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MARCO PEREIRA: BRAZILIAN GUITAR VIRTUOSO
BRENT LEE SWANSON
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF MUSIC
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Brent Lee Swanson
To my parents, Craig and Charlene.
I would first and foremost like to thank God for the spiritual guidance needed to
complete this work. I thank the School of Music and Dr. Larry Crook for introducing me
to Brazilian music, helping me get an assistantship, mentoring me for over 8 years. More
importantly, for having the patience to deal with the various personal idiosyncrasies that I
am sure caused him grief over the years. I thank Foreign Language and Area Studies
(FLAS) and the Center for Latin American Studies for the opportunity to learn
Portuguese in Rio de Janeiro (especially Amanda Wolfe). I thank Dr. Welson Tremura
for introducing me to the Brazilian guitar, for mentoring me in all of my various studies,
for yelling at me in rehearsals, for being a friend when I needed him, for letting me stay
at his great house in Sao Jose do Rio Preto, and for all of the wonderful opportunities to
play Brazilian music. I thank Dr. Charles Perrone for his love of Brazilian popular music
(and well, for being Charles). I thank Jeffrey "Lightning" Ladenheim for introducing me
to jazz, for calling me Sheehan, for yelling at me in rehearsals, and for being a friend
through all my troubles; for all the opportunities he has given me. I thank Kevin
Casseday for his patience, for all the great conversations in our lessons, and for allowing
me learn the double bass the way I needed.
I would like to thank all my family: Mom, Dad, Dawn, Jeff, Andrew, Booshie,
Grammie, Grampie, Gloria, Robert and Carol, Mike and Laura, Michael, Annie, Craig,
Steve, Ron, Gary, Tommy, Auntie Annie and Tom, Kathy and Pat, Cheryl and Jim, Mark
and Sue, Becky and Chris, Jamie, A.J., Ryan, Jenna, Allison, Sydney, Jason, Scott,
Heather, and Mia. I thank them for all of their support of my work, and for loving me
through difficult times.
I thank my friends in the U.S. I thank Alex, Brian, and Kris for their honesty and
close friendship throughout the years. I thank Aaron "Blacking" Keebaugh for
"meditating" on Philip Bohlman. I thank David "Mason" Goldblatt for his impressions
and for playing music with me in church. I thank Steve Bingham for all the great parties.
I thank David "Kenyan Honkey #1" Akombo for all the bad jokes (what's with all the
nicknames?). I thank Sunni for the laughs and conversation in the backyard, and for
introducing me to Luciana. I thank Luciana for being such a cool guide in Rio, and
helping translate all of those books. I thank B.E., Beth, Billy, Mary, Ellen, Clay, Erik,
Nolan and all those who prayed for me at Chapel House. I thank Ted and Susan
Griswold for their unwavering support of my musical career. I thank Annie Johnson for
teaching me how to be a worship leader. I thank Abby for letting me stay with her in
Miami. I thank my godchild Clare, Larry Goble, Alex Farmer, and all those at St.
Michael's. I thank Amy, Heather, Nahum, and all those at St. Andrews for all of their
prayers and support. I thank my princess Wendy for loving me as I am, and enduring
talking to a brick wall throughout this process.
I thank Leslie Lambert, Pat Grunder, and all those at SFCC who were patient with
me while completing my degree.
I thank all of my Brazilian friends. I thank Maria, my Brazilian grandmother, for
showing me the best places to go in Rio, for introducing me to Beth Carvalho, and for
letting me stay at her wonderful Copacabana palace. I thank Gui, Kiko, and Thais for all
the wonderful times playing music together in Rio. I thank Maestre Boca and Marco for
all the great times, for showing me how to play the pandeiro and tambourim, for all of the
great jokes, and for calling me BRENNNNNTCHIE! I thank all of Welson and Renata's
family in SJRP for being such wonderful hosts. I thank Hamilton de Holanda for all the
great memories here in Gainesville, and for allowing me to play with the best mandolinist
in the world! And most of all I thank Marco Pereira for all of his patience and kindness,
allowing me to perform with him, and write this thesis about his wonderful contributions
to Brazilian popular music.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A C K N O W L E D G M EN T S ........................ ...............................................................iv
LIST OF FIGU RE S ............. ........................................................... ..................... ix
A B S T R A C T ....................... ... ............. ... ...............................................x i
1 INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF LITERATURE ............................................ 1
P ro lo g u e ...................................... ..................................... ............... 1
In tro du ctio n ...................................... .................................. ............... 3
R eview of the L literature ........................................................... ... .............. 9
2 THE GUITAR IN BRAZIL: ORIGINS, PERFORMERS, AND INFLUENCES OF
M ARCO PEREIRA ...... ............................................................. .............. 15
Introduction ................................................................ .. ..... ......... 15
O origins ........................................ ....................... .... ...... ......... 16
The G uitar in the Choro/Sam ba ...................... ................................ .............. 34
Guitarists of the Choro/Sam ba............................................. ........................... 38
The Bossa Nova era....................................................... .............. 57
Paulinho N ogueira (1929-2002)............................................... ................. 61
B aden Pow ell (1937-2000) .......................................................... ........ 67
V ocal A ccom panists .................................. .................................. ........... 77
International Influences ........................................ ............ ........ ......... ...... 79
C conclusion ............................................................................. ........ 80
3 THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF MARCO PEREIRA AND CONCLUSION.............. 83
In tro d u ctio n ..................................................... ............... 8 3
B biography ................................................ ....... .......... ..... 84
G uitar Style ................. ......... ......... ........... ............................ 95
E quipm ent .................... ......... .... .......... ................ ......... ..... 100
Compositional Style ........................ ....................................... 102
A ranging Style .................. ...... ..... .................. .......... 110
The Coltrane Waltz? .............. ......... ...................... ............. 112
Conclusions ............... ............... ............. ......... .................. ........ 117
A GLO SSARY OF TERM S............ .......... .......... ......................... ............. 121
B G EN ER A L W EB SITE S ................................................................................ ....... 123
LIST OF REFERENCES... ........................................ 124
D ISCO GRA PH Y .................. ......................................................... ..... 128
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................... ............. 131
LIST OF FIGURES
2-1 A fro-Brazilian rhythm ........... ............... ................... ..... ....................... 23
2-2 Excerpt from "Vitorioso" by Ernesto Nazare.............................. ............. 27
2-3 Schottisch guitar style .............. .. ... ......... .. ........................ 36
2-4 Polca guitar style ....... ......... ......... .......... ......... 37
2-5 Maxixe guitar style ................ .... ......... ........ .........37
2-6 Valsa guitar style................................................. ............... 37
2-7 Tute's baixaria performance with Grupo Carioca on "Ndo Sei" by Jose Pereira
da Silv a ...................................................................................................... 4 1
2-8 Transcription of Dino 7 Cordas' performance on "As Rosas Ndo Falam" ..............46
2-9 Excerpt from "Dengoso" by Jodo Pernoambuco ............................. .............. 50
2-10 Examples of non-classical guitar techniques employed by many guitarists of
Brazilian popular music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries......................... 52
2-11 Excerpt from "Lamentos do Morro" by Garoto ....... ................................ 53
2-12 Photo of Gianini craviola taken by Frank Ford ........... ..... ............. 63
2-13 Excerpt from "Bachianinha no. 1" by Paulinho Nogueira ............................ 64
2-14 Excerpt from "Reflex.es em 2 por 4." by Paulinho Nogueira ............................ 66
2-15 Photo of Baden Powell at the 1967 Berlin Jazz Festival taken by Frank Bender. 71
2-16 Excerpt from "ConsolaCgo" by Baden Powell.................................. 73
2-17 Excerpts of the A and B sections of "Tempo Feliz" by Baden Powell ................... 76
2-18 Transcription of guitar intro. riff from Gil's "Expresso 2222" ........................ 78
2-19 Transcription of Bosco's playing on "Incompatibilidade de Genios"....................... 79
3-1 Slap bass section of "Tio Boros" by Marco Pereira ............ ........................97
3-2 Transcription offrevo rhythm ..................................................... ... .. .............. 98
3-3 Excerpt of"Seu Tonica Na Ladeira" as performed by Marco Pereira on
O original ........................................................................ ............... 99
3-4 First section of"Tio Boros" as performed on Original................................. 104
3-5 Second section of"Tio Boros" as performed on Original .............................. 105
3-6 Coda of"Tio Boros" as performed on Original............................................... 106
3-7 Excerpt of"Bate-Coxa" as performed in Original............................................. 108
3-8 Excerpt from "Num Pagode Em Planaltina" as performed on Original............. 109
3-9 Excerpt from written out section of "Valsa Negra".............. .... .......... 111
3-10 Excerpt from improvised section of "Valsa Negra" ............ ............... 111
3-11 "Plainte" as recorded on Valsas Brasilerias..................... .... ......... .... 115
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Music
MARCO PEREIRA: BRAZILIAN GUITAR VIRTUOSO
Brent Lee Swanson
Chair: Larry Crook
Major Department: Music
This study traces the history of the guitar in Brazil and explores the life and artistry
of Brazilian guitar virtuoso Marco Pereira. Marco Pereira is well known throughout
Brazil as a consummate performer, arranger, and composer; he is considered by many to
be one of Brazil's most important contemporary guitarists. Mr. Pereira has worked with
virtually every major contributor to Brazilian popular music during his time. An
examination of his biography, compositions, musical influences, and technique will
illuminate his Brazilian guitar style. The goals of this work are 1) to provide first a brief
history of the Brazilian guitar and the primary guitarists who have influenced the life and
work of Marco Pereira, 2) to explore his biography, and 3) to analyze his contributions to
Brazilian musical culture.
The thesis highlights the importance of the guitar and guitarists in crafting
Brazilian musical identity. From the introduction of guitar-like instruments into Brazilian
territories by the Portuguese and other Europeans, to the international spread of virtuosic
techniques developed by the country's top performers, performance practices on the
guitar have undergone transformations. My study outlines the major transformations in
Brazilian guitar playing over the course of the twentieth century, and attempts to codify
the Brazilian guitar style.
In addition to illuminating the idiosyncrasies of Brazilian guitar style, I also focus
on the guitarists (consciously or subconsciously) who were most influential to the
musical development of Marco Pereira, and how these musicians contribute to Brazilian
identity in the international arena. Just as the samba became the national music of Brazil,
the guitar has emerged as a symbol of Brazil's national musical identity. My study
explores the guitar's role as mediator between lower- and upper- class Brazilians, and
explores Brazilian popular and art music. I demonstrate how the hybrid role of the
Brazilian guitar is representative of Brazil's densely mixed culture. I conclude that
Marco Pereira's hybrid guitar style is also representative of Brazilian musical identity.
INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF LITERATURE
My introduction to Brazilian music was in 1993, when I was a burgeoning young
student of jazz. First as a pianist and guitarist, and later as a bassist, I discovered the
bossa novas of Jobim, Bonfi, and others in my studies of The Real Book (unpublished
illegal version). I had not listened to much Brazilian music other than my Best of Bossa
Nova CD by Compact Jazz and various butchered versions of "Tico-Tico No Fuba" that
sounded more like salsa than choro, and much of my education of samba came from the
rhythmic example in Essential Styles: For the Drummer and Bassist (Book I). As far as I
was concerned, my retort after getting lost in the guitarist's fourth chorus of solo on
"Meditation" was "Blame it on the Bossa Nova."
This "medicated" introduction to Brazilian music distorted my view of the
country's musical culture. This changed when I came to the University of Florida (UF)
in 1996, to study ethnomusicology with Dr. Larry Crook. In my first semester, I
performed with his university ensemble Jacare Brazil (Gator Brazil), in which I had the
honor of working with one of Brazil's most famous bloco-afro groups from Bahia,
Olodum. Through Jacare Brazil (8 years and counting) I learned first-hand a diversity of
Brazilian musical styles, including samba do rio, samba-reggae, maracatt, coco, baido,
frevo, embolada, mtisica caipira, choro, bossa nova, MPB, Brazilian jazz, and various
other Brazilian musical genres and styles. I have had the privilege of working with some
of Brazil's finest musicians and dancers, including Tote Gixa, Jelon Vieina, Mestre Boca,
Ney Rosaro, Joao do Pife, Carlos Malta, and most recently Hamilton de Holanda and
Marco Pereira. Through these experiences I learned many things about Brazilian music.
It was out of my initial work with to Marco Pereira and introduction to his music that I
formulated this thesis.
I first met Marco Pereira in May 2003 when he came to UF's Brazilian Music
Institute to conduct a weeklong clinic on the Brazilian guitar. This was not my first
exposure to Brazilian-style guitar playing. However, I was not prepared for what I
experienced that week. The level of his virtuosity intimidated, yet inspired me to
understand the world of Brazilian guitar on a much deeper level. In many senses, I
reverted back to the infatuation of my teenage years when I listened to electric guitar
virtuosos Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Eric Johnson (to name a few). But this time, I
heard the same intensity, not from a heavily amplified and effected electric guitar, but
from an acoustic nylon-string (or classical) guitar.
I have always thought of the nylon-string guitar as a subtle yet passive instrument
played by classical musicians, by Spanish performers, or by Brazilian musicians to
accompany a bossa nova, samba, or choro piece. I always knew that this nylon-string
guitar could be used in a fairly intense way, but I had not realized that it could equal the
tumultuous experience of a loud rock guitar. On one hand, I had listened to Brazilian
virtuosos such as Baden Powell, the Assad Brothers, and even recordings of Pereira; but
there was something different about seeing and hearing Pereira live that changed my
view of the instrument altogether. The classical guitar was no longer a passive
instrument to me, but one that could equally emote the sensations I feel when listening to
Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, or Muddy Waters.
After becoming hooked on Brazil's musical culture while living in the United
States, I received the opportunity to visit the country through a Foreign Language and
Area Studies (FLAS) grant administered through the Center for Latin American Studies
at UF. This grant allowed me to stay in Rio de Janeiro to study Portuguese and Brazilian
culture for 6 weeks, and to see and hear various concerts. This was also the first time I
was able to hear Pereira and his partner, the famous mandolinist Hamilton de Holanda,
perform selections from their new CD Luz das Cordas at SESC (a small theatre in
Copacabana). This was an amazing display of technical virtuosity, as well as one of the
greatest concerts I saw in Rio. Hearing Pereira in his own environment assured me that
he is one of the greatest guitarists in Brazil, and one of the greatest Brazilian guitarists
who ever lived. These experiences gave me a new love for the Brazilian guitar, and the
inspiration to research and write this thesis.
The term Violdo Brasileiro (Brazilian guitar) is a complex designation, yet there is
something distinct about the nylon-stringed acoustic guitar in Brazil. Through the years
it has undergone various physical transformations: from the roots of plucked lute and ten-
stringed double-coursed viola, to six steel strings, to six nylon-strings; and since the early
20th century, to seven or eight nylon-strings. There is virtually no difference between
physical construction of the Brazilian guitar and the typical nylon-stringed classical
guitar (except that the wood is often all Brazilian, although this is also true of some non-
Brazilian guitars). Rather, it is the performance practice in the various genres of
Brazilian music that defines the instrument as Brazilian. The guitar music of Brazil can
generally be divided into two broad categories: Misica Erudita (Western Art/Classical
Music), and Mtisica Popular Brasileira or Brazilian Popular Music. However, there are
multifarious subcategories of these genres, and the lines between them are often blurred.
My study focuses on the guitar styles of performers generally classified within the
category of Brazilian Popular Music, but at the same time respects the fact that Brazilian
musicians often blur boundaries.
