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Kickstarting a Collection of Public Domain Classical Music

I read at EFF recently a story about Musopen. Musopen had a project up at Kickstarter where it was trying to raise $11,000 for the purpose of recording classical music and making it public domain. The project ended yesterday and well exceeded its fundraising goal.

Reading about the project made me intrigued about the site, so I visited http://www.musopen.com/ to learn more about the site. And I discovered that while the Kickstarter project is very worthly and I’m glad they’re doing it, the site already has a lot of classical music available for download, free with registration.

The front page gives you the option to browse music or sheet music (or “Shuffle,” which pulls random music for you.) Exploring music lists available content by composer, performer, instrument, period, or form.

Now, my two favorite classical composers (I think they’re classical, they’re certainly not contemporary) are John Field and Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Needless to say neither one of those was available. But there were many better known composers listed, including Bach, Beethoven, Handel, etc.

I chose Marcel Dupre. His detail page had a link to one available musical item — Three Antiphones from Fifteen Pieces, Op. 18. Clicking on that led me to a page where I could download one of the three pieces. There was space for a rating but this particular item didn’t have one. Information on it also included the performer, with links to bookmark or embed the item. If you don’t care to browse through the music you could also listen to Musopen Radio, which streams classical music as long as you care to listen.

In addition to the archive of music, Musopen is also in the project of developing a public domain music theory textbook. You can also see how other community projects have integrated Musopen into their work.

If you like classical music, this site is a must-see. My favorites weren’t there, but there was still material worth downloading.

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