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6.5 – something poetic inside music with swing

Among various parts of the dialogues herein presented, I highlight the next moment as being endowed with a special communion between the interviewee and the investigative proposal of this study. Moment in which Guinga, with whom I had already talked about the question several times, exposes his franc search for what he at a first moment calls “a certain beauty in slow music”.

Here Guinga departs from his own limits – which are intuitively incorporated in the conception of his music – to pursuing the idea that ends up being translated as “something poetic inside music with swing” [i] . His intention seems to be towards integrating the rhythmic stimuli – the African, which from

its fertile cradle offers the world distinctive poetry– with the harmonic-melodic stimuli – forged all over the European music – which in the eyes of the popular musician is associated to the “poetic” [i].


There is this very present idea among those who study and theorize the song:

when ample or angular intervals are involved,

something more decelerated is needed.

 00:00 is there anything like a “passional” song at more accelerated paces? [i]


01:07 I try it but sometimes I can’t manage

[while he plays his composition Capital on the guitar]

01:26 there are moments when it needs that “certain beauty of the slow music”

[Guinga elects the “weight place” of the composition to be reached by a flexibilization of the wrist.]

01:45 it’s possible to play more freely like this or even more …

[he tries again and once more to determine the expression of the very point of the composition, then he plays highlighting the rhythmic character at a more accelerated pace]

02:02 on the other hand, a show is a show

[he follows the execution taking on a more accelerated pace and the rhythmic stability as a norm, inclusively on the point where he formerly tried to “steal” the tempo]


[he starts to mark the tempo with the mouth to reinforce the proposed character]


If I could play like that, my performance fee would be higher.

that’s the truth [laughter]

because the “show” sometimes does not match that much with reflection.

Entertainment, fun, happiness, euphoria, “show”.

and in life we also need the “show”.

02:37 both sides


Then there’s a side that is:

[he “rhythmically sings” the motif of the same composition’s overture]



[both together keep drumming the rhythmic-melodic material of the composition with the mouth]


And at a certain moment you then feel

[he sings one of the likely rallentandos at the completion of one of the composition’s phrases]

At this moment, Guinga exemplifies once again how the rhythmic continuity provided by the drumming, which depends on the stability of “tempo”, may be relativized through the intentions of the “musical expression” [i] . In this way, the musician presents us his frank search for what could come to be, if not a compositional decision to be registered according to the logic of the written tradition, a likely effect to be used during a coming lively execution, or “version” – vocal or instrumental – of this “song” of his.



02:50 something poetic inside music with swing.

[he plays once more, still trying to determine what the exact expression of that “weight place” elected and tried at the beginning of this video would be like in a language that, therefore, is close to the common resources of the “concert guitar”] [i]

I don’t know…

It would be like:

something poetic inside music with swing.

Among the interpreters of the erudite music repertoire, it is noticeable to cultivate a conceptual clarity of the melodic phrases, which reveals the exact moment when sustaining certain notes provides for a resolution of greater lightness to the phrase in the harmonic context. To accomplish it, the interpreter takes certain metronomic liberty that falls upon the rhythm and, thus, subordinates it to harmony. For the popular musician, however, the rhythmic expression promoted by keeping the “wrist” and by the pact round the word “swing” [i] is utmost, and ends up imposing a significant reduction in the action range, and occasionally, in the use of entities of musical expression. [i]

This project aims to contribute to the consolidation of an informed, focused and non-biased view at the interaction between two streams: one of the musical practices of oral tradition, typical of the black and indigenous culture; and the other that operates on the logic of the European written music tradition, which in many instances bears restrictions on expressing other sonorous universes rather than its own. Brazil is one of the countries that presents best conditions to face this important and complex task, because the Brazilian constitutive features (ethnic and cultural) favor the free and two-way fertilization of musical information. [i]


  1. According to the Brazilian Aurélio dictionary, suingue means: “rhythmic element of the jazz, syncopated pulsation, and that characterizes that kind of music” – a term that, as we can see, was totally taken in by the Brazilian music.


  2. LINK with the idea “music sustains itself in any of the two approaches” presented in 5.2 a question for Leo Brouwer.

  3. LINK with “this a-little-more-“free” manner that the erudite musician in general applies when playing” – presented by Marco Pereira, in 2.2 – Rhythmic Matrices

  4. Remark by Chico Saraiva presented in – 2.2 – rhythmic matrices – “this pact is directly related with the body in movement”

  5. Consideration presented by Chico Saraiva in – 2.2 – rhythmic matrices – “The issue is presented when we verify the significant difference between a rhythmic approach that feeds itself on tempo stability, […] and the other, linked with the written tradition, which develops through the expression ruled exactly by devices of tempo variation”.

  6. Such transit takes place between spheres apparently distant one from the other, as in the case of modinha, which back in the nineteenth century transformed art that is learned in art that is apprehended, according to Mário de Andrade.

  7. According to the Brazilian Aurélio dictionary, suingue means: “rhythmic element of the jazz, syncopated pulsation, and that characterizes that kind of music” – a term that, as we can see, was totally taken in by the Brazilian music

  8. LINK with the idea “Paulinho Nogueira was much more ‘poetic’, much more subtle and delicate (than Baden Powell”, presented in – 4.4 – vigour and subtlety – in the statement of Marco Pereira.