View Full Version : Copyright Free Classical Music....?

05-17-2005, 05:24 PM
Anyone know where/if I can get hold of some classical music that is either completely copyright free or very, very cheap?

Any leads will be greatly apprecialted.


05-18-2005, 05:20 AM
Well.... I dunno about Famous classical music for free, most of the recordings are heavily copyrighted. However, may I suggest a solution? I pressume ur looking for music for a film soundtrack? Well, I'd be more than happy to write some film music for u. I'm an amture composer and have been looking for ages for a film to write for. I'm just after the experience so it would be completely free. Email me or send me a private message if you're interested.

Will Vincent
05-18-2005, 10:25 AM
The music itself is generally free. If it's older music (Brams, Beethoven, Mozart, etc) but the recording is going to be copyrighted.

Depending on your budget you could get the sheet music and hire an orchestra to do a recording for you.. I hear the Prague orchestra is fairly cheap, and very talented.

05-18-2005, 10:43 AM
Will's right. You can't use existing recordings, but providing the composer has been dead for 75 years the music is in the public domain.

You can pull together a small orchestra for practically nothing, especially in London where the major classical music colleges are.

The most difficult thing is getting the quality of the recording right. Orchestral recording is pretty much the hardest to achieve and requires a seriously high level of sound engineering. If it was me and I needed it dirt cheap I'd find a good binaural microphone and position it about six feet ahead of the orchestra in a room that isn't completley flat acooustically, but that has a little natural warmth. You'd get a really nice quality "live" sound from that kind of set up and it's easy to achieve.

Like all cheap/free solutions it's labour and organisational heavy, but you'd learn a massive amount about sound recording from the experience.

05-18-2005, 11:51 AM
If you're not looking for long pieces of music, another (somewhat) cheap idea is SmartSound (

It comes as a standalone programme, or a plugin for Adobe Premiere.

It auto-generates a wide range of tunes, all royalty-free, including many classical pieces that you'd recognise... at the length you specify.

It's handy for shorts & commercials. (If you set too long a duration, it repeats)

Will Vincent
05-18-2005, 06:05 PM
How's the quality though? Does it sound real or synthisized?

05-18-2005, 06:21 PM
It sounds pretty darn good.

Both "Of Consequence" & "Health Nut" used it, btw.

It does more than just classical, too. If the basic install doesn't have enough selections (about 40 varieties on mine) you can buy extra themes to add in. Hundreds of them.

The only bad side is you'll never be able to watch a locally produced tv commercial again. You'll recognise which commercials use SmartSound in seconds, and it drives you nuts :lol:

05-19-2005, 04:57 PM
That's great - thanks for your help everyone.

Loud Orange Cat
05-19-2005, 05:03 PM
Believe it or not (Yes, believe it) there's tons of free, legal music available from

Just click on the 'Open Source Audio' link and search by 'Public Domain'. There's tons of classical, electronic, rock and dozens of other categories of music available for free... We're talkin' hundreds of titles.

Please respect the licencing requirements of anything not labeled 'Public Domain'.

The 'Open Source Movies' category is where I host my films. :yes:

05-20-2005, 09:45 AM
You can also try the classical section on (free for noncommercial use, $44 per track for festival play). If you can befriend the music department of a university, the'll often have DAT archives of performances that they'll let you use, if you sufficiently convince them that a) you're a student or b) you're nonprofit or c) otherwise "artistically deserving".

06-12-2005, 08:04 AM
Sorry for the lengthy post. There are some links below, but there are some incorrect statements here.

Clive said, “Will's right. You can't use existing recordings, but providing the composer has been dead for 75 years the music is in the public domain.”

No, not really. First, for works created on or after 1/1/78: copyright covers the live of the author (or in the case of a joint work - not “work for hire” - it’s the death of the last surviving member) +70 years, or if the work is copyrighted by a business entity or anonymous, it is 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation whichever is shorter. For works created and published or registered before 1/1/78, copyright extends for 28 years for the first term with an optional renewal of 67 years (extended from 28 in 1998). (see for more details).

Second, you can use anything you can get the rights to no matter when it was published. There are people who put works up for “free use,” but it’s rare and takes a lot of searching (see below).

Third, for a motion picture, there are 2 rights you have to get to use the work. 1: rights to the song. The composer holds the rights to the sheet music that the recording was made from. 2: master recording rights. The master recording of the music has a separate copyright. So, let’s say you want a Mozart song. The music is in the PD, any recording made before 1910 is in the PD, but the exact same song recorded published in 1963 is still covered under copyright. is a great site, but some of the music is not free use. Just be careful and make sure to read everything. has a lot of free use music and loops too, but not all are free so be careful.

Filmscheduling said “If you can befriend the music department of a university, the'll [sic] often have DAT archives of performances that they'll let you use.” Be very careful because the only way they have the authority to let you use this is if they own both the music rights (if applicable) AND the master recording rights. Students can get away with using copyrighted works for academic, non-commercial, work - technically they should still get it - and not get sued, but if the library doesn’t own the rights, they can’t grant you permission to use them. Finally, you should always get permissions in writing. That way, if the rights are contested, you can say that you thought you had acquired them in “good faith” that the person granting them had the right to do so, and then that person becomes liable for issuing permission. (please remember I am not a lawyer and this should not be taken as legal advice - check with a copyright attorney for the most accurate information)

Here are a couple, there are more sites out there. It just takes a few hours searching.

Search for “free use” and “public domain.” I’ve started collecting music on CDs fore personal use with a saved screenshot of the page that gives usage rights from the site I got it from because I’ve found that many of the sites I used to use have changed or disappeared, and that music is lost forever. That’s why I didn’t list more sites.

This site has good buyout music at reasonable prices. I have 2 of his cds for commercial and industrial use with a lifetime license for $40. He also posts a song a month for free.

Search for "buyout" or "royalty free."

02-14-2008, 01:18 PM
Try There is a promo now for 7-CD royalty free classical music favorites ( at $149. You can see it on the main page. Alternatively you can buy single tracks starting at $2.99. Favorites include Canon in D, Ave Maria, Fligt of the bumble bee, swan lake, four seasons, nutcracker suite, william tell overture, wedding march, bridal chorus etc.

04-09-2008, 07:54 PM
Visit Small label with some classical and 50's Rock & Roll.
All avaliable for Master Use License. at a budget price