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Posted By: dat77 Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/27/17 05:50 PM
Just wondering. Do most of you use sheet music or fake books when playing popular music(just for own enjoyment).
Posted By: Roger Ransom Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/27/17 09:49 PM
Fake books almost exclusively. Sheet music is too limiting.
Posted By: Nahum Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/28/17 05:00 AM
Originally Posted by Roger Ransom
Fake books almost exclusively. Sheet music is too limiting.
In my college, I conduct an arrangement course, in which students learn to work with both types of music material. Advantage of sheet music: It contains bass line , so important for harmonization, as well as contrapuntal side voices that can serve as an example.
Posted By: newbert Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/29/17 12:33 AM
Originally Posted by dat77
Just wondering. Do most of you use sheet music or fake books when playing popular music(just for own enjoyment).


I've always played mostly from sheet music, but also find it limiting. So, I'm now working on how to play (well) from a fake book.
Posted By: Mark Polishook Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/29/17 12:58 AM
Well, there's a role for both. Sheet music for standards often show you what the composer of a tune actually wrote and intended. That doesnt mean those intenions have to be followed. But often better to know them than not. Fake bools do give a lot of latitude in interpretation. These days most. Fakebools are legal and printed and distributed in accordance with copyright law. In the not too distant past, however, that wasnt the case. Fakebooks then were quickly thrown together collections, often iwth mistakes in melody, chords, and key. But that was also part of the riddle of learning to play jazz. Those who wanted truth, such as it exists, would listen to a Miles Davis recording, for example to get the chords that jazz musicians might commonly use. But that circles back tomsheet music. The chords in sheet music, even when written out in an arrangement by a tune's composer, werent always used by jazz musicians.

Back in the day, at clubs like Bradley's in NYC, the great jazz pianists ofteh showed each other the chords and substitutions they were using on different tunes. Its all interesting stuff, whats better, whats worse, and whats common practice? Those things dont always align or misalign ...
Posted By: jjo Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/29/17 06:58 PM
For many years, I played popular music exclusively from sheet music. I have, to put it mildly, a rather large collection!
Then about 10 years ago I took up jazz, and at that point switched to playing from lead sheets.

Both sheet music and lead sheets have their pros and cons. If you're playing with other musicians, sheet music really has no place. You must use a lead sheet because you have to adapt how you play the piece to what's going on in the band.

If you're only playing solo piano, by yourself, the question is a closer call. In many instances, the arrangements on lead sheets are more complex and more sophisticated that I can work out, even after almost 10 years of playing jazz. However, if would be awkward to improvise from sheet music. You can do it, but that's not what it's designed for, whereas lead sheets are designed for just that.
Furthermore, I'd rather play a simpler arrangement, but one where I chose every note and I know why I chose every note, than a more complex arrangement where I'm just reading notes off a page. There is a deep, deep pleasure in playing music when you understand it harmonically, and you know exactly what purpose each note serves.
Posted By: Grandman Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/29/17 09:24 PM
Originally Posted by jjo

If you're only playing solo piano, by yourself, the question is a closer call. In many instances, the arrangements on lead sheets are more complex and more sophisticated that I can work out, even after almost 10 years of playing jazz. However, if would be awkward to improvise from sheet music. You can do it, but that's not what it's designed for, whereas lead sheets are designed for just that.


Do you find the same advantages of lead sheets vs sheet music that contains the chords? In your experience, what is the practical advatages ,if any, with lead sheets vs arrangements that contain the chords?
Posted By: jjo Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/29/17 10:09 PM
I'm not sure what you're asking. Are you suggesting that if sheet music has the melody, an arrangement, plus the written out chords, you're getting everything you get in a lead sheet plus more?

The advantage of the lead sheet is that a song generally fits on one page, and it's easier to read. If you have sheet music and you're just using the melody and chords, you have to ignore a lot of what's there. Plus, sheet music costs a lot more. In a fake book you'll get hundreds of tunes for the same price that you might get 15 or 20 in a book of sheet music.

Perhaps you're trying to hedge your bets; use sheet music, but make your own arrangement based on the chords, with the written out arrangement to help? If so, I'd suggest that playing from lead sheets is a completely different skill than playing from written out sheet music, and you should decide which way to go. Make a full commitment to one kind of playing or the other. If you want to learn to make your own arrangements from lead sheets, you need to fully commit to that. It's a long and hard journey, but it's also quite wonderful!
Posted By: Grandman Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/29/17 10:38 PM
Thanks, jjo. I have a bunch of sheet music arrangements with chords and did not know if there would be any advantages to start purchasing fakebooks instead. I always thought you get more with sheet music. You bring up very good points.
Posted By: Roger Ransom Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/30/17 12:18 AM
Many newer Fake Books such as the Warner Bros. series and others, have the original chords plus some common alternates.

Fortunately they are nothing like the old original illegal fake books from the 50's. Plus you can actually read them without a magnifying glass in addition to much better editing.

