Songbooks and the Beginner

Dec 7, 2011
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Music books come in several formats:

1. EZ Play - Bare bones melody on a treble clef with left-hand chord letters above the staff. Very large notes with note names embedded in the note. Easy to read, but often needs extra page turning due to the size of the staff and notes. Accidentals, if required, are listed per note rather than being covered by a key signature.

2. Easy Keyboard - Melody on a treble clef with left-hand chord letters above the staff. Standard size notes and staff with key signatures. These songbooks are readily available in Britain, but not in Canada or the USA.

3. Fake/Busker Books - Bare bones melody on a treble clef with left-hand chord letters above the staff. Songs are often in more complex keys than those listed in the above songbooks and the size of the notes and staff are often reduced making them difficult to read.

4. Easy Piano - Both a treble clef and bass clef with the melody on the treble clef. Also has chord letters above the staff which I assume since there is a bass clef would be for guitar players.

5. Piano-Vocal-Guitar - Treble and bass clefs for piano, a treble clef for vocals, and chord letters with a guitar fingering symbol above the staff. Melody is on the vocal treble clef. The standard music format usually covering the complete song with intros and outros. Key signatures may be more complex than in the "easy" books above.

As a beginner on the electronic keyboard I found the standard Piano-Vocal-Guitar songbooks rather daunting so naturally I have gone for the easy songbooks. Most of the time I have selected the Easy Piano over the EZ Play books even though I do not currently use the bass clef, but rather the chord letter for left hand chords. I've chosen the Easy Piano because I have found that the melody lines are typically the same and I think the Easy Piano books have more room for growth. And I'm not a fan of the EZ Play format.

Unfortunately, many artists are only available in the Piano-Vocal-Guitar format (e.g. Dean Martin) so I've been wondering if I purchased a songbook in the P-V-G format whether using the vocal melody line for the right hand and using the guitar chord labels for the left-hand chords would work. I hesitate because I suspect the key signature and the left-hand chords will probably be complex.

Any comments on any of the above would be appreciated.


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