Free public domain sheet music from IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library
This page contains the answers to a list of frequently asked questions.
What is IMSLP?
- IMSLP stands for International Music Score Library Project and started on February 16, 2006. It is a project for the creation of a virtual library of public domain music scores based on the wiki principle; it is also more than that. Users can exchange musical ideas through the site, submit their own compositions, or listen to other people's composition; this makes IMSLP an ever-growing musical community of music lovers for music lovers.
- See also: IMSLP:Goals
What is a 'Wiki'?
- A wiki is a website which is based on collaboration between its members (or sometime even anonymous users, although their IP is recorded for security issues) by being editable by anyone. The developer of the first wiki (Ward Cunningham) said that a wiki is "the simplest online database that could possibly work".
- For more information, visit Wiki (on Wikipedia)
Who owns IMSLP?
- Nobody actually "owns" IMSLP. However, if there is one person to be credited for IMSLP, it is Feldmahler who started the whole project and is responsible for paying and maintaining the IMSLP servers which host the files, as well as is responsible for updating the Wiki software, and organization. Otherwise, IMSLP belongs to the community, that is, to all the people who have contributed to it.
Who are the administrators?
- Administrators or 'sysops' are users who have extended permissions regarding their actions on IMSLP, such as deleting articles and files, protecting and unprotecting pages, and blocking and unblocking IP addresses (i.e. banning/unbanning users). Administrators are responsible for maintaining peace and organization on this site, as well as making sure that everything is run as it is supposed to.
How can I become an administrator?
Well, firstly you don't ask for it :P
- Secondly, you have to show some dedication to the site, that you actually work for it. You must show some more than just basic knowledge of how wikis work, and mature behavior around the site. Lastly, there must be a need for you in the administrative staff. Although you might not get the title of "administrator", there are still staff positions that might fill your needs, and you might fill our need for some people with particular skills.
- For more information, visit Vacant staff positions
Is IMSLP legal?
- Yes. As the IMSLP servers are physically hosted in Canada, IMSLP has to follow Canadian copyright law. There is also a legally unaffiliated US-located server that can only be contributed to by admins and offers out-of-copyright files in the US only. All scores submitted to IMSLP either belong to the public domain, or permission has been granted by the copyright holder to host them here. The copyright status of every file is marked, and it is clearly indicated if it is not legal to download a file in the EU.
- Note that files under copyright in both the US and the EU are blocked from access because the legal entity that owns IMSLP is located in the US. Files under copyright in the US but public domain in Canada and the EU are legally available through the unaffiliated EU server.
What is the "Public Domain"?
- Basically, it means that every score that was published more than 50 years ago is no longer under copyright in Canada, as long as the last author of the publication also died more than 50 years ago.
What is "[TB]"?
- Every score, except for very new scores, on IMSLP has been copyright reviewed by our team (see below for explanation of the codes). Some files are public domain in neither the US or the European Union, and are thus marked "[TB]", which stands for "Technical Block"—these scores have been blocked because they are not legal to download in both of the areas from which IMSLP receives the most traffic.
What do the copyright-review codes mean?
- Each score has three letter codes attached, for example V/V/V. What do they mean?
- These are the copyright review codes. Since copyright terms vary between countries, we identify the term in the three countries in which most of our visitors live.
The format is Canada status / USA status / EU status
- V = verified public domain (PD)
- C = checked: very high probability for PD but missing hard evidence
- U = unreviewed
- N = copyrighted
- !N = copyrighted but permission given
- red numeral = copyrighted, year of entry in PD (which automatically releases file for access in that year)
- * = with consideration of scientific edition ("Urtext") clausulae, or no significant editorial additions identified (applied only if not in PD by "normal" law).
Where is IMSLP hosted?
- The IMSLP servers are physically hosted in Canada; this is why IMSLP follows the Canadian Copyright Law.
Who uploads the files?
- Anyone can create a composer page, a work page, and even submit a file. However, you have to be a member in order to be able to contribute to IMSLP, for security reasons (so that we can trace the additions, removals, submissions, edits etc to prevent vandalism).
Can't someone just delete all the files?
