Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Learn Songs Fast - The Real Deal Behind Fake Books

If you've spent much time around jazz music, you've probably heard the term "fake book" tossed around. Unless you've owned one or used one, though, chances are you're probably still a little confused about what they are and what they're good for.

Good news! They're good for a lot of things, and they're readily available at Yamaha MusicSoft, Digital Music Notebook, and Internet Direct Connection. Though they're it is often used by jazz musicians, the fake book format is great for learning the basics of any song, as long as you have a good understanding of chords.

Fake books all feature basic chords names and melodies, and many include lyrics as well. This may not seem like enough to go on to learn a song, but in many types of music - jazz, folk, and show tunes come to mind - the chords and melody are all you really need to play a song, especially if you already know basically know how it goes. Fake books are particularly well suited for jazz, though; the chords provide just enough of a guide for a solo or accompaniment, and the melodies for the "heads" of songs are all you need to bring the band back together.

As long as you're comfortable reading chords by their printed names (C7, E-7b5) and playing a little loose with the rhythm of your accompaniment, fake book arrangements will prove to be a great asset when you want to learn and play a song as quickly as possible.

Nowadays fake books are available for pretty much any type of music you want to play. If you're a jazz player though, the Real Book series, which got its start as an underground publication at the Berklee College of Music in the 70's, is a great place to start.

If the idea of hundreds or thousands of songs collected in one book appeals to you take a look at our list of fake books at Yamaha MusicSoft, or our catalog of fake book sheet music at Digital Music Notebook. Or, if you use Internet Direct Connection or Music Finder on your keyboard, Music Finder+ Performance Guides provide great fake book style guides to the songs in your Music Finder library.

- Doug