The International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP), also known as the Petrucci Music Library after publisher Ottaviano Petrucci, is a subscription-based project for the creation of a virtual library of public-domain music scores. Since its launch on February 16, 2006, over 370,000 scores and 42,000 recordings for over 110,000 works by over 14,000 composers have been uploaded. Based on the wiki principle, the project uses MediaWiki software. Since June 6, 2010, the IMSLP has also included public domain and licensed recordings in its scope, to allow for study by ear.
Petrucci Music Library
IMSLP main page in January 2016
Type of site
|Online library of sheet music|
|Owner||Project Petrucci LLC (private company)|
|Created by||Edward W. Guo (Feldmahler)|
|Registration||Optional (required for contributing and unconstrained access)|
|Launched||February 16, 2006|
|Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International|
The site was 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 the 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 public domain works of Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Joseph Canteloube, Emmanuel Chabrier, Ernest Chausson, Frédéric Chopin, Joseph Haydn, Arcangelo Corelli, Claude Debussy, Vincent d'Indy, Paul Dukas, Gabriel Fauré, Pierre-Octave Ferroud, George Frideric Handel, Jean Huré, Albéric Magnard, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Maurice Ravel, Albert Roussel, Erik Satie, Florent Schmitt, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Alexander Scriabin and Jean Sibelius are available, as well as a large percentage of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Liszt, and the works of many others as well.
Besides providing a digital repository, the IMSLP offers possibilities as a musicological encyclopaedia, since multiple and historical editions of a single composition can be uploaded. Also, pages on publishers provide valuable information, and the work pages themselves often contain a large quantity of information, e.g. roles in an opera.
IMSLP is recommended as a research tool by MIT, which also uses it extensively for providing scores for its OpenCourseWare courses. It is suggested as a resource by the Sibley Music Library and by libraries at other universities such as Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Manhattan School of Music University of Maryland, University of Washington, University of Cincinnati, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Appalachian State University in the US, McGill University in Canada, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, University of Edinburgh University of Bristol in the UK, University of Melbourne in Australia, and others.
In 2007–2015, the IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library used a logo based on a score. The score image in the background was taken from the beginning of the very first printed book of music, the Harmonice Musices Odhecaton. It was published in Venice, Italy in 1501 by Ottaviano Petrucci, the library's namesake.
In 2016, the IMSLP changed its logo to a clean wordmark, featuring its two project names—IMSLP and Petrucci Music Library.
On October 19, 2007, the IMSLP closed following legal demands from Universal Edition of Vienna, Austria. 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 following death, but are protected by the 70 years following death term in some other countries, were available in those countries. The administrator of the website, Edward W. Guo, also 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:
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. This offer was declined by Guo, who voiced concern about having the project hosted in the United States, and consulted the Canadian wing of Project Gutenberg. 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.
IMSLP went back online on June 30, 2008. Since its reopening, the site has been using a strict copyright policy wherein uploaded files are made accessible for download only after the copyright status for three most frequent copyright regimes has been reviewed by staff members. Although the server is located in Canada, files that are not public domain in the US were until July 2010 flagged [TB], for 'Technical Block' or 'Temporary Block', and could not be viewed. The FAQ posted in their forum stated, "Unfortunately, these 'temporary' blocks will be until further notice – possibly all the way until the expiration of term in the USA." After an initial phase, [TB] flagged items have essentially disappeared thanks to the introduction of regional servers operated by unaffiliated organizations (see next).
On 21 April 2011, the Music Publishers Association (UK) issued a DMCA takedown notice against the IMSLP. Go Daddy, the domain name registrar for the IMSLP, removed the domain name "imslp.org", leaving it inaccessible. The MPA's argument was similar to that made in 2007 by Universal Edition. In particular, the MPA claimed that Rachmaninoff's 1913 choral symphony The Bells violated US and EU copyright. According to the IMSLP, the action is without any merit. Almost 24 hours later, the MPA (UK) announced on Twitter that they had asked Go Daddy to reinstate the domain name.