For the purposes of my study, Brazilian Popular Music (MPB)1 is defined as those
genres or styles that are generally excluded from the more elite Mtisica Erudita, and
includes choro, samba, baido, frevo, mtisica sertaneja, bossa nova, tropicdlia, samba
funk, samba novo/mtisica instrumental brasileira contemporanea/mtisica
improvisada/jazz-samba/hard-bossa or any other style that can be classified as Brazilian
jazz.2 The musical differences in these styles are based primarily on the various rhythms
that define them. However, many styles (like tropicdlia) do not necessarily have musical
idiosyncrasies that distinguish them from other genres, but are defined in terms of their
association with social movements of various epochs. Thus, it is difficult to categorize
Brazilian popular music, and the term MPB can be ambiguous, to say the least. While
many genres/styles are covered under the blanket term MPB, almost all of these styles
include the guitar in the instrumentation. This association has helped shape the identity
of the Brazilian guitar, and therefore it shares somewhat of a symbiotic relationship to
1 This is not to be confused with the post-bossa nova musical designation of MPB, which is more
specifically associated with the music of Edu Lobo, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, etc. This became a kind
of "everything but" classification to distinguish this kind of Brazilian popular music production from rock
and other foreign-associated popular music styles. However, I will refer to this type of MPB when
discussing the tropicalist movement and Marco Pereira's musical style, and I will note this at the
2 These classifications come from Andrew Mark Connell's doctoral dissertation Jazz Brasileiro? Musica
Instrumental Brasileira and the Representation of Identity 1 ,2I 121
MPB. On one hand, the Brazilian guitar is defined by its performance practice, yet on the
other hand the instrument is also a definitive aspect of the broader musical culture itself.
The guitar has become a symbol of Brazil's national cultural identity, and
performing MPB without a guitar is almost unimaginable. It is true that Brazilian music
is rooted in the rhythmic syncretism of African and European (and sometimes
Amerindian) musical cultures initially spread throughout the country. The guitar became
a vital aspect of the mediation of those cultures, and of distinct social classes in Brazil.
In her article "Hybridity and Segregation in the Guitar Cultures of Brazil," Suzel Ana
Reily points out that the guitar is one of the only musical instruments that was found
simultaneously among all classes in Brazil's highly segregated (socially and racially),
colonial society, and was placed "at the very crossroads of the tensions generated by the
two opposing forces of syncretism and segregation" (Reily 2001). Following this line of
investigation, the guitar can be conceptualized as a cultural ambassador or mediator of
the various social and racial groups comprising the complex "hybridized" Brazilian
Today, the hybrid nature of Brazilian guitar cultures is even more complex with
the influence of various international styles of guitar playing and the adoption
American/European style steel-string electric and acoustic instruments. However, the
Brazilian guitars) that Marco Pereira uses are six- and eight-string guitars with nylon
strings handcrafted by Brazilian and German luthiers. This thesis focuses on this type of
guitar, and the music that Pereira plays upon them. The nylon-string guitar is the most
common type of guitar used in Brazil, and is the type most closely associated with guitar
brasilidade or Brazilianness (Brazilian identity). In fact, the nylon-stringed guitar is an
intrinsic aspect of musical brasilidade, which is not only found in the guitar Marco
Pereira plays, but also his playing style. Pereira's musical identity is closely related to
his own mixed background of classical training, popular music performance, and the
blending of techniques from those realms to compose and perform in a variety of musical
Mixing is a central to the concept of brasilidade, which stems from the modernist
movement of the 1920s. The individual contributors (Gilberto Freyre, Oswald de
Andrade, and others) of this movement illuminated Brazil's history of racial
miscegenation and highlighted the idea that cultural mixing defined Brazilian identity.
This idea of a positive nature of cultural and racial miscegenation was first
conceptualized by Gilberto Freyre in his master treatise The Masters and the Slaves. This
work discusses all three factions of Brazil's racial identities (European, African, and
Amerindian), and how each contributed to Brazil's cultural makeup.
Another key element in the concept of brasilidade is element of confusion, or as
Fred Moehn states
There is another aspect to the discourse of miscegenation in Brazil that is
referenced in the colloquial "to be mixed up," defined here as confused or
confounded .... Although they seldom described this feeling as confusion per se,
they often emphasized that this uncertainty) alternatively, flexibility is, in fact, the
principal marker of brasilidade. (Moehn 2001: 5)
Therefore, in Brazilian culture, it is not necessary for one homogenous racial identity to
serve as a marker to define the "rest," but that a diverse racial identity is perfectly
acceptable. In addition to suggesting confusion, mixing also can connote "combining
ingredients," relating to cooking or eating (Moehn 2001: 6). Oswald de Andrade's
Revista da Antropofagia (Journal of Anthropophagy or Cannibalist Manifesto) from the
late 1920s introduced the concept of "cultural cannibalism," which states that Brazilians
should "consume" and "digest" select aspects of other cultures in order to make them part
of their own culture. This concept was influenced by the belief that some Amerindian
cultures (Tupinamba) had practiced cannibalism as a way of consuming the power of
their enemies. Inspired by this indigenous notion, Andrade proposed that Brazilians
should incorporate aspects of European culture (technology, art, etc.) and mix them with
local culture to create a new style of art that was "worthy of export3 to the First World"
(Moehn 2001:6). These concepts were an integral part of the Semana da Arte Moderno
(The Week of Modem Art) held in 1922 in Sdo Paulo. Brazil's leading artists, including
Heitor Villa-Lobos, attended this three-day event, which featured exhibits, performances,
and other happenings. The work of the modernists was an integral part of shaping the
intellectual framework of Brazilian identity, as well as all aspects of its national culture.
In the 1960s, artists like Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Rita Lee, and others adopted
the modernist ideals, as they "consumed" elements of British and North American
popular culture to create a new movement of Brazilian music called tropicdlia. They
incorporated electric guitars and rock style guitar "licks" and "riffs," as well as the visual
image of rock groups like the Beatles. They mixed this with a variety of regional and
national Brazilian styles (samba, baiao, bossa nova, etc.) to create their own unique
musical identity. This eclectic freedom is the same concept that Marco Pereira applies to
his own musical style. While he does not force these concepts into his playing style, he is
undoubtedly influenced (consciously and subconsciously) by the work of the modernists
and tropicalists, as their ideas are an integral aspect of Brazilian culture and identity.
3 The use of export was a take on how Brazil's economy had been based on exported goods (Brazilwood,
Sugar, Coffee, etc) since the colonial period.
Pereira also cites the direct influence of Gilberto Gil, who was a cofounder of this
Pereira's own playing style is derived from a long line of Brazilian and other
internationally known guitarists, who have not only influenced Pereira, but Brazilian
music as a whole. According to Pereira, the domestic and foreign guitarists most
influential in the development of Brazilian guitar performance practice include:
Brazilians- Joao Pernambuco, Garoto, Dino "7 cordas," Baden Powell, Paulinho
Nogueira, Joao Gilberto, Gilberto Gil, and Joao Bosco; American- Wes Montgomery;
and Australian John Williams, as well as many other internationally known musicians. I
believe that Marco Pereira represents a synthesis of all these guitarists, and is exemplary
of the history of the Brazilian guitar at its finest.
As I mentioned, Pereira's playing style places him in an interesting border zone
between the popular and classical worlds in Brazil. On one hand he is an instrumentalist,
which makes him almost invisible,4 or as he states, "In Brazil, instrumentalists do not
exist."5 What he meant is that singers tend to overshadow instrumentalists, and the
importance of instrumentalists is rarely recognized. On the other hand, because he
performs popular music genres (samba, baido, etc.) he is not generally accepted into
classical guitar society. It is this hybridity of his playing style that reflects Brazilian
musical culture and the history of the Brazilian guitar itself.
This thesis is divided into two sections; the first delineates the history of the
Brazilian guitar emphasizing the guitarists that served as Marco Pereira's primary
4 Brazilian culture, like many other cultures, tends to recognize only vocalists, thus disregarding
5 Personal communication. March 18, 2004
influences. I begin with a short history of the guitar in Brazil and hypothesize that the
instrument eventually became a national symbol due to the hybridized cultural roles it
assumed. I discuss the guitar's original identity as an instrument of vagabonds and low-
class culture, and how through various musicians like Catulo de Paixao Cearense and
Heitor Villa-Lobos, as well as various social changes throughout Brazil, it eventually
became an acceptable instrument in elite society as well. The guitar's association with
samba, Brazil's national music, as well as various other styles of Brazilian music,
brought it to the forefront of Brazilian culture where it remains a symbol of national
identity. I then examine the histories of some of the main guitarists who inspired Marco
Pereira's playing style. This section includes short biographies of these musicians,
descriptions of their contributions to Brazilian guitar style, and analyses of their music.
In the second section, I focus directly on Marco Pereira, his compositions, and his
performance style. Additionally I illustrate how his hybrid musical style reflects the core
of Brazilian identity.
Review of the Literature
Literature on the Brazilian guitar comes from several sources including: scholarly
and popular press publications (books, journals, songbooks, etc.), liner notes to
recordings, doctoral dissertations, websites, personal interviews, and sound recordings
themselves. Sifting through this literature has been a most interesting, yet frustrating
experience, and it is through doing this research that I now realize the lacunae in
scholarly writings about the history of the Brazilian guitar. Though I could easily blame
my nascent Portuguese language skills for my misfortunes, they are mostly caused by the
lack of reliable sources available on the subject. Those sources that are available
generally do not discuss the guitar's importance in Brazil's society, nor do they detail
musical contributions by many of the country's most important guitarists.
Despite my problems in finding adequate sources, I am blessed to have found a
variety of materials that have made invaluable contributions to this work. First and
foremost is Suzel Ana Reily's article from the book Guitar Cultures, which has been the
most straightforward and informative history of the Brazilian guitar written. This is a
fundamental work in describing the hybridized nature of the instrument in Brazil. Reily
examines the guitar's history from its origins to the role it now plays in contemporary
Brazilian society. Through this history she reveals how the guitar mediated high and low
class musical cultures in Brazil through various individuals, who were accepted into both
cultures. Another scholarly article that is imperative to this thesis is Gerard Behlgue's
Biblioteca da Ajuda (Libson) MSS 1595/1596: Two Eighilcculh-Century Anonymous
Collections ofModinhas published in the Yearbook of the Inter-American Institute for
Musical Research, which showcases the differences between the Portuguese and
Brazilian modinhas and documents important historical aspects of the viola itself.
Charles Perrone and Christopher Dunn's Brazilian Popular Music and Globalization is
also central to this thesis and is an excellent source about Brazilian popular music. The
essays in the book cover everything from tropicdlia to the mangue bit sounds of Chico
Science and Naqao Zumbi.
In addition to these articles, various doctoral dissertations have discussed the guitar
and important guitarists in their discourses on different styles of Brazilian popular music.
The three key dissertations are Thomas George Caracas Garcia's work The Brazilian
Choro: Music, Politics, and Performance (1997), Andrew Mark Connell's Jazz
Brasileiro? Mtisica Instrumental Brasileira and the Representation of Identity (2002),
and Fredrick Moehn's Mixing MPB: Cannibals and Cosmopolitans in Brazilian Popular
Music (2001). Garcia's dissertation is a general history, description, and musical analysis
of the Brazilian choro. It traces the history of the form from the modinha and lundu to
the present, and discusses the various origin theories of the genre's name. This work has
excellent biographical information on many famous composers and performers of choro,
as well as extensive musical transcriptions of their works. The Connell dissertation offers
insight into the world of contemporary Brazilian instrumental music, and has excellent
coverage of the musical category known as Mtisica Instrumental Brasileiro, sometimes
known as Brazilian jazz. This style encompasses semi-erudite instrumental music in
Brazil that is not necessarily considered mtisica erudita. Connell's dissertation
specifically covers music by Hermeto Pascoal, Aquarela Carioca, and the Itiber8
Orquestra Familia. While Marco Pereira's style is usually more traditional harmonically
than these avant-garde groups, Brazilian jazz is the term Pereira uses to categorize this
music. Connell also successfully synthesizes anthropological research conducted on
Brazilian culture, relating it well to his study. Most notably Connell summarizes the
concept and history of brasilidade, and its relations to race and social class. Fredrick
Moehn's dissertation also discusses brasilidade, but focuses on post-bossa nova MPB
(Mdsica Popular Brasileira), and how the work of the modernists and tropicalists was
crucial in defining this diverse musical category. He thoroughly explores the Brazilian
concept of mi\ing. and how it applies to the musical culture. In addition to this, Moehn
gives a concise history of the modernist movement and how it cut across culture and the
arts in Brazil. Another significant dissertation is Tamara Livingston's Choro And Music
Revivalism in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 1973-1995 (1999). Livingston focuses on the socio-
cultural aspects of the choro, and relates the choro revivals to similar movements that
have occurred internationally.
There are various non-scholarly writings (usually about the history of the choro)
that highlight important historical moments and figures of the Brazilian guitar, but none
of these present a complete picture of the instrument. The book with the most pertinent
information to the subject at hand is Henrique Cazes's Choro: Do Quintal Ao Municipal,
which is an insider's6 view of the history of the choro and includes a chapter entitled "O
violao brasileiro" devoted to the archetypal guitarists of choro performance practice.
Despite the promising title of the chapter, the information tends to be anecdotal and is
illustrated more like a grandfather's childhood stories than an actual history of the guitar.
As Connell states, "Surprisingly, given Cazes' musical expertise, there is little musical
description in his book. ." (Connell 2002: 11-12). In other words, Cazes merely states
biographical information about important musicians, but does not explain their musical
importance or provide musical examples. I agree with Connell's assertion that Cazes
likely assumed that his readers were familiar with the genre, and overlooked the music
elements of the choro.
A similar omission of important material (though this time biographical) appears in
Alexandre Gonqalves's book O Choro: Reminiscenias dos Cl 'r',c, Antigos, which
completely overlooks the famous and seminal figure Pixinguinha. However, regardless
of its brevity, this work has a significant amount of biographical information on various
musicians (both obscure and well-known), which is valuable to this thesis. Ruy Castro's
6 Cazes is a famous choro cavaquinhista (performer of cavaquinho)
Clihcg de Saudade: A Histdria E As Histdrias Da Bossa Nova is the least scholarly of all
these books, but has excellent insight into the lives of bossa nova greats Tom Jobim,
Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes, Joao Gilberto, and many others. Other books that are
referenced for information, but not necessarily cited about early Brazilian guitarists are
Henrique Foreis's No Tempo de Noel Rosa, Irati Ant6nio's 1982 book Garoto: Sinal dos
Tempos, and Almanaque do choro: a histdria do chorinho, o que ouvir, o que ler, onde
curtir by Andr6 Diniz.
In terms of sheet music about the guitarists of Brazil, there are two excellent books
that cover many of the works of Joao Pernambuco and Garoto. First is a nice collection
entitled Jodo Pernambuco: 11 Famous Choros Brasileiros Vol. 1, which is edited by
various guitarists. However, as Pernambuco never notated his own music, it is difficult
to judge the authenticity of the transcriptions. Recordings and attending live
performances are always the best source of understanding any type of musical style or
genre, however I find this collection acceptable to use, as the scores closely resemble
Pernambuco's performance style.7 Second is an excellent and historically accurate two-
volume compilation by Paulo Bellinati titled The Guitar Works of Garoto, in which the
transcriber listened to rare recordings and reviewed extant manuscripts to analyze
Garoto's performance practice before he ever notated the music. There are some minor
edits to Garoto's original manuscripts to make the reading easier (apparently Garoto
never used any key signatures), but Bellinati is very transparent about these alterations.
This collection also includes notes about Garoto's performance practice, guitar setup
(e.g., low action, nylon-strings), and biographical detail. I also find useful the
7 This opinion is based on listening to several recordings of Pernambuco now available on the Mem6rias
transcriptions from Tonos Darmstadt's Songbooks on Baden Powell, Nelson Faria's The
Brazilian Guitar Book, Luis OtLvio Braga's Violdo de Sete Cordas: Teoria e Prdtica, as
well as Almir Chediak's Songbook: Gilberto Gil.
Other information was gathered from publications like Guitar Player (both
American and Brazilian versions) and internet resources about certain guitarists that do
not have much written about them (e.g., Paulinho Nogueira, Baden Powell).
Additionally, I have used liner notes from CDs by the guitarists mentioned in this thesis.
One great source of information came from the set of historical recordings Memdrias
Musicals, which is an anthology of early Brazilian popular music beginning with the first
recordings of the Corpo de Bombeiros/Banda da Casa Edison in 1902 (see Chapter 2).
