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The Future of Public Domain Sheet Music

Each year, additional music enters the public domain and becomes free sheet music as its copyrights expire.  Public domain sheet music (free sheet music) is one of the greatest resources that a musician has, since it enables them to study the works of past masters and learn and build upon their knowledge without fear of repercussions.  Currently, any music published before 1922 is considered public domain sheet music, but there are many other cases where individuals have either failed to renew a copyright notice or have generously donated their music into the public domain for everyone’s use.


While the future of public domain sheet music is still to be determined, a couple things remain for certain.  Public domain sheet music will continue to be a source of inspiration for future generations.  Because of this, people will want to continue donating their original works into the public domain as free sheet music – both for overall cultural enrichment as well as a way to get their work and ideas across to as many people as possible.  Even though current copyright laws state that sheet music is copyrighted for the life of the author plus seventy years, many people will continue to donate their original music as free sheet music for the public to use.  This will provide an ever growing rich and diverse collection of free sheet music for future composers, directors, musicians, and singers to draw upon when completing their musical journeys.