Sheet Music How-To (old)

This page is partially or entirely outdated: Please see current guidance in the help section. Project Gutenberg is no longer accepting new sheet music submissions.

The Project Gutenberg Sheet Music Project was devoted to digitizing musical scores for a variety of uses. Most scores so far have been chamber music by composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. This document is to give a brief overview of what is needed to digitize a new score for the Project Gutenberg collection.

As for any Project Gutenberg submission, the first step is to secure a copyright clearance US copyright laws make inclusion of items post-1922 problematic. Generally, the best bet is to use a printed score from pre-1923.

The choice of what software to use for digitization is up to you. There are three main contenders: Finale, Sibelius, and Lilypond. The first two are commercial software products with many features. The last is an open source project (really, a markup format) associated with several different tools. Our experience is that any can be used to create top-quality digital scores, and that each has its limitations. We have also heard about Muscript which offers plain ASCII markup for creating scores.

The output formats are up to you, but we encourage all possible output formats for your digitization method. These may include:

There are other software choices, and other formats. When possible, consider making the separate parts available as separate files (i.e., so Violin 1 could have her own score, and Viola could have his own score).

Thanks for your interest in contributing to the Project Gutenberg Sheet Music Project!