This compilation, which is digitally re-mastered, offers excellent insight into the
performance practice of the early chores and contains previously unpublished
recordings. I gained a great deal of historical information about relevant to the
development of Brazilian popular music through these various sources. However, the
majority of information I received about Pereira was through my personal interviews with
him (both formally and informally) while he was in residence at the University of Florida
at Gainesville in March 2004. During that time we had many conversations over dinner
and while traveling by bus to various performance venues. I also conducted with Pereira
two formal interviews in person, four telephone interviews, and frequent email
GUITAR IN BRAZIL: ORIGINS, PERFORMERS, AND INFLUENCES OF MARCO
This chapter covers the history of the Brazilian guitar in two sections. The first
section outlines the origins of the instrument itself, the genres of music it spawned, and
its hybrid role as a symbol of national identity in Brazilian culture. The second section
discusses the main guitarists who have shaped Brazilian popular music, and have been
influential in Marco Pereira's musical development. I include a brief biography and
discuss important musical accomplishments for each guitarist, as well as provide
representative examples of each guitarist's performance practice. Additionally, I discuss
some of the musical characteristics of important musical genres, and provide musical
examples highlighting stylistic idiosyncrasies.
This summary is by no means a complete history of the Brazilian guitar world, but
rather a history of guitarists who have influenced Marco Pereira. However, I believe that
the selected list of guitarists is an excellent representation of the history of Brazilian
guitar styles. Guitarists selected are those people Marco Pereira felt were important to
him, and secondly additional guitarists Pereira did not mention, but upon discussing their
importance with him, agreed they should be included. Following Pereira's own concepts,
these guitarists are divided into two different categories: soloists/accompanists of
primarily instrumental music and vocal accompanists who accompany themselves on
guitar and have a unique and somewhat virtuosic style.8 The instrumental
soloists/accompanists are: Arthur de Souza Nascimento or "Tute," Joao Pemambuco,
Garoto, and Horondino Silva (Dino "Sete Cordas") representing the Brazilian choro and
samba; and Baden Powell and Paulinho Nogueira representing the \,uiinl, b, ,ss, nova era
of the 1950s and beyond. The vocal accompanists include: Joao Gilberto representing
bossa nova; Gilberto Gil and Joao Bosco representing modem MPB.
This chapter will also discuss foreign guitarists, who have had a great impact on
Pereira's career: Wes Montgomery representing American jazz; John Williams and
Julian Bream representing art music, and Cacho Tirao representing Argentinean tango.
All of these guitarists have helped shape Pereira's playing, compositional style, and
overall musicianship, and are excellent representatives of the world of guitar
Discovering the origins of the guitar in Brazil can be as elusive as trying to find
detailed documents of Brazilian slavery.9 As Suzel Ana Reily points out
Records from the colonial period tend to be rather imprecise in their references to
guitar-like instruments used in Brazil, and this has hindered the study of their
historical trajectories in the country. (Reily 2001: 159)
These records were most likely not kept because it was an instrument of commoners, and
not of the elite. According to Reily the modern guitar in Brazil most likely originated
from four different Iberian prototypes. These are: the viola de mao (hand viola) or
simply viola; the lute; the machete (also known as the descante); and the guitarra (Reily
8 These categories are based on interviews with Marco Pereira, in which he suggested two schools of the
Brazilian guitar: soloists and those that accompanied themselves vocally.
9 The Brazilian Government destroyed most records of slavery after they abolished the slave trade in 1888.
2001: 159). The viola is known to be of Portuguese origin, and in the 13th century was a
twelve stringed instrument (six double-coursed) much like the American twelve-string
guitar. Today the Brazilian viola is a five-string double-coursed instrument with a much
smaller body that is often used to accompany various folk and popular music with their
foundations in the rural interior of Brazil: namely the moda de viola, improvisatory
poetry of repentista singers, and the duplas (paired singers) of mfsica sertaneja. In the
late 20th century it was also transformed into a solo instrument through a new generation
of players, which is most famously demonstrated in the work of Roberto Correa. The
machete was a small-bodied four-string instrument that is considered the "antecedent" of
the modem cavaquinho, which is found in various folk and popular music ensembles.10
The guitarra is the predecessor of the modern violdo, and was a six-string instrument
with a body similar to the Spanish classical guitar.
Of all of these instruments, the viola is most frequently referenced in records due to
its popularity among the Portuguese nobility. The guitarra was essentially ousted from
the Portuguese court due to its association with the lower class. The viola was also
widely used by the Jesuits while they were in Brazil attempting to proselytize various
Amerindian cultures, and was even thought of as a catalyst to help convert them to
Christianity. Reily states
many felt that popular instruments such as violas, bagpipes, drums and
tambourines were particularly well suited to the enterprise of conversion; like
Amerindian ritual life, the Portuguese folk traditions in which the popular
instruments were employed were marked by a participatory ethos, such that the
natives seemed more readily inclined to engage with them. (2001: 159)
10 More information about the machete can be found in Ralph C. Waddey's "Viola de Samba" and "Samba
de Viola" in the Reconcavo ofBahia i. .,i) from Latin American Music Review Vol. 1 No. 2 (Autumn-
Winter, 1980, 196-212).
The viola remained a vital part of colonial religious and secular life, and even spawned a
musical genre of accompanied secular songs called modas de viola. Church composers
eventually assimilated these songs, and set them to the contemporary chamber
orchestration of the time. These modas de viola fell out of favor with church due
objections of the viola's "camavalesque and secular associations," but continued as a folk
song genre (Reily 2001:161). Because of the church's influence, the viola was ousted
from liturgical music and used only in secular situations by both low and upper class
Brazilians in the 16th and 17th centuries.
In these secular settings the viola flourished, and spawned two of the first genres of
music that were considered Brazilian: the modinha (little song) and the lundu. The
former of these musical genres became associated with the colonial upper class, while the
latter was initially identified with "Afro-Brazilian" culture. However, the socio-musical
segregation of the two genres is somewhat clouded, which led to an interesting dialogue
between the classes. To summarize this, Reily states
The continuous encounter between socially and ethnically diverse sectors during
the colonial era produced a highly hybrid cultural environment, but it was not
perhaps until the late eighteenth century that particular music and dance forms
began to be identified as distinctly colonial inventions. (2001: 161)
As a favored accompaniment instrument, the viola aided in the birth of these song
forms, and thus served to mediate between the two distinctly different cultures they came
from. This early example of inter-ethnic dialogue was extremely important to Brazilian
popular music in general and these song forms would influence the development of the
choro and eventually the samba. As Gerard B6hague states "there is no doubt that the
modinha has an exceptional historical significance, for it is together with the lundu -
the very foundation on which a large part of Brazilian popular music was built"
The Brazilian modinha was also being performed in the salons of Lisbon, Portugal,
and its popularity can be attributed to the famous "mulatto poet and priest Domingos
Caldas Barbosa (1738-1800)" (B6hague 1963: 46). Barbosa was born in Brazil, and was
a renowned viola player and poet. He traveled to Libson frequently and was a significant
contributor to the city's musical culture where he composed many modinhas and lundus.
Because the viola was considered a vulgar instrument in Libson (as well as the modinha
itself), many of Barbosa's modinhas were transcribed for piano or harpsichord
accompaniment. However, after examining several manuscripts of these songs, B6hague
The catalogue for the Ajuda Library describes the whole collection as "music for
voice and piano with Portuguese text," but for each individual entry a correction
has been added "with guitar (viola) accompaniment. Indeed the character of the
accompaniment (broken chord figures, occasional figured bass) suggests the
original guitar accompaniment rather than the more refined harpsichord or piano
accompaniment of the printed modinhas. (Ibid., 59)
This suggests that the viola was a central part of the compositional efforts of Barbosa,
and likely many other composers of modinhas at this time (even in Portugal) (Tinhordo
In the eighteenth century there was a major influx of Portuguese immigrants who
came to Brazil in search of gold and diamonds. This influx of Europeans resulted in a
general increase in European cultural values that were disseminated throughout the
country. Because the viola was associated with low-class values by the European cultural
elite, the early colonizers were forced "to conceal the hybrid elements of their local
culture" (Reily 2001: 163). Therefore, it was at this time that the viola fell out of favor
with Brazilian elite. The coffee boom in the late eighteenth century, the subsequent
arrival of the Portuguese crown in 1808, as well as the move of the capital from Salvador,
Bahia to Rio de Janeiro would help solidify this Eurocentric shift in cultural values.
Eventually the viola would be replaced by a more "culturally acceptable" instrument: the
In the mid to late nineteenth-century the piano became the instrument of choice
among Brazilian cultural elite, while the viola/violdo," considered a "vulgar" instrument,
was relegated to lower-class culture. This does not mean that these instruments
completely disappeared from the salon culture, but rather that their use severely
diminished (Vianna 1999: 25). While the colonial society became increasingly
segregated along class and racial lines, the modinha remained a symbol of cultural
hybridity. In the 1840s, the popularity of art music and the modinha bourgeoned among
the carioca12 elite, who began to privately fund "exclusive 'clubs' and 'societies'," due to
the lack of funding by emperor Dom Pedro II (Reily 2001: 165). With the advent of
these bourgeois clubs, composers and performers of the modinha adopted Italian bel
canto vocal performance practices. The piano remained the preferred instrument for
accompaniment, and thus the salon modinha began to sound increasingly like an Italian
aria. At the same time, however, these aria-like modinha's were being performed with
" Harvey Tumbull and Paul Sparks state in the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians that the
transformation from the five-course to a six single strings took place over a period of time between the
"second half of the 18th century and the first decades of the 19th century in Spain, France, and Italy." By
the late 18th century, most guitarists favored the single coursed guitar over the double coursed model
because it was easier to tune, attack cleanly, and avoid "ambiguous" bass notes. (Ibid 2001: 563) I
unfortunately could not gather any information that distinguishes the differences of use between the viola
and the violdo during this epoch in Brazil's musical history. However, it is likely that the replacement of
the viola by the violdo was due to the increase of European immigration, which brought more of the single
coursed instrument to Brazil.
12 Carioca refers to an inhabitant of Rio de Janeiro
rhythms that were influenced by Afro-Brazilian music, which gave them a distinctly
While the piano was the instrument of choice among the elites, the violdo was
quickly becoming the instrument of choice for the common people of Brazil. This was
likely due to its low cost and portability, as pianos could only be afforded by the upper
class. It is also possible that because of this, the violdo was also becoming
conceptualized as the "true" Brazilian instrument. Lima Baretto, who was an early 20th
century Brazilian nationalist, notes the social status of the guitar in his novel The Sad End
ofPolicarpo Quaresma (1915). As Hermano Vianna points out
Lima Barreto's novel The Sad End of Policarpo Quaresma (1915)... begins
with a chapter titled "The Guitar Lesson." The hero of the novel is Major
Policarpo, a respectable amateur scholar of middling social status. Policarpo's
reading of "historians, chroniclers, and philosophers" has convinced him that
the modinha with guitar accompaniment is "the poetic and musical expression
characteristic of the national spirit" of Brazil. (1999: 26)
The continuation of this passage also illustrates how the Lima's novel depicted the social
status of the violdo:
The patriotic scholar therefore takes guitar lessons from a Troubadour, Ricardo
CoraCdo dos Outrous. Policarpo's neighbors vigorously reject the idea and declare
him mad: "A guitar in such a respectable house!" they exclaim. "A serious man
involved in low-life stuff like that!" Policarpo defends himself on nationalist
grounds: "It is prejudice to supposed that every man who plays the guitar lacks
social decency. The modinha is the most genuine expression of our national
poetry, and the guitar is the instrument that it requires. (Ibid., 26)
Thus the violdo, was in the middle of a complex struggle for defining national identity;
on one side were the carioca elites, who had a stronghold on defining what was
"acceptable" culture, and on the other was the rest of Brazil, who considered the violdo to
be part of their national heritage.
While the social and racial lines were clearly delineated at this time, there were a
few individuals, like Policarpo in Barreto's novel, who crossed the social boundaries.
Catulo da Paixao de Cearense, 13 was raised in the northeast interior (sertao), but came to
Rio with his father at the age of seventeen. Though he came from a working-class
background, he was invited to sing modinhas at the homes of many of the carioca elite,
and networked with "politicians, writers, and millionaires" (Vianna 1999:24-5). With a
renewed interest in his country sertanejo roots, Catulo began mixing elements of folk
songs from the northeast with the more Eurocentric/urban style modinha, and performing
them on the violdo for various elite gatherings, and even performed at the President's
palace. He most likely got this sertanejo influence from Joao Pernambuco, a soon-to-be
important guitarist from the northeastern state of Pernambuco, whose significance will be
discussed later. Because he introduced of the violdo in the "courts" of the carioca
bourgeoisie, Catulo is considered one of the instrument's great ambassadors, and thus
represents the cultural countercurrents that were happening at that time. He is also an
example of hybridity in Brazilian culture. Music of the northeast was not the only music
Catulo was synthesizing; various other musical genres began to pervade the country,
which created a cultural incubator for fostering the choro and eventually the national
music of Brazil: the samba.
After the abolition of slavery in 1888, there was a mass immigration of working
class European culture into Brazil. Slave labor was no longer a competition, as it was
previously so inexpensive that there was no incentive to import European labor by elite
landowners. Therefore, Europeans could now compete for low-wage jobs with freed
13 He took the name Cearense because he was a native of the state of Ceara.
slaves. Brazilian elites also saw this as an opportunity to "re-Europeanize" a population
that comprised a mixed majority.14 With this influx of European immigrants also came
their cultural idiosyncrasies, and consequently, the polka, tango, habanera, schottisch,
waltz, and various other musical/dance forms were initiated into Brazilian culture.
Composers and musicians would mix these genres with the Brazilian modinha and lundu
to create a montage of subsequent hybrid genres.
The maxixe was a stylistic term that applied to various genres using the particular
rhythm associated with Afro-Brazilian slave culture. Just like the modinhas before, the
"Afro-Brazilian" I rhythm was applied to the performance of the polka to create
the maxixe style (figure 2-2). B6hague notes an example of this rhythm as used in the
introduction of the accompaniment of Modinha no. 8 "Quem ama para agravar" from the
Ajuda Library MS1595:
v r, rrIr I r1
Figure 2-1. Afro-Brazilian rhythm.
The writer of this manuscript noted that "Esta acompanhamento devese tocar pela Bahia
(This accompaniment must be played around Bahia)" (Behague 1963:61-2). This same
rhythmic figure was also used in the performance practice of the international genres and
new subgenres that were created. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, these new
subgenres were as mixed musically as their names indicated (tango-maxixe, polca-
maxixe, tango-brasileiro, etc).
Once again there was a dialogue between social classes, and much like the modinha
and lundu, these new forms were performed simultaneously by low and upper-class
14 The mixed majority comprised mostly mulattos (Afro-European mix) and caboclos (Euro-Amerindian
mix). (Skidmore 1974:64-69).
musicians. Along with this dialogue between classes, there was an equal dialogue
between professional and amateur or trained and non-trained musicians. This
communication developed into a symbiotic relationship: the amateur musicians would
mix these new styles together, which would then inspire professional musicians to
compose music that was "acceptable" to the cultural elite. Composers like Joaquim
Ant6nio Silvia Calado, Anacleto de Madeiros, Ernesto Nazar6, and later Heitor Villa-
Lobos helped "formalize" these genres due to their background of European musical
training, which enabled them to write down this music. Many of the contributions of
these trained composers and performers helped shift the emphases of these musical styles
from vocal to instrumental, which ultimately lead to a new form of popular music called
Joaquim Ant6nio da Silva Calado (1848-1880) was one of the greatest flautists and
composers of his time. Though he studied composition and conducting from the great
Brazilian composer Henrique Alves de Mesquita and found success as a composer and
concert flautist, Calado "preferred the new popular music that came very naturally to
him" (Garcia 1997:161). Historians credit Calado with formalizing the instrumentation
of the terno (two guitars, cavaquinho, and flute, or whatever lead instrument was
available). However, this type of instrumental ensemble had been around for many years.
While it is easy to assume that Calado was responsible for the development of the
original choro instrumental combination, this was undoubtedly not the case. This
instrumental combination had been around for some time before Calado in the
modinha and seresta, as well as mufsica de barbeiros and thefazenda band ....
