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Tune-Dex cards
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography/History
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Tune-Dex cards
    creator: Goodwin, George, 1900-1966
    Identifier/Call Number: PASC-M.0274
    Physical Description: 3.4 Linear Feet (17 shoe boxes)
    Date (inclusive): circa 1942-1963
    Abstract: Collection consists of two sets of Tune-Dex cards and unfiled cards.
    Physical Location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Tune-Dex Cards (PASC-M 274). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 5331550 


    The Tune-Dex card system was introduced in 1942 by George Goodwin, a radio station program director, as a subscription service for radio stations, music professionals, and musicians to keep track of popular songs. Each index card included song title, songwriter, date of original publication, licensing and rights information, and arrangements and orchestrations available, with keys and prices noted. The cards also provided the basic melody or chorus and lyrics for each song. The cocktail lounge music trend in the 1940s and 1950s, which often required musicians to take requests and know numerous songs, contributed to the popularity of the Tune-Dex card system. Goodwin created approximately 25,000 cards over the course of the service's existence. Tune-Dex ceased operations in 1963 and Goodwin died in 1965. The concept of the Tune-Dex system eventually morphed into the more-portable fake books.
    (See Barry Kernfeld, The Story of Fake Books: Bootlegging Songs to Musicians; Scarecrow Press, 2006.)

    Scope and Content

    This collection consists of two sets of Tune-Dex cards, each arranged alphabetically by title, as well as a small amount of unfiled cards. Songs are mostly pop tunes from the 1940s and 1950s, and include titles such as "From a School Ring to a Wedding Ring" (1956), "Marshmallow Moon" (1952), and "E-Bob-O-Lee-Bop" (1946).

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection is organized into the following series:
    • Series 1. Set 1
    • Series 2. Set 2
    • Series 3. Unfiled cards

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Popular music -- Fake books