Where to Find Sheet Music for Singing - dummies

Where to Find Sheet Music for Singing

By Pamelia S. Phillips

When you finally know what you want in singing music, you have to go shopping to get it. Choosing music may be the harder of the tasks. You have the choice of walking into a store and looking at the music or letting your fingers do the buying online or over the phone. You may be able to check out sheet music at your local library and purchase it later, if you like it.

Retail outlets for sheet music

If you like to hold music in your hand before you make a decision to buy, search online or look in the phone book for your local music store. You can call the store to ask whether it carries vocal music before you hop in the car.

If the store doesn’t carry your song, it may offer to order it for you. Ask the clerk whether you have to purchase it if you decide you don’t like the key or that particular arrangement of the song.

Some stores allow you to browse online or call and ask for advice. Most large bookstores carry music, and if they don’t have your music, they can order it for you or you can call the customer service department and order it.

Several music distributors have online catalogs that you can browse, and some offer help online or over the phone. The following list offers some of the more useful websites and their specialties.

  • Hal Leonard is the world’s largest publisher of printed music. You can browse the company’s online catalog or write Hal Leonard Corporation, P.O. Box 13189, Milwaukee, WI 53213. You can’t buy music directly from the company, but you can get your local store to order it for you or follow links at the website to find a retailer.

  • If you’re looking for classical music that’s a little tricky to find or for some help finding your song, check out Classical Vocal Reprints. The owner, Glendower Jones, is happy to help you in your quest to find that favorite classical or musical theater song. Call him for some advice at 800-298-7474 in the United States.

  • You can browse a huge catalog of songs at the TIS Music , order online, or call 800-421-8132 (or locally at 812-355-3005) to purchase by phone.

  • Amazon.com also sells songbooks and sheet music. You can’t get individual answers to your questions if you need to call, but you can easily browse the collection of music to find your song in sheet music form or in a song collection book.

Downloading sheet music

Online sheet music stores enable you to search a website for a specific song — sometimes even in the specific key you want. You may have to download software from the site to read the song, but this option is worth exploring, especially if you prefer to shop online. Type sheet music or digital sheet music into your favorite search engine, or try these websites:

  • Musicnotes.com allows you to see page one of the music and use its software to hear samples of the music.

  • Sheetmusicdirect.com enables you to download free software to hear, view, and transpose the music before printing and purchasing.

  • SheetMusicNow lets you view a sample of a classical song before purchasing.

Websites that offer cheaper prices may be selling a fake book, which doesn’t include the piano part. A fake book has just the melody, chord symbols, and the words. If you choose this copy, your accompanist has to make up the accompaniment. Some accompanists are good at this; others aren’t.