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Best source to download music? #2851437
05/23/19 11:00 AM
05/23/19 11:00 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,944
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Greetings. Has anyone used musescore.com or sheet music plus? I'm familiar with IMSLP but need popular music sources. Musescore is offering a free 1 month trial, but I'm always reluctant about these free trial offers. I like some of their arrangements. Thanks.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
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Re: Best source to download music? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2851469
05/23/19 12:21 PM
05/23/19 12:21 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,578
Florida
cmb13 Offline
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cmb13  Offline
Silver Level

Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,578
Florida
I've used both. Musescore is free for downloads...the paid membership is for uploads (I know, doesn't make sense). The quality varies; it's all user submitted. I've submitted a few pieces myself. I also have used the program to edit my own music without uploading; I have a folder of files from Musescore.

What I like about Musescore, though, is the ability to edit / customize your music to your taste / level. You do have to sift through many versions of the same piece, however, as some may be incomplete or not to your liking, or at a level that's too high or low.

Sheet music plus is professional. Higher quality but less choice in arrangements. You get what you get.

I'm not sure you'll find material for teaching on either site, though.


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2851472
05/23/19 12:24 PM
05/23/19 12:24 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,578
Florida
cmb13 Offline
Silver Level
cmb13  Offline
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Posts: 2,578
Florida
PS As I've progressed (I'm a student, not a teacher), I find myself using professional quality arrangements from Henle and have largely stopped using the other two sites. Of course, Henle doesn't have popular music, so the choices there will be limited.


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2851477
05/23/19 12:35 PM
05/23/19 12:35 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,111
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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AZNpiano  Offline
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Greetings. Has anyone used musescore.com or sheet music plus? I'm familiar with IMSLP but need popular music sources. Musescore is offering a free 1 month trial, but I'm always reluctant about these free trial offers. I like some of their arrangements. Thanks.

How much money are you willing to spend?

With pop music, the quality varies drastically. There might be some good arrangements on musescore, but I've found the majority of the pieces there to be completely dreadful, if not downright awful. I know it's free, but I don't want free trash, either. With classical music, some of the free stuff on imslp is absolutely wonderful.

If it's just for a few students, why don't you do your own arrangement? It's probably faster to do a decent transcription by yourself than to sift through thousands of (mostly) worthless arrangements out there.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2851484
05/23/19 12:46 PM
05/23/19 12:46 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,350
UK
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spanishbuddha Offline
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Amongst others I have used Noviscore, Musicnotes, SheetMusicDirect, for ‘popular?’ music. Noviscore usually has 3 levels and a recording as a guide.

Re: Best source to download music? [Re: AZNpiano] #2851488
05/23/19 12:50 PM
05/23/19 12:50 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 271
Texas
Dr. Rogers Offline
Full Member
Dr. Rogers  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2018
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Texas
Originally Posted by AZNpiano

How much money are you willing to spend?

With pop music, the quality varies drastically. There might be some good arrangements on musescore, but I've found the majority of the pieces there to be completely dreadful, if not downright awful. I know it's free, but I don't want free trash, either. With classical music, some of the free stuff on imslp is absolutely wonderful.

If it's just for a few students, why don't you do your own arrangement? It's probably faster to do a decent transcription by yourself than to sift through thousands of (mostly) worthless arrangements out there.


This has been my experience as well. I bit the bullet and learned Lilypond - a huge learning curve but the results can be beautiful.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2851554
05/23/19 05:40 PM
05/23/19 05:40 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,944
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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USA
Thank you, all! CMB, I am only looking for sites to download popular music. I use IMSLP for classical.

AZN, I agree about the quality. I found a song from Game of Thrones one of my students wants to learn on musescore, which looked interesting, and not simple, however, couldn't figure out how to "listen" to the arrangement.

Some of my parents download music from sheetmusicplus. Again, these are generally "fun" pieces for the older kids to keep them practicing.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: spanishbuddha] #2851555
05/23/19 05:41 PM
05/23/19 05:41 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,944
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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chasingrainbows  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2006
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USA
Originally Posted by spanishbuddha
Amongst others I have used Noviscore, Musicnotes, SheetMusicDirect, for ‘popular?’ music. Noviscore usually has 3 levels and a recording as a guide.


Thanks, I will check those out.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2851556
05/23/19 05:44 PM
05/23/19 05:44 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,944
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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chasingrainbows  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2006
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USA
AZN, I used to be able to download music from IMSLP, but now have an awful time figuring out how to do so.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: AZNpiano] #2851589
05/23/19 08:22 PM
05/23/19 08:22 PM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 700
Vancouver BC
T
The Monkeys Offline
500 Post Club Member
The Monkeys  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 700
Vancouver BC
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows

AZN, I agree about the quality. I found a song from Game of Thrones one of my students wants to learn on musescore, which looked interesting, and not simple, however, couldn't figure out how to "listen" to the arrangement.
.


We use musescore apps on our android phones, there is a play button, you just push it, and it will play. You can also change the speed and change the key.