Calado's biggest contribution was combining two musical forces, each very
popular European dances and the instruments of the mufsica de barbeiros and the
The ntisica de barbeiros, fazenda (farm) bands and choromeleiros15 are three
performance groups from the early colonial period usually comprised of semi-trained
Afro-Brazilian musicians. These groups influenced Calado when he formed a similar
group known as Choro Carioca made up of the terno, (Livingston 1999: 73). And while
he was not the originator of the terno, his compositions for this instrumentation
undoubtedly influenced a new generation of musicians. Furthermore, due to his classical
training, he infused his own musical ideas into traditional European dances. His
compositions contained: "fast melody(ies) and chromaticism, embellishment, wide leaps,
rhythmic interest and syncopation, (and) strong emphasis on the beat." These musical
contributions would serve as a "bridge between the choro style and genre" (Garcia 1997:
Anacleto de Madeiros (1886-1907) was the son of a freed slave and received
European musical training at an early age. In 1875, he began his formal musical training
in the Companhia de Menores do Arsenal de Guerra band (Rio de Janeiro, RJ). "In 1884
he became an apprentice at the Imprensa Nacional (National Press) and the same year
enrolled at the Conservatdrio de Mtisica, where he concentrated on flute and clarinet"
(Garcia 1997: 174). Madeiros is best remembered as one of the founders and first
conductors of Rio's premiere military bands Bando do Corpo de Bombeiros (Band of the
Firemen Corps). He was also the first to write down arrangements of pieces to be played
by other musicians for this type of ensemble (reminiscent of thefazenda bands). These
15 In Garcia's translation of Ary Vasconcelos's Carinhoso, Etc.: Hist6ria e Inventcrio do Choro (1984: 17),
he notes: "The choromeleiros did not (only) play the charamela, but other wind instruments as well. For
the people, naturally all instrumental ensembles would end up being called choromeleiros, an expression,
for simplification, ended up being shortened to the choro (1997:75).
bands became very famous and were an intrinsic part of the annual Carnival celebrations
of the time, where they would play all of the popular dance-based compositions of the
time including waltzes, polkas, maxixes, tangos, etc. Madeiros composed many of the
pieces himself, but also performed works of the famous composers of that time (e.g.,
Ant6nio Calado, Emesto Nazar6, Chiquinha Gonzaga, etc.). The popularity of his band
helped promote these newly formed styles among the masses as well as the elite, and was
another step in solidifying future stylistic performance practice.
In addition to his work with the military bands, Madeiros also was a member of the
local roda de chores, which were local performing groups that would gather together and
play these new mixed styles with elements of improvisation. Garcia notes
Improvisation has always been a part of the choro tradition, but it is improvisation
of accompaniment and arrangement, not the spontaneous composition of a melody
around a chord progression of American jazz. The choro has always included
musicians playing guitars and cavaquinhos who could not read music. Many could
read chord symbols, and lead-sheet type scores (e.g. chord progressions, with no
notation) were often prepared for their use.
Often the choro in the roda was a popular tune, which everybody knew in an
agreed upon key, melody on one instrument and the accompaniment in the others.
The particular roda de choro in which Madeiros played was held at the Cavaquinho de
Ouro, which was a music store in downtown Rio de Janeiro. Madeiros was often joined
by the most accomplished and well known chores (choro musicians) of the day
including: Quincas Laranjeiras, Luis de Sousa, Juca Kalut, Flisberto Marques, Catulo da
Paixdo Cearense, Luis Gonzaga da Hora, Ze Cavaquinho, and Irineu de Almeida (Garcia
1997: 177). Heitor Villa-Lobos, who would later become one of Brazil's most celebrated
composers, would often also sit in on violdo at these sessions. All of these musicians
made important contributions Brazilian popular music history, and they and Madeiros
undoubtedly played a significant role in shaping the future of Brazilian music as a whole.
Additionally, Madeiros had a great influence on young artists like Pixinguinha, his
brother "China," Aurtur Souza de Nascimento "Tute," among others, many of whom
played in the Corpo de Bombeiros, and would later become pillars of Brazilian popular
Emesto Nazar6 (1863-1937) was a pianist who wrote various pieces for the
instrument, which he usually labeled tango-brasileiro (Garcia 1997: 209). However, his
compositions often resembled the maxixe, which was a bit faster and had less lyrical,
instrumental-style melodies. Nazar6 most likely associated them with the tango due to
the lack of acceptance of maxixe among the Brazilian elite, for whom he was composing
(Garcia 1997: 56). 17 These characteristics can be seen in the piece "Vitorioso," shown
Figure 2-2. Excerpt from "Vitorioso" by Eresto Nazare. Public Domain.
One can easily see the Afro-Brazilian rhythm in both the accompaniment and
melody. Also, the sixteenth note runs in the melody are further proof that this piece is
16 The music of Anacleto's bands can be heard on compilation Mem6rias Musicals, which were recorded
by Casa Edison in 1904.
1 It is likely that the tango-brasileiro and maxixe did not differ musically very much at this time. Garcia
states that "The maxixe and the tango differed most greatly in the choreography: the tango is a relatively
slow and sensual partner dance. The maxixe was a fast-stepped partner dance most noted for the frantic
pace of its footwork. (1997: 56)
more of a maxixe than a tango, a quality also reminiscent of Calado's musical
contributions. While Nazar6 did not associate himself directly with the chores of his
day, he undoubtedly influenced their music as much as they influenced his. His music is
still performed and recorded widely today by various musicians (including Marco
Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) is probably the most influential of all of these
composers, as he was a guitarist himself, and participated in the popular music circles of
his day. At an early age Villa-Lobos learned to play cello from his father Raul, which he
later performed at some of the most popular theatres in Rio. Through his employment at
these theatres he met some of the most important composers of his day including Nazar6
and Medeiros. However, he also concurrently learned to play the guitar, and performed
with various lower-class popular music circles.
All of these musical endeavors would later influence his many compositions,
especially those for the guitar. Villa-Lobos wrote Choro no. 1 for the guitar because he
wished to make the guitar an acceptable instrument in Brazil. Many of his compositions
(e.g., Bachianas Brasileiras, Choros, and Suite Popular Brasileira) introduced the world
to the sounds of Brazilian popular music, as well as influence many of Brazil's great
composers both art and popular alike. While he is not a "forefather" of choro as were the
aforementioned composers, he is undoubtedly its greatest proponent (as well as a
champion of the guitar) in the art-music world, and is undoubtedly one of Brazil's most
important composers (B6hague 2001: 613-19).
These four representative composers forever changed the face of Brazilian music,
as well as the role of the guitar. The blending of their erudite studies in music with their
passion for and firsthand knowledge of popular culture created a unique place for the
guitar among the elite of Brazil through the new music called choro. It is through choro,
and later samba that the guitar found itself at the forefront of Brazilian culture and
became the symbol of national identity. As we will discover in the following pages, the
choro was Brazil's first musical genre that greatly narrowed the gap between art and
popular music, and enabled musicians from all social classes to participate in a music that
satisfied both the trained and untrained (or semi-trained) artist. And the hybridity of
these musicians, much like Catulo da Paixao Cearense, helped transform Brazil from a
segregated individualistic musical culture into the nationalistic musical culture that it
During and after the time of these four great composers, various types of ensembles
began to emerge out of the rodas de choro. One ensemble type was called the conjunto
regional (regional group). These regionais (plural for regional) were usually made up of
lower middle-class musicians "civil servants, especially officers of the customs, the
railway system, the exchequer; the mint, the post, and municipal government public
servants working in the local police force, the power plant, etc." (Taborda 2002: 12).
This was due mostly to the fact that before the emergence Brazil's first recording
company Casa Edison, there was little money to be made solely as a musician. However,
with the emergence of recording companies and subsequently the advent national radio in
the 1920s, many of these working class musicians performed on recordings and
broadcasts. Regional groups served as accompanists for artists on the radio, and were
18 Brazil is still highly segregated socially as well as racially, but I am strictly talking about the musical
aspects of the culture in this statement. However, it was through the music of Carnaval, which was
influenced by these composers, that social lines were blurred, and roles were reversed (Vianna 1999).
required to improvise filler music when vocal performers arrived late. The conjuntos also
had their own "regionalized" way of playing choro and samba, which contributed to the
name regionais. Some of the most famous groups of the 1920s and 1930s were Turanas
Pernambucanos and Voz do Sertdo;19 Os Passos do Choro, Luiz Americano, and Os Oito
Batutas from the urban south (Cazes 1999: 85-6). The latter of these groups, was
founded by Pixinguinha, and is considered the most famous of the regional groups.
These conjuntos regionais comprised all the greatest chores of this epoch, and helped
develop a standard repertoire for all choro musicians to follow.
Though the regional groups were an important musical influence, the members
could not support themselves or their families, and the leaders of the groups often had
different players depending on the situation. Therefore, it is difficult to attribute certain
stylistic idiosyncrasies to one particular performer, and it is through this melting pot of
various musicians that various new styles were born. In the early 20th century, many
candomble houses (Afro-Brazilian religious centers) of Rio were also centers where
many of these regional musicians would gather. The most famous of these houses was
run by Tia Ciata and was where Pixinguinha, Donga, Sinho, and many other of the great
chores of the day helped contribute to Brazil's soon to be national music: the samba.
Thus, it is fitting that working-class musicians along with upper-class composers, using
the guitar as the central instrument of accompaniment, helped develop modern Brazil's
At the same time that these regional musicians gathered together to create samba in
the 1920s, a young anthropologist from Pernambuco named Gilberto Freyre was just
19 The names of these groups imply an association with the northeast of Brazil.
beginning the research for his influential treatise The Masters and the Slaves (1933).
Freyre had traveled to the United States, and was heavily influenced by the concepts of
American anthropologist Franz Boas. Boas refuted the European influenced thought that
racial mixing was detrimental to genetic prosperity, and proved that these theories were
merely unscientific generalities used for racist agendas. Freyre took Boas's principles
and applied them to Brazilian society, which had an unusually high rate of
miscegenation. In his masterwork, Freyre, like Boas, rebuffs traditional concepts of
"whitening" by stating that Brazil's true identity is found in its racial and cultural mixing.
Scholars consider Freyre's treatise to be foundational to the creation of brasilidade in the
1930s, which at the same time helped samba become the national music of Brazil. As
Hermano Vianna states, "Freyre's success on the intellectual scene and the simultaneous
broadening of interest in samba, conceived as a musical blending of white and black
culture, constituted parallel manifestations of the new interest in "things Brazilian"
This new interest in "things Brazilian" bourgeoned out of the modernist movement,
which was formally launched in 1922 during the Modern Art Week in Sao Paulo. While
this conglomeration of writers, visual artists, and composers had different aesthetic
emphases, they were "concerned foremost with articulating a project of cultural
nationalism" (Dunn 2001: 13-14). Writers Oswald de Andrade and Mario de Andrade
met with artists and composers like Heitor Villa-Lobos, and agreed to reinvent Brazil's
historically European dominated identity through their art.
This interest in nationalizing Brazilian culture greatly influenced Freyre, and
undoubtedly inspired his agenda to re-define Brazilian views on the country's racial
identity. In addition to the nationalistic ideals of the modernismo movement, Vianna
suggests that Freyre was also heavily inspired by an encounter between himself; popular
musicians Patrfcio, Donga, Pixinguinha; composer Villa-Lobos; historian S6rgio Buarque
da Holanda; and Rio district attorney and journalist "Prudente" (Pedro Duantas Prudente
de Moraes Netto) in 1926 for an evening of guitar music and cachaga (cane liquor).
This encounter thus brought together members of two very distinct social groups:
on one hand, intellectuals and practitioners of the "fine" arts, all sons of "good
white families,". and on the other hand, musicians of black and mixed race
belonging to the poorest class of Rio society. Here were young Gilberto Freyre and
Sergio Buarque de Holanda, just beginning the research that resulted, a few years
later, in their influential books. .. fundamental to the definition of modem Brazilian
identity. And face-to-face with the anthropologist and historian stood Donga,
Pixinguinha, and Patricio, whose music would come to stand for what was most
Brazilian in Brazil during those same years. The written testimony of the elite
participants seems to indicate that they took such a gathering for granted and that
both sides felt at ease, as they might in a Brazil supposedly characterized (in
Freyre's influential book) by racial mixing and (in Buarque da Holanda's
interpretation) by cordial social relations. (1999: 2)
It was shortly after this meeting that Freyre wrote an article for a Pemambuco newspaper
forwarding ideas he would later develop in The Masters and the Slaves. These ideas,
reminiscent of Euclides da Cunha's Os \e, ie,', (Rebellion in the Backlands), "declared
official Brazil a 'phony and ridiculous' Europhile version that 'hid' the real Brazil,
personified for him by black musicians" (Ibid., 9). Vianna also comments that Freyre,
who wanted to meet members of Os Oito Batutas, specially arranged this meeting. His
friends "drew on a tangle of personal connections to fulfill his wish," as "Prudente" was a
friend of Donga (Ibid., 2). Therefore this purposeful meeting could serve as an allegory
for what was to happen in the near future: intentionally reinventing Brazilian culture by
glorifying its racially mixed roots, and using "samba to represent and define Brazil's
cultural and racial hybridityy'" (Ibid., 2).
The reinvention of Brazil's racial identity and the emergence of samba as Brazil's
national music became solidified under the Getilio Vargas regime in the 1930s. In 1930,
Vargas led an "uprising that succeeded in overthrowing the fractured Republican
government of Washington Luis. The Vargas revolution received broad support,
including that from the coffee planters who were reeling from the effects of the world
economic crisis of 1929" (Dunn 2001: 25). The regime institutionalized the concepts of
the modernists, and promoted Freyre's idea of racial mixing as the new Brazilian racial
identity. The Vargas regime, which "abolished party politics in 1937 and instituted the
authoritarian Estado Novo (New State)," implemented various types of propaganda to
promote a new Brazilian identity (Ibid., 26) The most influential of the propaganda tools
was the implementation of national radio, which employed many of the abovementioned
regional musicians. Samba was widely broadcast on the radio because the Vargas regime
felt its mix of African and European styles represented the new racial identity they were
trying to promote. Due to the intent of the regime to create a new national character,
many samba composers like Ary Barroso began writing nationalistic songs, which would
be labeled samba-exaltagdo. Barroso's "Aquarela do Brasil" ("Brazil"), which celebrates
Brazil's beauty, still exists today as an important musical marker of national pride and
In the midst of this newly created national fervor, the guitar was also thrust to
forefront due to its inseparable association with samba. Within the span of a decade, the
guitar "mysteriously" emerged from the instrument of vagabonds to being a musical
symbol of Brazil's newfound national identity. However, the guitar was not merely an
innocent bystander that rode the samba to stardom. Villa-Lobos, following his modernist
ideologies, intentionally wrote music for the guitar. Therefore the guitar, both
consequentially and intentionally, became a symbol of national identity. This can even
be seen in the meeting in 1926 between Freyre and the famous choroes/sambistas, as they
arranged a special "evening of guitar music." Due to the purposeful nature of that
meeting I do not find it a coincidence that the participants were listening to guitar music.
While there is no historical support of this theory, I do find it interesting that Freyre
chose guitar music instead of a more popular vocal music as the backdrop for their
meeting. As this holds true with the samba, I believe it is no "mystery" that the guitar
became an "unofficial" symbol of Brazilian musical identity.
While the samba was key in shaping the popularity of the guitar, the roots of the
Brazilian guitar are more deeply entrenched in choro. The next section deals with the
performance practice of the guitar in choro, which is similar to the manner in which
guitarists played samba. Because the regional groups played both styles of music, the
performance practice often transcends these musical designations.
The Guitar in the Choro/Samba
As composers in the late 19th century (both trained and untrained) began to develop
this new style of music called choro, the guitar was the most prevalent instrument used to
accompany the lead instrument (usually a flute). Garcia remarks that writers Ary
Vasconcelos, Pinto, and Jos6 Tinhorao all found that guitarists comprised the greatest
number of all of the chores they studied (1997:145).
