Archive for July, 2014

How to Read a Fake Book

By Kevin Harper

History of Fake Books and Lead Sheets

Imagine this: you’re a famous jazz player; you’re busy on the road going from gig to gig. One day you come up with a great tune and want to write it down and orchestrate it for your ensemble, but orchestration takes a long time. So instead, you write down the melody and then write out the general chords and any potential rhythms. When you read it during the gig (for the first time no doubt!) you and your bandmates have a general outline of what needs to happen – everything else is improvised. Because improvisations are different everytime, writing down the “correct” way of playing any tune in the old days was impossible.

As jazz grew in popularity, everyone wanted to hear all the popular songs, but the problem was that many of these tunes were hard to find or unpublished. Eventually, lead sheets were circulated from band to band and that became the standard way of notating tunes.

The original fake book, known as The Real Book, contained illegally reproduced, copyrighted songs. It was meant to be used as a textbook of standard jazz tunes. The publishers wanted to pawn off the tunes in the book as “real” versions of the songs. However, legal battles ensued, so any other future books had to have a different name. Thus, the term fake book was born from The Real Book. It also has a double-meaning in that the performer is “faking” his way through the song because the arrangement is not the same as the original version.

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Digital Print Publishing: Interview with Arranger John Gibson

John Gibson - Digital Print Publisher, arranger, and clarinetist

John Gibson – Digital Print Publisher, arranger, and clarinetist

John Gibson was born in Dallas, Texas, where he began taking clarinet lessons with Oakley Pittman, director of bands at Southern Methodist University and principal clarinetist with the Dallas Symphony. After John and his family moved to Denver, Colorado, he studied with the retired principal clarinetist of the Denver Symphony, Val (Tiny) Henrich. He continued his studies with David Etheridge, Jerry Neil Smith, and John McGrosso at the University of Colorado, from where he received a degree in music education and a masters of music performance.  While in college, John discovered his interest in arranging, taking classes in that topic whenever possible. 

Although not always working in the music business, John never stopped playing. While clarinet has been his principal instrument, he also played oboe in orchestras for about eight years, as well as flute and saxophone in other venues.

John has been supplying woodwind players with interesting, well-crafted arrangements since 1998 and has arranged hundreds of pieces ranging from solos to duets to large woodwind ensembles, which have been performed all over the world and reviewed in international woodwind magazines. Continue reading ‘Digital Print Publishing: Interview with Arranger John Gibson’

Organ Fun Facts

By Jacy Burroughs

1. The concept of the organ dates back to an instrument called the hydraulis, invented in Ancient Greece in the 3rd Century BCE. A hydraulis was a mechanical instrument in which the wind pressure is regulated by water pressure. By the 7th Century AD, bellows replaced water pressure to supply the organ with wind.

Ancient Greek Hydraulis

Ancient Greek Hydraulis

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