Music is an integral part of Latter-day Saint worship services and can be found wherever Mormons gather – in a Sacrament meeting, a baptism, a fireside, or a devotional. President Russell M. Nelson has taught, “Through music, we raise our voices in powerful praise and prayer. Hymns provide a pattern of worship that is pleasing to God. He taught us through the Prophet Joseph Smith to “praise the Lord with singing, with music, … and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving” (D&C 136:28). President Heber J. Grant taught, “The singing of our sacred hymns, written by the servants of God, has a powerful effect in converting people to the principles of the Gospel, and in promoting peace and spiritual growth” (President Heber J. Grant, Improvement Era, Sept. 1940, 522). And President J. Reuben Clark Jr. taught, “We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer” (President J. Reuben Clark Jr., in Conference Report, Oct. 1936, 111).
There are over 300 hymns in the English hymnbook, but there are times when a choir director wants the choir to sing an appropriate song that is not found in the hymnbook, or a person wants to sing a song not found in the hymnbook as a special musical number. The task of finding the sheet music for the song to be performed can sometimes be daunting, not to mention, expensive. Those who have a limited budget or simply can not afford to pay for the sheet music they need are faced with finding ways to obtain the music for free.
Here is a list of the top five sites for free LDS sheet music:
LDS.org Music Library
Under the “collections” heading in the music section of the LDS.org website, members can find a variety of sources for music to use. There is everything from American Sign Language (ASL) hymns to instrumental to choir music to miscellaneous pieces submitted from other sources.
Free LDS Sheet Music
This site is a great resource for finding choir music, piano music, etc. all in a central location. It is managed by a couple in Provo, Utah, and musical pieces from upcoming or lesser-known Mormon music artists can also be found at the site.
There are various search options available. A person can search by type of musical number (choir, solo, hymn arrangement, instrumental), topic, or composer.
Sally Deford Music
This is one of the best-known websites for LDS choir directors. If a person is looking for copies of music for non-commercial use, he or she can get unlimited copies from this site.
Music can be searched alphabetically, by topic, or by type. MP3 files are also available for many songs, and a translation section allows a person to search for a limited number of songs in different languages.
Tuiofu and Thomas Music
Music by lesser-known Mormon music artists, including those who have won LDS Church Music Awards, can often be difficult to find. This easy to navigate site is an excellent resource for finding such music. The site sorts music by topic, type of musical number, and occasion. MP3 versions of each song are also available along with a difficulty level rating.
LDS Sacred Songs
Music on this site is categorized by age/organization, topic, album, or price. Most songs have free sheet music, but there are some that must be purchased at the cost of a dollar or two. A person using this site should double check the notification at the bottom of the song’s page before deciding on that perfect song.
A person can also download free MP3 files for all songs and MP3s can be listened to and sheet music previewed prior to downloading.
If a person is unable to find what he or she is looking for using the above resources, they might want to try LDS Music and Books, Deseret Book, or LDS Music Source. However, there is a price for purchasing sheet music from these sources.