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Help: What's fake about fakebooks?

Steve Parkes 30 Nov 00 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,Mike Byers 30 Nov 00 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,John in Brisbane 30 Nov 00 - 06:58 AM
Troll 30 Nov 00 - 07:31 AM
Bernard 30 Nov 00 - 07:37 AM
Luke 30 Nov 00 - 08:01 AM
Troll 30 Nov 00 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,Bill in Alabama 30 Nov 00 - 09:39 AM
Steve Parkes 30 Nov 00 - 10:09 AM
mousethief 30 Nov 00 - 10:51 AM
Rick Fielding 30 Nov 00 - 11:17 AM
MMario 30 Nov 00 - 11:28 AM
mousethief 30 Nov 00 - 11:28 AM
WyoWoman 30 Nov 00 - 11:42 AM
GUEST,rob b (or cuba joe or whatever) 30 Nov 00 - 11:44 AM
Troll 30 Nov 00 - 12:07 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 30 Nov 00 - 01:53 PM
Tiger 30 Nov 00 - 03:14 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 30 Nov 00 - 05:20 PM
Kim C 30 Nov 00 - 06:01 PM
GUEST,Nancy King 30 Nov 00 - 08:05 PM
Gypsy 30 Nov 00 - 09:56 PM
GUEST,CraigS 30 Nov 00 - 10:38 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 01 Dec 00 - 11:22 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Dec 00 - 03:04 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 07 Dec 00 - 08:00 PM
Joe Offer 07 Dec 00 - 08:44 PM
Luke 08 Dec 00 - 02:22 PM
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Subject: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 05:20 AM

It's a puzzle to me: in what way is the stuff in a fakebook fake? I'm familiar with "fake" in the senes of "false", "ersatz", "imitation", but this meaning doesn't seem appropriate in this context. Is there a differnt meaning I don't know about? By the way, I'm talking about the "how to play such-and-such" type of thing, in case there are other kinds!

Steve (admitting there's something I don't know!)


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: GUEST,Mike Byers
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:15 AM

I suppose the term "fake" in this case might refer to the notion that you use the book because you don't know the tune by heart. I played with an old Virginia fiddler many years ago; Cy probably knew two or three hundred tunes, but didn't read music so the idea of having tunes written down was rather novel to him. And of course the book version was never exactly what he played, either. But for me, a "fake" book is a good place to figure out melodies and chords that take a lot of trial and error without some sort of reference.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: GUEST,John in Brisbane
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:58 AM

My impression was that the original 'fake' books were bootleg collections of songs, often with just sufficient lyrics, score and lyrics to enable the reader to play the material - certainly not a full piano score. They sold like hot-cakes and of course paid no royalties to either composers or contracted publishers.

At that time conventional publishers would put together a few good songs - combined with a fair amount of crap - and publish them as a small compendium (at outrageous prices). They were not offering the market what it wanted, so then followed suit with 'real fake'books from their own stable of copyright material. They cut down on the extraneous parts of the score - which the new market either couldn't or wouldn't read, increased the content of popular songs and sold them at a price that was more affordable. They stole the 'fake' brand name because the market associated it with good value. End of Marketing 101, as I view it.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Troll
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 07:31 AM

"Faking it" is musicaleese for playing a song without really knowing the arrangement. You've got the melody line and you "fake" the rest.
A fake book gives the melody line, lyrics, (if any) and the guitar chords. From this, a lead player can play melody, harmony,-if he/she knows his/her chords and scales and the accompanying player(s) can play accompaniment.
There are definite techniques to using a fake book efficiently and a lot of musicians use them only to learn songs, prefering to rely on memory for performance.
It is much cheaper to buy a good fake book for, say, $40 than to buy full arrangements at $5 a pop.
The dance band that I play in (guitar and vocals) uses two fake books on a regular basis and several more for special requests made in advance. We can read cold but prefer not to; too much chance of screw-ups.
To repeat, a fake book is a very useful tool for learning songs but you are responsible for arrangements. The Hal Leonard Publishing Co. puts out my personal favorite, the "Ultimate Fake Book" series but there are many others including the "Fiddlers Fake Book" which is very good also.

troll


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Bernard
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 07:37 AM

Thanks, Troll! Exactly what I was going to say (see? I'm 'faking' now!).