Originally Posted by AZNpiano

With pop music, the quality varies drastically. There might be some good arrangements on musescore, but I've found the majority of the pieces there to be completely dreadful, if not downright awful.


Yes, tons of garbage. But is there a better (and free) alternative? My boys didn't seem to mind and look like having fun, to go through the sea of garbages to find something they can enjoy.

Re: Best source to download music? [Re: The Monkeys] #2851591
05/23/19 08:46 PM
05/23/19 08:46 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,755
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by The Monkeys
Originally Posted by AZNpiano

With pop music, the quality varies drastically. There might be some good arrangements on musescore, but I've found the majority of the pieces there to be completely dreadful, if not downright awful.


Yes, tons of garbage. But is there a better (and free) alternative? My boys didn't seem to mind and look like having fun, to go through the sea of garbages to find something they can enjoy.

Not to put too fine a point on it - but if pop is a student's interest, why not just let them start making their own arrangements? It costs nothing, and he'll learn lots from it (simple harmony, varying the accompaniment, adding passing notes, even suspensions).

There's no better time to try playing by ear, and writing down the results, no matter how simplistic they might sound. (And teachers can then show them how to improve on them). They can't be any worse than the awful arrangements by the hacks out there........

And kids might be pleasantly surprised to discover how much can be accomplished by the use of just a few chords. For instance, I've often used this cheesy (some say it's a golden oldie) song - and it works well on the piano:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxQHnS3FMH8


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2851632
05/24/19 01:56 AM
05/24/19 01:56 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 572
UK
S
ShyPianist Offline
500 Post Club Member
ShyPianist  Offline
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S

Joined: Feb 2019
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UK
If I’m not allowed to say this here then apologies, but as mentioned when I replied to chasingrainbows original thread on this (did you see it?) I myself have started creating popular arrangements on SheetMusicPlus, the specific intention being to create high quality arrangements that can be used for teaching if desired. I agree that a lot of the free arrangements out there are dross. Like several other of the arrangers working on there I will arrange on request, time permitting, and if chasingrainbows would like to know more then they could PM me perhaps?

You’re not going to find good free sources for these things because musicians need to be paid for what they do (albeit a pretty tiny commission per sale). You don’t get something for nothing. But also there is the crucial issue of copyright. I doubt very much those creating arrangements for nothing have bothered to apply for and pay for arranging rights.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 05/24/19 02:01 AM.

Pianist, independent music arranger, violinist, mother
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: bennevis] #2851640
05/24/19 03:02 AM
05/24/19 03:02 AM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 700
Vancouver BC
T
The Monkeys Offline
500 Post Club Member
The Monkeys  Offline
500 Post Club Member
T

Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 700
Vancouver BC
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by The Monkeys
Originally Posted by AZNpiano

With pop music, the quality varies drastically. There might be some good arrangements on musescore, but I've found the majority of the pieces there to be completely dreadful, if not downright awful.


Yes, tons of garbage. But is there a better (and free) alternative? My boys didn't seem to mind and look like having fun, to go through the sea of garbages to find something they can enjoy.

Not to put too fine a point on it - but if pop is a student's interest, why not just let them start making their own arrangements? It costs nothing, and he'll learn lots from it (simple harmony, varying the accompaniment, adding passing notes, even suspensions).

There's no better time to try playing by ear, and writing down the results, no matter how simplistic they might sound. (And teachers can then show them how to improve on them). They can't be any worse than the awful arrangements by the hacks out there........

And kids might be pleasantly surprised to discover how much can be accomplished by the use of just a few chords. For instance, I've often used this cheesy (some say it's a golden oldie) song - and it works well on the piano:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxQHnS3FMH8


Ha, the video is blocked in Canada :-(
Every now and then, the teacher will make them play lead sheet/fake book but transcribing music and writing their own arrangements is something they have not done. Sounds like great skills to learn.

Re: Best source to download music? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2851664
05/24/19 05:47 AM
05/24/19 05:47 AM
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 629
Toronto, Canada
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thepianoplayer416 Offline
500 Post Club Member
thepianoplayer416  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 629
Toronto, Canada
I use 8notes.com from time to time. You will find a lot of scores for free and some for members only but the annual fee isn't very much. Even some of the scores that isn't free, I can get the low resolution .GIF file easily.

Re: Best source to download music? [Re: The Monkeys] #2851666
05/24/19 05:52 AM
05/24/19 05:52 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 11,755
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by The Monkeys
Originally Posted by bennevis

Not to put too fine a point on it - but if pop is a student's interest, why not just let them start making their own arrangements? It costs nothing, and he'll learn lots from it (simple harmony, varying the accompaniment, adding passing notes, even suspensions).

There's no better time to try playing by ear, and writing down the results, no matter how simplistic they might sound. (And teachers can then show them how to improve on them). They can't be any worse than the awful arrangements by the hacks out there........

