The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection is a valuable resource for both amateur and professional musicians, with over 20,000 sheet music scores available to download and play.
The collection includes everything from old standards like the Star Spangled Banner, to the works of major composers such as Irving Berlin, to obscure pieces relating to specific political campaigns, social movements and events of the past 200+ years.
Musicians can access the collection by searching for a specific song title, topic, or composer. The Composition and Instrumentation filters can be used to narrow songs based on their technical attributes. Once on a song page, musicians can either download a PDF of the piece's score to print and play, or scroll through the score directly on the page. Musicians who prefer to purchase scores in an industry-standard format can do so via Sheet Music Plus.
Musicians can also click on the Performance View button below each sheet music image. This brings up a full-screen view of the score. Musicians can then use the arrow keys on their computer keyboard, or a finger-swipe on a mobile device, to virtually "turn the pages" as they perform the song. Many musicians like to place a mobile device on their music stand, access a song from the collection, and scroll through the score pages as they perform the song. The entire collection is mobile-accessible, making access via an iPad or Android device easy for musicians.
Musicians may also be interested in listening to historical audio recordings of selected songs, to inform their own performances. More than 800 songs have historical audio recordings, which have been linked and researched by a musically-trained team.
If you perform a piece from the collection and would like to submit a recording or video, please contact us.
The songs in this collection were amassed to document the history of the United States through sheet music. Therefore, users of the collection will find many songs with explicitly racist, xenophobic, sexist, and other offensive content. While this subject matter is in many cases reprehensible, it is preserved here to honestly and accurately reflect prejudice found in the collection-- even as we recognize that encountering harmful or offensive language can be difficult or painful. Strong consideration should be given to a song’s history and context prior to a public performance.
More information and resources can be found in the Peabody Institute’s Anti-Racist Teaching and Learning Resources.