The Public Domain Song Anthology:
Popular Music for Study and Performance
with Modern and Traditional Harmonizations by David Berger and Chuck Israels
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In 2019, for the first time in 20 years, popular songs are being elevated into the public domain in the United States.
To celebrate, the Music Library Association and Aperio, the University of Virginia’s open access press, are excited to announce The Public Domain Song Anthology—the first open access music anthology in the Music Library Association Open Edition Series!
Published in collaboration with the Arthur Friedheim Library of the Peabody Institute and the University of Michigan Library, the anthology will make nearly 400 public domain songs available in brand new arrangements. As selected and curated by jazz repertory experts -- founding Jazz at Lincoln Center conductor and arranger David Berger and famed bassist and member of the Bill Evans Trio Chuck Israels -- the music is presented in new leadsheets with two harmonizations: traditional harmonies and contemporary harmonies that allow students and players to reimagine each tune.
In celebration of the Public Domain, the authors’ are donating their new harmonizations and all other new content in the Anthology to the public domain with a CC-0 license so that teachers, students, and musicians can freely reuse, modify, and share anything in the Anthology.
Why a popular song anthology?
The Public Domain Song Anthology benefits music teachers, students, and performers and gives libraries a new way to provide important music resources to our communities.
With this publication, music teachers gain access to a new open educational resource for their schools and private studios. In private studios, requiring students to buy expensive repertoire books can limit who is able to take lessons and learn from master musicians. Having traditional and modern “chord changes” gives teachers a wonderful tool to demonstrate different approaches to harmonization and improvisation.
This anthology will also be valuable to professional musicians and singers who make their living in a variety of teaching and performance settings. Smaller performance venues such as bars and restaurants are often financially unable to pay a public performance license. Performing musicians will now be able to assure such venues that they can play out of this book, in addition to their original compositions, without any copyright obligation. The harmonic suggestions can impart ideas for further original compositions, as well as for performance of the Anthology songs.
Our libraries aspire to make music accessible to our communities. Often, we must limit our resources to serving only our local communities. When your library supports the Anthology, you are adding a valuable resource to your local collection and making it available in perpetuity to a global community.
The Anthology will be released on June 15, 2019.
All libraries can purchase a hard copy of the anthology and and notification to add their holdings to a fully cataloged MARC record with a link to the online musicXML version.
Unlike traditional publishers who are able to invest costs in authoring and creating songbooks, we are funding this in advance to make the final product openly available. That means we're asking your library or institution to reserve your copy now instead of seeking cost recovery through sales.
To make this volume freely available, we are asking libraries to purchase their copy today.
More about the Anthology
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