Who still buys solo piano sheet music?

The best providers for online piano sheet music - whether beginner or expert

July 2, 2020

Find piano sheet music online - the best providers in comparison

Music blog

After my article about the best online piano courses, people often asked where to get good grades. When it comes to piano sheet music, the Internet is a real jungle, in which many have already got lost on the hunt for cheap and suitable piano arrangements. Especially for beginners, it is not that easy to get a solid overview of the huge range of piano sheet music online and at the same time pay the necessary attention to legal issues.

In this article, I want to help you find the best possible solution for you, so that you can have more fun playing again and spend less time in front of the screen looking for suitable sheet music for the piano. The prerequisite for this article is that you can read sheet music. We look at the jungle together from the helicopter, so to speak. In the end, you decide where you want to land. So let's go on an adventure!

Are printed scores still up to date?

Welcome on board. I already know why you are here. Buying piano sheet music in analogue music stores is simply more expensive than looking around online and simply printing it out yourself. Of course they are better integrated in the store, but especially for frequent gamblers, the on-site shopping becomes very expensive over time. In addition, you may avoid going to shops in times of Corona if you don't have to.

Some therefore take the opportunity to order piano sheet music online. But that too is often costly. Most of the time, you have to buy entire sets with a value of 15 to 20 €. And then of course there are also shipping costs. Again, this is not really ideal if you only want a specific piece for the piano or if you are interested in a very wide range of genres.

The solution for digital piano sheet music

Fortunately, in the digital age there have long been other, much easier solutions for getting sheet music for the piano. In my last post, I already reported in detail about my experience with Oktav, the leading provider of streaming online piano sheet music from Austria. In this article, you will now get a comprehensive comparison of different paid and free providers of piano sheet music online. Are you buckled up yet? But before we get to the providers, there are requirements that we should consider.

What do you have to consider when choosing online piano sheet music?

Before you jump out of the helicopter full of enthusiasm and decide on one of the presented providers, you are well advised to ask yourself a handful of questions. When choosing online piano sheet music, there are one thing or the other to consider. Once you have clarified these questions, it will be much easier for you to decide how you want to conquer the jungle of piano pieces.

First of all, not all piano notes are the same. "Huh?" You ask? Really! Often there is the same piece in different degrees of difficulty. Especially as a beginner, you should take these gradations into account to avoid buying sheet music for your piano that you cannot play yet. There is no direct advice online like in a shop, but some providers of online piano sheet music also indicate the level so that you can assess for yourself whether a piece corresponds to your skills on the piano. To do this, of course, you need to know where you are roughly with your piano skills.

Then you should think about how often you play the piano at all. A subscription is especially useful if you try out new pieces very often and play them regularly. If you are a casual gamer, it may be more worthwhile to buy individual songs or to use one of the free platforms presented here.

Here you will find an overview of the top providers in comparison with free platforms at a glance.

 OKTAVSheet Music DirectFree providers
Scope of offerapprox. 10,000 piano piecesapprox. 100,000 piano piecesDepending on the provider, up to 150,000
GenresEverything you can play on the pianoEverything you can play on the pianoMainly classical pieces, without copyright
Free downloads2 pieces per month included in the subscription, more is chargeableNo, individual purchase of pieces (50% cheaper when purchasing a subscription)Unlimited
Filter by difficultyYesYesNo
Personalized recommendationsYesNoNo
Quality of the notesVery goodVery goodMixed up
Other instrumentsNoYesYes
PricesMonthly € 9.90
Annual option € 99
Monthly € 9.99
Annual option € 99
To the provider

Oktav- The best platform for frequent gamers

Promising offer: All the piano notes I always wanted to play

The most important information about Oktav at a glance

So first the pearl of the jungle of music. Oktav is a provider of online piano sheet music, which, in line with the streaming trend, provides a large number of piano pieces to play, to which you can get unlimited access for a monthly or annual fee. In the style of Spotify, you will find a huge range of genres on Oktav. Whether you're looking for pop, jazz, electronics or classics, you can find just about anything here. At Oktav, too, the best songs on a topic are often collected in playlists, so that it is easy to play sad songs when your heart is aching or the best of your fifties when grandma is visiting. Of course, you can also create your own playlists and thus highly individualize your profile.

