9.22.2008

ChoralWiki

The Choral Public Domain Library or ChoralWiki as its also called, began in 1998 and is now one of the world's largest free sheet music websites. You can use this collection to find music scores, song texts, translations and composer information on thousands of pieces in the public domain. If you are like me and work with music organizations with limited music budgets this website will be an instant friend.

My current project has involved me spending hours on ChoralWiki looking for Christmas carols in the public domain. I plan to put together a concert of Christmas carol favorites for this holiday season and to make a CD for distribution for next year. If you only use public domain music for your recordings you don't have to pay additional copyright fees. This will be my first major CD project with a very small budget and I can use all the help financially I can get. I have realized after going through this site that the majority of the arrangements I have come across are of good quality. It does vary though, depending on the contributor. You do have to be willing to dig around and wait for outside websites to load to find the gems out there. Some scores also come with midi files or mp3's so you can listen as you practice. The quality of these recordings are not always the best. It's kinda hit or miss with that feature.

Knowing how to use the search function on ChoralWiki is essential to finding the music you are looking for. You can search by any combination of title, composer, era, genre, or language in the main page. You can also search in the score subcategory listings by voicing, accompaniment, secular and sacred music, and musical eras.

And don't think just because its public domain it has to be old and stale music that nobody is really interested in. Many new composers are choosing to share their music with the world through the use of the Creative Commons License which gives you the user the right to copy, use and record as you see fit.

So, the next time you are in need of a new piece of music to study and enjoy try the Choral Public Domain Library. I know in these hard economic times your wallet will thank you. Please share and let me know what great pieces you find.

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