However, I still dig out my old original fake books that I learned to use chords from for nostalgia. They make me smile.

Once you spend the time to really feel comfortable with fake books, sheet music seems limiting and difficult. Having said that though, I still have lots of old sheet music I dig out sometime too. It's good to spend the time to be able to do both.

It's all good, it's awesome to be able to make music at any level. I love it!
Posted By: Nahum Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/30/17 04:48 AM

Originally Posted by Mark Polishook


Back in the day, at clubs like Bradley's in NYC, the great jazz pianists ofteh showed each other the chords and substitutions they were using on different tunes. Its all interesting stuff, whats better, whats worse, and whats common practice? Those things dont always align or misalign ...
Constant search to expand his own harmonic language characterize the professional jazz pianist at all . I remember when Andy Laverne came to my concert in a small club in Jerusalem, during the intermission, he sat down to piano and quietly began to try different progressions. I remember when Andy La Verne came to my concert in a small club in Jerusalem, during the intermission, he sat down to piano and quietly began to try different progressions. as known , Andy wrote a very good book on jazz harmony (not for beginners).
Posted By: dat77 Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/30/17 01:12 PM
The reason i am asking this is trying to decide what i want to learn. I am a middle age woman who just finished my piano method book series. I just started learning to use a fake book. I am finding it hard. I am trying to decide if it's worth it to continue with fake books or start using more advanced sheet music books.
Posted By: Simon_b Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/30/17 02:40 PM
Hi

Like a lot of music related conundrums I don't think there is a right or wrong approach here, and a lot depends on what you are trying achieve.

I'm guessing, but I assume you're finding Fake books difficult because its taking you time to work out what notes can be used, or are appropriate, based on the chord symbols? At the start this can be a painfully slow process. What I did a long time ago was spend a lot of time learning and understanding chord structures as a separate discipline. In fact this was long before I ever saw a fake book, and was my way into improvising.

If you're just playing at home, then I don't think it really matters what you do so long as you're enjoying yourself. However if you want to gig, or just jam with friends (especially guitarists!) then learning to play from a Fakebook or just from chords is very useful, if not essential, as trying to write out a Piano score with L & RH for everything, is something that most people can't and wouldn't want to do.

Overall my advice would be to stick with the Fakebooks a bit longer, as the benefit long term out weighs the short term misery. And maybe spend some separate time on chord structure analysis (if that is the issue :-).

And added after initial post. And of course there is no reason why you shouldn't (I'd positively encourage it) use Fakebooks and 'proper' written out arrangements.

Hope that helps

Simon
Posted By: Groove On Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/30/17 03:39 PM
Originally Posted by dat77
The reason i am asking this is trying to decide what i want to learn. I am a middle age woman who just finished my piano method book series. I just started learning to use a fake book. I am finding it hard. I am trying to decide if it's worth it to continue with fake books or start using more advanced sheet music books.

It's worth it, but it's a very different approach to playing the piano. Try to find a teacher or learning resource that specializes in the skills needed for playing Fakebooks.

Many, many methods and teachers prioritize the skills to play sheet music but barely scratch the surface of even the most basic techniques to play out of Fakebooks ... as I think you've already discovered.
Posted By: dmd Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/30/17 05:05 PM
Originally Posted by dat77
The reason i am asking this is trying to decide what i want to learn. I am a middle age woman who just finished my piano method book series. I just started learning to use a fake book. I am finding it hard. I am trying to decide if it's worth it to continue with fake books or start using more advanced sheet music books.


I also started out playing things "as written" but tired of just playing how someone else wanted me to play things. It also was more tension filled trying to not make a mistake.

Playing from leadsheets gives you the freedom to play things according to your skill level in he manner which pleases you.

There is a series of books called "Chord Play" by Forrest Kinney which will serve you well in getting started with playing from leadsheets. I highly recommend the series.

This is a Piano Forum thread which is dedicated to that series which you may wish to read ....

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2544283/WOW!!!__%22Chord_Play%22.html



Here is another site that I would highly recommend for a product which is very useful in this area ...

http://www.pianostar.com/





Good Luck to you

Posted By: cmajornine Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/31/17 12:44 AM
Originally Posted by dat77
The reason i am asking this is trying to decide what i want to learn. I am a middle age woman who just finished my piano method book series. I just started learning to use a fake book. I am finding it hard. I am trying to decide if it's worth it to continue with fake books or start using more advanced sheet music books.


Playing from a fake book requires a good knowledge of chords and you need to be able to play them with both hands fluently in all inversions, you also need to understand basic harmonisation techniques like shells, voice leading ect. It also helps a great deal if you know how to construct chords from the relevant scales.

