MLA News

Official News from the Music Library Association

Now Available: The Public Domain Song Anthology

Aperio, the University of Virginia’s open access press, and the Music Library Association are pleased to announce a joint publication: The Public Domain Song Anthology by David Berger and Chuck Israels. This collection of 348 songs with modern and traditional harmonization is available for all to use and is free of copyright restrictions. The original songs and the anthology itself are in the public domain, which allows the material to be studied, performed, adapted, and shared without constraint.

By making this anthology open access, we foresee broad use of the resource both inside and outside of educational settings. The PDSA gives teachers and students free and easy access to hundreds of popular, folk, and jazz songs in a single publication. The anthology also solves a problem for performers by sharing songs that can be played confidently without violating copyright. Contributions by Berger and Israels have been gifted to the public domain as well, which will help to both preserve and give new life to the rich legacy of these songs, many of which are at risk of being forgotten or overlooked.

This publication is a Music Library Association Open Edition. It was made possible by the tireless direction of MLA Open Access Editor Kathleen DeLaurenti, with support from Dave Ghamandi, Nina Schwartz, and Brandon Butler. A full list of libraries that offered support is included in the anthology. A print copy of the PDSA will be available at many of these supporting institutions.

Download The Public Domain Song Anthology for free at or at Share your story on how you’re using the Anthology by tagging us on Twitter (@AperioUVA, @MusicLibAssoc), or sending a note to