International Music Score Library Project

International Music Score Library Project

Infobox Website
name = International Music Score Library Project

caption = The IMSLP homepage as of May 2007
url = []
commercial = No
type = Music score library
language = Catalan, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
registration = Optional (required for contributing)
owner = IMSLP community
author = Feldmahler
launch date = February 16, 2006
current status = Reopened (June 30, 2008)
(Closed October 17, 2007 – June 29, 2008)

The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) 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, more than 21,000 scores, for 12,000 works, by over 1,200 composers have been uploaded, making it one of the largest public domain music score collections on the web. [cite web |url= |title=Classical and Choral Sheet Music |accessdate=2007-11-06 |date=2007 |work=The Free Sheet Music Guide ] 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 is the sorting and uploading of the complete works of Johann Sebastian Bach in the Bach-Gesellschaft Ausgabe (1851–99). Besides J.S. Bach's, Frédéric Chopin's and Franz Liszt's nearly complete oeuvre is available on IMSLP.

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, [cite web |url= |title=Wiki of public domain classical scores |accessdate=2007-11-06 |author=Moore, Christie |date=2007-01-05 |work=MIT Library News ] [cite web |url= |title=Research Guides: Music |accessdate=2008-09-04 |date=2008 |work=MIT Libraries ] which also used it extensively in some of its OpenCourseWare courses. [cite web |url= |title=21M.250 Schubert to Debussy, Fall 2006 |accessdate=2007-11-06 |author=MIT |date=2007 |work=MIT OpenCourseWare ] [cite web |url= |title=21M.262 Modern Music:1900-1960, Fall 2006 |accessdate=2007-11-06 |author=MIT |date=2007 |work=MIT OpenCourseWare ] It is suggested as a resource by university libraries at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, [cite web |url= |title=Classical Music in the Public Domain |accessdate=2008-09-04 |author=Conlib |date=2007-04-26 |work=News from the Oberlin Conservatory Library ] Manhattan School of Music [cite web |url= |title=Free stuff on the web |accessdate=2008-09-04 |author=Sharp, Peter Jay |date=2007 |work=The Peter Jay Sharp Library, Manhattan School of Music ] Stanford University, [cite web |url= |title=Outside links of interest |accessdate=2008-09-04 |date=2007 |work=Stanford University, Libraries and Academic Information Resources ] McGill University, [cite web |url= |title=Scores (online databases and indexes) |accessdate=2008-09-04 |date=2007 |work=Marvin Duchow Music Library, McGill ] Brown University, [cite web |url= |title=Selected internet resources for music |accessdate=2008-09-04 |author=Quist, Ned |date= 2007|work=Brown University Library ] University of Maryland, [cite web |url= |title=Finding Music Scores, UM Libraries |accessdate=2008-09-04 |date=2007 |work=University of Maryland Libraries ] University of Washington, [cite web |url= |title=Musical Scores |accessdate=2008-09-04 |date=2007 |work=University of Washington Libraries ] University of Wisconsin-Madison, [cite web |url= |title=Resources: Scores (Printed Music) - Mills Music Library, UW-Madison |accessdate=2008-09-04 |date=2007 |work=University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries ] and it has been submitted to MERLOT by a member professor. [cite web |url= |title=Material Detail, IMSLP |accessdate=2008-09-04 |author=Alvira, Jose Rodriguez |date=2007-03-18 |work=Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching ]

Closure and reopening

On 19 October, 2007 the IMSLP closed following legal demands from Universal Edition of Vienna, Austria.cite web |url = |title = Cease and Desist Letter from Universal Edition AG |accessdate = 2007-10-20 |last = Clark |first = Ken |date =2007-10-05 |format = PDF |publisher = Aird & Berlis LLP] 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:In response, director Michael S. Hart of Project Gutenberg offered support to keep the project online. [cite mailing list |last =Hart |first=Michael |title=Re: Three quick links on digitizations and their constraints |mailinglist=Book People |authorlink=Michael S. Hart |date=2007-10-23 |url=,2 |accessdate=2007-12-29] 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.cite web |url = |title = Open letter |accessdate = 2008-02-02 |last = Feldmahler |authorlink = User talk:Feldmahler |date = 2007-10-19 ] 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. [cite web |url = |title = The day the music died |accessdate = 2007-11-03 |last = Geist |first = Michael |authorlink = Michael Geist |date =2007-11-02 |publisher = BBC News] Quote box|quote=This case is enormously important
from a public domain perspective.|source=Michael Geist

IMSLP went back online on 30 June, 2008.

Similar projects

* Mutopia project: focused on typeset scores.
* Choral Public Domain Library: focused on choral and vocal music.
* Werner Icking Music Archive: contains mainly early music.
* [ Musopen Public Domain Sheet Music]


ee also

*List of online music databases

External links

* [ IMSLP forums]
* [ Announcement of reopening]

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