How to contribute to Mutopia
The Mutopia archive consists entirely of contributions from people around the world. If you would like to contribute, there are several ways in which you are able to help. These include typesetting music that we don't already have, proofreading music to check for errors, and updating music to a newer version of LilyPond for better quality output and easier updating.
New contributions to Mutopia are always welcome. Simply typeset the music using the free LilyPond software, add the necessary headers, and send it to us at <contributions (at) MutopiaProject.org>. It is a good idea to check that the music is not already present in Mutopia, and that no one else is working on it (using the projects in progress page). Note that it is vital to check that the source you have used is out of copyright.
We reserve the right to refuse files submitted to Mutopia if we feel that they are in any way unsuitable.
Check Copyright Status of Source
If you are contributing music you have composed yourself, then this doesn't apply to you. If you are contributing classical music, however, even if it is your own arrangement, then you need to check that the source of the music you're going to enter is out of copyright. For our purposes it has to meet the following criteria. This ensures that the music is in the public domain in as much of the world as possible.
- The composer, lyricist, arranger and editor must all have been dead for at least seventy complete years.
- The work must have been published prior to 1923.
For example, our version of Handel's opera Giulio Cesare (HWV 17) was edited by Friedrich Chrysander, and the source edition was published in 1875. Handel died in 1759, and Chrysander died in 1901, so this edition is in the public domain. More information about these rules is available on the Wikipedia Public Domain page.
Incidentally, it is worth remembering that some older editions are heavily edited and can be rather error prone. For all new contributions we insist that you tell us the source you used when transcribing the music. This is to ensure as far as possible that all contributions are from public domain sources. Note that contributions listing a facsimile/reproduction source are discouraged as they may have additional legal complications. If you spot any possible copyright violations, please let us know.
It is up to the contributor to decide what terms the music is released under. The three possibilities are described on the license details page. By submitting music to Mutopia, you are declaring that you have the legal right to release the work under the terms chosen.
LilyPond (lilypond.org) is free in the sense that you don't have to pay for it, and also that the source code is available for you to look at, recompile and even improve. It is available for both Unix-like operating systems (eg. Linux, Mac OS X) as well as Windows. If you have already entered music in another free typesetting program then it may be possible to convert it into LilyPond format. Check LilyPond's documentation for more information.
If you find any errors in the music on Mutopia, please send us an e-mail (<contributions (at) MutopiaProject.org>). Simply describe the mistake in as much detail as necessary. We will check the error and correct the version on Mutopia. No technical knowledge of LilyPond is required, although if you want to supply an updated .ly file you are welcome to do so.
The same goes for mistakes or inconsistencies in the metadata (eg. piece title, composer, opus, etc.) on Mutopia. If you spot any problems, please do let us know. They are easily corrected.
One of the goals of Mutopia is not only to provide free sheet music of high quality, but to enable people to make their own arrangements, transpositions or editions of that sheet music with the minimum of difficulty. This is made challenging by the fact that LilyPond is not entirely backwards compatible with .ly files produced for earlier versions. Although those earlier versions remain available for free, they don't always run easily on modern operating systems.
Consequently, it is helpful if experienced LilyPond users could help us update some of the files in Mutopia which use very old versions of LilyPond. This also allows pieces to take advantage of the improvements in LilyPond's rendering over the last few years. If you are willing and able to do so, please get in touch. Searching for music by LilyPond version is possible from the advanced search page.