Here is a short list of some of the most useful or interesting websites I use in connection with music in one way or another. If you are studying music, teach music or are just passionate about music, you will probably find something here to tickle your fancy.
Many of these websites I came across by chance, using Stumbleupon for example. Others were recommended to me either directly or via posts in music-related forums. All of them have something unique to offer and are are worth a visit, and all of them are FREE!
So without further ado, in order of how much I like them personally, (totally subjective I know, but never mind!):
J.Sayles – Early Music
While not exactly a “pretty” site in terms of design, this is actually an amazing treasure trove of free MP3 recordings made by the site owner, John Sayles, on his classical guitar.
If you’ve ever wanted to explore Early Music without having to leave your own living room, this is a wonderful place to start.
Sayles says of Early Music composers, “They were the “Beethovens and Bachs of the 14-, 15- and 1600s and deserve to be heard by 21st century ears,” and I concur!
Each piece has a short introduction which is eminently readable, as Sayles has a dry wit and honest, open style.
Aimed at the younger generation, Sphinxkids is a website connected to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.
It features a nice selection of online Flash and Java activities which introduce kids to various aspects of music.
You can explore famous composers, “minority” composers (i.e. from ethnic minorities in the USA), orchestral instruments, or create your own rhythm band.
The Symphony- An Interactive Guide
This is an interactive guide to the symphony. It’s not specifically aimed at kids but would be of interest to anyone from teenagers upwards.
The site looks at symphonies from various stand points – by geography, by time, by construction and so on, and presents the facts in bite-sized chunks.
It’s a sort of coffee-table book on the internet.
Music Tweeters List
This is a list of the world’s top music theory educators on Twitter. The page includes instructions on how to add the complete list in one go, but I have to admit it didn’t work for me.
However, you can of course add the people you are interested in following one by one. If you are keen to stay in the loop in music theory education, this is a social networking no-brainer.
(PS I am not on the list! I rarely tweet, I just read!)
A little bit of fun if you are in the mood for listening to something new and need some inspiration. This site lets you enter the name of an artist or composer you like, then it makes a handful of suggestions of other things you would probably also enjoy.
When you click on a name, a new bunch of selections pops up. Each time you make a new selection, an audio player shuffles to a random track by that artist/composer.
Start off with Mozart and see where it takes you!
MIAYF stands for “Musical Instruments at Your Fingertips” and is a fact-packed website funded by Museums Galleries Scotland and managed by Edinburgh University.
It’s got tonnes of stuff for kids of all ages to explore instruments in a historical context, as well as resources for teachers, and includes a “Sound Lab” sections where you can mess about with the microphone on your computer.
Are you ever driven mad with a bit of song stuck in your head but you can’t remember what it is exactly? This search engine lets you sing or hum what you can and then matches your efforts with its database of songs.
I tested it out and, despite not being a great singer, I was amazed to see that it worked! The search results include MP3 links to the song in question so you can easily verify that it was indeed the earworm which had been plaguing you for the last 8 hours.
Dolmetsch Music Theory
Dolmetsch music theory is really incredible. It is the most in-depth music theory website I have ever seen. I don’t recommend jumping straight into Dolmetsch if you are studying up to grade 5 music theory, because you will risk getting out of your depth pretty quickly ( of course, that’s what www.mymusictheory.com is for!).
But for anyone who is grade 6 or above, or wants to expand the knowledge introduced by the ABRSM syllabus, it’s a magnificent place to explore. Whether you need to check some facts quickly or fancy spending a couple of hours delving into something arcane and complex, Dolmetsch is a reliable resource and contains plenty of images and audio examples to make things clearer.
The website looks a bit old-fashioned – no whistles and bells here – but don’t let that put you off.
Nothing to do with cats – Classiccat is a catalogue of free MP3s, all completely legal. Classiccat provides links to MP3s around the web which are provided free of charge by the people who have the right to distribute them – often this will be sample pieces by orchestras or smaller music groups, for example.
It’s an extensive catalogue and a wonderful resource that personally I use frequently. If you want to “try before you buy” it’s useful too.
If you want to download any MP3, just right click the link and choose “Save as…” to save it to your own PC.
Free classical sheet music! My all-time favourite website and one which I rely on heavily for finding excerpts to use in the mymusictheory.com lessons. IMSLP is a repository for scanned (or typeset ) classical works which are no longer under copyright. All kinds of people upload PDFs to IMSLP – private individuals, libraries, musical institutions.
Everything is free and legal to download, although restrictions might be different depending on which country you are in. The search function is very, very extensive, so you can drill down to pieces by era, instrumentation, composer or a combination of elements.
This is really an incredible resource for musicians, teachers and students – although the quality of some items might not be as perfect as it could be, the fact that you can access so much classical music in sheet form free of charge is truly amazing. Links are also given to known recordings, and to purchase hard copies where available.
If you only visit one site on this list, make it imslp.org!
What would you add? Apart from the obvious ones such as Youtube.com or Wikipedia, that is! Which music-related websites do you find most fun/indispensible/interesting?