Saturday, August 29, 2015

1945 Tune-Dex Cards

In the music world, all popular songs have a lead sheet--a document that contains the basic lyrics, melody, chords, and legal information. Starting in the early 1940s, Tune-Dex cards were introduced which were similar to lead sheets but printed on 3x5 index cards.  According to Georgia State University Library...
George Goodwin, a radio station program director, first published the cards in 1942 and continued publication until 1963. The creation of the cards grew out of Goodwin’s need to have a reference source when selecting music for radio programs. The cards were also marketed to musicians as a tool to aid in remembering songs for performance. As a result, the cards later morphed into the widely used “fake books” of today, which are basically bound volumes of lead sheets.
Recently, three Snow White Tune-Dex cards from 1945 popped up on ebay. Not only do they include all the basic information for each song but also the performance fees for that year.

Some Day My Prince Will Come...

With A Smile and A Song...

I'm Wishing...

Images via billsbox.


  1. I have about 1,800 tunedex cards, if anybody is interested in them, they are for sale. I'd really like them to be preserved if possible.

  2. Hi Jason, My name is Renato Vasconcellos. I am a researcher from Brazil and would like to hand some of the cards. I am writing a thesis about the impact of fake books on the structure of tunes and heard about the Tune-Dex on the book "The Story of Fake Books" by BarrY Kernfeld. I don't know how much you are asking for the collection and even if I can afford it but let's get in touch to talk about it. Please contact me on

  3. Hi Jason, my name is Claudia Aliotta and I live in Perugia, Italy, I'm a musician and I'm going to make an exbition on Irene Higginbotham, songwriter in Forties. Have you any tune dex cards of her tunes?
    My e-mail is

  4. Hi Jason, my name is Claudia Aliotta and I'm a musician. I want to ask you if you have tune dex cards of Irene Higginbotham's songs. She was a songwriter on Forties and I collect her music.