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Eugenio

Brazilian guitar techniques

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I thought it'd be interesting for non Portuguese speakers to understand what's been discussed in one of our topics.

The subject is a number of techniques that Brazilian guitarists use that diverge from the standard classical guitar.

Those techniques help create a signature sound for the Brazilian guitar, so it's interesting to understand how they work.

Some of those techniques were born in Brazil, while others were borrowed and/or changed from other musical styles, such as Flamenco.

Brazilian Rasgueado

Despite the name "rasgueado", it's not the same as it is used by Spanish guitarists. The Brazilian rasgueado typically uses i-m to strum the strings upwards, and more than one string at a time. It resembles the i-m-a motion when producing chords, but it allows for much higher speeds and it sounds different.

Baden Powell was a master of that technique. Notice that in his rendition of the One Note Samba, he uses the technique extensively after 0:45

And here's a quick tutorial as to how the technique works:

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p-i as a pedal

This is a techique commonly used to create a "pedal" or a sense of a continuous rhythmic pulse. Garoto is considered a pioneer in the concept, even though he did not use p-i (we'll see that in the next section when we show "alzapúa".

Ulisses Rocha wrote an arrangement for Gismonti's "Infância" that makes extensive use of p-i

Below is just a short, amateurish tutorial depicting the technique and how it's used in Rabello's rendition of Garoto's Lamentos do Morro.

Lamentos-Morro-Intro.JPG

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Damping, clicks

This is a common trait and way to phrase music with a staccato flavor that is shared across several popular styles, so it does not belong exclusively to the Brazilian guitar. It's also part of Jazz and Flamenco, for example. In the case of Brazilian guitar, what most foreigners find hard to understand is that the effect can be obtained with either right or left hands, and Brazilian guitarists can choose one or the other depending on the context. If a musician focus too much on damping the strings with the right hand, for example, it'll sound strange to people accustomed to Brazilian styles.

In the excerpt below, Marcello Gonçalves uses only the left hand to dampen the strings.

However, what we showed above is just an excerpt of the arrangement. If you listen to the arrangement in its entirety, you'll notice that he also uses the right hand, especially for the introduction.

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And here's an interesting tutorial that shows how João Bosco uses damping and clicks with both right and left hands to create the introduction of his song "Linha de Passe".

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Thanks Eugenio for this information and the videos. Very interesting as there is not many ways to pick up on these techniques without seeing them slowed down a bit.

Still having a bit of difficulty navigating around the forum as an English only, speaker. Hopefully I will catch on eventually.

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Nick, welcome to the forum. :)

Please notice that you can change the language of the forum by looking at a small fragment of text at the lower left portion of the forum. You may click on "Português (Brasil)" and switch to English.

I'll write another post to talk about a "percussive or rhythmic note", probably tomorrow. I still need to record a video explaining the technique.

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Thank you, Eugenio.

Although I have been a fan of Brazilian music for many years, my first exposure was to Villa Lobos, then Jobim way back when the bossanova hit the USA by storm. Still remember when I first heard the Jazz n Samba album by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd. That of course led me to Bonfa, Almeida,Powell and so many others. Only recently did I come to realize that there are some similarities with Brazilian techniques and that of modern Flamenco. They are subtle but very prevalent, at least to my ears. I have for quite a few years been studying Flamenco and I do believe that Brazilian players and Brazilian music, have had a great deal of influence on the younger Flamenco artists. At times listening to Rafael Rabello I hear distinct similarities to a terrific Flamenco/Classical artist, Adam delMonte. delMonte is also an accomplished jazz player. Anyway, the attack and tone of both Rabello and delMonte sound very similar. I'm sure that there are others but this was just a quick reference for me. Holding the guitar on the right leg, right hand close to the strings and top of the guitar are other similarities for me. As a long time classical player, those two items are very different from the norm, at least in the classical study of guitar.

A really great forum here, and hopefully I may be able to contribute something from time to time. Most likely though, I am thinking that will be able to learn quite a bit from this group of talented guitarists.

Cheers to all.

Nick

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Hi Nick, you're right, Rabello has a great deal of influence from Flamenco, especially from Paco de Lucia.

That influence, however, came in his late years, was not during his formation and somehow ended up becoming a source of criticism of his work, as critics accused him of "Gypsy-izing" the Brazilian guitar too much. :icon_eek:

If you listen to Rabello's old records, you'll see a number of layers building on top of each other:

Choro (surely the foundation of Rabello's music)

Classical guitar

Flamenco

And, of course, Rabello had his own ability to mix everything up and create his distinct sound. He also plays a central role in turning the 7-string guitar into a soloist instrument.

Rabello even wrote his arrangement of Jobim's Luiza for the 7-string guitar.

As far as techniques, the common ones are alzapúa and sometimes the way the "a" finger is used. But even the so called Brazilian Rasgueado is very different from Flamenco.

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So, it's not my "imagination" about the flamenco influence. I seem to recall seeing a video of an interview with both Rabello and Paco deLucia on YouTube some time back. What a shame, both with such special talent, gone way to soon .......

Thanks for that Luiza rendition, exceptional performance.

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The video with the interview where both appear together is still on YouTube, it's great to watch, but the audio quality is not the best. :(

Rabello and de Lucia recorded "Samba do Avião" together.

The orginal performances had more of samba flavor and a strong influence from Baden Powell, but this one rendition has an irresistible flamenco spice, especially in the introduction!

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