send suggestions via email:

4.7 – polished sound

The border between the “erudite” and “popular” music musical universes is determined by a line that, as such, is constituted of several points. Some of these points are intangible – and it is not our intention to approach them herein. On the other hand, there are some points on this border that present themselves clear to some listening that prioritizes the musical practical aspect. Rhythm, for instance, represents a full front for the study on the threshold of this frontier, because in this aspect there is a clear difference between the musical formation that takes place in the written tradition (or erudite) and the musical formation that is forged through conducts that are common to the popular music. [i]

Another point on which is clear the difference between “erudite” and “popular” practices is revealed when in-depth listening is given to the timber perception of the sonority taken from the guitar. Perception that, as well as in the case of rhythmic expression, is always conditioned to the history and musical experience of each performer, and in the last instance of each listener.

Sérgio Assad offers us his vision concerning the differences as well as the likely points of equilibrium between the ways the popular guitar-player and the erudite guitar-player actualize “sonority”.


00:00 Ralph Towner and the noise

00:51 example of varied dimensions

01:25 move away from Baden?!


02:18 the first time I listened to it I didn’t like

03:24 pasteurization and excessive fat

04:18 sound class

05:05 the good interpreter makes the mix

05:19 in Brazil people have a foot in each of the two worlds


The “sound” work, which has been minutely methodified over the centuries while the sedimentation of the erudite guitar occurred, is a point that has been underdeveloped in the scope of the popular guitar. Generally speaking, the popular guitar-player does not prioritize delving into this aspect – it happens intuitively and based on a personal sense of sonority to meet multiple professional situations that appear. [i] A process that is based more on the imitation of musical references than on serious and methodified work, which generates, on the one hand, a rich plurality of technical solutions, and, on the other hand, a void in the sense of pedagogic orientation.

  1. LINK with the idea “the difference between a rhythmic approach that feeds on “tempo” stability and the one that is developed through the “expression” ruled by devices of time variation” in – 2.2 – rhythmic matrices

  2. LINK with the idea “When you go to a square, the musical communication has to be carried out in another level, and it cannot lean on this aspect of sound purity” presented in 4.3 – the room, the bathroom, and the square – in the statement of Marco Pereira.