Especially for beginners who play a lot, Oktav makes it easier to choose piano sheet music online because there are often easier and heavier versions of the same pieces. When you register, you will be asked to classify your level so that you can later see at a glance which pieces correspond to your abilities. This will avoid a lot of frustration.

The algorithm function that characterizes streaming is also available at Oktav. You always have something new to discover, because the platform suggests new pieces every day, taking your preferences into account. Quite apart from the practical aspects, the operator has not skimped on aesthetics. The design is super modern and clear, with great covers for all playlists. Only the lack of an app has a minimal impact on the overall usability.

A clear dashboard with many genres

The offer from OKTAV

When you take out a subscription, Oktav gives you access to over 10,000 piano sheet music online. You can test the platform for 7 days free of charge. Then you can opt for a flat rate of 9.90 euros per month or the cheaper annual rate of 99 euros over the year. Due to the subscription, the offer is especially worthwhile in the long term. If you play a lot of piano and like to try out new pieces, Oktav is the right place for you. The platform allows you to print two free downloads per month. According to Adam Riese, you theoretically pay 5 euros per piece with a monthly subscription (the standard price for piano sheet music online) or only 4 euros if you take out an annual subscription. Pretty fair.

Here you can find my assessment of Oktav, which should give you a first quick overview.

Design and presentationx
Scope of offerx
User friendlyx
Genre diversityx
4 = very good, 3 = good, 2 = satisfactory, 1 = expandable

Try OKTAV now for 7 days free of charge!

Now, with OKTAV, you can easily access the piano sheet music of your favorite pieces.

Sheet Music Direct - The best platform for individual pieces

The Sheet Music Direct website

The most important information about Sheet Music Direct at a glance

Sheet Music Direct also offers a huge selection of genres and can be used like a streaming platform. It is also possible to legally buy individual pieces without a subscription. There is pop, jazz, Disney and much more besides the classic works. With around 100,000 piano pieces, the platform is again much larger than Oktav. In return, a number of advantages that one has with Oktav are no longer available. So you can't create your own playlists, but above all there are no personalized suggestions for piano sheet music online.

If you are an explorer, you have to go hunting yourself. In return, Sheet Music Direct offers an interesting advantage for everyone who has a very broad musical base. There you can not only find piano sheet music online, but sheet music for other instruments are also available, for example for guitar, strings or wind instruments as well as for vocals and entire ensembles. Sheet Music Direct also categorizes pieces by difficulty and has a solid modern aesthetic, if not quite as smart and minimalistic as Oktav.

Many songs for the piano to choose from

The Sheet Music Direct offering

Sheet Music Direct has two apps in the store, one for piano sheet music online and an additional Playalong app. The platform can score particularly in terms of user-friendliness. You can test Sheet Music Direct for 30 days free of charge and then take out a streaming subscription of 9.99 euros per month or pay 99 euros per year. The main disadvantage compared to Oktav is that the Sheet Music Direct subscription does not include free downloads for piano sheet music online. You only get 50% discount on your purchases. So if you want to keep pieces for the long term, you pay extra as a subscriber. Sheet Music Direct therefore makes sense, especially in the short term. If you only play occasionally, the platform is ideal for purchasing individual pieces. A long-term subscription with Oktav is more worthwhile in purely mathematical terms.

Here you can find my assessment of Sheet Music Direct, which should give you a first quick overview.

Sheet Music Direct4321
Design and presentationx
Scope of offerx
User friendlyx
Genre diversityx
4 = very good, 3 = good, 2 = satisfactory, 1 = expandable

The comprehensive package for classical piano sheet music - dog-eared

The website of dog-eared

The most important information about dog-eared ears at a glance

Perhaps you are now saying: “That's all well and good with these streaming platforms and individual offers, but I only play classic pieces anyway. What annoys me is that I have to look for them so hard. I've had enough of the jungle of piano sheet music! I'm a star, get me out of here! ”Okay, jokes aside. That is of course understandable.

That's why you are now getting to know the Dog-Ear website. Dog-ear is actually a provider of e-books. In addition to erotic novels and fiction, you will also find a large e-book package of online piano sheet music there. Big is actually almost an understatement, because this offer actually contains 52 piano school books in one fell swoop with over 2000 pages (!) Of sheet music from the classical period. You probably can't play that much in your entire life. The site is still a real insider tip! So that you can get a rough overview, I have summarized the contents for you here.

