provided, listing only an address in the United States.

Similar projects

See also


  1. "Classical and Choral Sheet Music". The Free Sheet Music Guide. 2007. http://www.freesheetmusicguide.com/classical.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  2. Moore, Christie (2007-01-05). "Wiki of public domain classical scores". MIT Library News. http://news-libraries.mit.edu/blog/archives/354. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  3. "Research Guides: Music". MIT Libraries. 2008. http://libguides.mit.edu/content.php?pid=12401&sid=104163. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  4. MIT (2007). "21M.250 Schubert to Debussy, Fall 2006". MIT OpenCourseWare. http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Music-and-Theater-Arts/21M-250Fall-2006/Listening/index.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  5. MIT (2007). "21M.262 Modern Music:1900-1960, Fall 2006". MIT OpenCourseWare. http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/Music-and-Theater-Arts/21M-262Fall-2006/Listening/index.htm. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  6. "Request Public Domain Scores". Sibley Music Library. 2008. http://www.esm.rochester.edu/sibley/?page=request. Retrieved 2009-02-01. 
  7. "Outside links of interest". Stanford University, Libraries and Academic Information Resources. 2007. http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/music/research_help/outsidelinks.html#sheet. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  8. "UCLA Library / Music Library / Music Scores and Sheet Music Online". University of California Music Library. 2009. http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/music/12291.cfm. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  9. Quist, Ned (2007). "Selected internet resources for music". Brown University Library. http://dl.lib.brown.edu/gateway/program.php?programid=45&task=internet#32. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  10. "The Online Books Page: Archives and Indexes". Penn Libraries. 2009. http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/archives.html#music. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  11. "Resources: Scores (Printed Music) - Mills Music Library, UW–Madison". University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries. 2007. http://music.library.wisc.edu/resources/scores.html#online-scores. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  12. Conlib (2007-04-26). "Classical Music in the Public Domain". News from the Oberlin Conservatory Library. http://oberlinconservatorylibrary.blogspot.com/2007/04/classical-music-in-public-domain.html. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  13. Sharp, Peter Jay (2007). "Free stuff on the web". The Peter Jay Sharp Library, Manhattan School of Music. http://library.msmnyc.edu/screens/freestuff.html. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  14. "Finding Music Scores, UM Libraries". University of Maryland Libraries. 2007. http://www.lib.umd.edu/guides/scores.html#section4. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  15. "Musical Scores". University of Washington Libraries. 2007. http://www.lib.washington.edu/subject/Music/dr/elsco.html. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  16. "OnlineMusic". University of Cincinnati Albino Gorno Memorial Music Library. 2009. http://libraries.uc.edu/libraries/ccm/research/OnlineMusic.html. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  17. "Finding Online Scores". UWM Music Library. 2009. http://www.uwm.edu/Libraries/Music/online_scores.html. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  18. "Electronic Scores". Appalachian State University Library. 2009. http://www.library.appstate.edu/music/emusic.html. Retrieved 2009-01-28. 
  19. "Scores (online databases and indexes)". Marvin Duchow Music Library, McGill. 2007. http://www.mcgill.ca/music-library/collections/links/onlinescores/. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
  20. "Useful Links - Music Faculty Library". Music Faculty Library. 2008. http://www.ouls.ox.ac.uk/music/eresources/links. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  21. "Faculty of Music: Pendlebury Library - Online Resources". Pendlebury Library of Music. 2007. http://www.mus.cam.ac.uk/external/pendlebury/wwwresources.html. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  22. "Edinburgh University Library: Resources By Subject: Music Databases, E-Journals, Search Tools & Websites". Edinburgh University Library. 2008. http://www.lib.ed.ac.uk/resbysub/music_dbs.shtml. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  23. "Bristol University / Information Services / Internet links". Bristol University Library. 2009. http://www.bris.ac.uk/is/library/subjects/music/internetlinks/. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  24. "VCA / LENTON PARR LIBRARY / Music / Websites". Lenton Parr Library. 2009. http://www.vca.unimelb.edu.au/Content.aspx?topicID=581. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 
  25. "MERLOT Awards: Exemplary Learning Materials". MERLOT. 2009. http://taste.merlot.org/MERLOTAwards/2009awards.html. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  26. "The Top 100 Web Sites of 2009 - Undiscovered: Info - Reviews by PC Magazine". PC Magazine. 2009-07-27. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2350565,00.asp. Retrieved 2009-08-25. 
  27. Clark, Ken (2007-10-05). "Cease and Desist Letter from Universal Edition AG" (PDF). Aird & Berlis LLP. http://imslpforums.org/Second%20U-E%20Cease%20and%20Desist%20Letter.pdf. Retrieved 2007-10-20. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 Feldmahler (2007-10-19). "Open letter". http://imslp.on-wiki.net/Open_letter. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  29. Hart, Michael (2007-10-23). "Re: Three quick links on digitizations and their constraints". Book People mailing list. http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/bparchive?year=2007&post=2007-10-23,2. Retrieved 2007-12-29. 
  30. Geist, Michael (2007-11-02). "The day the music died". BBC News. http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/mpapps/pagetools/print/news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7074786.stm. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  31. "IMSLP-About - IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music". http://imslp.org/wiki/IMSLP:About. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 

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