Notes from Brazil lectures 

 Assignment question: samba and bossa nova are the most internationally famous styles of Brazilian music.  Describe each of these briefly and compare them with an example from another Brazilian genre covered by the textbook CD, such as forró.  Focus on musical qualities and then compare something about the social contexts (history; ethnic, class or regional associations, politics, religious use and so on).  Go for 2 pages, typed, double spaced.  Due 25 March 2010. 


introductory notes on Brazilian music and to the film Black Orpheus in powerpoint or PDF. 

 Carnival Bateria

 Gilberto Gil 1972


samba politics

(general example of the overlap of music and politics.  The song “Calice” is another example -- of politics, not samba.  youtube clip with Spanish subtitles)

q       Carnaval as a kind of self oppression by the poorest classes

q       elements of black pride, particularly starting in the 1960s and 70s and particularly in Bahia

Samba covered in the textbook starting on page 341; the bossa nova discussion starts on page 344.

National Geographic bossa nova webpage

National Geographic samba webpage

National Geographic choro webpage


forró examples

Gilberto Gil, “Eu só quero um xodó” youtube audio

National Geographic forró webpage

party music, but also associated with novena de casa. 



            distinctive instrument: berimbau


secular music in rural context – p. 336, embolada. track 13.

folk Catholicism

p. 338, Folias de reis, Christmas association, track 11

Ternos, social collective, track 12, p. 339.  “Mocambique”

from the textbook.  fig. 24.2, p. 330.  This is a good example of what the textbook refers to as an 'eight pulse pattern.'  It is not that there are 8 notes in a pattern, but that the pattern is based on 2 beats, each subdivided into 4 pulses (2 x 4 = 8).

fig. 24.3 harmonizing in parallel thirds, p. 330


Additional CD examples on reserve


  1. Folias de reis, Track 11 of textbook CD1, see page 538 for details
  2. Ternos Track 12 of textbook CD1, see page 538 for details
  3. embolada , Track 13 of textbook CD1, see page 538 for details
  4. forró for fifes, Track 14 of textbook CD1, see page 538 for details.  ensemble also known as zabumba
  5. forró for accordion, Track 15 of textbook CD1, see page 538 for details
  6. Track 16 of textbook CD1, see page 538 for details
  7. capoeira - Track 15 of textbook CD2, see page 543 for details
  8. zabumba forró,  Schechter track 24
  9. forró for accordion, Schechter track 25
  10. candomble, Schechter track 26
  11.  samba
  12. capoeira
  13. samba, “Vai Mesmo”
  14. bossa nova, “Desafinado”


David Meckler


Cañada College

 MUS 240 Music of the Americas