Finding scores and sheet music

By Feb.17, 2017

Need to find scores and sheet music via the Library? Joanna tells you how.

Finding printed music in the Library

The Library holds over 2000 printed music items, most of which can be borrowed. They are shelved on the ground floor in Clifford Whitworth Library, or in our store.  Use Library Search to look up what you want and find its location. If an item is in store, use the Request option in Library Search and we will retrieve it for you.  It will usually be available for collection the following working day.

If we don’t have what you need, you can ask us to try to get it for you. We will buy it to add to our stock, or borrow it from another library, just remember it may take us a couple of weeks to get hold of it for you


Other places to look for scores-

Henry Watson Music Library

A huge collection of books and printed music held at Manchester Central Library. You can use the collection as a guest, or join the Library if you live in Manchester.

Finding printed music online

There are lots of useful websites providing access to scores.  However, please be aware that copyright law usually limits access to newer material – see the Copyright note below on UK Law.

IMSLP Petrucci Music Library

A great resource containing over 100,000 works, by over 14,000 composers. (Ignore or close the rather distracting ads towards the top of the page)

Choral Domain Public Library

Over 20,000 scores of choral and vocal works. You can search for scores by category (eg. madrigals), by composer, or by title.

Mutopia Project

Free sheet music arranged by composer, instrument or style.

Music Treasures Consortium

Brings together the collections of significant music libraries (mostly North American) including access to digital images of original (manuscript) scores.

Sheet Music Consortium

A research tool that allows you to search over 20 music collections and archives for sheet music. (When searching you may want to restrict your search to digitized sheet music, so your results only include music that is available online).

Music societies and other websites

Significant composers, or particular music genres often have an associated Societies or organisations whose websites can be a rich source of information, including access to scores. Examples include Web Library of Seventeenth Century Music, Chopin Online Catalog, Bach Digital, Broadside Ballads online

For traditional music it’s worth checking out ITMA (Irish Traditional Music Archive) and Full English (English folk songs, dance & customs archive).

Guides to finding scores & sheet music

Yale University Library has an excellent guide to finding scores online, that is well worth exploring, although it has a North American focus.

The Free Sheet Music Guide outlines how to get hold of music to play in all sorts of genres, including pop and rock. (But please be aware of copyright restrictions).


Copyright note

UK copyright law provides protection to a work for 70 years from the death of the author/composer. (For works with more than one author/composer the protection applies for 70 years from the death of the last surviving creator).  UK law also protects the “typographical arrangement” (the publishers version of the work) for 25 years.

There is excellent advice and guidance for Musicians regarding copyright at

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