Highlights of Musical

About the works

The Coming Decline of Frevo

Tambourine Playing in Brazil

The African Influence in Brazilian Music

Frevo Steps and Music

Art and Artists

In Terms of Music from São Paulo

A Mistaken Analysis of a Brazilian Rhythm

Scales in Brazilian Folk Music

The Indians of Petrópolis

Índios or Cabôcos of Petrópolis

Notes on Playing Marbles

Variations on the Boi

Variations on the Baião

Variations on the Maxixe





Jornal do Comércio – Rio de Janeiro, January 12, 1964.


          It is scarcely an exaggeration to say that the composers from São Paulo don’t want anything to do with their bandeirantes folk traditions. With a few very rare exceptions, they’d rather imitate the Northeast and Rio de Janeiro based on sometimes sketchy information. Meanwhile, São Paulo has its own folk music that is just waiting for some talented person to lift it into the realm of refined music: Moda-de-viola, Cururu, Lundu, Jongo, Tambu, Cateretê, Congada, Folia-de-Reis, Folia-do-Divino, Dança-de-Santa-Cruz, Dança-de-São-Gonçalo, Moçambique, Encomenda-de-Almas, Sessão-de-Terreiro, Pregões, Cantos-de-Trabalho, Fanfarras [which have not been studied yet], etc., etc. They prefer to imitate the Northeast and Rio de Janeiro, or to degenerate into electronic experiments that are better left in the hands of engineers than musicians. All these people seem to ignore the meaning of the regionalist content of the work of Alexandre Levy and Marcelo Tupinambá – with respect to each one’s genre and period.

          However, it appears that the character of São Paulo music has just been defined by composer Teodoro Nogueira, who was born in rural São Paulo state. This seems to be the message of his <Concertino> for <Brazilian viola> - caipira viola, that is – and chamber orchestra, which premiered some months ago in the São Paulo capital. Its melodies, as well as its harmonic sequences, rhythms and rasqueados, have distinctly paulista characteristics. It should be underscored that Nogueira continued to use the seventh diminished, reminiscent of his earlier works similar to the seventh <from the Northeast>. This time it was different, the São Paulo way, and emphasizes his work’s regional character.

          If the <Concertino> by Teodoro Nogueira signals the beginning of a new phase in São Paulo’s music, the seven <Prelúdios> for the aforementioned caipira viola will give its musical culture that regionalist feel that it lacks. His need to study the caipira viola drove Nogueira to observe the strumming, typical harmonies, melodic fragments, rhythms and way all this was played on the instrument. He ran with his imagination, humanized the work and ended up with a set of expressive preludes. Yes, Nogueira wanted to call each piece a prelude in order to avoid the designation ponteio – a curious distortion of a term that viola players from both São Paulo and the Northeast – who were illiterate by the way – pronounced correctly: ponteado! This confirms that composers should research folk music sometimes to learn the surprising ways of musical regionalism instead of guessing at how to use folk material from an unfamiliar region. São Paulo composers don’t even need to leave the capital to hear paulista folklore: Rossini Tavares de Lima, the secretary of the Comissão Paulista do Folclore, is always willing to provide the opportunity to those who are willing to pick up the phone and ask him.

          In addition to the artistic and regional value of the above-mentioned works by Teodoro Nogueira, they are equally important as first experiments in moving a folk instrument that is widely used throughout Brazil, the ten-string caipira viola, in the direction of erudite music. It is the same viola on which the young Antônio Barbosa played the <Concertino> by a composer who really is paulista, the same viola that Barbosa Lima has played in his guitar performances.

          So they must be congratulated: Antônio C. Barbosa Lima, the pioneer player of the Brazilian -  or caipira - viola in the context of erudite music; Rossini Tavares de Lima, the folklorist and music critic that enabled the composer to hear São Paulo’s folk music, offering the composer use of his recordings, books and indispensable human material; composer Teodoro Nogueira, who deserves the glory for being the first artist to think in terms of São Paulo music; and São Paulo, whose voice is now added to Brazilian music culture.