As an accompaniment instrument in choro,20 the guitar has two roles: 1) to provide
both the harmonic accompaniment by playing chords and 2) to outline the harmony with
20 However, there is also a solo guitar style of playing choro that I will discuss later in the chapter.
a melodic bass-line called the baixaria. The baixaria is usually improvised like jazz bass
lines, but unlike a typical jazz bass line the baixaria plays an integral part in developing
countermelodies.21 Therefore the performance of the baixaria more often resembles an
improvised contrapuntal baroque style bass line, and is one of the most important aspects
of guitar style in choro. One of the guitarists who helped develop the baixaria style was
Quincas Laranjeiras (1873-1935), who is considered the "grandfather of the modern
guitar" (Cazes 1998: 47). Laranjeiras's fast thumb-style technique was one of the most
advanced of his time, and according to Cazes, influenced the great samba composer Noel
Rosa to write "Valsa dos Peidos" ("Waltz of the Farts") because he was so fast it sounded
like flatulent noise (Cazes 1998: 48). Laranjeiras was also one of Villa-Lobos's
influences on the guitar. One of the rare recordings of Laranjeiras's playing style can be
found on Memdrias Musicais CD-6 performing "Nao Tens Coraqao" ("You Have No
The baixaria part can be performed on any style of violdo, but is most often found
on the violdo sete cordas (seven-stringed guitar). This type of violdo is tuned B(low)-E-
A-D-G-B-E,22 and utilizes the lower B string to approximate the range of the upper
strings of a double bass. Modem Brazilian guitarists generally performed on nylon
strings, but the guitarists during this era of choro (late 19th and early 20th centuries) used
steel strings. This is because there were no amplifiers at this time, and steel strings were
a way to achieve a fuller sound. In addition to this, Paulo Bellinati, one of Brazil's great
21 For example, the performer of the baixaria usually plays various rhythms that tend to "fill space" rather
than the steady "walking" bass-line often found in jazz/swing.
22 A guitarist will often tune the low B to a C, as choro pieces are often in keys with less than three sharps
or four flats. This frees the guitarist's fretting hand to explore other areas of the neck; without being tied
down to playing the first fret on the low B string when playing a chord with a C in the bass.
guitarists and a researcher on Garoto's music, states that nylon strings were not available
in Brazil until figures like Isaias Savio brought them in the 1930s and 1940s (Boukas
The performance practice of the guitar in choro depends on the genre of music the
guitarist is performing. The rhythms of these pieces were all different, and it was up to
the guitar and cavaquinho to mark these rhythmic changes. As previously stated, the role
of the guitar was to outline the harmony by playing chords as well as to provide the
baixaria. In order to understand how the guitar balances these two functions I have
included selections from Luiz Otdvio Braga's book O Violdo de 7 Cordas: Teoria e
Prdtica, which illustrates the differences in performance practice of most of the musical
styles in choro.
Dm Gm A7 Dm
J r J J J
Gm E m7(I5) D i/F A 7/E D m
LLL rWD}~ frlj Wf r
Figure 2-3. Schottisch guitar style. (Source: Braga, Luiz Otavio. 2002. O Violdo de Sete
Cordas: Teoria e Prdtica. Rio de Janeiro: Luminar Editora. pp. 14. Used
The guitar's part in the schottisch is often augmented by the cavaquinho by playing
a type of rhythm. The polca is one of the most widely used
dance styles in choro and is often performed in the following manner:
G 7 C G 7/1D C/E C/B
F/A F m/A C/G A7 D7 G7 C
Figure 2-4. Polca guitar style. (Source: Braga, Luiz Otavio. 2002. O Violdo de Sete
Cordas: Teoria e Prdtica. Rio de Janeiro: Lumiar Editora. pp. 14. Used with
As previously stated, the maxixe was much like the tango and was designated as
tango-brasileiro by various composers:
Figure 2-5. Maxixe guitar style. (Source: Braga, Luiz Otavio. 2002. O Violdo de Sete
Cordas: Teoria e Prdtica. Rio de Janeiro: Lumiar Editora. pp. 15. Used with
The valsa or waltz differs from the other genres as it is in triple meter, however the
baixaria is still active. The example below shows six different rhythmic ways to play a
valsa on guitar, as the baixaria would still be used to "fill" in spaces wherever the
Figure 2-6. Valsa guitar style. (Source: Braga, Luiz Otavio. 2002. O Violdo de Sete
Cordas: Teoria e Prdtica. Rio de Janeiro: Lumiar Editora. pp. 14. Used with
As these examples illustrate, the rhythmic differences between these musical genres
dictate the performance practice of the guitar. This is also true of virtually all Brazilian
music, as many of the different musical genres are largely defined through the rhythmical
characteristics. This may derive from the fact that most Brazilian music is rooted in
African rhythmic ideas. Indeed, the term rftmo (rhythm) is a synonym for mtisicas
(musical genres). This also applied to the choro, as the performance practice was
designated by which ritmo they were performing.
Guitarists of the Choro/Samba
Among the many guitarists who shaped the performance practice of the early
choro: Tute (Aurtur de Souza Nascimento)," Dino "7 Cordas" (Horondino Jos6 da Silva),
Joao Pernambuco (Joao Texeira Guimaraes), and Garoto (Annibal Augusto Sardinha) are
considered as the most important guitarists of choro and samba. Tute and Dino were
accompanists who helped develop the style of the violdo sete cordas, whereas
Pernambuco and Garoto emphasized the solo style of playing choro, and developed the
performance practice on the violdo (six-string).
Aurtur de Souza Nascimento (1886-1957) was the first to record on the violdo sete
cordas, and is considered the true innovator of this instrument. Tute, as he was popularly
called, originally played the bombo (bass drum) and pratos (cymbals) in Anacleto de
Madeiros's Banda Corpo de Bombeiros. Tute also often visited Pixinguinha's house as a
young musician, and it was through Pixinguinha that he received his first professional job
playing the guitar in the Orquestra do Teatro Rio Branco (Orchestra of the White River
Theatre). He was a guitarist in many of the popular groups of the day including: Luperce
Miranda, Chiquinha Gonzaga, Guarda Velha de Pixinguinha, Orquestra Copacabana,
and Grupo Carioca. According to Henrique Cazes, Tute never received credit for his
work on many projects, but one could distinguish him by the low bass notes of the violdo
sete cordas. Cazes states
Seu estillo caracteristico era muito bem-definido pelo bandolinista Luperce
Miranda, que o teve acompanhador durante quize anos, de 1929 ate 1944. Luperce
o chamava violonista "pe-de-boi", ou seja, aquele que deixava qualquer solista
seguro, tranqiillo. Por isso mesmo, Tute foi gravando com muita gente, e mesmo
nao havendo ficha tecnica nos discos daquela epoca seu violdo e reconhecivel
principalmente pela setima corda.
His unique style was best defined by mandolinist Luperce Miranda, who had him
as an accompanist for fifteen years, from 1929 to 1944. Luperce called him a
"bull's foot" guitarist, or rather that he made any soloist feel comfortable and calm.
For this reason, Tute recorded with many artists, and even though credits were not
given on records during that era, his guitar is recognizable mainly because of its
seventh string.23 (1998: 50)
It is possible that he appeared anonymously on many recordings, as Tute was the "studio"
guitarist for many of the famous groups of the day. Because of this, Tute served as an
archetype for many future guitarists who would listen to his recordings.
Tute's style was much like earlier guitarists, as he played the basic choro
accompaniment within traditional harmonic frameworks. However, he created inversions
of chords in his bass-lines, which departed from the typical roots and thirds other
guitarists played. From the recordings available, it appears that Tute played many eighth
note passages and utilized more chromaticism than his contemporaries.24 Tute's baixaria
playing on the polca "Nao Sei" recorded by Grupo Carioca reveals these abnormalities
(figure 2-7). The form of the piece (ABACAB) is also unusual,25 and I have included the
23 Author's transcription.
24 However, this is only based on recordings I have heard of other guitarists (Q. Laranjeiras, "China", etc.),
from Memorias Musicais, and it could be that other guitarists were also performing these same patterns.
25 In reviewing Thomas Garcia's analysis of forms in several choros, ABACAB is not typical. However,
ABACA is common (Garcia 1997: 108).
entire performance in order to demonstrate Tute's variations over the section repeats.
The harmonic structure is quite simple, however Tute's playing adds inversions that
change the harmonic structure. The harmonic structure without inversions is as follows26
A D: V7 vi ii V7 I V727 V/vi vi IV -I V III
B IIBm: i -Vt/V V7- i v V/V V7 i V7/V V7 i iv v V7/V -
C IDb: I ii V7/V -V-V7- I -ii vii/iii -I V7/ii ii CT vii I V-/ii -
V/V V7 III
Here is the harmonic progression with Tute's bass-line29
A Db: V I vi ii V7 I V7 -V7/vie -vi -IV- IG V74, V7 II
B IIBm: i V7/Ve V230" i i ii Ve/4 -V / V/V /V V7 i V7/Ve -
V4,, is ive v V4,iV V7,5 ill
C ID: I iiG VT/V V VG/5 I ii viio/iii I6 V7/ii ii vii0/V I/4 -
V7/ii V/V V7 III
26 It is impossible for me to determine if this progression already had marked inversions because I have not
seen any written score for this piece.
27 In reviewing other recordings of this piece, the V7 does not exist, as well as it is never used again in the
rest of the recording. Therefore it is possible that it was a mistake.
28 The harmonic progression changes slightly in the B section when it repeats, but this is not consistent with
other recordings I have heard.
29 These inversions change in the section repeats, but I have condensed the most common uses.
30 This could also be a ivc, but it was too difficult to decipher in the recording. He does resolve the v,
correctly by going to the third of the i, so I assumed it was the V chord.
S A 7 D B2 Elm A7 D Al7 F7
Guitar A 0
S Bn Gl Dl Ab7 Dl Dl Ab7 BEm Ebm
z_ Ab7 Dl F7 Bnm G D Ab7 D"
m Br Bm C7 F7 Blm Bkn Fm
"'" C7 F7 B6n C7 F7
'd" F7 Bimr Em Fm C7 F7 BkI
0 L ..
6A Bm C7 Cm Al BE BE
S Fm C7 F7 Bkm C7
Figure 2-7. Tute's baixaria performance with Grupo Carioca on "Nao Sei" by Jose
Pereira da Silva. (Source: 2002. Mem6rias Musicais CD-2. Fino Biscoito.
a Cm Bi Elm Fm C7 F7 Bim
Bmn Ab7 Dl Ebm A47 Dl F7
E Bm G6 A47 DE Dh Em
"-, Dl D' Ehm Edim DB B77 EEm
. B.dim Db.Al __ D Bl' E'7 AB7 Dl Dl Ekn Edim
W D D Bh7 Eh- Ah7
A i i ro I i
D A7 D Em Edim D b7 EOm
S ~ Bbdim D.AlW B E 7 AL7 Dl
L F- F-
Figure 2-7 continued.
IW Ab7 Db Bh Ebm Ab7 Db F7
'J BTn G( Dl Ab Db AL7 Dl Bim EIn Ab7
SD F7 Bm G D A Db Bbm
?o C7 F7 Bin Bkn Fm
2 C7 F7 BLm C7 F7(Cm)
Z. Bn E'm Fm C7 F7 BLb
SB6m Em F7 Bm C7
." F7 BIn C7
F7(Cm) BLn EL Fm C7 F7 BLn
ri i in
Figure 2-7 continued.
Such inversions had been common in European art-music for more than 200 years.
However, considering that Tute was not trained in the conservatory, it is remarkable that
he had such command while "improvising" this baixaria.31 All of the inversions follow
typical resolution procedures of the Baroque/Classical style. In addition to the handling
of these inversions, it is interesting to note Tute's use of chromatic eighth-note passages
in measures 60, 139, 159, 170-2, which are harmonically daring for this time in choro.
Tute's use of chromaticism and unusual inversions were well ahead of the standard
performance practice for guitar in choro at this time, and paved the way for the future of
the baixaria style, which was standardized by Dino "Sete Cordas."
Horondino Jos6 da Silva, a.k.a Dino "Sete Cordas" (Dino seven strings), was born
in Rio de Janeiro in 1918. Along with Tute and Raphael Rabello, he is considered one of
the three masters of the violdo sete cordas and took the instrument to new heights as an
accompanist for innumerable groups and star soloists including: Carmen Miranda,
Francisco Alves, Orlando Silva, and Epoca de Ouro (w/Jacob do Bandolim). Out of his
respect for the founding father of the instrument, Dino is reported to have only begun
playing the violdo sete cordas after the death of Tute (Cazes 1999: 50). Dino's style is
much like Tute's, but he tends to explore the harmony even further, and usually plays
longer, more chromatic eighth, sixteenth, and sometimes thirty-second note passages in
the baixaria. He still performs today at the age of 86, and has created the standard for
playing the violdo sete cordas in the choro. To represent Dino's achievements and
command of the instrument, I have chosen the piece "As Rosas Nao Falam." (figure 2-8).
31 The normal performance practice of guitarists was to improvise the baixaria, and I assume Tute
improvised his part. However, this is not certain as I do not have any additional information about this
performance in particular.
This piece is designated samba-cangdo (samba-song), which emerged as a
commercial genre designation in the 1930s. This samba-cancdo resembles the rhythm of
the maxixe style, but is much slower in tempo, which explains the thirty-second note runs
by Dino (measures 5, 15, 16, etc.). The harmony is surprisingly simple given the typical
harmonic complexity of the samba-cancdo, which had a strong influence from American
jazz. The song features the typical thirty-two bar standard form (not normal in choro),
and modal mixture gives the harmony interesting color. The harmonic progression is as
Introduction-Dm: 1Ii i4/ Va/V iv#4 VT/V iv4 V7 Vg/511
Dm: Iii i_ iv#4 VIg- V,/V V,5- V, i V,/V V i i4 V,/V -
V4,1/V iv#4- V7 V ,5- i vii7/iv iv iiV i V4a/V V4/V V, i i,
ive iv4/ V/V V,5 i V/5 VII
The influence of jazz on Dino's playing is apparent in the chromatic passages and "bop"
scales32 (measures 8, 13, 19), and the outlining of the V4 chord (e.g., m. 37) when it is
merely labeled E7.
As one can see from this piece, Dino's playing is much more advanced than Tute's
simpler style. Dino expanded the role of the violdo sete cordas from an accompaniment
instrument to one that played a more active role in choro.
32 A traditional "bop" scale is an octatonic scale based on the major scale, played in descending scale with
both raised and flattened seventh degrees (e.g., C, B, Bb, A, G, F, E, D, C).
A7 A 7/C Dm A7 Dini D m/C
6 7 7 Cnto
Gm6/Bk B4 E7 A7/C A7 Dnm
E 7/G A7 Dm D iWC E71B E/D
Grn6/Bk A7 A7/C Dm FO Gm
40 40 4 rl di &
Dm D m/C
Figure 2-8. Transcription of Dino 7 Cordas' performance on "As Rosas Ndo Falam."
(Source: Braga, Luiz Otavio. 2002. O Violdo de Sete Cordas: Teoria e
Prdtica. Rio de Janeiro:Luminar Editora. pp. 110-11. Used with permission).
A7 Dn D m/C G m/B
G m/F E7 A 7/C Dmi A 7/C A 7
Figure 2-8 continued.
While the violdo sete cordas (since the early 20th century) has historically been an
intrinsically imperative instrument in choro, Dino's playing creates more of a duet with
the soloist, thus showcasing its importance, and adding to its acceptance in Brazilian
The guitar in Brazil is generally used as an accompaniment instrument in popular
music, but there have been many solo guitarists that have flourished as well. One of the
earliest and best known of these solo guitarists is Joao Texeira Guimaraes (Joao
Pernambuco). Joao Pernambuco (1883-1947) was born in the dry northeast interior
called the %cr/lii, but due to droughts and famine coupled with the death of his father his
family moved to the city of Recife (state of Pernambuco) in 1891 (Crook 2003:5). In
Recife, Joao learned how to play both the viola (at this time a five-string double-coursed
instrument) and the six-string violdo, as well as many of the folk and popular musical
styles of the northeast (coco, embolada, frevo, and maracatu). In 1904 Joao moved to
Rio de Janeiro to become an ironworker, but also involved himself with various rodas de
choro. It was in these musical circles that he met Villa-Lobos, Pixinguinha, Donga, and
Catulo da Paixao Cearense, and he even began performing with many of them. Due to
their common northeastern roots, Joao and Catulo, connected musically and performed at
the houses of Rio's social elite. Catulo also wrote words to Joao's songs and it is
unknown whether they co-wrote Catulo's biggest hit "Luar do Sertao" (1915), which
Catulo claimed as his own. In the late 1910s, Joao Pernambuco also became a fixture in
Pixinguinha's group Os Oito Batutas, which was the premiere group of the day.
Joao Pernambuco was considered one of the best guitarists in all of Brazil. He
contributed to the guitar not only as a performer, but as a teacher and composer as well.
According to Garcia
Pernambuco's greatest contributions to the choro tradition were both his
compositions and his guitar technique. ... He did things which no one had thought
of until that point, and his legacy was continued through other great guitarists such
as Augustin Bairros, Dilermando Reis, and Garoto. (1997: 221-2)
Pernambuco composed in many of the popular and folk genres of that time including:
modinha, choro, samba, toada, jongo, etc., and even developed an etude study for guitar.
