Texts

 

 

Highlights of Musical
Development



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


Zabumba

 

 

THE INDIANS OF PETRÓPOLIS

 

DANCES AND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS

 

A Gazeta – São Paulo, December 19, 1959.

          There are dances in which only the Cabocos (Indians) or Guerreiros (Warriors) participate: Dança de Caça, the Cabocos hunting; Dança da Pesca, the Cabocos fishing; Dança dos Guerreiros, with the Guerreiros. But there is also the Dança Guerreira, with choreography that simulates fighting between Cabocos and Guerreiros. Indications are that this dance is a “sort of game” that is won based on skill, daring, dexterity, etc., or even “luck.” The Guerreiros target the adversary’s “stomach,” while the Indians aim for “the chest.” When one fighter hits another, the latter must “die,” falling onto the ground. If he does not comply with these rules of the game and gamesmanship, anything can happen.

          Conditions did not allow the researcher to collect information about the boys’ roles during the descriptive choreography, or about the “extras” introduced in recent years.

          The Carnival group Estrela do Morin uses all percussion instruments: six Caixas (snare drums) [three Caixas-de-guerra and three Tarois]; six Pandeiros (tambourines); six Castanetes, played by the Pastoras.

          Formerly they used the Reco-reco and the Tamborim (also tambourine), as well as the Camisão. The Camisão is a curious type of low Tamborim, the double bass of the Tamborins; in Petrópolis it looked like a Pandeiro, about one meter in diameter. The frame was about ten centimeters high and connected to another one made of iron to withstand the pressure of the “old goat” skin. Across the frame a slat supported a handle, at least twenty centimeters long, that the musician used to hold it against his stomach. This Camisão was played with a stick slightly longer and thicker than those normally used on the Caixas-de-guerra. The Camisão took the place of the Tamborim and later fell into disuse as well.

          Below we show a march rhythm played on the Camisão. Our source used to play the instrument and considers this one the most common.

THE SONGS

          The melodies of the Carnival group Destemidos do Morin are virtually all diatonic, in major or minor. One melody that was documented began in a minor key but ended in another, which constitutes modulation from the first degree to the minor fifth. [Possibly the first part of a two-part melody whose second part was cut or forgotten]. The researcher also noted a melody based on a major sixth, which could not be clearly defined but that could be classified either as a tonal melody or an Afro-Brazilian modal like a Samba.

          The songs fit into two rhythmic categories, Chula and Marcha. The first resembles the samba’s rhythmic cut, without its variety of accompaniment. The vocals are sometimes in unison, and other times a dialogue between the soloist and the chorus. The soloist part is sung by the Mestre [master of the song], and the chorus is called the “response.”

          Of the songs documented, the researcher brought “Regresso,” a Carnival song for when the group is being called back headquarters. All the participants sing it, in a march rhythm.

            

 

“O trem já está manobrando

É hora da Estrela partir [bis]

Os Índios já vão s’imbora

Para o sul do Brasil” [bis]

“The train is getting ready

It’s time for the Star to go [repeat]

The Indians are going now

To the South of Brazil [repeat]”

Now for a short Chula, also sung by the whole group.

 

“Arreda, menino

Lá do meio da rua;

Dexa a nossa Estrela

Fazer a “meia-lua”.

“Move, boy

There in the middle of the street;

Let our Star

Make a ‘half moon.’”

 

“Half moon” is a choreographic maneuver into the design its name suggests, which is done while singing the final verse.