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3.3 – the song without the guitar

The dialogue with P.C. Pinheiro unfolds motivated by this contrast between authorial gestures that feed on a greater musical elaboration related with the instrument and gestures that prioritize naturality in the vocal emission, and present as virtue the author’s capacity to detach from the instrument when creating a song.



00:00 the question: about the pursued equilibrium


01:18 the answer: Baden Powell

People imagine that the instrumentalist takes the guitar and makes the melody playing the strings. It is not like that. Sometimes, it starts by tapping fingers on a table, and then passing the sound on to the guitar. [i]

03:13 creating, inventing, composing … there isn’t a formula!

It all revolves in such different ways round someone’s head that it is difficult to explain. [i]


Thus, flexibility that is inherent to the song and that was cultivated by Baden the composer ensures the organicity through which this guitar-player developed essential aspects to his personal style that was forged in the instrumental interpretation of his own songs (many of which composed without the guitar).

Concertist Turíbio Santos comments on the difference between Baden’s music with melodic nature and Jobim’s “essentially harmonic” music [i]



There is something curious in Baden’s creation process:

He [Baden] is an extremely melodic composer —not a composer of harmonies like Tom Jobim.

Baden is interested in the melody; harmony is dependent on what he is intending. [i]

In all his music, melody is the strength,

which is why it is very difficult for any other guitar-player to play Baden’s music.

unless it is “formal music”…

If not, he stresses melody

and makes small, very malicious and pretty beats that only he can manage to perform.

So it is practically impossible to play Baden Powell.

I have already recorded João Pernambuco’s, Dilermando Reis’s, Garoto’s music.

Baden’s music I have never managed to, because it would end up phony,

it’d miss that ‘salsa’ that he himself adds to his music. [i]

  1. LINK with the idea “instrument representing a threat to nature and the “intoning” fluency intrinsic to the song melody presented in 3.1 – the non song?

  2. This moment of the interview with P.C. Pinheiro has in-depth sequence of this point of view in – 5.5 – “Boi de Mamão”.

  3. LINK with the same idea presented in 4.6 – resurgences: the Meira school and the greater airs – in Tom Jobim’s reference.

  4. LINK with the idea “the cancionistas’ hearing” presented in 2.1 – the lyricist – in Luiz Tatit’s statement.

    LINK with the idea “because in the music that has strong ‘melodic nature’ playing the melody is already sufficient” presented in chapter – 4.1 – guitar-piano – in Sergio Assad’s statement.

  5. Interview given to Dominique Dreyfus for the book entitled O violão vadio de Baden Powell (Ed. 34, 1999, p. 304.