Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Music of Brazil
Strong influences on the music of Brazil come from Africa, India, Portugal and the natives of the Amazon rainforest and of other parts of the country. Samba is undoubtedly the most internationally famous form of Brazilian music, though bossa nova and other genres have also received some sporadic attention outside of the country.
The earliest music in what is now Brazil must have been that of the native peoples of the area. Little is known about their music, since no written records exist of this era. With the arrival of Europeans, Brazilian culture began to take shape as a synthesis of native musical styles with European elements (especially Portuguese music) and African music
Main article: Indigenous Brazilian music
The native peoples of the Brazilian rainforest play instruments including whistles, flutes, horns , drums and rattles. Much of the area's folk music imitates the sound of the Amazon Rainforest. When the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, the first natives they met played an array of reed flutes and other wind and percussion instruments. The Jesuit missionaries introduced songs which used the Tupi language with Christian lyrics, in an attempt to convert the people to Christianity , and also introduced Gregorian chant and the flute, bow , and the clavichord
The earliest known descriptions of music in Brazil date from 1578, when Jean De Léry , a French Calvinist pastor, published Viagem à Terra do Brasil (Journey to the Land of Brazil). He described the dances and transcribed the music of the Tupi people. In 1587, Gabriel Soares de Sousa wrote Tratado Descritivo do Brasil about the music of several native Brazilian ethnic groups, including the Tamoios and Tupinambás .
King João VI of Portugal was a noted lover of music, and spent a period of time in Brazil. He sent for prominent European musicians to join him, including Austrian pianist Sigismund von Neukomm and composer Marcos Portugal . A local Brazilian musician, José Maurí Nunes Garcia , an organist and clavichordist, was appointed Inspector to the Royal Chapel .
Main article: Capoeira music
The Afro-Brazilian sport of capoeira is never played without its own music, which is usually considered to be a call-and-response type of folk music. The main instruments of capoeira music include the berimbau, the pandeiro and the atabaque. Capoeira songs may be improvised on the spot, or they may be popular songs written by older mestres (teachers), and often include accounts of the history of capoeira, or the doings of great mestres.
Main article: Lundu
Lundu was the first kind of African music to flourish in Brazil. Lundu, a style of comedic song and dance, was extremely popular and was even performed in the Portuguese court.
Main article: Modinha
In 1739, Domingos Caldas Barbosa wrote a series of modinhas that were extremely popular. Modinhas are a kind of sentimental love song of uncertain origin, as it may have evolved either in Brazil or Portugal.
Towards the end of the 18th century a form of comedic dance called bumba-meu-boi became very popular. It was a musical retelling of the story of a resurrected ox. These dances are led by a chamador , who introduces the various characters. Instruments used include the pandeiro, the tamborim, the accordion and the acoustic guitar.
Near the end of the 19th century, Carlos Gomes (from Campinas) produced in a number of Italian-style operas, such as Il Guarany (based on a novel by José de Alencar). Brasílio Itiberê was another prominent classical composer, the first to use elements of Brazilian music in Western classical music, in his Sertaneja (1869).
By the end of the 1930s, there were two schools of Brazilian composition. Camargo Duarnieri was the head of the Nationalist school, inspired by the writer Mario de Andrade . Other composers including Guerra Peixe , Oscr Lorenzo Fernandez , Francisco Mignone, Luciano Gallet and Radamés Gnatalli . Beginning in 1939, Hans Joachim Koellreutter , creator of the Live Music Group , founded another school, characterized by the use of dodecaphonism and atonalism. Other composers in this school included Edino Krieger , Cláudio Santoro and Eunice Catunda .
Main article: Choro
In Rio de Janeiro in the 1870s a type of reserved and private music called choro developed out of fado and European salon music. Choro was usually instrumental and improvised, frequently including solos by virtuosos. Originally, a choro band used two guitars and cavaquinho, later picking up the bandolim , the clarinet and the flute. Famous choro musicians include Joaquim Antonio da Silva Calado Júnior , Valdir Azevedo, Jacob do Bandolim, Pixinguinha and Chiquinha Gonzaga; Pixinguinha's "Lamento" is one of the most influential choro recordings. In addition to composing choros another composer, Ernesto Nazareth composed tangos, waltzes and polkas. Nazareth was influenced by Chopin but his music had a distinctly Brazilian flavor. Nazareth has also been compared to his contemporary Scott Jopin. The late 1960s saw a revival of the choro, beginning in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, and culminating with artists like Paulinho da Viola .
Main article: Samba
By the beginning of the 20th century, samba had begun to evolve out of choro in Rio de Janeiro's neighborhood, inhabited mostly by poor blacks descended from slaves. Samba's popularity grew through the 20th century, especially internationally, as awareness of samba de enredo (a type of samba played during Carnival) has grown. Other types of samba include:
- Samba de breque - reggaeish and choppy
- Samba-canção - typical variety of nightclubs.
- Samba pagode - modern popular variety.
Early popular music
The field of Brazilian popular music can be traced back to the 1930s, when radio spread songs across the country. Popular music included instruments like cuicas , tambourines, frying pans, flutes, guitars and the piano. The most famous singer, Carmen Miranda, eventually became an internationally-renowned Hollywood film star. Her songwriter was Ary Barroso , one of the most successful songwriters in early Brazil, along with Lamartine Babo and Noel Rosa .