And kids might be pleasantly surprised to discover how much can be accomplished by the use of just a few chords. For instance, I've often used this cheesy (some say it's a golden oldie) song - and it works well on the piano:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxQHnS3FMH8


Ha, the video is blocked in Canada :-(

Try this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS90B4sZf7U


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: thepianoplayer416] #2851668
05/24/19 06:16 AM
05/24/19 06:16 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 572
UK
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ShyPianist Offline
500 Post Club Member
ShyPianist  Offline
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UK
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
I use 8notes.com from time to time. You will find a lot of scores for free and some for members only but the annual fee isn't very much. Even some of the scores that isn't free, I can get the low resolution .GIF file easily.


What is this obsession with scores that are free? Why does everyone expect people to put their hours of work out there for nothing? Did anyone read my comments above about copyright? If songs are still in copyright and someone is distributing free arrangements then you can pretty much guarantee these are not legal.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 05/24/19 06:16 AM.

Pianist, independent music arranger, violinist, mother
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: ShyPianist] #2851706
05/24/19 09:11 AM
05/24/19 09:11 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 129
Canada
pianist_lady Offline
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
I use 8notes.com from time to time. You will find a lot of scores for free and some for members only but the annual fee isn't very much. Even some of the scores that isn't free, I can get the low resolution .GIF file easily.


What is this obsession with scores that are free? Why does everyone expect people to put their hours of work out there for nothing? Did anyone read my comments above about copyright? If songs are still in copyright and someone is distributing free arrangements then you can pretty much guarantee these are not legal.


There is a culture of doing "covers" of songs for personal enjoyment. There's a lot of this on YouTube. I'm not a legal expert, and obviously copyright laws differ by country, but I'd assume that it's less of an issue if you aren't trying to make money off of the arrangements, and just using them for enjoyment.
As others have said, there's a lot of free garbage out there, but you can use that to show your students the value of purchasing a good arrangement, or to help them make their own version. If a crappy free arrangement of a song gets a student interested and playing independently, that seems like a good thing.
I do use musicnotes fairly often, because I can select an appropriate version of a song and send the link to my students for them to purchase.


Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: pianist_lady] #2851724
05/24/19 09:43 AM
05/24/19 09:43 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 572
UK
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ShyPianist Offline
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ShyPianist  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2019
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UK
Originally Posted by pianist_lady
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
I use 8notes.com from time to time. You will find a lot of scores for free and some for members only but the annual fee isn't very much. Even some of the scores that isn't free, I can get the low resolution .GIF file easily.


What is this obsession with scores that are free? Why does everyone expect people to put their hours of work out there for nothing? Did anyone read my comments above about copyright? If songs are still in copyright and someone is distributing free arrangements then you can pretty much guarantee these are not legal.


There is a culture of doing "covers" of songs for personal enjoyment. There's a lot of this on YouTube. I'm not a legal expert, and obviously copyright laws differ by country, but I'd assume that it's less of an issue if you aren't trying to make money off of the arrangements, and just using them for enjoyment.
As others have said, there's a lot of free garbage out there, but you can use that to show your students the value of purchasing a good arrangement, or to help them make their own version. If a crappy free arrangement of a song gets a student interested and playing independently, that seems like a good thing.
I do use musicnotes fairly often, because I can select an appropriate version of a song and send the link to my students for them to purchase.


Yes that's true and it's fine if people are simply doing it for themselves. But if you then produce the sheet music for that cover in order to distribute it, even if you're giving it away, that's a breach of copyright in pretty much any country. That's why you have people who are serious about arranging or transcribing music selling it through Sheet Music Plus. We get an absolute pittance (10% of any sale, which at their minimum price of $4.99 works out at 50 cents) but as they are a subsidiary of Hal Leonard they have the copyright sorted for thousands of songs (no Disney songs though, very few musicals either). Otherwise, again if you're serious about doing it properly and not breaking the law, you have to sort that out yourself which is prohibitively expensive and time consuming. Consequently, the only free sheet music you're going to find for copyrighted works is from people who can't be bothered to do it properly or who have never even thought about it. Often it's just gone straight from MIDI into notation software with little or no editing so it's also dreadfully notated.

So yes, I would like to see people on a Piano Teachers forum advocating for well-produced, legal sheet music in recognition that other people working in the music business also need to be fairly recompensed for their skills. Certainly, as you suggest pianistlady encouraging their students to source decent arrangements or, of course, helping them learn to do it themselves.


Pianist, independent music arranger, violinist, mother
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: chasingrainbows] #2851755
05/24/19 10:38 AM
05/24/19 10:38 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 271
Texas
Dr. Rogers Offline
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The copyright "owners" should be paying me for performing and teaching their schlock, not the other way around!

/sarcasm


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Best source to download music? [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2851759
05/24/19 10:41 AM
05/24/19 10:41 AM
Joined: Feb 2019
Posts: 572
UK
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ShyPianist Offline
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UK
Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
The copyright "owners" should be paying me for performing and teaching their schlock, not the other way around!

/sarcasm


I get that is sarcasm, but do remember in the cases I am talking about the copyright owners are not actually the ones putting in the hours.


Pianist, independent music arranger, violinist, mother
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