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1.2 – a guitar that meshes with the song

The history of the Brazilian song is closely linked with the guitar. If other melodic-harmonic instruments – such as the piano, accordion or cavaquinho (small guitar) – appear as tools of established musical elaboration in certain music strands, the guitar stands out as the main instrument used in the manipulation of music elements by those who make songs in Brazil.

Thus, the format voice and guitar appears as a determinant parameter for the music that shows vocation to receive a song treatment, even if it is composed with the active participation of an instrument rather than the guitar.

That parameter establishes itself through the vast production along several generations of singers—guitar-players who have gradually founded the basis for the typical musical handling of the Brazilian song.


00:00 voice and guitar equilibrium: Caymmi and João Gilberto

A person who has changed my life was Dorival Caymmi. […]

He had his steel guitar

and sang powerfully with that voice of his.

Guitar and voice with very similar emissions, both very strong.

Unlike João Gilberto

who produces a silken voice and a very soft guitar too.

Both have a tremendous talent to place voice and guitar at the same sonorous level.

00:48 Caymmi: guitar integrated with the composition

At the same time as the voice inspires the guitar,

the instrument calls for the voice.

In the end both merge

becoming inseparable parts in the composition. [i]

02:10 inseparable parts in the composition

03:06 a very characteristic guitar sound  of that author and that voice


Actually Caymmi’s voice and guitar

in spite of being classic

has musical stimuli that ar still not deciphered


And perhaps it might be for us not to decipher

once it presents a mysterious relation between voice and instrument;

rather, it may be a signal for us to know that is in fact

the very guitar of that voice and that author.

they are indivisible


and both need one another

to work out.


Guinga highlights other artists, from the subsequent generation of Dorival Caymmi, who specially contributed to the multiplication of expressions and styles in the elaboration of a “guitar that meshes with the song”.



00:00 very personal solutions

Milton Nascimento, Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Dori Caymmi.

They are as important to the guitar as João Gilberto,

because they also present very personal solutions.

00:33 Dori

When Dori does this:

[Guinga plays and vocalizes Estrela da tarde (Afternoon star) (Dori Caymmi / Paulo César Pinheiro)]

That is a masterpiece, buddy!

It has such importance to guitar literature – the same as any of those wonderful pieces.


The terms “piece”, “guitar literature” and “masterpiece” refer us straight back to the universe of the erudite guitar [i], and somehow claim hybrid legitimacy between the oral and written traditions for the refined goldsmithing done by the composer—guitar-player who composes songs in Brazil.



02:44 a guitar that meshes the song

Those guys taught me more in terms of guitar than the guitar-players themselves.


Do you mean the accompaniment guitar?


For me this is not accompaniment guitar.

It is a guitar that has independent life.

If you accompany this song in another way

you won’t get the same exuberance.

The buddy created a song

and created a guitar that meshes the song


Thus, Guinga’s view dialogues with that of João Bosco when he points out that the guitar and voice “mesh becoming inseparable parts of the composition”. In both cases the adhesion between the song and the accompaniment conceived in authorial form leads us to the impression of specific musical gestures that reveal the creation concept of each composer. [i]

  1. LINK with the same idea presented in – 3 – Song: the instrument’s degrees of action in the creative process – in the second category of the schematization. LINK with the idea “I feel it as a song, inside this simple aesthetics, which may be translated with a voice and a guitar without losing its beauty and integrity” presented in – 3.6 – The composer, the songwriter and the grays in between.

  2. Universe with which Guinga came into contact, albeit not in depth, as a student of the
    teacher and concertist Jodacil Damasceno.

  3. LINK with the concept “musical gesture” presented in the introduction of the academic dissertation, whose link for PDF may be found in the second note included in the Introdução.