Resource for Brazilian rhythms on accordion



Resource for Brazilian rhythms on accordion

Postby Ganza » Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:52 am

I highly recommend the Hal Leonard "Brazilian Piano: Choro, Samba and Bossa Nova" tutor book.

Although it is written for piano, often the bass is simply single notes, as it follows the Brazilian bass drum ("surdo") and so, is appropriate for accordion.

The styles covered are Choro (the precursor of samba), Samba, and Bossa Nova (a Brazilian mix of samba and jazz). The roots of samba and choro began in the north of Brazil with the rhythms of African slaves. Then in Rio de Janeiro the mix of African rhythms and Portuguese melodies deepened in the early 1900s.

In the tutor book, within each style, especially samba, there are a myriad of (syncopated) rhythms that follow the various beats of the cowbell, tambourine, and other percussion instruments.

All this you can learn to play on accordion! In Brazil, Choro and Bossa Nova music is sometimes played on accordion, but Samba almost never.

Now, I'm just waiting to find a tutor book for the fantastic, North-East Brazil accordion-centred styles of Forro, Baiao and Xote... I've never seen that before though, as it was and remains a very poor, un-industrialised region of the country, I'm not sure if there have been any published. It seems that the North Eastern styles really are aurally handed down.
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Re: Resource for Brazilian rhythms on accordion

Postby Morne » Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:49 am

Liberty Bellows did a few videos on how to play Baião and Forró:
https://www.youtube.com/user/libertybellows/playlists
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Re: Resource for Brazilian rhythms on accordion

Postby maugein96 » Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:11 am

Brazilian accordion deserves to be a lot better known as there are loads of brilliant players in the styles you mention who are probably unknown outside of their home villages or towns.

I've tried Bossa music on guitar and it isn't easy, largely due to the very subtle chord changes involved. You do get an ear for it after a while, but you need a fantastic memory with some tunes requiring the chords to be played in different inversions.

Brazilian musicians obviously acquire their skills from fellow players, and the very few attempts I've heard by foreigners to play the music often sounds a bit "stuffy", without the natural flow that native players have instinctively.

Tuition books would be a boon if they became available, although it doesn't appear that many Brazilian players would ever use them. As you say the music is probably learned by ear, and what a great job they make of it.

I might give the Hal Leonard book a try.

Thanks for the info.
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Re: Resource for Brazilian rhythms on accordion

Postby donn » Fri Nov 11, 2016 3:54 pm

maugein96 wrote:I've tried Bossa music on guitar and it isn't easy, largely due to the very subtle chord changes involved. You do get an ear for it after a while, but you need a fantastic memory with some tunes requiring the chords to be played in different inversions.


It would be interesting to hear someone account for that on a free bass setup, but the guitar also has an advantage with the rhythmic pulse. Not that it wouldn't be possible to play bossa nova, technically, and maybe make it interesting, but it would be kind of a different thing from the classic João Gilberto etc. thing. Meanwhile the more accordion friendly forms of northeast and extreme south have some interesting similarities to Mexican norteño etc. Different rhythms and harmonic structure, similar style.
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