Free Piano Sheet Music
Copyright Free Piano Sheet Music Introduction
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.
Download Free Piano Sheet Music
I Saw Three Ships
Other Free Piano Sheet Music Public Domain songs
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
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
Classical Free Sheet Music for Piano
A lot of classical piano music is public domain / copyright free also.
The majority of pop songs are protected by copyright and therefore piano sheet musuic can not be downloaded free. Traditional sheet music can be downloaded from sites such as sheetzbox.com and alternative rapid results piano tuition piano methods sheet music is available from www.decplaypiano.com
Free Sheet Music for Piano - Popular Songs / Folk Songs / Nursery Rhymes
Examples of public domain copyright free music songs are:-
Auld Langs Syne
Skip to My Lou,
I’m A Little Teapot,
This Old Man,
I'll tell me ma when I get home
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
If You’re Happy and You Know It
Mary Had a Little
Jack and Jill
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
Rose of Tralee
It's a Long Way to Tipperary
When You Were Sweet Sixteen
Fields of Athenry
In Dublin's fair city
Introduction to Piano Sheet Music
Piano sheet music can be known by various names eg piano score, the dots, and is available in various formats such as printed versions in single song sheets or in compilation books, downloadable files eg PDFs, viewable files (displayed online within applications) or mobile device versions.
Sheet music specifies which notes are to be played, the sequence in which they are to be played, the rhythm with which they are to be played and also other performance guidelines such as which notes are to have accents, are to be played staccato (short and sharp) or legato (smoothly joined), crescendo (getting gradually louder) or diminuendo (getting gradually quieter). It usually shows the treble clef (showing the higher notes – usually played by the right hand) and bass clef (covering the lower notes – usually played by the left hand).
Do you Need to Learn to Read Notation?
The ability to read or write notation does not prevent you from being able to compose music as proven by several successful composers who were unable to read music sheets, such as Sir Paul McCartney and Irving Berlin (one of the most successful songwriter of the 20th century). The Beatles Complete sheet music book series is a good example of notation that has been created many years after the original performance of the songs by the artist as an interpretation of the original recording. It is very possible for someone to play music without having ever mastered reading musical notation and there are software programs eg Sibelius which can automatically produce a written score, based on the notes played by the musician – or a score can be manually produced by an arranger, as is common when pop songs are arranged by sheet music publishers.
How Acurately Does Sheet Music Reflect Original Recording of Pop Songs?
Indeed, the piano sheet music published for pop songs are often an arrangers version or interpretation of what the keyboard player in the original band played. Sometimes the music is simplified to enable pianists of modest ability to play and sometimes the original music is embellished to include other accompaniment or riffs that are played by other members of the band, the absence of which would make the song sound incomplete, when played by the piano on its own. It should also be borne in mind that certain styles of music (eg blues, jazz, Irish traditional) and certain musicians (eg many solo guitarists, Elton John, Jools Holland etc…) ad-lib eg improvise as they play ie they change the notes and rhythms that they play every time they play it, keeping the essence of the song through the chord sequence – so sheet music can only attempt to convey one version of what the musician might play.
What is the Alternative Approach to Learning to Read Sheet Music?
An alternative approach to teaching a didactic style such as teaching notation, where the pianist is instructed to play individual note in a particular way, is a ‘skills and patterns’ approach such as DecPlay, which teaches a set of skills eg playing chords and playing melody, around a set of patterns eg a chord pattern within a song and bass riff patterns, so very quickly, the pianist can ad-lib in a professional style and put their own interpretation and style on the performance.
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