On November 7, 2017, the IMSLP received a cease and desist letter from the heirs of Sergei Prokofiev expressing concern that the composer's music was available for download in countries where his music was still under copyright protection. This demand was followed up by a separate letter from the National Music Publishers Association on January 19, 2018. On February 23, 2018, access to all compositions by Prokofiev was blocked by the IMSLP in response to these legal threats. The issues were partially resolved on the IMSLP forums in July 2018, resulting in the reupload of Prokofiev's pre-1923 works. In August, the remainder of Prokofiev's works were reuploaded so that they would only be available in the countries they are allowed in.
On December 27, 2015, the IMSLP moved to a subscription-based model, where users are expected to pay to avoid a waiting period on some of the files available on the site, and to access certain newly uploaded files. Users who have not paid are subject to a 15-second waiting period on certain files (excluding Creative Commons-licensed files that constitute a majority of the site's files), are required to wait up to two days to access newly uploaded files, and are shown advertising.
The project leader Edward Guo claimed the changes were made because the level of funding was "not sustainable in the long run", but also noted:
Guo attributed the change in funding to discussions with librarians at an IAML conference in June 2015. Some contributors to the website expressed concerns that Guo had not properly attempted to raise donations, but without any prior warning, introduced the membership system to monetize their work.
On July 10, 2010, a forum thread announced the opening of a new server located in the Netherlands. This server allows works that are public domain in Canada and the EU to be downloaded legally, even if they are under copyright in the US. The server was initially run by an unaffiliated European organization, while a forum thread  later announced that operations had been handed over to Project Leonardo, a new unaffiliated company incorporated in New Zealand to "provide web hosting services to online libraries that distribute free contents in any fields of arts and science". Files on the EU server are flagged (EU).
A similar, also unaffiliated, US server allows users to download works that are in the public domain only in the US. Unlike the other servers, this one can only be contributed to by administrators and users who have asked for the privilege, though the files are freely accessible for download.
On July 1, 2013, a forum thread announced the opening of a new server located in Canada and operated by Project Leonardo, the unaffiliated company that also runs the EU server. This server is especially intended for users located in countries where copyright lasts 50 years from the death of the author, such as Canada, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, and many others. Files on the CA server are flagged (CA).
On August 23, 2011, an announcement was made that the Werner Icking Music Archive would merge with the IMSLP. WIMA had announced the merge on its own site five days before in an open letter to contributors. After working out some technical issues, the IMSLP decided to officially commence the merge on August 28. The merge was announced to be complete on July 21, 2012.
IMSLP is now owned by Project Petrucci LLC, a private company created to run the website. Project Petrucci LLC was registered as a Delaware limited-liability company on June 28, 2008, when the site founder was studying at the New England Conservatory. The website provides an e-mail address for the site's founder ("preferred"), and a physical address for the company's registered agent in the United States (for "any legal or formal correspondence").
Amore traditore (Treacherous love), BWV 203, is a secular cantata composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in Köthen between 1718 and 1719.Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod)
Ave Maria is a popular and much-recorded setting of the Latin prayer Ave Maria, originally published in 1853 as Méditation sur le Premier Prélude de Piano de S. Bach. The piece consists of a melody by the French Romantic composer Charles Gounod that he superimposed over an only very slightly changed version of the Prelude No. 1 in C major, BWV 846, from Book I of J.S. Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, published in 1722.Bekennen will ich seinen Namen, BWV 200
Bekennen will ich seinen Namen (I shall acknowledge His name), BWV 200, is an arrangement by Johann Sebastian Bach of the aria "Dein Kreuz, o Bräutgam meiner Seelen" contained in Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel's passion-oratorio Die leidende und am Kreuz sterbende Liebe. Bach's arrangement, dated around 1742–1743, was possibly part of a cantata for the feast of Purification of the Virgin Mary.Das neugeborne Kindelein, BWV 122
Das neugeborne Kindelein (The new-born infant child), BWV 122, is a church cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach composed the chorale cantata in six movements in Leipzig for the Sunday after Christmas and first performed it on 31 December 1724.Faust Overture
The Faust Overture is a concert overture by German composer Richard Wagner. Wagner originally composed it between 1839 and 1840, intending it to be the first movement of a Faust Symphony based on the play Faust by German playwright Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Realizing that he would not finish the planned symphony, Wagner revised the piece between 1843 and 1844, incorporating ideas from the other planned movements, and creating instead a single-movement concert overture. He made a final revision in 1855. The work is one of Wagner's few compositions intended for the concert hall, rather than the theatre.Fugue in G minor, BWV 131a
The Fugue in G minor, BWV 131a, is a piece of organ music attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach.
