Why isn’t this FAQ longer?

Because I haven’t had to field many questions yet. The ones I have gotten are largely answered below.

Help! I can’t download the PDF files. I just get the error message “File does not begin with ‘%PDF'”. Can you help me?

This is a known problem with older versions of Acrobat, when used within a web browser. One solution is to right-click the link and download the file to your computer. You should then be able to open it with Acrobat or any other standard PDF reader. You may also try upgrading to the latest version of Acrobat reader.

When I go to the Google page you linked to, there’s no download option! What do I do?

Most of the public domain content at Google books is restricted to users within the United States. They appear to use IP filtering to achieve this. If you are not in the US, you can probably subvert that filtering by using a proxy server within the United States. Google “free proxy server” to find a multitude of cost-free options.

I can download most of the files but I can’t access one piece. What’s wrong?

This has happened to a number of people, and so far each time I check, I have no trouble downloading the piece in question. It may be related to an incompletely loaded PDF file that is stuck in their cache. Try clearing your browser’s cache and try again. If that doesn’t work, try another browser. If you still are having trouble, please leave a comment on the relevant post.

Why bother creating this site? Aren’t there others just like it?

There are many other sites devoted to sharing public domain sheet music. However, none of them met the need I wanted to fill. Many libraries, in particular, have hosted vast collections online, but at a resolution that cannot be printed, and sometimes cannot even be read. Others, including the US Library of Congress, host material that is primarily ephemeral and must be accessed one page at a time. Sites like the Werner Icking Memorial Archive, Mutopia, and the Choral Public Domain Library, host only transcriptions, and have very limited offerings for solo voice. Finally, other sites try to turn a profit by bombarding their users with intrusive advertising, or by restricting access to paid users.

Art Song Central intends to remain largely ad-free, and to have as few restrictions on our users as possible. The pieces we host have been chosen to be relevant, and the editions usable. They are always scanned at a resolution that will print reasonably well. And by providing additional information and resources for each song, we hope that it will become the first site voice teachers and students turn to when seeking out new repertoire.

Why do you often say “we” if this is a personal endeavor?

Hope springs eternal. So far, this site has been largely a one man operation, but I hope as it becomes larger and more useful that I will be able to enlist the aid of many others.

Why did you write that a resource is “not yet” available?

The resource may, indeed, be available online. However, it may not have come to my attention yet. Please do add comments if you know of a free resource I’ve not listed. Your comment will enlighten other visitors to the site until I can modify the song posting.

However, I will not knowingly link to material which has been posted illegally, nor will I link to material I deem to be of insufficient quality. Mp3 files, in particular, should be of professional or nearly professional caliber.

Why is ____ included in your archive? Isn’t it under copyright?

All non-original content that is hosted on this site comes from verified sources which are in the public domain in the United States. So far, all such material falls under Project Gutenberg’s Rule 1.

It is possible that, in the future, some material which is still under copyright may be included with the permission of the copyright owners. That is not yet the case.

External links are presumed to lead to material which has been legally posted. However, it is not possible for Art Song Central to verify this. If you are the owner of linked material which has not been legally posted, please let me know so I can remove the links.

Copyright laws vary around the world, and are in a constant state of change. If you are outside the United States, check the laws of your country before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or creating derivative works based on any material found here. We make no representations concerning the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United States.

Why don’t you use better editions?

I’m using the best editions I’ve had available to me that were clearly in the Public Domain in the US. I have shied away from using other resources that were harder to prove, like some of my 19th century Peters editions. (The ones I’ve seen have no copyright date on the title page or verso, and therefore must be verified through other means.)

Most of the editions used on this site are perfectly good, and it is presumed that as the Art Song Central community grows, any errors will be either noted or fixed.

Also, as the collection grows, more time will be invested in transcribing the most popular material.

Why don’t you have ____ in your archive?

This could be due to any number of reasons, not the least of which is the sheer magnitude of repertoire available. I may not have gotten to it yet. If the piece is available to me in a public domain edition, I will be very responsive to requests for additions to the archive.

However, it is not always easy to find public domain editions of everything, and I’m limited by time and money in what I can access.

Can I use music on Art Song Central for NATS auditions?

NATS recently issued a new copyright policy, which allows two exceptions to their ban on photocopied music. The first is irrelevant to ASC, as it applies to music still in copyright. The second limits copies of public domain music to music “available in CD format.” This is followed by the statement “(e.g. CD Sheet Music.)” The use of the abbreviation for “ergo” suggests that NATS has been successfully lobbied by Theodore Presser for exclusive rights to provide public domain sheet music to students for auditions. It is possible that they meant to write “i.e.,” in which case material found on ASC could be used as long as it were available on CD. (To technically fulfill this requirement, one would only need to burn a CD of the material.) It is also possible to interpret the statement as meaning that public domain music is okay as long as it has been published by CD Sheet Music. Please consult your district chair for clarification of this rule, and please let them know if you feel the rule is inappropriate.