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Importing public domain scans from other websites
Currently, all of the IMSLP scores are in the Public Domain. Public domain scans of composers' works can be found on several websites. One of the relatively major goals of IMSLP is to be a centralized site for music scores, which means it is a good idea to submit scores that are from other public domain music score websites, if it is not on IMSLP already. Centralization improves the usefulness of the scans, since people can get them easier. You can find a list of music score websites here.
How to verify if your copy is in public domain
You should do some basic research if you are planning to upload a score that is not yet identified as in public domain.
- On most scores, the year in which the score is copyrighted is printed on the first pages. If you're lucky, the work is done now.
- However, often the date is not imprinted with a copyright warning. There are some ways to estimate the publication date. You can try to identify the editor of the score, which is also printed on the first pages, and google or wiki him to know whether he's in public domain yet. Last, you could look up the publisher's information. Some publishing companies are closed before the magical year of 1923, other keep a database with old publications on their website.
- You can also look up results of other users' research work on the Historical Publication Info page.
- When finished, please add the results of your work to the page above to make it easier for other users, and add information to the file description form, to prove that your copy is in public domain.
- The back cover of old scores contain valuable information, as there is often a list of publications by the same publisher!
- Try a search on Google / Google Scholar with the title of your edition. Often, new editions were reviewed in musical periodicals.
Scanning and uploading public domain scans yourself
Please see Wikipedia's article on image scanners.
Image scanning is currently the preferred method for converting scores to images that can be uploaded to the IMSLP.
Image scanners at Amazon.com.
- I've made a great discovery (haha) regarding why some people can make scans that are so tiny, and yet high quality. The secret lies in a monochrome image compression algorithm called CCITT (Group 4; Group 3 is much inferior), which is used commonly for faxes. Not only does it have very high compression ratio, it also is, surprisingly, lossless (wow). The catch is that it can only compress monochrome well, and fails miserably (or so I heard) when trying to compress color images. Currently the only way I've succeeded in creating a CCITT Group 4 compressed PDF is via Imagemagick:
convert -compress Group4 input.bmp output.pdf
- Of course, you can then combine the PDF files with pdftk. --Feldmahler 12:21, 29 September 2006 (EDT)
- It is also interesting to note that the average compression ratio of CCITT Group 4 is 4-5%, meaning that a 1000KB monochrome image will compress to around 40-50KB, all the while being lossless. CCITT performs best when there are many repeating pixels of the same color, hence the reason why it compresses monochrome well and not color. --Feldmahler 14:12, 7 October 2006 (EDT)
- The highest compression ratios nowadays are achieved with JPEG2000, a format that is used in djvu and the latest pdf versions. However this format is relatively hard to use, and achieving high ratios is not easy. Please share your experiences!
- Indeed JPEG2000 is a good compression format, but it is a generic one. It is lossy, and it is also not specially made for compressing monochrome images... and so will perform much better than CCITT Group 4 on color/grayscale images, but not as good on monochrome images. --Feldmahler 14:12, 7 October 2006 (EDT)
Re-typsetting the piece
This is a last resort and requires a lot of time and patience. Sites like mutopia take this route. Scanning is usually an easier route.
Submitting New Music
Another option is when you've composed a piece and wish to release it under a CC-SA or similar license.