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Before anything else, I agree question of type "[link/name of piece or song] sounds/is/looks/whatevers cool, search the sheet music for me" should be closed. Nowadays, with the internet and advanced search engines, it is very easy to find sheet music for most pieces.

But, I think manuscripts of classical music should be an exception. (Specifically manuscripts. Published editions are exactly as easy to find, per the above reasoning.)

Firstly, the manuscript is for a large part of classical music the definitive version, which allows the performer to get as close to the original intent of the composer as possible.

Secondly, although lots of editions advertise with being "Urtext" (meaning they adhere to the manuscript), in many cases, just by typesetting, valuable information is lost.

Thirdly, not all pieces have been published satisfactorily. Of some pieces, only edited or low quality publications have been made.

Lastly, I'd like to note requesting copies of manuscripts is standard practice in the classical music world.

P.S. In case you are wondering why I brought this up: https://music.stackexchange.com/questions/31834/where-is-the-manuscript-of-escenas-romanticas-by-granados

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I voted to close, but am having second thoughts, at least in this, and very similar cases.

I see the relevant points as:

  1. There is only one instance of the item, and
  2. It's of some historical significance,
  3. The item in question is relevant for informing musical performance & practice.

I don't think that there needs to be exactly one copy, but it' can't have been something that was widely published, and many of those copies still exist.

I see the two main problems with resource requests as being (a) they elicit list like answers, and the ranking of items in the list is often subjective, and (b) they can easily go out of date (esp. if the resource in question is an online one). A very narrow slice of questions along the lines of "where can I find X" when X is a (nearly) singular, and particulary notable thing, avoid these problems and should not be closed as off topic.

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This one feels to me to be off topic - it's not really about practice or theory, or about music, in fact it feels more like something an antiquities research site would be better suited for.

Happy to hear other opinions though

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    It is very related to practice: you would play a piece differently when playing from the manuscript than from a published edition. Looking at your profile, you seem to not be a classical music person, so this might be worth stating: this is a major difference between classical music and most other styles. Especially in classical music from the classical era, every tiny articulation mark the composer wrote is important and needs to be played, in contrast to newer music styles where there isn't much more written down than a chord progression. – 11684 May 7 '15 at 14:59
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    but the question isn't about the manuscript - it's about locating something rare and special... I would agree with you that playing from a manuscript is different from modern notation (in the distant past I was a first violin... so I vaguely remember) – Doktor Mayhem May 7 '15 at 15:02
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Firstly, the manuscript is for a large part of classical music the definitive version, which allows the performer to get as close to the original intent of the composer as possible.

Secondly, although lots of editions advertise with being "Urtext" (meaning they adhere to the manuscript), in many cases, just by typesetting, valuable information is lost.

Thirdly, not all pieces have been published satisfactorily. Of some pieces, only edited or low quality publications have been made.

Resource requests aren't off-topic because they're of little value — they can be quite valuable in innumerable contexts. I don't think manuscripts stand out in this area compared to other important resources.

Lastly, I'd like to note requesting copies of manuscripts is standard practice in the classical music world.

This is a Q&A site, not the classical musical world.

I can't see us making an exception to the policy for manuscripts unless you can provide some reason why they would be a good fit for our users and audience, within the Stack Exchange format, compared to other similar questions.

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    "Resource requests aren't off-topic because they're of little value" – ah, it seems this is what I misunderstood. Could you please explain why they are off-topic? – 11684 May 7 '15 at 17:27
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    Matthew, what I'm hearing in your response is "We don't support the questions of serious, professional performing musicians, we only support the questions of amateurs." Are you aware that this seems to be the upshot of your argument, and if so do you actually mean it? Because I'm pretty sure that if someone pointed out that something is a legitimate question on, say, Stack Overflow because it's a pragmatic issue professional developers have to deal with, nobody would accept "This is a Q&A site, not the world of professional programming" as a reason. – Codeswitcher May 16 '15 at 4:19

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