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2.1 – the lyricist

This study approaches the “partnership” that is established between the music composer and the lyric composer [i], particularly taking into account the music composer – thus, tackling the “musical aspect of the song” (TATIT, 2004, p. 124) without losing sight of the properties of the word that reflect on the melodic design.

Luiz Tatit introduces us to listening to the “cancionista” (songwriter) who “privileges the global treatment of the piece”, and thus, keeps the distance from listening to the “musician’ who works on the “minimum units of sound”. [i]

It seems in fact that the cancionistas’ listening has its own Gestalt: (…) adopts some sequences of chords (when playing some instrument) and some rhythmic symmetry as demarcation points for the melodic invention; proposes and memorizes melodies globally without stopping at transition details (…) If the musician’s trend is to develop the analytical ear getting to minimum sound units (though not missing the notion of the whole), the cancionistas’s ear privileges the global approach of the piece, not caring about located alterations. (TATIT, 1996, p. 163) [i]

In the interchange between specificities in the musical activity and the shades of the word, one of the composers listens sharply to what the other just hears superficially. Thus, considering the partnership format herein studied, the “musician” has in the lyricist’s listening the parameter for the articulation of a melodic discourse that satisfies the fluency that is proper to the speech through the musical resources mastered by the musician. Seeking the song integrity, molded with the collaboration between partners, the “melodist” — who in many cases is the musician-instrumentalist — has the challenge to equate the different kinds of listening presented above by Luiz Tatit, and which will be approached throughout our study. [i]

Fundamental figure in the history of the song in Brazil, our interviewee Paulo César Pinheiro, presents through his fertile trajectory the dynamics of information in this panorama.



00:00  each partner each language

I know Brazil closely, for in each place I had a show or gave lectures, interested as I am in the Brazilian folklore
I started going deeper and deeper in each of these languages
and started blending which results in what I am and write today.

And the music of each of my partners has a different language.

The language I use with João Nogueira
isn’t the same as that I use with Lenine, or with Sivuca.
They are distinct.

01:09 why don’t you do it alone?

I started composing …
Actually I started writing
and to memorize the poems I wrote
I used to hum
the verses.

I mean: I was composing
unaware that I knew how to make music.

As important partnerships started appearing
along my life
I started leaving aside this “musical side”.
This melody making
wasn’t so much used.
Only after a long time did I resume it.

04:28 I learned a little with each partner

The musical diversity of my partners’ melody
made me tread paths –
one very different from the other –
which enriches what I write.
And it has also made me learn
how to make melodies treading all those paths.
I’ve learned a little with each partner.


This complementarity between music and lyric that molds the song, and which depends on a natural complicity in the artistic intentions, has over the years promoted the development of a true net between composers of popular song in Brazil. In each “partnership”, which deepens through diverse authorial decisions, two artists have the opportunity to carry out an interchange between their previous experiences and establish a common project. That informal net that interconnects artists of very distinct ages, places and experiences presents itself as a means through which the authorial practices of the Brazilian popular song are lapidated and transmitted from generation to generation. Practices that transform and renew themselves building continuously the future Brazilian song.

  1. It is worth explaining that although this kind of relation is present in the most varied ways in Brazil, since it is common for a composer to work both “lyric” and “music”, even composers that master both often resort to a partner assuming one of the roles – which results in the format of this study – , or even composing in the “sambista’s partnership” model – in which a composer presents lyric and music of the first part that the partner complements also making lyric and music.

  2. LINK with the idea “the head of the popular musician is always in the smallest figure” presented in 2.2 –rhythmic matrices – in Marco Pereira’s statement.

  3. LINK with the idea “in relation to Baden the point of interest is the melody, harmony depends on what he is intending”, presented in – 3.3 – the song without the guitar – in the statement of Turíbio Santos;

    LINK with the idea “because in a song which has a strong ‘melodic nature’ playing the melody is already enough” presented in – 4.1 – guitar-piano – in the statement of Sérgio Assad.

  4. LINK with the idea “very clear intoning background” presented in – 3.4 – the question of Tatit.