All of his compositions were influenced by his unique technique, which was not the
traditional classical guitar technique made famous by Tarrega and Segovia. He
sometimes played only with his left hand (striking only the fretboard to make a sound
without aid of the opposite hand), made use of chord planing (striking a chord formation
and sliding up and down the neck in the same position), moved the thumb in an up and
down motion like a plectrum, and sometimes used all five fingers in the right hand
(picking or strumming hand)(figure 2-10).33 These techniques can be heard in many of
his compositions/arrangements including: "Brasilerinho," "Interregando," and "Dengoso"
to name a few.34
33 In order to use the fifth finger (small finger or "pinky") the guitar must be held at a more severe angle
(10-25 degrees more acute) than the standard classical position.
34 Thomas Garcia gives excellent examples of some of these techniques in his dissertation 267-285
One of the major distinctions between the early solo and accompanimental choro
guitar style is the absence of the baixaria in the former. This absence can be seen in
Pernambuco's "Dengoso," (figure 2-9) which is an excellent example of a solo guitar
choro of that time period. While there are still solo bass parts, they are much simpler and
are usually not played while the melody is prominent. In "Dengoso," we can also see the
use of the maxixe rhythm frequently throughout. The piece is fairly simple harmonically,
which was common in the works of that epoch.
While Pernambuco's solo style is analogous to Tute's accompanimental style,
Annibal Augusto Sardinha (Garoto) (1915-1955) could be described as the Dino Sete
Cordas of the solo guitar choro. However, he transcended the limits of choro, and
became much more influential than Dino due his dual role as composer and performer.
He was one of the first guitarists, along with Dilermando Reis, to introduce a classical
guitar technique into the popular Brazilian guitar style. In addition, he was a multi-
instrumentalist who played cavaquinho, banjo, tenor guitar, and viola among other
Garoto was born in Sao Paulo, and began studying the banjo at age eleven. He
excelled at the instrument and began performing with the regional Irmdos Armani do Sdo
Paulo in the same year. Through his musical endeavors with this group, as well as
others, he became known as the moleque do banjo (street urchin of the banjo), but later
became simply Garoto (the kid) (Garcia 1997: 255). By the age of fourteen he was
playing choro on guitar with some of the greatest musicians in Brazil including
Paraguassd (an accomplished guitarist who helped foster Garoto's guitar playing). Over
the next ten years, Garoto gained a great deal of fame in Brazil due to his performances
on several recordings.
F- @I i`- -
II 4--- -- V . . .
T r -
Figure 2-9. Excerpt from "Dengoso" by Joao Pernoambuco. (Source: Santos, Turbio,
ed. 1992. Pernambuco (Jodo Texeira G/li,/~ltil').: 11 Famous Ch6ros.
Heidleberg:Chantarelle. Used with Permission.
Shortly after moving to Rio de Janeiro in 1938, Garoto toured the United States
while working with Carmen Miranda's band Bando da Lua. However, he was not merely
an accompanist as his guitar playing was a significant part of the show. Garcia states
~ p ?q Y~C~T ~
Garoto often played introductions to sambas and choros on the tenor guitar,
assuming the same role as the flute or clarinet in the regional. Several of these
performances can be heard in Miranda's early Hollywood movies, e.g., The Gang's
All Here and Springtime in the Rockies. In stage shows Garoto would be the
opening act for Carmen, and would close shows either playing solo or accompanied
by the band. (Garcia 1997: 239)
At this time jazz artists like Duke Ellington and Art Tatum heard Garoto, and
invited him to jam sessions or what Garoto termed rodas de jazz. It was through Garoto
and Miranda that Brazilian music was first popularized in the United States. But this
influence was a two-way street, as Garoto also brought back jazz style harmonies to
Garoto's most important contributions to the guitar in Brazil, as well as Brazilian
music in general, was how he mixed sophisticated harmonies and classical technique (the
style of Tirrega and Segovia) with the styles of the chores and jazz musicians he
encountered. Marco Pereira also credits Garoto with being the first popular music
guitarist to use nylon strings. While this distinction is subject to debate, we know that
Garoto used both nylon and steel strings depending on the situation and he is undoubtedly
one of the most influential guitarists of his era (Bellinati 1991:7; Boukas 2000:3). I do
not believe it is a coincidence that Garoto's work is considered one of the principal
influences on the bossa nova era, and guitarists of that later time all used nylon strings.
To illustrate Garoto's unique musical and technical contributions to the Brazilian
guitar and popular music, I have selected various excerpts from Paulo Bellinati's
transcriptions of the master guitarist's works. The first series of these examples
demonstrates Garoto's use of popular/folk style technique in his compositions, and the
second is a transcription of "Lamentos do Morro" (Sounds of the Hillside Slums).
Playing two or more strings with one finger of the left hand
(1 = index, 2 = middle, 3 = ring or 4 = little).
from "Duas Contas"
from "Choro Triste No. 2"
Playing with the 1st finger of the left hand; a barre crossing over a fret.
from "Um Rosto de Mulher"
Use the five fingers of the right hand
(p = thumb, i = index, m = middle, a = ring and I = little).
from "Sinai dos Tempos"
Thumb Like a Plectrum
Playing notes or chords by alternating the right-hand thumb downstroke/
upstroke, using it like a plectrum.
from "Lamentos do Morro"
p p p
P U P t
Figure 2-10. Examples of non-classical guitar techniques employed by many guitarists of
Brazilian popular music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. (Source:
Bellinati, Paulo. 1991. The Guitar Works ofGaroto vol. 1. San Francisco:
GSP. pp. 7-8. Used with permission).
In the example of Crossing Barre, one can also see the technique of planing between the
last chord of the first bar and the first chord of the last bar, as they move in descending
parallel motion. As I mentioned above, Joao Pernambuco also used the five-finger and
(Annibal Augusto Sardinha)
_ _t tt f t ft
~L Ow w AM A
Figure 2-11. Excerpt from "Lamentos do Morro" by Garoto. (Source: Bellinati, Paulo.
1991. The Guitar Works of Garoto vol. 1. San Francisco: GSP. pp. 18-20.
Used with permission).
FM .. i- -
Figure 2-11 continued.
Figure 2-11 continued.
F-7771- Fr 7
"LL~~-E~ at~ B ,~3
12. ci- -
60 r~ 3 3 .?
Figure 2-11 continued.
SD Ri I I WI
- K I
The introduction begins in E minor with a sixteenth-note bass pedal tone
alternating between E and D, which implies or evokes the sound of a pandeiro (Brazilian
tambourine typically used in choro). This passage utilizes the up and down thumb
technique as shown above. The first half of the A section (measures 12-19) contains an
interesting harmonic sequence of half-diminished chords over a D pedal tone. This is
harmonically a prolongation of the dominant chord, and prepares the next section in G
major. However, a descending bass line from C to A briefly interrupts the D pedal before
it then returns to the original D. The progression is as follows
G:(over D pedal) llviL (ii, in D) V7 vin V7 III7 vii //IV iii711
G: (over C pedal) Iiv7 ii~Ii G: (over Bb pedal) IbII7 bVI11i
G: (over A pedal) liiv iv9 Vvsus4/iv iv7 ii7 Vg91
As the D pedal returns in measure 28, jazz influence is most apparent. Garoto first
uses a progression of augmented modal chords (Bb augmented and Ab augmented) in this
measures 28-9, which can also function as tritone substitutions of the IV and V chords
with a raised fifth degree (e.g., Bb augmented can be respelled as Gb augmented). The
harmony is resolved somewhat diatonically to a iv9(#7) V9 iii7 vii 7/iii iii7 IV -
V7. The B section then commences, and contains much of the same harmony found in
traditional tin-pan-alley tunes. According to Bellinati, this section is a tribute to Ary
Barroso, composer of the big-band jazz/crooner influenced samba-cangdo period from
the late 1940s to the 1950s. Barroso is most famous for the songs "Aquarela do Brasil"
and "Na Baixa da Sepateiro" (Bahia).
It is also interesting to note Garoto's use of the left hand, which does more than
play quarter notes. In measure 36, the eighth notes in beat two simulate the surdo (bass
drum) found in samba ensembles. Garoto also uses a technically challenging baixaria
style (measures 53-5 and 76), which is not found in the guitar style of Joao Pernambuco.
Throughout this piece it is easy to see Garoto's technical capabilities as well as his
These guitarists, Tute, Dino 7 Cordas, Joao Pernambuco, and Garoto, are four of
the most influential guitarists of their time, and set the standard for Brazilian guitar
performance practice of the future. Along with many other musicians who helped
popularize samba, they are responsible for the acceptance of the guitar in Brazil. Equally
important was their role as cultural mediators, as their music was influential to both the
upper and lower classes of their day. While Tute and Dino are solely associated with the
choro style, Pernambuco and Garoto transcended choro into samba and jazz. And as
samba emerged in the first decades of the 20th century, Pernambuco and Garoto
maintained a technical excellence while other guitarists preferred the simpler style of
accompanying samba singers. They are the foundation of the solo Brazilian guitar, and
directly influenced Marco Pereira's playing style.
These are, of course, not all of the important guitarists of this era, but just
representatives of a world of Brazilian guitar that was being created at this time. Other
notable solo guitarists of the era are: Dillermando Reis, whose style is similar to
Pernambuco's but with more classical influence; Augustfn Barrios; and Am6rico
The Bossa Nova era
In the 1940s and 1950s, American big band jazz, along with crooner style singers
highly influenced the now highly popular samba. This ultimately resulted in the samba-
cangdo (samba song), which was a middle-class commercial version of samba.
Composers like Ary Barroso, and singers Dick Farney and Johnny Alf created a sound
that changed Brazilian popular music from the vocal, guitar, and percussion based samba,
to a more grandiose and smooth sound that included string sections and jazz harmony.
Along with these musical changes, social changes also were taking place in the
mid-1950s. It was during this time that industrialization was taking over, and many of
the "rural power bases" were "loosing ground" to major corporations (Reily 1996: 5). In
addition to this, many members of the newly formed urban middle-class were reaping the
benefits of the new industrialized Brazil. The upper and lower classes became "spatially
isolated from each other," and Brazil created its first generation where the poor and rich
did not interact socially with each other (Reily 1996: 5). Political change was
revolutionary as well with Juscelino Kubitscheck being elected president in 1955. With
the political slogan "fifty years in five" (referring to fifty years of progress in five years)
Kubitscheck began bankrolling the nation's wealth to promote a "modernized" Brazil.
Kubitscheck also created a new capital of the country in Brasilia, a newly constructed and
highly modernized city located in central interior of Brazil. Due to the new presidency,
industrialization, and winning its first world cup of soccer in 1958, Brazil had reached a
heightened state of national pride. And it was in this euphoria that the urban middle-class
youth celebrated their carefree lives, and were ripe for a new musical sound to define
This was the backdrop for the new samba style that would be termed bossa nova; it
would be through this movement that the guitar would be fully solidified as the national
instrument of Brazil. The historic tale of bossa nova generally asserts that the
combination of the unique contributions of poet Vinfcius de Morais, pianist/composer
Ant6nio Carlos Jobim, and guitarist Joao Gilberto fostered the new musical style.
Morais's simple yet witty lyrics, Jobim's jazz/French impressionism influenced
compositional style, and Joao Gilberto's simple guitar and breath-like vocal timbre were
the foundations of this "new thing." However, it was Joao Gilberto's voice and guitar
that fully realized the bossa nova sound, and this new simplified (instrumentationally
speaking) version of samba would resound around the world. The goal of these artists
was to create a style that was more tranquil and sophisticated (lyrically and harmonically)
than the commercialized samba at that time. This new style of samba communicated
very well to the emerging middle class, and the popularity of bossa nova influenced many
burgeoning young musicians to study the soft sounds of Gilberto's nylon-string guitar.
As Reily states, "With the emergence of bossa nova the guitar became the instrument to
cross-cut the social divisions of the country. It could be heard from the poorest and dark
quarters to the richest and the whitest, in both rural and urban contexts" (2001: 172). The
ultimate global popularity of bossa nova would solidify the nylon-string guitar as the
Brazilian guitar internationally. (B6hague 1973; Castro 1991)
Another factor in the internationalization of bossa nova and the assent of the
Brazilian guitar as a national symbol was the international popularity of the film Orfeu
Negro (Black Orpheus) by French director Michel Camus in 1959. The film, which was
a modem Brazilian setting of the classic Greek play Orpheus and Eurydice, was an
offshoot of the hit play Orfeu da Conceigdo that featured songs co-written by Morais de
Moraes and Tom Jobim. While history highlights the global popularity of the soundtrack
to Orfeu Negro, which thrust this new style of samba (later to be called bossa nova) into
the international music scene with famous songs such as "A felicidade" (Jobim/Moraes)
and "Manha da Camaval" (Bonfi), the role of the guitar in the film is equally as
significant. First and foremost, the film's protagonist, Orfeu, plays a nylon-stringed
guitar, which is substituted for the Greek character's powerful harp. In the film, the
neighborhood's poor children believe that Orfeu's guitar has powers that can cause the
sun to rise each morning, and Orfeu's guitar is highlighted throughout the film in various
scenes. While the guitar is not capable of bringing Eurydice back to life as Orpheus's
harp did, the final scene is of a young boy (the new Orfeu) playing the guitar to make the
sun rise while the other children are dancing to his new samba. The purposeful use of the
guitar and this new style of samba in the film to represent Brazilian musical identity
painted a new picture for the world, and helped bossa nova become a global success. The
film, and its soundtrack, helped change Brazil's image from Carmen Miranda's
flamboyant dancing while wearing a "fruity" hat to a man quietly playing his guitar.
While Joao Gilberto is credited with defining the main framework of the bossa
nova guitar style, he was not the only guitarist to contribute to this new way of playing
samba. Guitarists Luiz Bonfi, Carlos Lyra, Paulinho Nogueira, and later Baden Powell,
also helped lay the foundations of the bossa nova. The latter two of these guitarists are
Marco Pereira's greatest influences,35 and furthered the line of Brazilian solo guitarists
founded by Pernambuco and Garoto. Nogueira and Powell, like Garoto, were classically
trained and used nylon strings on their guitars. They brought the guitar to a new
technical level, and continued to mix new styles as their predecessors.
Paulinho Nogueira (1929-2002)
Paulo (Paulinho) Mendes Pupo Nogueira was born August 8, 1929 in Campinas,
Sao Paulo. He first learned classical guitar from his father and two brothers at the age of
eleven, and in 1952 moved to Sao Paulo city to pursue a professional career as a guitarist.
In 1958, amidst the euphoria happening throughout Brazil, Nogueira released his first LP
A Voz do Violdo, for which he gained critical acclaim as one of the great guitarists in the
country. In 1965, his fame was broadened, as he became regular guitarist on Brazil's
popular television show O Fino da Bossa, which was hosted by Elis Regina and Jair
Rodrigues. The show featured some of the greatest musical talent in Brazil as guest
artists including: Baden Powell, Tom Jobim, Dorival Caymmi, Edu Lobo, and others.
After enjoying the success of the early 1960s bossa nova craze, performing
opportunities diminished for bossa nova guitarists with the onset of the more musically
simple Jovem Guarda movement led by Roberto Carlos in the second half of the decade.
Due to the spiraling popularity of bossa nova and the lack of venues to perform in,
Nogueira turned to teaching guitar lessons (1964) and writing pedagogical material for
the instrument. In 1967 he wrote a harmony method book entitled Paulinho Nogueira
Method for Guitar and Other Harmonic Insturments, which is still a best seller after
35 This is not to say that JoAo Gilberto was not a great influence on Pereira's playing, but that Paulinho
Nogueira and Baden Powell by their instrumental style are more similar to Pereira's playing than the
twenty reprints (Paschoito 1998: 6). One of his students at this time was the now famous
Toquinho, who went on to work with Vinfcius de Morais, Tom Jobim, and many others.
In addition to composing and teaching, Nogueira also designed an instrument
called the craviola (figure 2-12), which was eventually made by his luthier friend
Gianini. The guitar is a cross between a cravo (harpsichord) and a viola, and has a large
teardrop shaped body and six double-coursed strings. It was a great seller for the
company, and is still exported around the world.
