This page explains what our Music Bank is and how it works.
Access Music Bank now
What the Music Bank does
The Music Bank is a database of music. It has three functions:
- A search facility - there are nearly 19,000 pieces of music listed and lots of different criteria you can use to search. For example:
- If you know the name of a piece but want more information you can search by title or keyword, if it is listed it will give you the composer, duration, voices/ instrumentation and publishers*
- You might be exploring the work of a particular composer – you can search their name and browse their listed works.
- Help with programme planning; if you are programming a German themed event, you could search by:
- composer nationality
- duration 10 minutes or less
- must include a trumpet
- written in the 20th or 21st century
*the Music Bank is not complete – not every piece has information about voices / instrumentation or duration. See ‘who looks after the Music Bank ‘ for more info.
- Programme notes – over 5,000 pieces have programme notes attached which have been submitted by members over the years. So, if you are putting an event programme together the Music Bank could save you some time. The search function has a ‘programme notes available ’option or look for green 'Programme notes' icon in the results.
If you have programme notes you would like to submit you can use our form.
- Sheet Music exchange – this is the most popular function of the Music Bank. Fellow Making Music Members who own sheet music can list it in the Music Bank – groups can then contact each other via the Music Bank to arrange a loan, helping to support each other’s music making.
There are almost 13,000 sheet music holdings listed. The search function has a ‘Sheet music available’ option. In the result listing look for the blue 'Sheet Music' icon.
Lending and borrowing music through the Music Bank
How do I borrow music through the Music Bank?
If you see the blue 'Sheet Music' icon, click on it. This will tell you which groups have sheet music available for this work, and how many copies. It will also give you an option to use a contact form to message them. If you do this, you will be sharing your email address with the person you are messaging. You will not know their email address until they email you back.
Please note the number of copies listed is not live data – so there is a chance that when you contact the group, it may not available.
How do I list and lend sheet music?
Anyone with admin level access can add sheet music listings via your Dashboard – click on the ‘view/edit sheet music listing icon’. If the edition of the sheet music you have is already in the Music Bank, you can add your listing straight away. If the edition you have sheet music for isn’t listed, you have the option to a complete a form to submit details of the edition – our volunteers will then add it for you (see the section on Who looks after the Music Bank?)
Once your music is listed you can remove or edit the listing (e.g. number of copies) via the same link in your Dashboard.
If someone contacts you through the Music Bank about borrowing the music, the message will go via email to anyone in your group who has admin level access on our site, plus anyone listed as librarian for your group.
The contact form is set up so that your email address is not shared with the person who has contacted you. They share their email address with you, and yours is only shared with them if you reply.
Cost and fees
We encourage groups to use the sheet music exchange function on a ‘give and take’ basis. Lending sheet music does have a cost involved, so there is no expectation that you make it available for free. We encourage you to charge a reasonable fee aimed at covering costs rather than making a profit. Post and packaging, and perhaps an admin fee to cover time. Ideally, we want the Music Bank to be a way of recouping costs for groups and making it easier for more events to happen – so we ask that you avoid high per copy hire fees.
Who looks after the Music Bank?
We have two brilliant volunteers, both called David, who look after the Music Bank for us. They are continually tidying up existing data (e.g. updating instrumentation) as well as adding new music, programme notes and sheet music listings submitted by members.
They work hard and diligently – but they are volunteers, not full-time staff, so things can take a bit of time to update.
We would love to have more volunteers working on the Music Bank. If you are interested, get in touch.
The future of the Music Bank
The Music Bank has been around in one form or another for well over 20 years. Thanks to our volunteers it has grown during that time. As long as members keep submitting new programmes notes and sheet music listings, and we have volunteers, it will continue to grow.
The Making Music team knows that there are more ways in which the Music Bank could help members. However, development work comes at a cost in terms of both time and money. We need external IT developers to do that work and dedicated staff time to manage it. For the moment we are committed to ensuring that the Music Bank continues to serve you, and we look forward to making further improvements and developments in the future when funding allows.
In the meantime, we welcome any ideas for future development. We’d love to hear from you, so please get in touch !
Other resources on for finding music
The Music Bank is a great source of sheet music, but it doesn’t contain everything, and you will most likely need to look elsewhere as well. We have other resources to help you in this area:
INCLUDE application process
Other websites that facilitate music groups lending sheet music to each other
Musica International is an international project to create the world’s largest database of choral music. Making Music members have free access to the Musica International catalogue.
Making Music Corporate members
Several publishers are Corporate members of Making Music and offer discounts to our member groups. You can find out more information in the resource section of our site.
Downloading from the internet
For music that is out of copyright, it might be possible to download a free copy from the internet and reproduce this freely. The two main sites that offer this service are:
Hiring from a music library
The libraries listed below all hire directly to music groups in the UK.
Other sources of music
We hope you find this Making Music resource useful. If you have any comments or suggestions about the guidance please contact us. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the content of this guidance is accurate and up to date, Making Music do not warrant, nor accept any liability or responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the content, or for any loss which may arise from reliance on the information contained in it.