Places where one might find sheet music for an obscure song include

  • Ask the person who wrote it or someone who performed it.

On the Internet

  • Google. In addition to the song title, "sheet music" and "pdf" are good search terms.

  • Scribd. The Documents section contains many downloadable scores and songbooks. To download a document, register for a free trial or subscribe for $8/month.

  • The Library of Congress's Sheet Music of the Musical Theater has 16,800 pieces of sheet music from 1860 to 1922.

  • Johns Hopkins University's Levy Music Collection includes over 28,000 pieces of sheet music, most from before 1920 but some up to mid-century. Music can be downloaded or (if copyrighted) requested by email.

  • The University of Mississippi's Sheldon Harris Collection is of sheet music from 1834 to 1967, mostly minstrel songs and blues, not directly searchable, but browseable and downloadable.

  • The University of Oregon's Historic Sheet Music Collection is of about 1000 pieces, mostly 1900-1920, imperfectly annotated but searchable and downloadable.

  • Tumblr user MTSheetMusic has some musical theater sheet music and scores.

  • The Internet Archive has 10,000 pieces of sheet music, most from before 1920.

In a library

Research assistance is available for free. Assistance with duplication is not available.

In a store

  • Hollywood Sheet Music. This former brick-and-mortar music store is now operated on line by a single pleasant, helpful person, Stephanie, who has deep resources and can fulfil requests by phone or email. PDFs run around $7.

  • Original sheet music can often be found on Amazon, Biblio, DustyMusic or eBay.

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