Nogueira's style was much more classical than the other guitarists of his day, and
much less influenced by American jazz. He played with very short to no fingernails (like
Garoto), which is part of Nogueira's trademark "soft" sound. As a composer he is greatly
influenced by Bach, Villa-Lobos, and Garoto, but is also an excellent songwriter.
Ironically, Nogueira's biggest hit was his 1970 song "Menina," which he sang himself.
However, it is his compositions and arrangements for the guitar that have secured his
place in Brazil's popular music history. His first and most famous composition for guitar
is "Bachianinha no. 1" (Little Bachiana no. 1) (figure 2-13),36which he originally
recorded on his second album under the name "Samba no Ceu" (Samba in Heaven) in
1960. He changed the name after realizing the influence of Bach on the piece. The name
of the piece is also a reflection of Villa-Lobos's influence on his style. This piece has
been recorded by various guitarists around the world, and is considered a standard in the
Brazilian guitar repertoire. The rhythm, melody, and harmony of this piece are baroque
in style, but also contain distinctly Brazilian elements. First, it was written solely for the
guitar, and closely resembles the Bachianas Brasileiras no. 5 by Villa-Lobos.
36 This piece was originally written for one guitar, and the second guitar is optional (Paschoito 1998: 6).
Figure 2-12. Photo of Gianini craviola taken by Frank Ford. (Source:
laViews/craviola06.jpg. Last accessed on July 13, 2004).
Adagio (J = 72)
S0 0 0 0
Figure 2-13. Excerpt from "Bachianinha no. 1" by Paulinho Nogueira. (Source:
Paschoito, Ivan and Santos, Luis Santos. 1998. The Guitar Works ofPaulinho
Nogueira: Volume 1 9 Pieces. San Francisco: GSP. pp. 7-8. Used with
rn 4 iJ
0 i ; r o .r r ..
27 2 07 0
c.....___oiv ,- c, r 2: i, i __.
C IV Vi C III IIr
' L .. -- -- -- r -,-
31^r .. rf-Ff 27
V 1 =
0 N I -
re 213 cnn
Figure 2-13 continued.
The subtle use of the Afro-Brazilian rhythm in the inner voices (e.g., measure 11) also
adds a Brazilian touch. The harmony is fairly simple, and follows the cycle of fifths
progression as found in Corelli, Scarlatti, Bach, Handel, and other baroque composers.
While Nogueira was an important figure in the bossa nova era, he did not compose
many pieces until the late 1970s and early 1980s. In contrast to the "Bachianinha," he
also composed many non-traditional bossa nova inspired works. An example of this is
"Reflexoes em 2 por 4" (Reflections in 2/4), which is based upon the Joao Gilberto's
rhythmic bossa nova pattern:37
Larghetto (J = 63)
Figure 2-14. Excerpt from "Reflex6es em 2 por 4." by Paulinho Nogueira. (Source:
Paschoito, Ivan and Santos, Luis Santos. 1998. The Guitar Works ofPaulinho
Nogueira: Volume 1 9 Pieces. San Francisco: GSP. p. 25. Used with
The harmony and rhythm in this piece contains a much greater influence of the bossa
nova era than "Bachianinha no. 1." The opening harmonic sequence is I9-VII-V7/V-
37 Behague (1973:222) and Reily (1996:5) also transcribed this rhythm.
bVII-Ig-etc., which is in sharp contrast to the traditional baroque harmony he used in the
Paulinho Nogueira's mixed his classical background with the soft sounds of bossa
nova to create a new style of solo guitar repertoire. While his playing is not highly
virtuosic, he broadened the school of solo guitar compositionally, pedagogically, and
even technically. In a country where it is difficult for an instrumentalist to gain critical
acclaim, as well as earn a sufficient income, Nogueira remained committed to
instrumental guitar music. He exuded a great influence on young guitarists who are
learning the instrument, and are intimidated by the virtuosic classical styles, as well as
Baden Powell's acrobatic guitar work. Paulinho Nogueira's hybrid musical style is an
excellent representation of the Brazilian guitar, and has made him a permanent fixture in
Brazilian music history.
Baden Powell (1937-2000)
I would say that familiarity with Powell was the reason I never attempted to learn to play the guitar.
Pele 's fiend cannot play soccer. Baden Powell was the Pele of the guitar.
-Mario Telles, singer and composer. (Espinosa 2000)
There are not many guitarists, let alone musicians in general, in Brazil that are as
legendary as Baden Powell. Powell is the culmination of all guitarists that preceded him,
and influenced everyone who has come after. He can be considered the greatest
ambassador of the Brazilian guitar to the rest of the world, and his playing defines the
instrument we know today. Baden Powell's playing expresses the identity of the
Brazilian guitar: technical excellence and a rich acoustic sound mixed with the energy of
the rhythmic musical culture of Brazil.
Roberto Baden Powell de Aquino was born on August 6, 1937 in a small town in
the state of Rio de Janeiro called Varre-Sai (about 220 miles from Rio de Janeiro). His
father was a Boy-Scout leader and named him Baden Powell after the founder of the
organization (Sir Robert Stephenson Smyth Powell-Powell). Powell's family moved to
the city of Rio de Janeiro when he was three months old, and lived in the poor
neighborhoods of Sao Cristivao and Villa-Isabel. These neighborhoods were also once
homes to great musicians like Pixinguinha and Donga, who often visited Powell's home.
He began playing guitar at the age of seven when his father arranged classical guitar
lessons from Jaime Florence, who was a prominent guitarist of that time in Rio. When he
was nine, he won an amateur radio contest for an unaccompanied guitar piece, and began
playing professionally a year later. One of his earliest jobs was as an accompanist for
vocalists performing on the Rddio Nacional (National Radio) in the late 1940s.
Powell began playing in Rio's nightclubs when he was 18, where he met Antonio
Carlos Jobim. In 1956, he recorded his first hit "Samba-Triste," which contained lyrics
written by Billy Blanco. He was introduced to Vinfcius de Morais through a mutual
friend (Nilo Queiroz) in 1962, and began collaborating with him shortly afterwards
(Castro 1990: 305). The two musicians worked for ninety days straight in Morais's
apartment, and composed over twenty-five songs. It was during his collaboration with
Morais that he created a new guitar sound heavily influenced by the polyrhythmic sounds
of Afro-Brazilian religious music.38 He called this new style Afro-samba, blending these
rhythms with his own classical and popular music background. As Vinfcius de Morais
38 Powell spent six-months in Bahia (a state in the Northeast of Brazil with a predominantly Afro-Brazilian
population) in 1964 where he frequented various candomble houses.
From that same period is "Canto de Yemanja" in which, it is my opinion, Powell
reached a beauty rarely attained. Powell's musical antennae to Bahia and, in a
final stretch, to Africa, allowed him to put together this new syncretism, adding a
cariocaa' taste, within the spirit of modern samba, to the Afro-Brazilian candomble,
giving it a more universal dimension. (Luft 1997)
This sound can be heard in the song cycle Os Afro Sambas, originally recorded in 1966,
but re-recorded in 1990 because Powell was unhappy with the earlier recording quality.
The album is structured as a candomblk ritual39 beginning with "Abertura" ("Opening")
and proceeding through a cycle of songs that have associations with certain deities (e.g.,
"Canto de Xang6," "Canto da lemanja/Yemanja"). Many of the songs are in complex
triple meter (12/8 or 6/8), which reflect the typical rhythms of candomblk rituals. Other
Afro-Brazilian elements in the songs are the various refrains and responsorial choruses
featuring the female group Quarteto en Cy (Quartet in C). However, he also mixes these
sounds with his bossa nova background in "Tristeza E Soliddo," but uses a gourd rattle as
a substitute for the hi-hat sixteenth-note rhythm. This instrumental addition gives the
piece an Afro-Brazilian flavor.
In addition to this album, Powell and Morais also composed songs that represented
other aspects of Afro-Brazilian culture. In the famous "Berimbau," which appears on the
re-recording of Os Afros Sambas, Powell imitates the Afro-Brazilian musical bow often
found in capoeira (a Brazilian martial-arts style where the participants avoid hitting each
other). He does this by playing both single notes and chords up and down a major second
in the typical berimbau rhythm: Another song that included the Afro-
39 Participants in candomble rituals usually sing a sequence of songs devoted to the Orixa deities.
Brazilian theme was "Samba da Benqao," which was later used in the soundtrack of the
French film Un Homme et Une Femme (A Man and A Woman).
In addition to the new Afro-samba sound, Powell was also greatly influenced by
American jazz, and even performed in the United States with saxophonist Stan Getz in
1966. He also traveled to Europe (mostly France and Germany) in the 1960s and
performed at various jazz festivals there including the Berlin Jazz Festival. While
Brazilian guitarists before him were only subtly influenced by jazz harmony in their
playing, Baden Powell went much further and recorded jazz standards like Thelonius
Monk's "'Round Midnight," Miles Davis's "Stella By Starlight," and "All The Things
You Are." However, he usually performs the pieces in a bossa nova style, and they
sound similar to the solo guitar playing of Jim Hall, Joe Pass, and Wes Montgomery.
Some of these jazz standards he performed on solo guitar, but others with a trio or quartet
of bass, drums, and the occasional solo instrument (usually a flute).
Powell's playing style is highly virtuosic, and attained a level never heard in Brazil
before his time. He was capable of playing fast melodic passages, as well as sounding
like two guitarists at once in his solo pieces (playing difficult parts in the bass and upper
voices at the same time). Some of his fastest playing is on the recording of Pixinguinha's
"Carinhoso" from the album Personalidade. His sound is fairly brash and he tended to
hit the strings very hard with his right hand closer to the bridge than a typical classical
guitarist (figure 2-15). However, he could also contrast this playing with the light touch
of a bossa nova and classical guitarist. He could also play modal and chromatic melodic
lines like a jazz musician, or keep within the diatonic scale. Essentially, Powell could
play in any style while maintaining his own distinct sound.
Figure 2-15. Photo of Baden Powell at the 1967 Berlin Jazz Festival taken by Frank
Bender. (Source: http://www.brazil-on-guitar.de/gallery/frame/gallery.html.
Last accessed June 12, 2004).
Powell's compositions range widely from fast sambas to subtle bossa novas and
gentle preludes, and often mixed many styles in one piece. He also composed songs like
Paulinho Nogueira, and even sang many of the Afro-samba's that he co-wrote with
Morais. Unlike Garoto's and Nogueira's pieces, Powell's compositions were not always
guitar specific, meaning that the melodies could stand for themselves without the use of
the guitar. This is not to say that Powell did not compose for the guitar, but that his
thinking was like a pianist, as he treated all voices equally. However, he did use some of
the same techniques as Garoto, such as the five-finger technique, chord planing and barre
crossing. To summarize, Powell was a complete player, who was not limited by his
instruments capabilities, but revolutionized the Brazilian guitar.
To exemplify Powell's compositions and playing style, I have chosen two
contrasting pieces: "Consolacao" and "Tempo Feliz." "Consolacao" (figure 2-16) is a
fast-samba with Afro-samba characteristics. While the rhythm for this piece is a typical
samba rhythm, it is in a minor key like most of his other Afro-sambas. In the release of
this piece on Poema On Guitar (1967), the middle section switches to a polyrhythmic
pattern in triple meter (12/8) with African style percussion (double bell, atabaque-
sounding membranophones) pervading the mix while Powell improvises. Erbhard
Weber, who is famous for his performances with Gary Burton and Pat Metheny, also
accompanies him on bass. The transcription I have listed here comes from the album
Tempo Feliz (1966), and is only accompanied by drums (played by Chico Batera). This
version is less improvisatory, but demonstrates Powell's capabilities as a solo guitarist.4
The compositional qualities of Afro-samba are found in the use of minor pentatonic
harmonies throughout the piece, as well as vocal-like call and response sections between
the bass and soprano voices (e.g., measures 1-34 and more prominently in measures 58-
77). 41 Powell also plays some flattened fifths in his pentatonic scale runs, thus giving
40 This assumption is based on the absence of a "solo" section, which shortens the piece by almost four
41I have marked these places in bold on the score, which are not part of the original transcription.
v ir V III
A Ti 4 -a -3 2
I i Nr h
A I r- r II I Y
-P IP 1P) [P)""
Figure 2-16. Excerpt from "Consolagao" by Baden Powell. (Source: Darmstadt, Tonos.
1976. Baden Powell Songbook Vol. 1. Hozhofallee: TONOS Musikverlags.
pp. 6-7. Used with permission).
1 I - I - 1 4 di_
!a&. 1 tt -
0 1: T
F F J j
Ep p p
I I dl
3 IF 2 1e
58^EEEEEE^E ^^^aEF~EEEEE^^^^=^ ~aa]^^
r ^ ^ =J3t_^ IJ- *^j^
m 1 m
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Figure 2-16 continued.
the melodic lines an American "blues-like" sound. Also interesting to note is the use of
the inner voices while the bass and soprano are playing melodic lines.
In "Tempo Feliz," (figure 2-17) Powell showcases his "softer" bossa nova style and
his classical guitar training. He begins the piece in a romantic rubato style, which
contains a fairly simple harmony like that found in the choro and early samba (though it
does contain various upper extensions of the harmony like 1 1ths and 13ths). This also
showcases his attention to the inner voice accompaniment (eg., measure 20). Powell then
commences in fairly strict time in the B section, where he plays a bossa nova/slow
samba-like rhythm. He also plays melodic content while keeping in this rhythm, but the
melody is often hard to distinguish because he often does not hold down the notes long
enough to bring out the melody. However, this piece demonstrates Powell's ability to
play many parts at one time. Powell also disguises the Afro-Brazilian rhythm by holding
chords over the bar, which is a common technique of samba and bossa nova guitarists.
Baden Powell is the embodiment of the Brazilian guitar, and set the standard for the
future guitarists with his virtuosic technical abilities and unique compositional style. He
is considered one of Brazil's greatest guitarists in its rich musical history, and is
undoubtedly the most influential. His impact is much like Miles Davis's influence on the
American jazz trumpet, as virtually every guitarist that followed him has copied his style
in one way or another. Marco Pereira considers Baden Powell his greatest influence, and
the guitarist he listened to the most as a burgeoning young musician. He is the Pel6 of
the guitar, and symbolizes the identity of the Brazilian guitar much like the great soccer
master epitomized his sport.
A-VraVl a te
I I I
2LI 1 (0)~
CDJ3ko og 4 3 n
uFI ~ a tPempo 4Ir
I r low
A 4k 3 (0) 3, (0
0 ..M 1 -
V = : n 4,( W :!! ,4 A L i oY
?r ? 7() r
Figure 2-17. Excerpts of the A and B sections of "Tempo Feliz" by Baden Powell.
(Source: Darmstadt, Tonos. 1976. Baden Powell Songbook Vol. 2.
Hozhofallee: TONOS Musikverlags. pp. 10-1 Used with permission).
Both Paulinho Nogueira and Baden Powell's mixing of popular and erudite musical
styles further contributed to the acceptance of the Brazilian guitar in popular and elite
classes of society. It was through their contributions, along with other bossa nova
guitarists, that the guitar was solidified as a symbol of national identity. Baden Powell's
virtuosity and expression of Afro-Brazilian culture not only transcended the country's
class divisions, but its racial lines as well. And Paulinho Nogueira's more classical style
inspired young guitarists to embrace Brazil's European musical heritage equally with the
Afro-Brazilian rhythmic influence in popular music. Their influence fostered a new
generation of guitar virtuosos like Egberto Gismonti, Ulysses Rocha, Paulo Bellinati,
Marco Pereira, and Yamandd Costa. They also inspired young new vocalist/guitarists to
broaden their horizons beyond the mere accompaniment style of Joao Gilberto.
Guitarists like Gilberto Gil, Djavan, and Joao Bosco began playing more complex parts
on their guitars while accompanying themselves vocally. Nogueira and Powell are the
founders of the modern Brazilian guitar style, and their impact forever changed the face
of the guitar in Brazil.
In addition to all of these great guitarists' influence on Marco Pereira's style, there
are also many vocal accompanists who have inspired him. Three of these vocal
accompanists are Joao Gilberto, Gilberto Gil, and Joao Bosco. While they are not
virtuosos comparable to Baden Powell, Marco Pereira considers them three of his
greatest influences. According to Pereira, each had his own unique style, which
contributed to the world of the Brazilian guitar.