Melody RH help

https://www.learnjazzstandards.com/blog/learning-jazz/jazz-theory/harmonize-major-scale-7th-chords/

Chords LH help

https://www.learnjazzstandards.com/...ylcopedia-left-hand-jazz-piano-voicings/

The Source by Steve Barta (second edition kindle) has a nice set of LH/RH chords in every key that can be used along side your fake book to develop songs. It also has all the scales you would ever need should you feel the need to start improvising.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product...6&linkCode=as2&tag=cmajornine-21

I am currently learning some jazz standards from the Real Book myself.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product...4&linkCode=as2&tag=cmajornine-21

Here is an early version of Stella by Starlight constructed using the resources above.

https://app.box.com/s/qtfr1cpaobg0o7b2fv5ytjptrgegn7n3

Peace
http://www.cmajorninekeyz.info/
Posted By: Nahum Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/31/17 06:25 AM
I started a jazz pianist career as a teenager in a semi-amateur bigband, where all piano parts were written exactly , like in classical music. This allowed to get acquainted with the typical for swing texture sound of comp in the group.In this orchestra I first got acquainted with chords symbols , but read them very slowly; although the chords themselves already I knew from harmony lessons in the music school. Only at the age of twenty-two, I came across the xerocopy of John Mehegan book "Jazz Piano", containing tables of 60 basic chords and their inversions -

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~gross/Mehegan/John%20Mehegan%20-%20Improvising,%20Jazz%20Piano.pdf
(p.14)
, and became self to study every day from another pitch ; first in a chromatic order, then in circle of fifths , calling aloud the name of the chord ; first read the notes, then by heart. This is the most labored work that exists in jazz; but it can not be avoided . After a while I read the symbols freely, at the level of musical notation.
Posted By: Roger Ransom Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/31/17 02:03 PM
What you're reading here is the great thing about fake books. You can use them with very complex jazz theory or just simple left hand block chords and single note right hand or anything in between.

I started many years ago when a person who played in a bar band told me about chords in their simplest form and over the last 60 years I have added to that to the point that I play in public some. However, I still don't know anything about circles of fifths or harmony theory or any of that. I just play mostly swing in my own style and have fun.

I usually start with a basic arrangement of a song and add to it over time. You can play it any speed, complexity, style or anything else that makes you happy. No limits.
Posted By: Farmerjones Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/31/17 02:40 PM
Originally Posted by dat77
Just wondering. Do most of you use sheet music or fake books when playing popular music(just for own enjoyment).


I just play rhythm and chords, as one would play guitar. So some stuff is just off-the-cuff.
But I have typed lyrics double space, then jot the chords above the words.
I read music so slowly, it has no benefit to me.
Posted By: Kbeaumont Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 05/31/17 04:42 PM
I started guitar first and was a drummer in high school band, so it was natural for me to learn chords and rhythm first. I rarely use sheet music unless I am struggling to hear a part, intro or solo passage. I then order the sheet music. Much of the sheet music out there is not correct. Usually the arranger is simplifying it or arranging it for solo piano.

The guitar chord sites out there have about the same percentage of accuracy. It can be hit or miss. I read very slowly so for me to purchase the music is the absolute last resort.
Posted By: LarryShone Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 06/04/17 05:51 PM
What's a Facebook? I don't think I've ever seen one!
Posted By: Farmerjones Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 06/05/17 04:03 PM
What is a "fake-book?"
IMHO, best example:
https://officialrealbook.com/

"Realbook" has become a trade name.
Posted By: Nahum Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 06/05/17 04:25 PM
Originally Posted by Farmerjones
What is a "fake-book?"
IMHO, best example:
https://officialrealbook.com/

"Realbook" has become a trade name.

Back in Russia I had a photocopies from a bebop fake book. Unfortunately, I did not see anything like this again.
Posted By: Cade Re: Sheet music or fakebooks - 06/22/17 02:51 PM
There's a role for both. I'll give my personal take.

For improvising it's fake books all the way. I find that I don't really improvise freely with sheet music, and anymore, when I play I want to be improvising. And even if I want to play something set, it's something I want to practice and memorize, like the head and a finale.

Sheet music, for me, is largely for practice (putting aside things like classical or set arrangements just for fun sometimes).
And I have two uses in practice.

The first is for technique practice. Sheet music usually has a good mix of complex techniques on the fly, so it's good practice for me to run my fingers through them and get them trained to do things I wouldn't normally play myself. The whole point of technique training is venturing out of your comfort zone into techniques you don't normally use, and sheet music gives you that, especially transcriptions of people whose sound you want to emulate and learn from.

The second is for improv fodder. What I like to do is get 3 or 4 or 5 arrangements of the same song, and I'll basically collect ideas for the passages. Push come to shove I can just use one in an improv, but the idea is I tweak the idea to make it my own, and they're just fodder to jump start my creative thinking. I can start with a few sheet music ideas while I'm improving and then my playing can start going its own direction. Sheet music is good for that because usually arrangers come up with some very creative ideas if they're putting something down on paper.
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