- Practically, only administrators can delete files. The worst a simple user can do is empty the page, which is completely reversible by any other user. Also, since in order to edit a page you have to be a member, the IMSLP administrators can track down the vandals and ban them from using IMSLP again, if they were proven to have acted maliciously and not accidentally. Vandalism will not be tolerated on IMSLP or generally any other wiki-based site.
How is IMSLP trustworthy if anyone can edit it?
- In the same way that Wikipedia is trustworthy, even though more people can edit it, without even being registered to Wikipedia. People who contribute to IMSLP are doing so because they want to. They have nothing else in mind than contributing to the rest of the musical community. Therefore, we are doing our best to maintain the level of IMSLP as high as possible, so more people will discover IMSLP and either benefit from other people's work or contribute to it themselves.
- A blue link leads to an already existing page (i.e. a page or category created by another user and which has content in it), while a red link leads to a page which does not exist yet. By clicking a red link you can edit the page and save it. Doing so will make all links linking to that page blue, instead of red.
How do I undo an edit?
- You go to History, then you select the version of the page to which you want to revert (i.e. the number of "undo" steps you want to go) by clicking on its date and time. The older version will be loaded; click on the Edit link, then optionally on the Show changes button (to see what will be changed) and then hit Save. This is how a page which has been emptied (either on purpose or by mistake) can be reverted to its previous status by the first member who notices it.
What do I do if I get corrupted downloads in IE6 or IE7?
- If you get "corrupted" downloads using IE6 or IE7, please clear your browser cache and try again, or use a different browser (e.g. Firefox or Opera). The problem is due to a bug in Internet Explorer that cannot be solved by us. (Detailed article on this issue)
How do I create a page?
- For more information, visit Help:Page creation.
How do I edit a page?
- You either click a red link towards a page, which will guide you directly to editing that page, or you simply click on the "edit" button on top of any article, and you start editing.
- For more information, visit Help:Page editing.
How do I change a page title?
- Once you edit a certain number of times (immediately after the captcha disappears), there is a "move" tab on the top of any article. If you click that, you will be able to change the work page to any title you would like. But please make sure that the title follows our manual of style for work pages first.
How do I delete a page?
- Normal users can't delete a page for themselves. If you see a page that you think must be deleted, though, you can tag it with the Delete, and an administrator will act accordingly.
- For more information, visit Help:Page deletion (including more detailed instructions on using the Delete template)
What kind of format am I allowed to use?
- There is a kind of "wiki" language that is used widely among articles which you ought to be familiar with before editing pages (otherwise even the simple task of correcting a spelling mistake could be very daunting)
- You can go to Help:Tutorial/Page editing for more information, or try the Help:Editing (on wikimedia.org) for a more extensive tutorial.
Is HTML allowed?
- Yes and no. The built-in wiki language is preferred to HTML, as it is much more succinct. You are technically allowed to use some HTML and CSS, but you should not unless confronted with a formatting problem the wiki markup cannot solve; for example, the <sub></sub> and <sup></sup> tags have to be used for subscripts and superscripts.
How do I register to IMSLP?
- You simply click on the "Log in/Create account" button on the top-rightmost corner of any page, and fill in your data.
- Note: There is no need to register or log in simply to download music. The only reason to log-in is to upload new files and make other contributions.
How do I edit my user-page?
- Just like you'd edit any other page. You can also use the Babel and Instrument templates to indicate what languages do you speak and what instruments you play, and at what degree. You can write details about yourself, about your relation to music, what you hope to do during your stay on IMSLP, what scores you are going to scan or what scores you want etc.
How do I send a message to another user?
- Although there is no "private messaging" service in wikis, you can leave "comments" on another user's page. In order to do so, click on Discussion, and then click on the "plus" sign and leave your comment. When that user logs on to IMSLP again, they will be notified that they have a new message. However, what you write will be visible to anyone, so pay attention to what you type if you don't want someone else to read it.
How do I reply to a message?
- You can reply either directly on your own talk page, or on the talk page of the corresponding users. Either way, please indent your reply (enter ":" before each paragraph) to keep the talk pages organized and easy to read.
How can I contribute?