At least, that's what I always understood by 'faking it' - 'busking it' is often used in the same context.

I suppose that's because buskers often 'fake'...


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Luke
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 08:01 AM

Fake books come in a wide variety of varying quality. Some from what I've seen when read and played as written acually make the music sound faked, while some come with two or three differant versions of the same tune showingfamous solos that have been played throughout the years.

Band arrangers are very protective of they're arrangments. I've heard some complain that they're pieces have made it into a fake book. But I think they are secretly proud cuz it means they have made an impact in the world they move in. It's like the closest thing to the oral tradition you can get it the band world.

I have been at times in deep appreciation of of a good fake book cuz I am sometimes asked to sit in with bands where I am not familiar with the repertoire. Also, fake books have at times shown me some very nice substitutions for chords that my ears might have told me to play and would not be wrong by jazz standards but the guys in the band all kinda look at ya sideways and know what world you are coming from. Theres no hiding some things.

Luke


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Troll
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 08:13 AM

Yeah, Luke. I came into Big Band from Old Time and Eb and Gm are NOT my keys of choice, but when you play with horns thats where you wind up. A good fake book is a Godsend .

troll


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: GUEST,Bill in Alabama
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 09:39 AM

Troll described it exactly. Given the key and the melody line, a good traditional musician can *fake* (or improvise) everything else, including solo breaks. In the studio, I don't think I have ever met a session musician who used music; most of us use *fake sheets,* if we use anything at all.

Bill Foster


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 10:09 AM

Ah, it all makes sense now -- thanks. I bought "The mandolin picker's fakebook" a couple of months back, and I haven't looked back since. It's partly based on the fiddler player's version, and has many of the same tunes. I chose it 'cos it has a lot of stuff besides Irish & Scottish (which is fun to play or listen to, but you can have too much of a good thing) -- plenty of Old Time & Bluegrass and more, which I like, but I don't get to hear much of. Most of the tunes I know I picked up from other musicians over the years. I can read music, but not enough to affect my playing, as the saying goes!

I remember Jack Benny in a tv interview way back, explaining how to fake your way when you share the stage with a professional violinist -- if you make it look good and play quick enough, only the other guy will be able to tell!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: mousethief
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 10:51 AM

My problem with fake books is they never have ALL the lyrics; just the first verse. Drives me nuts.

Alex


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 11:17 AM

AND, to fill up space they all have obscure songs from Broadway shows you've barely heard of. Rarely (even when you're in a mainstream night club) does anyone actually ask for the unknown songs from "Annie", "Unsinkable Mollie Brown", or "I Can Get if for you Wholesale". But the companies who put out the "Fake books" own the copyrights on these songs.

The REAL fake books are the ones with "200 Irish Songs" (etc.) that lump trad in with modern composed ones (sans name of author). Flat out illegal, but they get away with it. I'm a fine one to mention this, 'cause I've learned a lot of lyrics that way.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: MMario
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 11:28 AM

HEY! Those "unknown" songs from obscure musicals are usually among my favorites...and the reason no one (audience) asks for them is that no one (musician) ever KNOWS them... - viscious circle.

I'd love to find someone who could do the gitka song


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: mousethief
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 11:28 AM

Rick, perhaps these "real fake" books you mention are the modern equivalent of oral tradition?

Alex


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: WyoWoman
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 11:42 AM

Steve, et al -- Good question, good answers. I always surmised that "fake" in this usage meant "improvise," and this discussions tells me I was right. I LOVE that...

I have this great jazz fake book, with all the jazz standards you could want. Only trouble is, A.) it's tiny, tiny printing and notation and B.) None of the keys seem to work for me and with jazz, I guess it's not just a situation of "capo up/down". But it does have lyrics, melody line and chords. Now, to learn them and find someone to play with me.

