What is a fake book?Fake books are books of a type of sheet music called lead sheets. Lead sheets contain the melody, lyrics and chords of a given song. A lead sheet is the minimum amount of musical information required to play a particular song.
Jazz musicians in particular use lead sheets and fake books to build solos and interpret the music. Globally, fake books are used to bring musicians of all types together to play the same music. They are essential for any successful jam session and easy to play.
Each song in a fake book has only a single melody, usually the vocal or lead melody, actually written out in notes. This melody will have the lyrics written beneath the notes, with each word aligned to its corresponding note. Above the notes of the melody will appear the names of the appropriate chords to play - for example, a "C minor" chord would be written as "Cmin" or Cm", rather than writing out all of the notes in those chords as they appeared in the original version of the song.
New to fake books? Learn to Play from a Fake Book