What You Need to Know First
There are two kinds of legally available free sheet music on the Web:
~ tunes in the public domain
~ original arrangements or compositions posted generously by the arranger or composerClassical music, Celtic tunes and folk tunes are usually in the public domain. All music in the public domain can be used, arranged, publicly performed, recorded, broadcast, and republished without penalty.
However, when you find a copyrighted arrangement of a traditional tune, or an original composition shared by its composer on the internet, you must ask permission before doing any of these things. Please respect the copyright, as your doing so makes it safe for composers to share their sheet music with the Web audience. If you want to arrange or record a copyrighted piece, composers are usually happy to grant permission, and if there is any fee, it will generally be very little.
Original Harp Music & Arrangements
When it comes to original music and arrangements for Celtic harp, the search for free sheet music narrows considerably, but there are some very good sources nonetheless.
Here they are:
Rowy Net, by Rowy van Hest, is also a fine source of harp music, in addition to the piano scores. Rowy van Hest offers some of his arrangements and original pieces for harp, most of which can be played on the lever harp. Again, most of these include mp3 recordings so you can hear them, too.
Rowy Net Sheet Music
Reigning Harps, by a harp club in Seattle, offers new arrangements or original free sheet music for Celtic harp posted quarterly. The older posts are also archived, and include some arrangements for harp ensemble. All of these selections are beautifully presented and fun to play, so this is a resource to keep checking.
Mary Radspinner shares some of her lovely Celtic arrangements plus a fun arrangement of a favorite hymn at Melody’s Music, her online harp store. Mary Radspinner’s free sheet music
Barb Fackker’s site, Horn and Harp, offers pdf files of free sheet music for harpists, plus a handy tutorial on playing from a lead sheet. For those of you who love Bernard Andre’s harp music, she also offers a guide to understanding the special techniques that make his music so much fun to play. Find all of these goodies here:
Horn and Harp
I love Janet Lanier’s “Summer Lullaby” harp solo, and it’s free! Her growing catalog of sheet music includes several free scores: Janet Lanier
Making Music Fun is a great music resource website with a growing number of free arrangements for Harp solo, as well as lots of easy piano pieces that can be played on the harp:
Making Music Fun Free Sheet Music
There is a huge amount of classical sheet music, especially piano music, on the Web. But often the reproductions are of terrible quality, the selection is limited and disorganized, there are hidden costs or deceptive links, and some of the music is posted illegally. Add to that the difficulty of finding music playable on the Celtic harp (let alone designed for harp of any kind), and you could spend months searching for what you want. Luckily, I’ve already done that, and I have several great source of free classical sheet music to recommend to you.
Here are my favorites:
Rowy Net, by Rowy van Hest, is a great source of classical piano music, all beautifully produced on clear, readable notation and well-organized by composer so it’s easy to find what you want. Most have mp3 recordings so you can hear them, too.
Rowy Net Harp Music Archive
Gilbert Benedetti’s sheet music site offers a large array of classical, folk, and Christmas favorites in lovely, simple arrangements easily playable on Celtic harp. The selections are categorized by level, which makes it easy to find a level that suits your skill and download the apporpriate pieces. The music also includes fun illustrations that especially appeal to children. I suggest that you use correcting tape to cover up the piano fingerings to avoid confusion.
Gilbert Benedetti’s Free Sheet Music site
Easy Byte Sheet Music. This site provides some simple classical piano arrangements by William Wallace, many of which are good jumping-off points for the beginning harpist.
Easy Byte Sheet Music
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