Introduction to copyright free piano sheet music

The question of what sheet music is free and what is copyright protected is often one for hot debate! Many people assume wrongly that if it is a folk song, then it must be copyright free. Although it is true that in general, old songs are copyright free, many traditional songs such as ‘ride on” and ‘Song For Ireland’ are copyright protected. Puff The Magic Dragon written by Peter, Paul & Mary is copyright protected and the copyright for sheet music in the UK is handled by Faber Publishing.

According to the Berne Convention, songs are protected by copyright for 50 years after the death of the author or composer (or the last living composer if it was co-written by several composers). Different countries can apply their own laws to amend this, for example but the UK law extends this further to 70 years. After this, the songs are considered to be public domain and can be used without restriction.

Occasionally, there is an exception to the rule, for example with Peter Pan, which was composed by J M Barrie, which was due to expire in 1987, but which was extended by an amendment to 1988 Copyright Designs and Patents Act so that the copyright is extended indefinitely in the UK. The reason for this is to provide ongoing royalty payments to the Great Ormond Street Hospital charity.

Free Sheet Music for Piano – Christmas Carols

Many Christmas carols are public domain / copyright free such as:-

Angels We Have Heard on High
Away in a Manger
Deck the Hall With Boughs of Holly
Ding Dong Merrily on High
The First Noel
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
Good King Wenceslas
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Holly and the Ivy, The
I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In
In Dulci Jubilo
In the Bleak Midwinter
Jingle Bells
O Come All Ye Faithful
O Come, O Come Emmanuel
O Little Town of Bethlehem

We Three Kings of Orient
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks

Other Free Piano Sheet Music Public Domain songs

Classical Free Sheet Music for Piano

A lot of classical piano music is public domain / copyright free.

Although the majority of pop songs are protected by copyright and therefore piano sheet music can not be downloaded free, traditional sheet music can be downloaded from sites such as and alternative rapid results piano tuition piano methods sheet music is available from

Free Sheet Music for Piano – Popular Songs / Folk Songs / Nursery Rhymes

Auld Langs Syne
Yankee Doodle.
Skip to My Lou,
I’m A Little Teapot,
This Old Man,
I’ll tell me ma when I get home
Amazing Grace
Silent Night
All Around My Hat
Three Blind Mice
On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
On top of old Smokey
For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Oh Happy Day
I’m a little Teapot
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Old MacDonald
If You’re Happy and You Know It
Mary Had a Little
Jack and Jill
Twinkle Twinkle
Humpty Dumpty
Skip to My Lou

Free Irish Sheet Music for Piano

The following Irish songs are public domain / copyright free and therefore DecPlay can provide the piano sheet music free of royalty or copyright charges:

Danny Boy
Rose of Tralee
It’s a Long Way to Tipperary
Wild Rover
When You Were Sweet Sixteen
Fields of Athenry
In Dublin’s fair city