Music I have transcribed

I now have a blog for this site, which is where I will be putting notes on major additions, particular problems, etc. It's the publishing category on the site blog.

You can look at the music on the site in:

The program that writes the html based on the database is still under development, so let me know what you think about what's here, and what you'd like to see that isn't here.

This page used to be called Music I have typeset in ABC. I'm still using ABC for the input, but the actual printing is now done by Lilypond. For new files, I'm putting up both the ABC input, and the lilypond source, which often has information (like incipits) that isn't in the ABC, although I'm still trying to keep the ABC correct as far as it goes.

A very old description of how and why I do this is in A Morley Canzonet in ABC. I should get this updated. It's on the list.

A more recent apologia is the article I wrote for the American Recorder magazine.

Here are some of the things I've done that way. I think there aren't copyright issues about using the sources I've used; I'm releasing my work under the Gnu Public Licence. If you do use them, let me know how it worked out.

I'm putting them up in abc, pdf, and MIDI. If you want the typesetting, and don't yet have the ability to read pdf, download either the Adobe acrobat reader for your machine, or get a recent version of ghostscript.

If downloading individual pieces is too tedious, here are all the abc files ( 42994 bytes) and all the MIDI files (41939 bytes) zipped together.

Some of these pieces use tenor G clefs and double whole notes, which are not included in abc2ps-1.3.3 as supplied by Michael Methfessel. So I have switched to using abctab2ps.

A note about the MIDI files

These are virgin files as they come from abc2midi. I use them for proofreading the data entry. I am providing them so that someone who wants to use them for practicing one part, or for making different typesetting decisions from the ones I made, will have the opportunity. In other words, they are exchange MIDI files, not performance MIDI files. Since I don't enter any editorial ficta, the notes are frequently not what a human player would actually play. So use them at your own risk. Also, many of the older files have a bug in the MIDI output, so that the long note in a dotted rhythm is 2/3 rather than 3/4 of the total value. This will get fixed soon.

Another thing on the list to do is to move to using the lilypond output for the MIDI, which would allow for editorial accidentals.

The Books

I formerly put PDF files up when I had compiled a lot of pieces into a book, and both allowed you to download the PDF and offered a printed version for sale.

I have decided to discontinue this practice. I am leaving up the ones that are there, but new ones, and updatings of old ones will be available only through the Serpent Publications store.

Morley Canzonets for Three Voices

Special thanks are due to Ronald Napier, who volunteered to proofread them for me.

They are now in their own page. If you haven't looked at it for a while, it now also has Love learns by laughing, which is in the reprint of 1606 but not the edition of 1593.

Morley, Canzonets for 2 voices

Hardcopy part books are now available from the Serpent Publications store at The downloads for these have been moved to their own page.

Music of John Dowland

John Dowland, The First Booke of Songs or ayres of foure parts, with Tableture for the Lute.

These are available for sale from, so they have their own page.

I've done only one tabulature transcription, since I don't know anyone who plays from tablature, and I don't like having things here that haven't been tested by real musicians, but several of these have been transcribed by others and are in Taco Walstra's abctab archive in the lute songs section.

Guitar players who like playing from tab may want to search at for tablature versions of these.

John Dowland, The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres of 2. 4. and 5. parts, with Tableture for the Lute or Orpherian, with the Violl de Gamba.

All songs from the Second Book have now been entered, so they have been moved to their own page.

John Dowland, The Third and Last Booke of Songs or Aires. Newly composed to sing to the Lute, Orpharion, or viols,

These also have their own page.

John Dowland: A Pilgrimes Solace. Wherein is contained Musicall Harmonie of 3. 4. and 5. parts, to be sung and plaid with the Lute and Viols

These are available for sale from, so they have their own page.

John Dowland: Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares figured in Seaven Passionate Pavans

with divers other Pavans, Galliards, and Almands, Set forth for the Lute, Viols, or Violons, in five Parts

These are available for sale from, so they have their own page.

From Bicinia, Sive Cantiones

This book was published in Antwerp by Petrum Phalesium. The facsimile I have is from the 1609 edition.

It consists of motets, chansons, and fantasias. I have transcribed the motets, and moved them to their own page. .

I have now set all the chansons, and moved them to the Bicinia page

So I have now started on the Fantasias.

Here's the book version of the fantasias.

From the Glogauer Liederbuch

The original key is suitable for a group with basses but no sopranos, so many of these have a version transposed up a fourth or fifth for a group with sopranos but no basses.

If you want to see all of these, the best thing is to download the book (which is still a work in progress): PDF, zipfile of MIDI's.

Dance music

The music in this section is music that I've been asked to play for people to dance to. It is either (I hope public domain) arrangements that I've managed to find somewhere, or arrangements I've put together for whatever combination of people I played with that time, or not arranged at all.

Vocal music from Playford


A lot of the tunes Playford published in 1651 were actually popular songs, which had words. Here are a few that my Renaissance Band like to sing. We use the arrangements by Marshall Barron, which are available from The Country Dance and Song Society. They are under copyright, so I can't put them up here; if anyone knows of (or wants to write) good three or four part arrangements which are public domain or open licence, I'd be glad to put them here.

Drinking Songs

The Cantabile Renaisance Band played for a Wort Processor's event last summer, and decided we needed to learn some drinking songs.

A lot of these are rounds. I've attempted to transpose the range so that it's comfortable for medium-low voices, but the people who sang rounds while they were drinking together in the 17th and eighteenth centuries had large singing ranges, either because they had better vocal training than we do or because after they'd been drinking a while, they didn't care as much what they sounded like.

I formerly had books I'd compiled this way available for free download; I've decided that the typesetting work I do should be free, but the book compiling work I should get paid for. So you can download it for a small fee from at . If you want to download the pieces one by one for free, here's the Table of contents.

Veracini sonatas

I've been playing some of these on the recorder. Three of them are now transcribed in a book. For lilypond transcribers, it shows the state of figured bass in lilypond 1.6.9.


This part of the site is now a database-backed site, so that I can add things, and users can find them, more easily. In order to have a backup, I'm uploading the dump of the data. If you like looking at sql, you're welcome to comment:

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This Free Sheet Music site is owned by Laura Conrad
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Laura Conrad
Last modified: Fri Oct 16 12:23:10 EDT 2009
Last modified: 2009-06-09 10:17, 2009