Websites for German Art Song Enthusiasts

Websites Offering Free German Sheet Music, German Translations, and More

Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert is known for his sophisticated Lieder including "Der Erlkönig" and "Gretchen am Spinnrade.". Image courtesy of Morn via Wikimedia commons

Choosing and preparing German art songs is easier than any other classical genre thanks to these websites. You may, listen to selections, find free sheet music, and do in-depth research on lieder. Sophie’s Project, Lieder Sound Archive, Centro Studi Eric Sams and Petrucci Music Library expose you to new music and ideas; while LiederNet Archive and Leo will help you translate art songs into English.

Centro Studi Eric Sams

Eric Sams was an English musicologist and Shakespeare scholar, who died in 2004. His numerous publications on lieder aesthetics are found on the website. You may also find sound clips of his interviews. Although his Shakespearean and other researches are included, the website “has the primary aim of developing the research in the field of the German Lied.”

Sophie’s Project

Someone looking for art songs by German female composers may want to start here. Sophie’s project is a “digital library of works by German-speaking women.” The majority of the project is devoted to written works, but a significant amount of research went into uncovering music by German speaking female composers at one time. Although some new works were found and recorded, the website also highlights beloved works by Clara Schumann. You will find it hard to hear many of the songs on the website anywhere else.

Petrucci Music Library

The Petrucci Music Library publishes music scores that are in public domain on the web. Although the site is a work in progress and selection is limited, many lieder can be printed and used for free. I found several German art songs by Hugo Wolf with vocals and piano accompaniment in public domain.

Lieder Sound Archive

A “free web archive of live recordings of Lieder and Art Songs.” With over 600 recordings and over 50 performers, this website is an extensive resource for choosing art songs to sing. You may even download some scores in public domain. Other resources on the website include a list of significant books in English, Italian, French, and German about German Lied and Art Songs.

LiederNet Archive

Have a German art song or choral work you want to see an English translation of? The LiederNet Archive includes the largest collection of art songs texts and their translations and also includes texts of choral works. According to LeiderNet Archive, “135,353” vocal pieces are cataloged and “25,338” are translated. Updates are frequently made. I personally have contributed to LiederNet Archive. When preparing recitals, I look for translations of German text in the LiederNet Archive first. Although permission must be obtained to use translations on a program, most people are happy to give it.

Leo

As the best and most accurate online German/English dictionary, I find myself going to Leo frequently in order to look up specific German words. Just type a word into the search engine and a list of possible translations appear including common idioms.

Each German translation is linked to possible English ones. To double check the translation, just click the German word to see if it comes up with the English word you entered or vice versa. You may also start a discussion or read past ones about grammar issues, sign up for a language course, socialize with German speakers, and improve your vocabulary by reading the word of the day. The website was initiated by the Technical University of Germany in Munich, where many students donated time and effort to putting it together.