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Sheet Music What are Real / Fake Books


South Wales
Can anyone tell me what Real / Fake books are and what the difference between then. I'm a beginner and, whilst I'm still working through my Tune a Day, Like to have a go at some more interesting tunes. I've heard about these but don't really understand what they are or whether they are something that's suitable for someone who's a beginner.


Well-Known Member
Norfolk, UK
Ello Philly ...

I am also a beginner ..

I have access to a number of fake-books via download links but I don't think I should post those here as they will [most likely] probably breach someone's copyright ... [sorry] :shocked:

but - I can say that all the fake-books I have seen so far are compilations of sheet music which are mostly hand written rather than typed [or more professional notations] ... Often the music is far too advanced for us n00bs ... :)))

I do not think they are of any use to us beginners - we ought to stick to the teaching orientated resources recommended here which will have much more value as we progress ... ;}

PS - Real books seem to be a similar compilation [often hundreds of scores] but professionally printed.

Hope that makes sense ... - That is only my assumption from what I have discovered ...
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New Member
Basically Both Real and Fake Books are the same thing. They are pretty much a resource guide of tunes commonly played by musicians.

Can beginners play out of a Real/Fake Book? Absolutely, but it does depend on the tune. Some tunes in real books are too hard for beginners and others aren't. This also varies from book to book. Some are filled with challenging tunes, and others have simpler tunes.


Sax-Mad fiend!
Café Supporter
The Malverns, Worcs
I picked up a "dip in" book - more graded saxophone pieces (I think). Published by the same company as the "guest spot" books. There are lots of common pieces in there from all sorts of sources.
The lowest grade (1 star) pieces are really easy to play, and you sound like you're playing something rather than just honking a load of practice notes.
And because you already know the tunes, you can even play the top graded (3 star) pieces quite well, quite quickly too.

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