Free sheet music that we can read today has been around for over 300 years but music language itself has been developing for 1000s. The word music derives from Greek mousike – “art of the Muses”. Ancient Greek philosophers defined music as tones ordered horizontally as melodies and vertically as harmonies. Music can be divided into genres and genres can be further divided into subgenres.
The common elements of music are:
- pitch (which governs melody and harmony)
- rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation)
- dynamics (loudness and softness)
- sonic qualities of timbre and texture (which are sometimes termed the “color” of a musical sound)
Before the 15th century, Western music was written by hand and preserved in manuscripts, usually bound in large volumes. The first printed sheet music appeared around 1473, approximately 20 years after Gutenberg introduced the printing press.
Single impression printing of free sheet music papers first appeared in London around 1520 and was brought into wide use in 1528, and it remained little changed for 200 years. The effect of printed music was similar to the effect of the printed word.
In the mid-19th century, copyright control of melodies was not as strict, and publishers would often print their own versions of the songs popular at the time. With stronger copyright protection laws late in the century, songwriters, composers, lyricists, and publishers started working together for their mutual financial benefit.
If a middle class family wanted to hear a popular new song or piece, they would buy the printable sheet music and then perform the song or piece in an amateur fashion in their home.
In the 21st century, significant interest has developed in having downloadable sheet music.
To perform music you need to know how to read sheet music as also understanding of both the rhythmic and pitch elements embodied in the symbols and the performance practice.
In most classical music, the melody and accompaniment parts are notated on staff lines using round note heads. In classical sheet music, the staff always contains a clef, a key signature indicating the key and the time signature, which typically has two numbers; the top number indicating how many beats are in a bar and the bottom number indicating the unit which the bars are composed of.
If musicians of Baroque era were expected to know what tempo and loudness to play or sing a given song or piece due to their musical experience and knowledge, in the contemporary era, composers often used their native language for tempo indications and added metronome markings.
Many jazz tunes are notated using chord charts, which indicate the chord progression of a song and its form. Country music musicians use music notated in the Nashville Number System, which indicates the chord progression using numbers. Chord charts using letter names, numbers, or Roman numerals are also widely used for notating music by blues, R&B, rock music and heavy metal.
Sheet Music Bank offers you the organized collection of free sheet music PDFs. Download and print music notes for piano, guitar, violin, clarinet, drum, organ and others.
No registration, no fees, just download and print. By downloading the free sheet music you are agreeing that it will be used only for personal, educational, and NON-commercial purposes.If you can not find sheet music of the requested song it means it will be added very soon. If the copyright of any music sheet or image belongs to you, please report us, we will remove it. Thank you.