Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Scores online

I have been using the recently, the International Music Score Library Project. Thousands of scores (85,000 and counting) of classical music have been scanned and cataloged and are available for download. A disclaimer makes me acknowledge that I'm aware of copyright issues; it makes no claim that these are copy-right-free documents.

The project is described in today's Times.

I used it most recently to remind myself of the fourth movement of Beethoven's string quartet, opus 18, no 1, for a review I was writing for What a great tool! Does it rip off the publisher? I don't think so: I'm generally of the opinion that the more we have out there, the more we'll want out there: that is, the more is available for free study and practice and, yes, even performance (the Borromeo Quartet uses digital scores), the more demand will increase for printed scores and parts.

What do you think?


Tammela said...

I agree with you, Nick. I love IMSLP. It's such a great resource, especially from the research point of view. If you're writing a paper from home and not near a library of music scores, it's great to be able to download a movement or entire piece and analyze to your heart's content. Plus, most people who play the music still get hard copies for their music stands. Thus, I don't see publishers losing too much money.

cliang said...

I like Imslp! But I believe it hurts sales. I print most of my music from Imslp instead of buying a book or checking out a book from the library. It is unreasonable to carry a (heavy/huge) book around if I only need a few pages in it. I know that some people don't like the editions on Imslp or they feel more comfortable using a book. So they check out the music from the library. But I guess most students print their music from Imslp.

Nick said...

Chen: That's very illuminating, that most (Con?) students print their music. Even with that great Con library right in the building. Portability is pretty important, as well as cost.

Chen said...

Oh yes, and the free print allowence in Oberlin is another impulse of many con students' printing their music. But I think people start to pay attention to copyright issues. There are some scores on IMSLP that are unavailable for downloading in the U.S. and the U.K, especially that of the music written after 1920.