Monday, July 30, 2007

The Fake Book Collection and Index

The San Francisco Public Library has a large collection of fake books. Because of this we have created an online index to some of our holdings.

Fake books are collections of songs or instrumental works that include only the melody, chord changes, and song lyrics. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz defines a fake book as “[A]n informal collection of scores used by performing musicians and as a tool for learning. A fake book presents (either in loose-leaf or bound form) the music to standards and popular tunes, and the contents may range in number from a few dozen pieces to well over a thousand.” (The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz is available to San Francisco Public Library card holders as part of Grove Music Online from our Articles and Databases page).

Fakebooks have had a complex history (detailed in the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz). Originally many were written out by musicians from recorded performances as a teaching tool. Because these performances were protected by copyright, these transcriptions were frequently illegal and therefore only circulated informally. In more recent years music publishers have created “legitimate” fake books that have full copyright clearance (but lack some of the romance).

Many musicians prefer fake book arrangements because they are usually briefer than piano vocal scores and thus easier to keep track of. Fake books can also help users who only need to know the lyrics to a song. Most fake books contain jazz, pop, or rock music, but there are also specialized fake books for blues music, classical music, and folk music. There are also fake books for bass clef instruments as well as for Eb instruments (like the alto saxophone) or Bb instruments (like the trumpet and tenor saxophone).

Our Fake Book Index contains nearly 20,000 entries and continues to grow. You can search by song title or the last name of the composer or songwriter. It can be helpful to truncate your search to see a greater selection of songs. Once your result page appears, you can also follow the link to the fakebook’s title to view the full contents of that fakebook.

Where's That Tune?: An Index to Songs in Fakebooks by William D. Goodfellow, Musikey (a music in-print resource kept at our reference desk) and an online Fakebook Index by Seven String Software are other tools for locating music in fakebooks. We also have a binder of table of contents pages for many of our not-yet-indexed fakebooks located above our Song Index card file.

Page update: We now have an AMRLibrarian bookmark page with a listing of other fakebook indexes on the web.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Multi-Cultural Music Instruction Books

The Bay Area is a musical melting pot with a wide range of musicians and styles. At the Library we try to reflect this musical diversity in the instructional material we buy for our musical score collection. Here are some titles for the globe-trotting musician:

Balalaika playing technique: scales and exercises,method for all levels compiled by I. Inshakov, A. Gorbachev. The balalaika is a Russian three stringed lute.

An introduction to the gu-zheng by Angela Jui Lee and Mark Gresham. The zheng is a 16 to 21 string zither from China.

Introduction to sitar by Harihar Rao. Learning the tabla by David Courtney. The sitar and tabla are both instruments of Indian classical music.

You can teach yourself pan flute by Costel Puscoiu. Sukay workbook and how to make and play the flutes of the Andes, Kena & Zampoña. Both of these works teach the panpipes - the former according to Eastern European tradition and the latter according to South American tradition.

Didgeridoo: ritual origins and playing techniques by Dirk Schellberg. The didjeridu is a blown hollow tube played by the Aborigines of Australia.

Logan's complete tutor for the Highland bagpipe. This book provides instruction in Scottish bagpiping.

Reggae drumming by Peter Epting. Tito Puente's drumming with the Mambo King by Tito Puente and Jim Payne. These books explain drumming techniques in the Jamaican and Cuban popular styles respectively.

Illustrations from Lavignac’s Encyclopédie de la musique et dictionnaire du Conservatoire and the Lyon & Healy Complete musical merchandise catalogue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

All-Stars: Baseball by the Bay

In celebration of San Francisco hosting the 78th Annual All-Star Game, the Art, Music and Recreation Center presents a display showcasing the Library’s collection of baseball material with images from books, the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, and the Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection, with a focus on the all-stars.

Since 1933, the stars of the American and National Leagues have competed against each other in the All-Star Game. With the exception of 1959-1962, when two games were held yearly, and 1945, when no game was played due to wartime restrictions, the game has been an annual event that features the best talent from both leagues. This mid-season exhibition game used to just be for fun and to promote the sport, but since 2003 it has also been used to determine home field advantage for the upcoming World Series.

2007 is the third time the All-Star Game has been played in San Francisco and the first time at AT&T Park: it was held at Candlestick Park in 1961 and 1984. In celebration of San Francisco hosting the 78th Annual All-Star Game, this display showcases the Library’s collection of baseball material with images from books, the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection and the Dorothy Starr Sheet Music Collection, with a focus on local stars from 1961 and 1984. Play Ball!

Exhibition: July 9 – October 4, 2007
Main Library, Fourth Floor, Wall Case outside Page Desk

100 Larkin Street (at Grove)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The Bénézit in English? C’est vrai!

Bénézit’s Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs de tous les temps et de tous les pays [Critical and Documentary Dictionary of Painters, Sculptors, Designers, and Engravers of All Times and All Places] has long been a standard art reference work. It provides birth and death information, a biographical narrative, as well as listings of works held by museum collections and historical auction information. Many entries also include artist’s signatures and monograms.

Despite the esteem in which art researchers and collectors have had for this reference work, it was long only available for readers of French. This was until the 2006 publication of a fourteen volume English translation entitled Dictionary of Artists.

The Bénézit first appeared in print in 1911 with the publication of the first of three volumes which were completed in 1923. This first edition established the format that subsequent editions have followed. Emmanuel Bénézit was the editor for this original set that was written by “a group French and foreign specialist authors” [un groupe d'écrivains spécialistes français et étrangers]. An eight volume second edition was published between 1948 and 1955, followed by a third edition in 1976, both under the direction of Bénézit’s heirs.

In 1999 a fourth edition in fourteen volumes was published under the direction of Jacques Busse. The English language edition is based on this edition and actually has expanded coverage. However, do note that although biographical coverage of each subsequent edition supercedes the previous ones, the older historic auction results do not always make it into newer editions.

The Bénézit Dictionary of Artists can be found on open reference shelves at the Art, Music and Recreation Center reference desk.