Berens20 Etudes enfantines OP. 7922
Burgmueller25 easy studies OP 10041
Berens50 piano pieces for beginners21
Brams51 exercises for pianoforte BrGA55
BusoniCramer Etudes36
BerensCare of the left hand OP. 8932
BerensThe School of Scales Chords and Ornaments OP. 8832
ChopinStudies OP 2560
Crameretudes book37
Crameretudes book45
Crameretudes book45
Crameretudes book45
BurgmuellerOP 109 - 18 charateristic studies36
BertiniOP. 29 - 25 studies27
BertiniOP. 100 - 25 easy studies37

Piano studies from Eselsohr.at

The offer of dog-eared

For a one-off € 13.95 you get unlimited access to piano sheet music from Berens, Bertini, Burgmueller, Busoni, Brahms, Chopin, Cramer, Czerny, Gurlitt, Hanon, Heller, Liszt, Maylath, Herz, Moszkowski, Steibelt and Wieck! You can find the offer here! With 52 books that is just 26 cents per e-book. I would work out how much you would save in comparison if you bought these books individually. But that is too much for me. Just let me tell you one thing: you won't find a better deal for a classical package of piano sheet music online anytime soon.

If you, as a classical music fan, choose this range of piano sheet music, you will receive the 52 books as individual e-books in PDF format. The nice thing about it is that you can not only call it up on your computer or tablet, but also with your e-book reader. Of course you can also print the whole thing if you want. On the first page of each book there is a short advertisement for other dog-eared offers that you can omit when printing. This is followed by the complete music book including a beautiful book cover. The whole thing is also available again for guitar sheet music.

The best platforms for free sheet music

The time has come! We're reaching the land of free piano sheet music online. These notes are a rather special and very old people - not every piece is allowed to join them. Note: So you shouldn't go into the jungle and download any free PDF, because the piece of your choice may not legally belong to the free sheet music at all. It is always better to use reputable platforms that are legally correct. Here I introduce you to the best platforms for free piano sheet music.

First of all, you should be aware that free platforms for piano sheet music online will never offer what octave or sheet music, for example, have in their repertoire. You have to expect that the quality of the scans is not always great and that annoying advertisements pop up every now and then. But there are very good free providers that are especially worthwhile if you like to play classical pieces for which the rights have long been common property. If you are not very picky, you may find one or the other pop song there that has been released to the public.

The website of the International Music Score Library Project

Free piano sheet music on IMSLP

IMSLP stands for International Music Score Library Project and with over 150,000 pieces is the largest portal for free sheet music for the piano online. There you will find mainly classical pieces, but also sheet music for orchestra, vocals and other instruments. You can also easily filter by composer, epoch or nationality. The platform's design is admittedly very old-fashioned and a bit reminiscent of the early 2000s. The scans are not always of particularly high quality either. Nevertheless, it is worth paying a visit to IMSLP, especially if you are looking for classics.

The website of free-score.com

Free piano sheet music on MuseScore and Free Scores

With MuseScore, piano sheet music is created (copied, so to speak) and is therefore often of better quality. You can also find a pop song or two there. Since the titles are not uniform and the filter options are extremely limited, this could take a while. In your search you can choose between piano, solo piano, piano duet, voice piano and easy piano. From there you have to clear the brush yourself with the machete. Free Scores is a bit clearer overall and there you even have the option to create your own playlists with your free treasures

Free piano sheet music on Mutopia Project

Then there is the Mutopia Project. Here, too, notes are created by themselves, which improves the quality of your printouts. On Mutopia you can filter by composer and genre (for example jazz, pop, or classical), but the selection is much smaller than on other free platforms.