Joao Gilberto is historically noted as one of the fathers of bossa nova, and helped
realize the new way of playing samba. At that time, Brazilian popular guitarists mainly
improvised rhythms on the guitar in a variety of styles. Joao Gilberto essentially unified
these styles by simplifying the rhythm (modeling it after the tamborim and surdo rhythms
alone) (Connell 2002: 72-4). While his guitar playing is considered the definitive way to
play bossa nova, it was his placement of the lyrics on the beat and rhythmic variations
that Marco Pereira claims was most influential. For two years Pereira studied how Joao
Gilberto rhythmically placed lyrics on the beat, and that he was intrigued by Gilberto's
rhythmic variations. This study refuted his belief that Gilberto sang freely with rubato
while keeping a steady guitar rhythm and revealed that every word was placed precisely.
Gilberto Gil's unique way of playing guitar left an indelible mark on Pereira's
playing as well. Pereira recalls listening to Gilberto Gil, and being intrigued by the guitar
style of "Expresso 2222" (figure 2-18). Later, Gil told Pereira he was trying to emulate
the accordion sounds of theforrd or baido groups found in the Northeast. Pereira would
eventually record the only solo guitar version of this song on Almir Chediak's Songbook-
Gilberto Gil CD (1992), which accompanied the book itself.
a a a mm m m
m m m ii i i i
ip ip i pip ip ip i p ip P p p p pi p i p
Figure 2-18. Transcription of guitar intro. riff from Gil's "Expresso 2222." (Chediak,
Almir. 1992. Songbook-Gilberto Gil. Rio de Janeiro: Lumiar Editora. Used
Of the vocal accompanists, Joao Bosco influenced Pereira the most. He has unique
vocal improvisatory style and a Baden Powell approach to playing samba. He uses a lot
of rhythmic variation in his playing, as well as executing melodic lines while playing
chords and bass notes (like Baden). One of Bosco's trademark techniques is his special
right hand pattern where he alternates between high and low voices in a chord
progression. This can be seen in his "Incompatabilidade de Genios" from the album
Galos de Brigak.
r ; r 6 6 r
Figure 2-19. Transcription of Bosco's playing on "Incompatibilidade de Genios."
(Source: Faria, Nelson. 1995. The Brazilian Guitar Book: Samba, Bossa
Nova, and Other Brazilian Styles. Petaluna: Sher Music Co. p. 34. Used with
Bosco is famous for his use ofpartido alto on guitar, which is the rhythmic pattern in the
In addition to these domestic musicians, various international artists have also
made an impact on Pereira's playing style. Four important influences are: Wes
Montgomery, Cacho Tirao, John Williams, and Julian Bream. Pereira has said that he
often gets his phrasing ideas (improvising) from Wes Montgomery. While he does not
often play the octaves that were a trademark of Montgomery, he did copy his finger-style
Cacho Tirao is an Argentinean guitarist who has played with Astor Piazzola and
many other Tango musicians. Tirao is much like the Baden Powell of the tango, as he
was classically trained, but played popular solo guitar music as well. He is known for his
clear articulation of notes and Pereira remembers wanting to play just like him after
hearing him in Paris in 1977. The sound of his guitar is very similar to Marco Pereira's
sound with a full-bodied and smooth tone. Both guitarists exhibit an equal technical
command of the instrument. The similarities can best be heard on Cacho Tirao-The Story
of Tango vol. 7.
Both John Williams (Australia) and the Julian Bream (U.K.) are classical guitarists,
who Pereira admires greatly, but for different reasons. Pereira considers John Williams's
technique flawless, and he aspired to emulate his hand position and perfect articulation.
In contrast to William's perfect technique, Julian Bream, with whom he studied with in
Europe, influenced Pereira with his musical interpretations and repertoire. Bream
recorded many more contemporary composers (e.g., Benjamin Britten) than other
guitarists at that time and would even give the composers suggestions on how they could
re-write their works to better suit the guitar. In addition, Pereira found favor in the
interpretations of these pieces, as well as the rich sound of his guitar.
The Brazilian guitar has gone through various transformations. From viola to
violdo the guitar has been a symbol of hybridity with all the musicians and composers
that have used it. As we look through the Brazilian guitar's history two things are
certain: 1) the guitar helped narrow the gap between social classes in Brazil, and 2) the
instrument blurred the strict lines of "art" and "popular" music. Musicologists, tend to
lean towards codifying genres of music into discrete units to be presented to the world.
However, this is almost impossible to do this with the guitar music of Brazil. Often there
is no objective distinction between "art" and "popular," and we are forced to merely
accept the guitar in Brazil for what it is: the Brazilian guitar. It is not the "classical"
guitar, nor the "fingerstyle" guitar; it is merely an entity within itself. It is true that the
Brazilian guitar has many faces due to its multifarious historical influences, but I do not
believe it is necessary to classify it as an "art," "popular," or "folk" instrument.
It is also unnecessary to classify any of the remarkable musicians who have defined
the Brazilian guitar. How can one classify Garoto, Paulinho Nogueira, and Baden
Powell? Are they popular or classical musicians? The truth is that it is impossible to
codify these musicians in any category other than Brazilian guitar style. As stated in
chapter one, mixture and confusion are integral concepts of brasilidade and were central
to the philosophies of the Brazilian modernists. As these concepts were institutionalized
by the Vargas regime in the 1930s, Brazilians (other than the thinkers/artists) began to
adopt/accept a new national identity based on diversity and mixing. Brazilians guitarists
and composers had been mixing musical genres since the late 19th century, and this
institutionalization of brasilidade only perpetuated what had been happening for years.
Therefore, these concepts of Brazilian identity must be inclusive in the process of
codifying the Brazilian guitar style. Much like the trinity of Brazilian racial identity
(African, European, and Amerindian), Brazilian guitarists mixed folk, popular, and art
music together and created something distinctly Brazilian. The Brazilian guitar style
includes all of these categories, and this confusion is perfectly acceptable.
Through my illustrations of the lives, performance practices, and compositions of
these artists, I have attempted to illustrate a basic understanding of the Brazilian guitar.
However, there is much more research that needs to done about this instrument and each
of these musicians are worthy of independent study. From Tute to Baden Powell, these
guitarists have added unique contributions to Brazilian guitar culture and given it a
special place in music history. All of the guitarists mentioned have played a part in
making the guitar a national symbol in Brazil due to their hybridized musical styles,
which defines the Brazilian guitar.
The hybridized styles of the guitarists mentioned in this chapter have served as
mediators between Brazilian popular and elite cultures. Their message inspired young
guitarists of all classes to explore all aspects of their country's musical heritage. They
have also created a "school" of Brazilian guitar, and because the guitar is a relatively
inexpensive instrument, this school has many disciples worldwide. One of these disciples
is the subject of this thesis: Marco Pereira.
In this chapter, I painted a musical backdrop of Marco Pereira's influences to
demonstrate how he approaches the instrument. However, in the next section of my
study I will present Pereira's biography and musical characteristics. While Pereira has a
wide range of international influences, he closely maintains his identity as a Brazilian
guitarist. He is an excellent archetype of the Brazilian guitar style with his hybrid
playing style (mixing classical and popular music), and represents a new generation of
Brazilian guitarists, who have helped further established the unique identity of the
THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF MARCO PEREIRA AND CONCLUSION
Marco Pereira is one of Brazil's great guitar virtuosos who belongs to a new
generation that has revolutionized guitar playing in Brazil. Much like Baden Powell
before him, Pereira has successfully synthesized the art and popular music of Brazil in his
own unique way. Pereira undoubtedly owes a great debt to his predecessors (Garoto,
Baden Powell, Paulinho Nogueira, etc.), but he has a greater amount of classical training
than any of his mentors. This extended classical training has given him the ability to
transcend earlier guitarists and has made him historically one of the greatest guitarists of
Though he considers himself primarily a performer, Pereira has also excelled in the
fields of musicology, theory/composition, choral conducting, arranging, and teaching.
He founded the guitar program at the University of Brasilia, has been invited to play at
Brazil's finest music festivals, and has recorded and performed along with Brazil's best
musicians. This not so short list includes: Z61ia Duncan, Edu Lobo, Cissia Eller, Z6
Renato, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Wagner Tiso, Daniela Mercury, Zizi Possi, Rildo Hora,
Paulinho da Viola, Tom Jobim, Milton Nascimento, Z6 Nogueira, Toninho Carrasqueira,
Leandro Braga Virginia Rosa Leila Pinheiro, Rosana, Fitima Guedes, Nelson Gonqalves,
Hamilton de Holanda, and many others. As this list of performers indicates, Pereira is a
very diverse musician. In his own words
I have a very wide range of influences. ... I can listen to everything. I can go to
an opera and enjoy that. ... I can cry like a fool if I go and see Verdi at a theatre. ..
and if I listen to Jodo Gilberto, I can cry the same.42
In this chapter I will highlight Pereira's diversity as a performer, composer,
teacher, and arranger. I will begin with a brief look at his life, followed by analyses of his
performance and compositional style. I will also briefly discuss Pereira's place in
Brazilian musical culture, in an attempt to codify his style. However, my intent is to
reveal that Marco Pereira's work is so diverse that it is impossible to effectively label it
into one category. The hybridity of his style (e.g., that he crosses the genres of popular
and art music) makes Pereira an excellent example of Brazilian hybrid identity in the
field of music.
Marco Pereira was born September 25, 1950 in Sao Paulo city into a family of non-
musicians. His first musical exposure was through the music his mother listened to while
he was young. She played records of Francisco Alves, Carmen Miranda, Orlando Silva,
Garoto, and Jacob do Bandolim, as well as artists of Argentinean tango. Pereira recalls
that there were no labels on the instrumental and vocal music at this time, and everything
seemed much more balanced than it is today. His first exposure to the guitar was through
his cousin, whom he would visit on holidays. His cousin was learning to play the guitar
(mainly chords for accompanying vocal music), and Pereira would watch her play. He
also studied her songbooks and learned the chords himself. Pereira remembers that
learning the guitar was quite easy for him, and after some time he asked his father for a
guitar. His father bought him his first nylon stringed acoustic guitar at age ten, which
42 Unless otherwise indicated, quotations in this biography are from my personal interviews with Pereira
between March and June of 2004.
Pereira thought "was a very bad one." His father's friend subsequently taught him some
old waltzes by Dillermando Reis and Canhoto.
While Pereira's first musical lessons mostly comprised South American styles, he
could not avoid the influence of American rock 'n' roll. He remembers listening to Paul
Anka and Elvis Presley. His sister even had pictures of these artists, as well as Neil
Sedaka, on the walls of her room. He purchased his first electric guitar at the age of
fourteen, and subsequently started a band. Pereira states that his band copied the music
of The Fenders,43 which was an instrumental (two guitars, bass, and drums) rock group at
that time. Pereira's band often played at balls and formal gatherings, and was a showcase
for his burgeoning talent on the guitar.
After playing in this band for a few years, his mother began to notice his gifted
guitar playing and suggested he go to the local music academy to take private lessons. So,
at the age of sixteen, Pereira took his mothers advice and enrolled in the conservatory in
Lapa, Sao Paulo. His first teacher was actually a pianist who learned to play guitar in
order to make extra money teaching. 44 Pereira had an hour lesson each week where he
studied classical pedagogical material by Tirrega and other classical guitarists. He
remembers that he easily learned the material, and would perform the exercises
flawlessly each week. This took about fifteen minutes of lesson time and they would
have an extra forty-five minutes left. At first his teacher would send him home early, but
eventually he started performing additional music for him. It was at this time that Pereira
received his first exposure to Bach, Mozart, Chopin, and other art music composers.
43 1 could not find any information on an instrumental group called The Fenders. I asked Pereira if he had
meant the Ventures, but he insisted it was the aforementioned group.
44 Pereira could only remember that the teacher's first name was David.
Shortly after his introduction to art music, Pereira immersed himself in this new
musical world. He would go to the local library, which had a remarkable collection of art
music records and scores, and listen to the classical masters (e.g., Beethoven, Schubert,
Schumann, etc.). Pereira spent four to five hours daily in this library listening, studying,
and falling in love with art music. A few years after he began taking lessons and first
exposure to art music, David suggested he go to study at the Sao Paulo conservatory.
The Conservatory of Theater and Music in the School of Communication and Art at
Sao Paulo University (USP) was one of the first schools in Brazil to offer an
undergraduate degree in music and garnered some of Brazil's finest players. After taking
a series of tests Pereira received a scholarship to study at the conservatory and begun his
studies in guitar with Isaias Sivio45 (a famous Uruguayan master of guitar). He also
studied music theory. The repertory he studied was classical, and Sivio used his own
method books.4 However, Pereira remembers that his studies were flexible, and he also
had time to study the music of Baden Powell, Paulinho Nogueira, Garoto, Dillermando
Reis, and Joao Pernambuco. As written scores were not readily available (except for the
music of Dillermando Reis), he listened to the albums and transcribed the pieces himself.
This [transcribing is something I did my whole life. I didn't start this after [he
began taking lessons]. We didn't have video classes [instructional videos] back
then, .. and even method books and sheet music were not easy to find .... If you
wanted to do [transcribe] something it was better to just get it from the records.
45 Isaias Savio taught many of Brazil's top guitarists including Paulo Bellinati and Carlos Barbosa-Lima.
46 His Cenas Brasileiras is still used today, and has recently been re-transcribed and published by GSP
Pereira believes this lack of guitar scores helped him develop his ear, and made him a
During the years that he was in the conservatory (1969-1973), Pereira also learned
to play both the acoustic and electric bass, which he played in the youth orchestra
(acoustic) and small sporadic gigs playing popular music (electric). He also earned a
good deal of income through teaching private students and performing concerts on guitar.
One series of concerts he recalls most vividly is his performance of Romancero Gitano47
for choir and guitar by the Italian-Iberian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.48 He
was invited by choir director Walter Lourenqao to play a series of twenty-five concerts
that "paid very well." From the income he earned from these concerts he ordered his first
professional handcrafted instrument by Walter Vogt guitars in Germany, which he still
One year after graduating from the Sao Paulo Conservatory, Pereira bought an open
plane ticket to Europe. He first traveled to Germany to pick up his guitar and study at the
Cologne University. After Germany, he planned on visiting various other European cities
including Paris, Madrid, and Lisbon. However, when he arrived in Germany, he did not
like the atmosphere at the conservatory. He had originally planned on staying for two
years, but after four or five days he decided to leave. Pereira then traveled to other
countries and cities (London, Brussels, etc.), and even studied with Julian Bream briefly
before arriving in Paris.
47 This piece is based on a series of poems by Garcia Lorca called Poemas del Cante Jondo
48 Castronuovo-Tedesco is one of the premiere composers for the guitar, and wrote a great deal of material
for the instrument. Pereira states that this was because Andres Segovia asked him to write for the guitar.
When Pereira came to Paris in December of 1974, he did not want to travel
anymore, and decided return to Brazil. However, after calling his mother in the airport to
tell her he would be returning, Pereira left his ticket in the phone booth. After speaking
with a representative from Varig airlines (one of Brazil's international carriers), he
learned it would take forty days to receive another ticket. To make matters worse, he lost
his passport two days later in the same airport. After a week, at the suggestion of his
friend, Pereira decided to look in the lost and found of the airport for his passport.49
Much to his amazement, it was there, but he still had to wait for his plane ticket.
In order to survive in Paris, Pereira gave private lessons and performed in the
subway stations. By the time he finally received his ticket he had found a girlfriend and
did not want to leave. Pereira thinks that he subconsciously lost his passport and ticket:
I threw all of this stuff away. ... I mean unconsciously [subconsciously], I just
threw everything out. I wanted to stay but I didn't have [the] cojones [balls] to say
I don't have money, but I'm going to stay here.
After deciding to stay in Paris, he continued teaching and playing, but also studied
theory and composition for many hours a day. Upon the suggestion of his friend, he
decided to apply for a scholarship from the Brazilian government to study guitar in Paris.
He received this scholarship, and subsequently began his studies at the Universite
Musicale Internationale de Paris with Oscar Caceres, another Uruguayan guitar master.
In Paris he learned to perform the great masterworks of the guitar, and learned virtually
all of the most advanced pieces composed for the instrument.
49 Pereira had originally given up on the passport because he knew they were worth a great deal of money
on the black market. This was because Brazil's passports had no laminate protection and were easy to