Troll, I wish I lived in your necka tha' woods. My dream is to sing Big Band-era music, all that yummy ella Fitzgerald repertoire stuff.

ww


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: GUEST,rob b (or cuba joe or whatever)
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 11:44 AM

max pointed this thread out to me and i figured i could shed some light on it.

back in the jazz day (the 50's i guess) all the groups had their "book" which they took around with them and had all of their tunes written out in them. eventually people started assembling books that were bootleged either from ear or from stealing from these books. a fake book was a collection of sheet music or tunes that were not authorized (used with permission, etc.) the standard fake book that all the jazz guys use is called the "real book," the self titled answer to the "fake book."

the "real book" is all hand written and contains no copyrights, which makes it more desirable because you can have all the tunes in one book. there are tunes that you can't get in the "legal fake books" because the estates of some of the heavy hitters (gershwin or porter - i can't remember which) try them out of such collections. if you don't have to worry about copyrights, you have freedom to print whatever tunes you want.

anyway, i think that's the fake book from the jazz angle.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Troll
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 12:07 PM

The Ultimate Fake Book has both Gershwin and Porter - my personal favorite-, not all their songs but many of them. It may be Irving Berlin. I don't seem to recall any of his songs.
BTW There is now a "Real Fake Book" on the market; also a "Legal" and a "Legit".
WW, Leonard puts out two sizes of its' fake books, a mini and a standard. The standard is slightly larger than 8 1/2 x 11 and quite readable from a music stand. Any of the on-line bookstores can order them for you.
You are quite right about the keys; Eb, Ab, Bb, these are not your standard folkie keys.

troll


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 01:53 PM

I wonder if someone has done a history of the evolution of the fake book? It was the basis of a whole "club band" music culture that has long since disappeared (though there seems to be a sort of revival going on), and its contents even defined what the basic "standard" repertoire was-- I have had several copies of the of the "Original Fake Book" which has for the opening page a table of contents "Standard Fox Trots and Show Tunes", with two indexes--which I have used for years, and and I've had copies of the pages handed to me and stuck in front of me probably hundreds of times over the years, as well--and have been endlessly facinated by the thing, though I know very little about it--

those of you who have a copy, or have seen it, know that ( as mentioned above) is includes the melody line(but never the melody to the introduction), with the lyrics to one verse, and the names of the chords above each measure. There is always a copyright notice on the bottom of each tune, and each section of the book is arranged alphabetically, and is by dance type--

The pages look as if they have been numbered by hand, the titles and some of the lyrics are typed in, as are the names of the composers/lyricists and the attribution to ASCAP or BMI.

The books were mostly owned and jealously guarded by professional musicians(members of the musician's union), and were not illegal--they were published and circulated only to performers, so that the performance royalty, which was paid by the venue, at the time of performance, was the way that the copyright owners and publishers got their money.

There were subsequent fakebooks (The latest one I have is called "70's Collection of Latest/Best Tunes Late and New Standards" and includes things like "All Things Must Pass". "Band of Gold", "Bare Necessities", "Gentle on My Mind", "Fire and Rain", "Theme from Love Story" and a ton of other stuff, and it has a page listing ten other volumes, also available--the price on it, remember, it is about twenty five years old, is a whopping $85--but it has enough stuff to play any Holiday Inn job, wedding, or New Year's Eve gig(no blues, though, and no heavy metal, or other FM rock stuff)

Disco, Club DJ's and recorded music get blamed for killing off these kind club bands, but what really did it was that music changed so much that it couldn't be faked from a lead sheet and chord charts--

The seventies book has a lot of folk-based stuff, several James Taylor songs, Dylan stuff, a Buffy Saint Marie tune, a couple Cat Stevens tunes, Leavin' On a Jet Plane, Candles in the Rain,--all of which would have been highly unappreciated when played by a keyboard, horn players, jazz guitar, jazz drums and maybe even vibes or organ--and god help them if they had tried to play Hendrix tunes!

.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Tiger
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 03:14 PM

Isn't "Rise Up Singing" the best example of this now?


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 05:20 PM

RUS doesn't have the melody lines--


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Kim C
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 06:01 PM

Fake it to make it!


