Here are some resources to find free PDF sheet music online! Please remember to avoid distributing music that is not in the public domain.
- IMSLP: A very large collection of original classical scores—this is essentially the Wikipedia for sheet music. I highly recommend this site as it offers multiple editions for many works, as well as scores and parts and sometimes even arrangements.
- free-scores: Another good website for finding classical sheet music. The selection is not as wide here as on IMSLP, but if you’re looking for a more popular classical work you’re likely to find it here.
- Musopen: This site has a surprisingly diverse collection of classical scores, and the scans seem to be of a consistently good quality.
- MFiles: Here you’ll find not just classical scores, but also many “traditional” or folk songs. If you’re looking for arrangements of Christmas carols (for a variety of instrumentations!), this is your destination. MFiles also has a collection of ragtime music by Scott Joplin, which is always fun to play.
- Score Exchange: This site has a blend of scores available for free and scores for purchase. It’s worth checking out if none of the above sites has your piece.
- If you’re looking for arrangements of popular music (i.e., not in the public domain), check out musicnotes.com. They will charge you a small fee to download the PDF, but unless you’re up for writing your own transcription that may be your only option.
- …If you are interested in writing your own transcription, and you need an iPad app that will let you write your own sheet music, please check out Symphony Pro. I helped beta-test this app a few years ago and it is an excellent choice for composing and arranging music.
Once you’ve found a piece of music to play, ScoreReader is a perfect iPad app to view them. If you’ve installed the app, just open the PDF in Safari, tap “Open In…”, then choose ScoreReader. (If you decided to blaze your own trail with Symphony Pro or another composing tool, simply export the score as a PDF and open it in ScoreReader.)
Do you have any suggestions on where to find good-quality free sheet music? Post it in the comments and I’ll update this page!