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Choral Public Domain Library
CPDL logo.gif
Commercial? No
Type of site Music score library
Registration Optional (required for contributing)
Available language(s) English with some help pages in other languages
Owner CPDL community
Created by Rafael Ornes
Launched December 1998
Current status Active

The Choral Public Domain Library (CPDL) is a sheet music archive which focuses on choral and vocal music in the public domain or otherwise freely available for printing and performing (such as via permission from the copyright holder).



The site was launched in December 1998 by Rafael Ornes. In 2005 CPDL was ported to wiki format, and is now accessible at ChoralWiki or via In July 2008, Ornes stepped back from the site administration and turned the operational responsibilities to a group of the site administrators. In the sequence a transition committee was formed and groups created to study the organizational needs (in the areas of Management and Administration, Information Technology, Copyright Issues, Maintenance and Improvement, and User Interaction) and to define future development for each of these areas. Work is still in progress but some results are already visible.

The wiki format makes it easier for users to obtain more features beyond the mere archiving and making scores accessible for download from CPDL, including:

  • original texts, their sources and translations,
  • cross indexing of choral music using criteria including musical genre, period, and number and voicing of choral parts,
  • composer information,
  • description and performance considerations can be included for works, and
  • contents of collections of choral music.

Music is available for free download in a variety of formats, including score images in PDF, PS and TIFF format, sound files in MIDI and MP3 formats, and in the notation formats supported by various notation programs, including Finale, Finale Allegro, Finale PrintMusic, and Finale Notepad by MakeMusic, Sibelius, by Sibelius, Noteworthy composer, Encore, and the open source GNU Lilypond. Most scores on CPDL are distributed under an open-source license. CPDL archives over 10,000 scores, contributed by over 450 editors and composers. It includes large numbers of scores by more than 1,400 composers, especially from the Renaissance and Baroque eras, including nearly complete vocal works by William Byrd and Tomás Luis de Victoria in excellent editions.

CPDL is suggested as a resource by departmental or faculty websites at Kent State University, Northern Illinois University, the University of Oregon, the University of Western Ontario, the Internet Public Library of the University of Michigan, the University at Albany, The State University of New York, by the UCLA Music Library, by the libraries at the Universities of Boston[1] and Stanford and by inclusion by faculty members in syllabi for courses at the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh.[2] It is recommended by the Iowa and Massachusetts chapters of the American Choral Directors Association, and is included in the resource database of Intute, an association of Institutions in the UK.[3]

Other public domain music projects

See also


  1. ^ "BU Libraries | Music Library | Sheet Music".  
  2. ^ Liske, Kenneth. "Connecting with Technology: Web Resources for Choral Musicians". Retrieved 19 March 2009.  
  3. ^ "Full record details for Choral Public Domain Library". Retrieved 19 March 2009.  

External links



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