Choro Paulistano and the seven-string guitar : an ethnographic history

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2006-05

Authors

Sotelino, Daniel Sherwood

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Abstract

This is a study of choro in São Paulo, with a brief ethnography of seven-string guitarists. Studies of choro have routinely favored Rio de Janeiro, the birthplace of choro. This work focuses on São Paulo because it has a rich choro tradition, as well as an active and creative contemporary choro scene that has frequently been overshadowed by Rio de Janeiro's. There are three main parts to this study. The first part provides background information, including the major guitarists that have contributed to the development of the guitar's role in choro, and brief reviews of the most important literature on the subject of choro. The second part discusses São Paulo, my methodology, and the music scholars that have informed this study. The second part is the analytical base for the study, in which I examine the song, "Sampa" (1978), by Caetano Veloso, and interpret the uses, functions, and concepts of choro, drawing from Alan Merriam. Part II also includes a brief discussion of the resurgence of choro in the 1970s. This work proposes that choro has as its principal functions both musical and social education. The musical education choro provides is aural, notational, historical, and improvisational. The social education choro provides is one of an idealized mythological "racial democracy." The third and final part is a brief ethnography of the contemporary choro scene in São Paulo, with a focus on seven-string guitarists, and a descriptive account for the contextualization of choro.

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