Jazz standards for instruments in F clef
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The Real Book can refer to any of a number of popular compilations of lead sheets for jazz tunes, but is generally used to refer to Volume 1 of an underground series of books transcribed and collated by students at Berklee College of Music during the 1970s. It got its name to distinguish it from the widely available fake books which printed only chords and lyrics of standard tunes, to avoid copyright. The Real Book included tunes, thus infringing music copyright, and the older versions were pirated - that is unlicensed - publications that paid no royalties to song authors. In 2004, Hal Leonard published a licensed edition, which pays royalties to song authors.
Musicians find it convenient to work from "the book", because it is available in different editions to suit B♭, E♭, and C (concert-pitch) instruments, as well as a bass clef edition. A band leadercan conveniently call out page numbers, since each edition is also paginated identically.