Choro Articles

Choro is a style of Brazilian music that Marilynn has been researching and performing in Brazil for over a decade. If you are not familiar with this music, you should first read Marilynn’s articles “What is Choro?” and “A History of Choro in Context” to orient yourself before reading the later articles.

Zequinha de Abreu (1880-1935) – Choro to the World

This article was originally published in “Mandolin Quarterly,” 2004, Vol. 9 Nr. 3
Download a pdf of my quartet arrangement of Tico Tico: Tico_Tico_No_Fuba

In 1917, Zequinha de Abreu, a well-known bandleader and composer of over 100 dance tunes, premiered a new piece with his orchestra at a local gig. Fast and jumpy, it made the dancers go wild, and Abreu commented to his group that they looked like “tico-ticos,” a type of little bird, pecking at cornmeal. And thus, … Read More »

Posted July 14th, 2004

Pixinguinha (1897-1973) – Genius & Soul

“If you have 15 volumes to talk about all of Brazilian popular music, you can be sure that it is not enough. But, if you have space for just one word, write it down quickly: Pixinguinha.”
– Ary Vasconcellos, Brazilian music critic and historian.

This article was first published in Mandolin Quarterly, 2004, Vol. 9 Nr. 2.

Alfredo da Rocha Vianna Jr. (1897-1973) is best known by his nickname “Pixinguinha,” as the composer who brought chôro to its peak in … Read More »

Posted April 14th, 2004

Joaquim Calado (1848-1880) & Anacleto Medeiros (1866-1907): Early Afro-Brazilian Composers

based on an article that originally appeared in “Mandolin Quarterly,” 2004, Vol. 9 Nr.1
Download pdfs of the sheetmusic associated with this article: Flor_Amorosa, Carnaval of 1905

In the last two articles I’ve looked at the music and careers of two important pioneers of Brazilian choro, Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934) and Chiquinha Gonzaga (1847-1935). Both were pianists who wrote for piano and small ensembles, with Chiquinha writing for musical theater as well. Both began composing in a European-inspired style, writing … Read More »

Posted January 17th, 2004

Chiquinha Gonzaga (1847-1935) – First Lady of Choro

based on an article that originally appeared in “Mandolin Quarterly,” 2003, Vol. 8 Nr. 4.
Download a pdf the sheetmusic that accompanies this article: NaoSeImpressione

Chiquinha Gonzaga is a great hero of mine, as much for her independent spirit and devotion to her musical career, as for her compositions. She earned her living as a professional pianist, a popular composer, and a respected conductor at a time when middle-class women were generally confined to domestic endeavors and subject to … Read More »

Posted September 17th, 2003

Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934) – Choro Pioneer

This article was originally published in “Mandolin Quarterly,” 2003, Vol. 8 Nr. 3.
Download the pdf of the sheetmusic associated with this article: Brejeiro

Of all the early choro composers, Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934) was certainly the most influential. Hector Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) called him, “the true incarnation of the Brazilian musical soul.” Nazareth was born in Rio de Janeiro on March 20th, 1863. His mother was a pianist, and as a child he learned to play the popular polkas, waltzes and … Read More »

Posted August 11th, 2003

Choro “Top 40” 1902-1932

based on an article that originally appeared in “Mandolin Quarterly,” 2003, Vol. 8. Nr.3

While browsing the internet for Brazilian music, I happened on the Hot100Br@sil page and its “time machine.” They have figured out a century of the most popular music in Brazil, beginning in 1902 when the first of Brazilian record label was launched in Rio de Janeiro by Casa Edison. Their “Top 40” ratings are based on record sales, sheet music sales, and, later, radio airplay. … Read More »

Posted July 17th, 2003

Choro Resources: Addendum – Books

This article first appeared in “Mandolin Quarterly” in March 2003.

Here’s a 2nd update to my articles on choro resources. Thanks for all your nice comments about the last column. This issue I’m reviewing 4 books, and will get back to CDs in the next issue. Let’s start out with a great one!

“Vocabulário do Choro (Choro Vocabulary)”
Mário Sève, Luminar Editora, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1999, 221 pp.

Mário Sève plays flute and sax for the modern choro … Read More »

Posted March 24th, 2003

Choro Resources: Addendum – CDs

This article first appeared in “Mandolin Quarterly” in 2003, Vol. 8 Nr.1.

It’s been three years since I published my series of choro articles in MQ. Resources for choro have increased tremendously since then, and CDs and books have become more widely available. I’ve continued to add to my collection of both, and have decided to add a couple of addenda to update my original resources list. I’m adding 10 CDs to the list this issue, including a couple … Read More »

Posted January 24th, 2003

What is Choro?

This article first appeared in “Mandolin Quarterly” in 2000, Vol. 5 Nr. 1. It is the intro article to a series of 4 articles that appeared in that issue, and several subsequent articles.

Choro is a style of Brazilian popular music that originated in the late 19th century and is still performed today. Choro pre-dates samba and bossa nova as a national music style, and developed from Brazilian performers interpreting European dance music with African-influenced rhythms. At first choro was … Read More »

Posted January 10th, 2000

A History of Choro in Context

This article first appeared in “Mandolin Quarterly” in 2000, Vol. 5 Nr. 1

Choro has been called Brazil’s first independent national music. Beginning as an unwritten performance style in Rio de Janeiro in the mid-1800’s, choro compositions first appeared in print in the 1870’s. Choro’s full development came with the music of Pixinguinha in the 1920’s, before its popularity gave way to the new simpler style of samba. The virtuoso instrumentals of choro were eclipsed by the popularity of … Read More »

Posted January 9th, 2000

The Mandolin in Choro

This article first appeared in “Mandolin Quarterly” in 2000, Vol. 5 Nr. 1.

The bandolim, or Brazilian mandolin, is one of choro’s most frequent melody instruments today, and was probably involved in choro from its earliest days. The bandolim was imported from Portugal to Brazil in the 19th century and was found in early popular music ensembles in Brazil before the turn of the century. The bandolim took a more central role in choro in the 1920’s, and further increased … Read More »

Posted January 8th, 2000

Choro Resources – An Annotated Guide

This article first appeared in “Mandolin Quarterly” in 2000, Vol. 5 Nr. 1.

When I first became interested in choro it was through its solo guitar literature. Later I got a copy of “84 Chorinhos Famosos,” bought Acoustic Disc’s CD rerelease of Jacob do Bandolim and set out to discover how he made the pieces sound so good. I can’t say I’ve figured it out exactly yet, and “84 Chorinhos Famosos” is long since out of print, but by … Read More »

Posted January 7th, 2000
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