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.

http://pianofun.com/seminars.html

1 comment:

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

    ReplyDelete