Best place for classical sheet music?
November 13, 2011 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Where's the best (cheapest) place to buy classical sheetmusic online?

I'm specifically after small string ensemble music (esp quartets), and have found a few but I don't know if there are any recommended places. Ideally, I'd like to be able to pick up a couple of compilations (all Beethoven quartets, all Shostakovich, etc). Wotcha got?
posted by coriolisdave to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I personally use Petrucci Music Library for my source of sheet music (piano solo and chamber groups with piano). They have a pretty good selection of music from various publishers for free.

The chamber music organization I worked for this summer used Educational Music Services for all their sheet music needs. They will definitely carry whatever you are looking for and more. They tend to be lacking on contemporary pieces because a lot of still living composers have their own publishers or only print music on an as-needed basis.

I'd recommend that you get the Barenreiter editions whenever possible. Yes it is more expensive but I've found it's the most accurate without weird editor revisions.
posted by astapasta24 at 3:15 PM on November 13, 2011

From when I worked in a music shop, Boosey & Hawkes were the go-to place for chamber music. Are you after editions with all the separate musicians' parts, or do you just want the overview score? Either way you can certainly get them here. I doubt you'll get much better prices for the major reputable editions.

This is, of course, assuming that you want an online shop to buy print versions. Places like SheetMusicDirect don't really cater to this market.
posted by fearnothing at 3:18 PM on November 13, 2011

For cheapest, definitely the Petrucci Music Library and a printer. For example, here they have all Beethoven string quartets.
posted by pmdboi at 3:23 PM on November 13, 2011

Scribd is one source of sheet music, some of which may be in the public domain.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:25 PM on November 13, 2011

Response by poster: I'm after parts, primarily. Printing is definitely a cheap option, but I find it more manageable to buy printed editions. If anyone has suggestions for managing self-printed music (othe than scores of display books!) I'd appreciate that too!
posted by coriolisdave at 4:07 PM on November 13, 2011

The standard "cheap edition" source around here is Luck's Music Library, which has taken over somewhat from Kalmus, though they offer many Kalmus (or Kalmus-like) editions, with occasional errors or funkiness in exchange for low prices (as opposed to Barenreiter). Luck's sells the set of parts to Shostakovich Quartet #1 for $32, for example.

Pretty much everything in the Kalmus/Luck's catalog that can be defended as out-of-copyright is scanned and available at the Petrucci Library others have linked to above (it's literally the same editions, most of the time).
posted by range at 8:05 PM on November 13, 2011

The standard Mozart Edition is free online for private use.
posted by Namlit at 12:37 AM on November 14, 2011

If you scan and upload some sheet music that isn't already in their system, you get credits that you can use to download sheet music for free.

It took us some searching to find things that we had that weren't already in the system, but in the end was worth it. It only took effort, no money.

This of course presumes you have some relatively uncommon sheet music and a way to scan it.
posted by parrot_person at 1:31 AM on November 14, 2011

Well, I use but I don't know where you are - their prices and shipping are reasonable for the UK.

Bärenreiter is a good general recommendation but for Beethoven I recommend the Henle edition. Neither of those really qualify as "cheap" but if you're going to be playing from them a lot, it's a good investment. Playing from Kalmus parts all the time can be pretty soul-destroying.

I download stuff from Petrucci if I need to practise it NOW, but, like you, generally I prefer the solidity of a proper edition. Also, if I buy proper editions, I know that people will continue to put together proper editions in future.
posted by altolinguistic at 2:05 AM on November 14, 2011

« Older I like loops and beats. But what does one call...   |   Gift for 10-14 year boy? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.