Fake Books- How To Read From Them


A "fake book" is a collection of music - usually popular, traditional, ethnic and semi-classical tunes - arranged in skeletal form providing just the melody and the symbols for the accompanying chords.

They are presented in as abbreviated form as possible, with repetitions of sections and even slight variations not written out in full.

The actual playing of the song with full accompaniment is meant to be improvised or "faked" by the performer. Also, sight reading a song for the first time is usually a lot easier from a fake chart than from a full piano score, the latter having many more notes to read and pages to turn. They also give "pros" the freedom to stylize a song their own way, rather than to play it as arranged in a sheet music version.

Just what does one need to know to play from a fake book?

For one thing, how to read simple music notation. Fake books only print music in the treble clef.

There are two other things you need to learn to play piano successfully from a fake book. One is how to interpret chords symbols - that is, how to actually play all the various types of chords you will run across. This is not such difficult information to learn. Music tends to be fairly logical and consistent, and a chord type in one key will work the same way in another key.

There are, in addition, common chord progressions (chord "changes," in musicians' jargon) which will help you make sense of most of the music you encounter.

The other main thing you need to learn is how to make the accompaniment interesting - how to give some character to the chords and rhythms in order to add flavor and motion to your playing.

Merely fingering the correct notes of each chord is often not really satisfying - the total effect may be dull and amateurish.

Yet it doesn't take all the skill and dexterity of an advanced pianist to sound professional. It's amazing how pleasing the results can be using quite easy-to-play patterns. http://www.playpianotonight.com/

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