Sheet Music by John Barry

I often get email from people asking if they can get this or that piece of sheet music of their favorite John Barry work. I posted the question to the usenet newsgroup Below is the information that I've gleaned from the newsgroup.

Joel Markowitz buys and sells sheet music. His catalog has small print and is closely printed so get the reading glasses out, it's worth looking at. (He doesn't have a web site, just email):

Sheet Music Center
Box 10
Old Bethpage, Ny 11804

Ward Music offers sheet music. Send an email to

Jeff F Siesser collects sheet music by Barry and Ennio Morricone; and he would be interested in corresponding with others who share his interest. His email address is

David Jackson Shields graciously provided the following resources:

Obviously, public and university libraries are the best secondary source for sheet music and folio books which have been published as piano music or piano/vocal format.

Some sheet music companies exist to supply the educational market. In addition to piano/vocal, they carry marching band, school orchestra, and school choir arrangements. They have a wide selection. One such large supplier in the West is Byron Hoyt Sheet Music Service, 2525 16th Street in San Francisco. (415) 431-8055. There are probably similar services in New York and Los Angeles.

Libraries may also have special collections containing the original manuscripts of certain composers, which are available for research purposes, not for sale or photocopies without permission of the copyright holder (usually the publisher).

In the United States, UCLA, USC, UC Santa Barbara, Brigham Young University, and The University of Wyoming at Laramie are examples of such libraries. For example, via the UCLA Music Department Library, you can examine the original manuscripts of works by Henry Mancini, and all of the CBS Television music library. UC Santa Barbara has the Bernard Herrmann collection, Brigham Young the Max Steiner Collection, The University of Wyoming American Heritage Collection has several composers including Alexander Laszlo.

The Society for the Preservation of Film Music published a book in 1992 about various manuscript score collections located at libraries in the U.S. The title was A Preliminary Directory of Film Music Collections in the United States by H. Stephen Wright. The SPFM is located at P.O. Box 93536, Hollywood, CA 90093-0536 U.S.A. Their Web Site (at last report) is at

A lot of people collect sheet music for its cover art. Others want the printed tune. A few collectors will form clubs from time to time (like the National Sheet Music Society. Their last known address was 1597 Fair Park Avenue, Los Angeles 90041, CA U.S.A.).

The Library of Congress is the repository for all copyrights in the U.S. as well. There are several volumes of the Music Copyright Holdings which you can see at various "Government Repository libraries" (meaning large central libraries in major cities across the US.)

At the Library of Congress, you can examine scores deposited for copyright under supervision there. But you would have to make an appointment, and possibly request materials to be delivered from the warehouse to the library in advance of your visit. No photocopying would be allowed of materials without permission of the copyright owner, etc.

The Library of Congress also has a TelNet service on the Internet during certain specified hours for looking at their card catalog. The Library of Congress Web Site tells you how to access it. ASCAP and BMI repertoire on the Web.

Once you have found the publisher, you write to him about your project--whether it is for commercial recording or research, etc. Depending upon how the publisher feels, he may quote you a fee for use, rent you a score, send a photocopy, etc.

If you are so keen on John Barry, strike a deal with his publisher, and become an outlet for his music yourself. Reprint copies, pay royalties, etc. You may not want to get into "the music business" full time. But perhaps you could do it on behalf of Barry, and it wouldn't take too much time. If everyone who cares gets involved at least to the level of supporting and promoting a few composers works...pretty soon these materials would be available from many sources...and we could promote them all on the Internet.

Having found all of this information for my own musicological interests, I can say that the availability of sheet music today is in a sorry state especially with older music. Like all industries, the sheet music industry exists to make money. The distribution of sheet music was in its heydey before radio and records (when every parlor had a piano, and every family a pianist.) It has been in a steady decline ever since. It is now in the hands of a very few people, who focus on what's cross-promoted from radio and records, or the "old warhorses", the standard show tunes which everyone has.

A new development are kiosks in music stores which print music on the spot to a laser printer, transposing it into whatever key you want. The catch is that their repertoire is usually limited to the most recent hits.

But this idea could be expanded to include all of a publisher's catalog, and have it available via the Internet. Then we'd really have something. Of course it takes data entry work to translate printed music into MIDI notation format, etc. But someday...perhaps this could be a reality if enough people encourage publishers to do this.