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: GUEST,Nancy King
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 08:05 PM

Our library has lots of "fake books," covering a lot of different kinds of songs. My favorite title--just as a title-- is "The Wedding and Love Fake Book." Makes one wonder what is being faked... Cheers, Nancy


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Gypsy
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 09:56 PM

Man, nothing like a good fake book for help! Fiddlers/Mandolin pickers fakebooks are the ones for our area...really nice to have everyone on the same playing field. Not to say that we don't rearrange, change, and play with, but it is SO helpful with everyone starting at the same point "a"


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: GUEST,CraigS
Date: 30 Nov 00 - 10:38 PM

Faking is the art of being able to play a tune without being able to read music. The original fakebooks were hand-written chord charts, notation, and lyrics that allowed you to get through someone else's tunes in the days of old, including Nashville notation and tab systems - but they didn't have much "real music" in them. They were "fake" in the sense that the player did not have to "read the dots". In jazz/swing times, lots of band members couldn't read music, but the band could fake around this as long as there were not too many of them - the practical limit with a jazz band is 8-9 members, above this all the horns and reeds have to be readers, below this they can usually "riff through the choruses". The things that are sold nowadays are, as detailed above, just enough to get by on, but they differ from the old hand-written books in that they have musical notation.In jazz circles the art of getting through a tune you don't know without rehearsal is called "busking", and in England books such as those described above are often described as "Buskers' Books". The fact that publishers describe them as Fake Books only reflects what musicians have known for years - publishers are grasping businessmen who will say anything to make money.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 11:22 AM

Craig--I am not sure that you are right when you talk about the original fake books--By definition, fake sheets, fake books, handwritten chord charts, etc, really de-evolved from more elaborate scores--it makes more sense to assume that, through a process of gradually reduction, the score was reduced to a melody line with chords and lyrics, then symply to chords and lyrics, then, to either lyrics(for the vocalist) or just chords, and finally, simply to verbal and non-verbal cues that alluded to the chord progression.

My guitar teacher taught me to work from charts, but in practice, especially when we were working as pick-up musicians backing a soloist, he taught me a whole series of cues that referred to the info that would have been on the fake sheets, if we had them.

I do know that there really aren't practical limit in the size of a the band that can work from a fake sheet, because I have seen bands with 18 and more players work from a simple chord chart--the trick being that, within the horn sections, each player knows which part of the chord to play, and the leader gives cues on where they should be and when--


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Dec 00 - 03:04 PM

"Fake" does have another meaning. I've heard people talk about somebody making a bit of rough furniture etc as "faking", or as "botching" - and the implication in both cases is not that you are making a forgery of some sort, but that you are making it rough-and-ready with what tools and materials you have to hand.

Which is more or less what a lot of us do musically.

The dictionary I've got to hand says "etymology unknown" for "fake" - but I think it's likely to be cognate with words to do with making, like "factory" and the French "faire", and Latin "facio", I make. So it might be that "faking a tune" has a longer history than people have suggested here so far.


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 08:00 PM

McGrath, I am sure that you are right--this does have a longer history than anyone has yet suggested--Musicians have, after all, been working from written music for more than 500 years, and have been working from their ears and their immagination for longer--in the time before international distribution, Xeroxing, and trancription software, musicians must have often had to fake parts--I am curious if there is anyone around who has done a serious study of this stuff--


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Dec 00 - 08:44 PM

You will notice that there are very few Irving Berlin songs in the Hal Leonard and Warner fakebooks. However, Hal Leonard has a fakebook just for Irving Berlin. Click Here to see what Hal Leonard has to offer.

Sing Out! was supposed to come out with its second volume of Rise Up Singing (RUS) in 1999. Last I heard, it was stalled in the process of getting copyright permissions. I'm beginning to doubt it will ever come out. Sing Out! refers to RUS as a "fakebook," but it doesn't fit my definition (but I do use the book all the time).
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: What's fake about fakebooks?
From: Luke
Date: 08 Dec 00 - 02:22 PM

I just want to mention, if it's not to obvious. That this method of making charts is a very good tool to have in ones grasp and still done far and wide even as in ancient times. i don't read and play though I'm quite a fair sight singer. To transmit the info in your head to other players you gotta figure somethin' out. It doesn't have to be fancy to get the idea out there. I supply the rest if the info with body english.

Luke


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