Friday, February 19, 2010

Fake Books and iPhones

Do you know what a fake book is? About half the students who end up taking my Instant Piano workshop do not. I explain that it's a book of music that has only the single-note melody line and the accompanying chords. Thus a fake book is a perfect source of music for people who learn my method.

It pretty much eliminates the need for anyone to have to learn any but the simplest level of music notation reading. In fact, one of the secrets of my method is that it avoids the student having to take years of lessons in order to read.

Fortunately, fake books are now quite abundant. You can find them in most music stores, on line, in libraries, and even in large book stores such as Borders. But I just learned of another source.

The most famous fake book for jazz players is a volume that is paradoxically titled The Real Book. It's the bible for jazz musicians. For years it was underground, only available through the shadiest of sources because, in the tradition of early fake books, there were no licenses granted to publish the songs, thus no royalties were getting paid, and a lot of people and lawyers were unhappy about it.

Then Hal Leonard publishers came along a few years ago and published a legit version of this iconic tome. But here is what I recently found out. There is an iPhone app for the Real Book. And it only cost $8, and it comes with hundreds and hundreds of songs. Plus it has a lot of other features such as the ability to transpose these songs into any key.

Now get this. Last month in Hawaii, Pam and I were jamming at a restaurant with this band we had me the week before, The Hot Club of Hulaville. They have a big repertoire of gypsy jazz songs, but someone requested a song the band didn't know. So all four members got out their iPhones (that's right, they each had one) and looked up the song and read it right from their phones.

That concept was unimaginable 10 years ago. But it was pretty funny.

If you have an iPhone, you can get the program from the Apple App Store. Be aware, there is no melody line in the songs so it isn't like the real Real Book. Chords only, so you need to know the song pretty well in your head. Still. A must have for jazz players.

If you're in the SF Bay area, I'll be presenting my Instant Piano workshop this weekend and next.

Feb 20, College of Marin, 415-485-9305

Feb 21, Solano College (near Fairfield), 707-864-7115

Feb 27, College of San Mateo, 650-574-6149

This is very short notice, so you better call today if you're interested.
More info on the web site.


  1. This is very interesting post to read. This proves that iPhones have made their presence everywhere...

  2. People play these fake melodies with great success because they don't know any better. I have a point here but that doesn't mean it will fit into this extreme simplicity for the readership so we'll move on to other things of interest about scales… Scales giving your trombone a soft, pretty sound

    Such a beautiful photo didn't it? Yes. You found some lovely scales on the internet and decided to put them in your trombone mouthpiece for fun. As my old professor Phil O'Keefe said (he does love his cornet ), "I don't care if you have 3 or 11 notes per scale but play 'em from day one.

  3. This is a very interesting post to read. This proves that iPhones were everywhere

  4. Dealing with fake books and iPhones has become a prevalent challenge in today's market. It's not just about distinguishing between the genuine and the counterfeit; it's also a reminder of the importance of authenticity in our increasingly digital world. As consumers, we must remain vigilant and informed, valuing not only the products themselves but the trust and quality they represent.

  5. The most well-known forgery for jazz musicians is a volume named The Real Book. It's considered the bible for jazz performers. For years, it was only available through the most shady of sources since, in the spirit of early best muscle growth supplements phoney books, no licences were given to publish the songs, thus no royalties were paid, and a lot of individuals and attorneys were upset about it.

  6. First of all, thanks for sharing . very informative blog and always keep sharing. We focus on creating places that radiate elegance, comfort, and individuality as an established interior design company Dubai and the United Arab Emirates. Tossround Decor, with its stellar reputation, is your go-to partner for creating the interiors of your dreams. Further more details contact Tossround Decor & Technical Services.
    Interior Design Company Dubai

  7. Hi, thanks for sharing this wonderful blog. very informative blog and always keep sharing. By enabling instantaneous, contactless sharing of contact details, digital business card Dubai business cards improve networking. Four Strong Modes in One digital business card UAE Business Card. Comes with every card. Change modes according to the circumstances. Your smart digital exploring card can be created online. You can select from a variety of our digital business card samples to create visiting cards. Digital Business Card Dubai