- There are many ways to help IMSLP. From editing pages to correct spelling mistakes to translating IMSLP to another language, all help is highly appreciated by all members of IMSLP. Below are some of the most common ways you can contribute to the community:
Submitting a score
- This is the most common form of contribution to IMSLP. You can either submit a file you found on some other online collection with music scores and that is not already uploaded here on IMSLP, or by scanning your own scores and uploading them here on IMSLP (but in any case, make sure that the score is in one of the acceptable formats on IMSLP)
- For more information, visit IMSLP:Contributing scores (and IMSLP:Scanning music scores if you are scanning your own scores)
Discuss about a piece
- As mentioned in the first paragraph of the FAQ, [to be continued]
Correcting a page
- If you ever notice a spelling mistake, a wrong date in a composer page, or if you know something that is not written about a piece, feel free to edit the page and correct what you feel needs correction. This is very important as, despite the fact that much effort is put to avoid mistakes when writing big articles, it is somewhat inevitable that some mistakes will exist, and it is our responsibility to correct them.
- For more information on maintenance of IMSLP visit IMSLP:Maintenance.
Translating to another language
- This is the most difficult, time-consuming and dedicating contribution to IMSLP that someone can do.
- While taking up the translation of all of IMSLP on your own might sound a daunting task, by "translating" we don't mean just that. We mean that you help other users translate IMSLP. For example, if you speak French, and you see that a page hasn't been translated into French, you can just translate that one page. Other users will see what you did and follow your example. This way, slowly but steadily IMSLP will become more and more "International" (as the title indicates).
- For more information, visit IMSLP:Internationalization.
- The simplest idea can contribute highly to IMSLP. IMSLP itself began as an idea, and it developed to what it is today. And it didn't just develop on its own, it developed through the criticisms, suggestions and improvements of people who visited the site. If you think something could be done more easily, faster, or better, feel free to notify one of the admins about it, and be sure that your idea will be considered by the administration as soon as possible.
- You can contact the administrators by visiting this page
Help make IMSLP more known
- You can help IMSLP to become more widely known by telling your friends, telling your music class at school, by linking to an IMSLP piece or composer page from the respective piece or composer article in Wikipedia or other site, or by contacting other sites and collaborating with them, as we have done with PianoSociety.com, and now all the recordings on their site link to the composer page here on IMSLP, and we have added "Recording" fields in the "Add File" form which link back to PianoSociety. This is expected to highly increase traffic on IMSLP.
- See also: IMSLP:Linking across projects
See IMSLP:Mirroring for more information.
Exactly what is mirrored? What software do I need?
- Only the static files are mirrored; there will be no dynamic content. Therefore any web server is fine. I would recommend Lighttpd if you have not decided on one yet.
Can I choose an absolute bandwidth amount instead of a percentage of the total bandwidth?
- No unfortunately. This would be extremely hard to monitor from the main server. You will have to monitor the bandwidth usage yourself. There will be a way for you to temporarily disable traffic redirect to your mirror, but it should only be used in emergency situations, and not regularly (or the bandwidth specified would be pointless).
How can I upload scores?
- You must first check if the score you are about to upload has not already been uploaded. Then, you must check whether or not the composer page for the score's composer exists here on IMSLP or not. If it doesn't, you have to create it first. Then, you have to create the respective Work Page for your score, and then you need to submit the file to it.
- Detailed instructions can be found on the page IMSLP:Score submission guide
Can I upload my own compositions?
- Of course :) As long as you make sure to publish your composition under one of the permissible licenses.
- For more information on Creative Commons licenses, visit IMSLP:Creative Commons and Performance Restricted licenses.
What if I already licensed the work under another license?
- You can simply re-license the work under a Creative Commons or Performance Restricted license. If both licenses are free (as in, no money required), the users of the file will be able to choose the license they want to use the file under.
Why was my submission deleted?
- Currently, you can search for the deletion reason of the page on the deletions log page. When this Mediawiki bug is fixed, you will be able to find the deletions in your Special:Watchlist, which will only list pages that you have submitted files to. Remember: even if your submission was deleted, your contribution to IMSLP is still very much appreciated :) Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and admins are there to correct them; deleting a page is never personal.
What do I do if I find missing pages in a file, or other errors?
- You can simply edit the page and add a note to the "Misc. Notes" section of the file entry. You may also add a message to the submitter's user talk page, but remember that in many cases those files are not scanned by the submitter, so the submitter may be unable to do anything about it. However, other people might, which is why adding a note to the file entry is more important.