It is a transcription of the last movement of his cantata Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir, BWV 131.
The cantata is definitely by Bach, while the arrangement for organ is regarded by some authorities (from Spitta onwards) as spurious.
The cantata dates from 1707 or 1708, which almost certainly provides a terminus ante quem for the organ arrangement.The key of G minor, sometimes associated with sadness, is used extensively in the cantata, which sets one of the penitential psalms. In the cantata the fugue (a permutation fugue) is sung by the choir.
The score of the cantata does not feature an organ part as such, but the basso continuo (for which a figured bass is provided) may well have been played on the organ.Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille, BWV 120b
Gott, man lobet dich in der Stille (God, you are praised in the stillness), BWV 120.3 (previously BWV 120b), is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach. He composed it in 1730 to commemorate the Augsburg Confession.John Ireland (composer)
John Nicholson Ireland (13 August 1879 – 12 June 1962) was an English composer and teacher of music. The majority of his output consists of piano miniatures and of songs with piano. His best-known works include the short instrumental or orchestral work "The Holy Boy", a setting of the poem "Sea Fever" by John Masefield, a formerly much-played Piano Concerto, the hymn tune Love Unknown and the choral motet "Greater Love Hath No Man".Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele, BWV 69
Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele (Praise the Lord, my soul), BWV 69, also BWV 69.2, is a cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach.Lobt ihn mit Herz und Munde, BWV 220
Lobt ihn mit Herz und Munde (Praise him with heart and voice), BWV 220, is a church cantata by an unknown composer, formerly attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach.Meine Seele rühmt und preist, BWV 189
Meine Seele rühmt und preist (My soul extols and praises), BWV 189, is a church cantata credited to Johann Sebastian Bach and Melchior Hoffmann.Non sa che sia dolore, BWV 209
Non sa che sia dolore (He knows not what sorrow is), BWV 209, is a secular cantata composed by Johann Sebastian Bach and first performed in Leipzig in 1747.Schleicht, spielende Wellen, BWV 206
Schleicht, spielende Wellen (Glide, O sparkling waves and murmur softly), BWV 206, is a secular cantata composed by Johann Sebastian Bach in Leipzig and first performed on 7 October 1736.Siehe, es hat überwunden der Löwe
Siehe, es hat überwunden der Löwe (Behold, the lion has triumphed), TWV 1:1328, BWV 219, is a church cantata by Georg Philipp Telemann, written for Michaelmas in 1723. Formerly the cantata was accredited to Johann Sebastian Bach.Sinfonia in D major, BWV 1045
Sinfonia in D major, BWV 1045, specifically known as, Violin Concerto movement BWV 1045, is an orchestral work for solo violin, three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, strings and Continuo by Johann Sebastian Bach. A late work composed in Leipzig between c. 1742 and 1746, surviving only as a fragment, the Concerto is often considered a sinfonia of a lost cantata.String symphonies (Mendelssohn)
Felix Mendelssohn wrote twelve string symphonies between 1821 and 1823, when he was between 12 and 14 years old. For his mature symphonies, see here.Vergnügte Pleißenstadt, BWV 216
Vergnügte Pleißenstadt (Contented Pleisse-town), BWV 216.1 (formerly BWV 216), is a secular cantata composed by Johann Sebastian Bach, which survives in an incomplete state.Ève (Massenet)
Ève is an oratorio in four parts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Louis Gallet. It was first performed at the Cirque d'été in Paris on
March 18, 1875.
The oratorio is a recounting of the story of Adam and Eve. The first part introduces Ève as she is created to join Adam in the Garden of Eden. In the second part, Ève becomes tempted by the forbidden fruit and in the third she brings the fruit to Adam, which they share. In the fourth they are struck by God's curse and are cast out of Eden forever.
The piece is rarely performed today but a recording is available commercially on the Arte Nova label.