Bossa nova and descendants
Main article: Bossa nova
Antonio Carlos Jobim and other 1950s composers helped develop a jazzy popular sound called bossa nova, which developed at the beach neighborhoods of Ipanema and, later, the Copacabana nightclubs. The first bossa nova records by João Gilberto quickly became huge hits in Brazil. Bossa nova was introduced to the rest of the world by American jazz musicians in the early 1960s, and songs like "The Girl from Ipanema", which remains the biggest Brazilian international hit, eventually became standards.
Main article: Tropicalia
Música Popular Brasileira
Main article: Música Popular Brasileira
Tropicalia eventually morphed into a more popular form, MPB (música popular Brasileira), which now refers to any Brazilian pop music, especially artists from Salvador and Bahia. Other well-known MPB artists include chanteuse Gal Costa and singer/songwriters Chico Buarque and Milton Nascimento.
MPB's capital remains Salvador, where artists like Virginia Rodrigues and Silvia Torres help keep the region a hotbed of musical innovation. Percussion is an important part of music across Latin America, but in Salvador it has become perhaps the most important aspect of music. In the final three decades of the 20th century, reggae, salsa and samba rhythms mixed to form a type of dance music called fricote . Stars like Abel Duere , Margareth Menezes and Daniela Mercury became international stars, alongside bands like Olodum, who inspired American musician Paul Simon to incorporate Brazilian percussion on his influential The Rhythm of the Saints album.
Northeastern Brazil is known for a distinctive form of literature called literatura de cordel , which are a type of ballads that include elements incorporated into music as repentismo , an improvised lyrical contest on themes suggested by the audience.
Main article: Música nordestina
Música nordestina is a generic term for any popular music from the large region of Northeastern Brazil, including both coastal and inland areas. Rhythms are slow and plodding, and are derived from accordions and guitars instead of percussion instruments like in the rest of Brazil. In this region, African rhythms and Portuguese melodies combined to form maracatú and dance music called baião has become popular. Most influentially, however, the area around Recife, the home of forró.
Main article: Afoxê
Afoxê is a kind of religious music, part of the Candomblé tradition. In 1949, a group called Filhos de Ghandi began playing afoxê during Carnaval parades in Salvador; their name translates as Sons of Ghandi, associating black Brazilian activism with Mahatma Gandhi's Indian independence movement. The Filhos de Ghandi's 1949 appearance was also revolutionary because, up until then, the Carnaval parades in Salvador were meant only for light-skinned people.
Main article: Frevo
Frevo is a style of music from Recife. In the 1950s, it spread south, to cities like Salvador. In Salvador, frevo bands began playing during Carnaval, originally in trios called trios elétricos . Overtime, the bands moved from playing on pickup trucks to fully amplified bands and stages. Trios eléctricos remain a primary feature of the Salvadoran Carnaval today.
Salvadoran music: Late 60s to mid-70s
In the latter part of the 1960s, a group of black Bahians began dressing as Native Americans during the Salvadoran Carnaval, identifying with their shared struggles through history. These groups included Comanches do Pelô and Apaches de Tororó and were known for a forceful and powerful style of percussion, and frequent violent encounters with the police. Starting in 1974, a group of black Bahians called Ilê Aiyê became prominent, identifying with the Yoruba people of West Africa. Along with a policy of loosening restrictions by the Brazilian government, Ilê Aiyê's sound and message spread to groups like Grupo Cultural do Olodum, who established community centers and other philanthropic efforts.
Main article: Samba-reggae
The band Olodum, from Pelourinho , are generally credited with the mid-1980s invention of samba-reggae, a fusion of Jamaican reggae with samba. Olodum retained the politically-charged lyrics of 1970s bands like Ilê Aiyê.
Main article: Forró
Forró is played by a trio consisting of a drum and a triangle and led by an accordion. Forró is rapid and eminently danceable, and became one of the foundations for lambada in the 1980s. Luiz Gonzaga was the preeminent early forró musician who popularized the genre in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in the 1940s with songs like "Asa Branca".
Main articles: carimbó and lambada
Eastern Amazônia has long been dominated by carimbó music, which is centered around Belém. In the 1960s, carimbo was electrified and, in the next decade, DJs added elements from reggae, salsa and merengue. This new form became known as lambada and soon moved to Bahia, Salvador by the mid-1980s. Bahian lambada was synthesizer-based and light pop music. French record producers discovered the music there, and brought it back with them to France, where a Bolivian group called Los K'jarkas saw their own composition launch an international dance craze. Soon, lambada had spread throughout the world and the term soon became meaninglessly attached to multiple varieties of unrelated Brazilian music, leading to purist scorn from Belém and also Bahia.
Another form of regional folk music, bumba-meu-boi, was popularized by the Carnival celebrations of Parintins and is now a major part of the Brazilian national scene.
- McGowan, Chris and Pessanha, Ricardo. "The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil." 1998. 2nd edition. Temple University Press. ISBN 1-56639-545-3
- Cleary, David. "Meu Brasil Brasileiro". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 2: Latin & North America, Caribbean, India, Asia and Pacific, pp 332-349. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
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