The 15 most popular songs for the piano and their sheet music

There are simply classics by Elton John, Söhne Mannheims, Adele, or Linkin Park on the piano that are particularly popular. It is often difficult to find the exact original sheet music. For this reason I have selected the 15 most popular songs for the piano and presented them clearly in a table. You can now choose whether you want to buy just one song or all songs in the subscription model. Quite simply what you prefer. Now you don't have to spend hours digging through the internet.

songInterpreterUnique pieceAll songs on subscription
Send My Love (To Your New Lover)Adelehere
Beauty and the BeastAlan Menkenhere
skinny LoveBirdy, Bon Iverhere
Look Ma No HandsElton Johnhere
Piano Solo - Album 2High school musicalhere
I'm Over Dreaming (Over You)Kylie Minoguehere
Behind blue eyesLimp Bizkithere
In the end + hybrid theoryLinkin Parkhere
For EliseLudwig van Beethovenhere
Sweet home AlabamaNirvanaLynyrd Skynyrdhere
something stupidRobbie Williamshere
And if a song + best ofSons Mannheimhere

Comptine d'un autre étéYann Tiersenhere
River flows in youYirumahere

* The links partly consist of affiliate links. This means that I will receive a small commission on your purchase. Caution: This does not make the product more expensive for you.

FAQ sheet music for the piano

So now you've seen the jungle of piano sheet music available online from above, but you still have questions? Then see if I can answer this for you:

Can I also learn the piano completely online?

If you still want to learn the piano but don't want to go to music school, you should read my article on online piano courses. Because grades are one thing, but nothing works without a good teacher. Especially in times of Corona there are really great offers that you can take advantage of completely online, without the problems that come with private lessons. You have lower costs, save yourself the journey and can schedule your hours flexibly.

What about copyright law for piano sheet music?

And then the matter of copyright. You can't avoid that, especially if you want to get pieces for free. Just as you make sure that the way you download music or movies is legal, you shouldn't forget that sheet music is very often copyrighted. But there are very good legal platforms that are completely free of charge.

It is actually not particularly difficult: either the composer approved your coveted piano piece or he died more than 70 years ago. So far so good. But caution is advised here too, because newer editions of classic works are usually protected anyway. With most pop songs but also with everything from the field of New Classics, you can also assume that you can only legally get access for a fee. Even if there is the possibility of obtaining grades illegally, you should think twice about whether you really want to. On the one hand, you protect yourself from legal consequences if you don't put yourself in gray areas; on the other hand, you enable composers to earn a living with their art. It's actually a win-win situation. It's nice if you see it that way too!

Can I generally print out piano sheet music?

In general: a clear yes and no! Damn…

Well, it is like this: you can of course print free sheet music for the piano that meet the criteria mentioned at the beginning. If the composer is 70 years dead and the version is at least as old or the piece has been approved, there is no problem. You can also chase individual pieces through the printer that you buy and download for money or that you receive free of charge as part of an Oktav subscription, as long as you use them exclusively for private purposes and do not reproduce them.

Can I also exchange notes with others?

Yes, theoretically it can be done via Swappano, for example. However, this is a legal gray area, because in the end the owner loses income again through the swap. It is one thing to exchange grades among family and friends; it is quite another to pass them on to strangers online.

Where can I find piano sheet music for my band?

If you play in a band and need sheet music for all sorts of instruments from piano to saxophone to guitar, check out the band's Music PDF Library.

The BandMusic PDF Library website

How do I even learn piano sheet music?

Respect for reading the whole article out of sheer anticipation to master the piano! If you want to know how to properly learn piano notes, check out my article on it here.

Find piano sheet music online - the bottom line

So we looked at the jungle of online piano sheet music from the helicopter together. Now you can decide where you want to get off.

If you only play occasionally, you shouldn't be ashamed to wait with a subscription and buy individual piano pieces through Sheet Music Direct when you really need them. However, if the occasional listless playing is due to the fact that you simply lack variety, a provider like Oktav can be just the right thing to rekindle your joy in playing the piano. I would therefore recommend that you test OKTAV for 7 days free of charge and build your own experience.

As a frequent player, you can save a lot of time and nerves (and often money) searching for piano sheet music online by taking out a subscription. If you've already jumped on the minimalism bandwagon, you know how much money we spend each year on unnecessary things like fashion and how much real added value in comparison providers like Oktav, who have made it their business, to deliver our experience with things that we love (like playing music) to a new level. Here you can read about my octave experience.

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Victor Otte

Hi, I'm Victor and I write articles for musicians and those who want to become one! With my experience in the music industry, I help bands master their everyday life as a band. I am particularly interested in musical instruments.

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