Friday, February 23, 2007

Violão tenor

The violão tenor - or in English: the tenor guitar is a four stringed instrument normally made in the shape of a guitar, or sometimes with a lute-like pear shaped body or, more rarely, with a round banjo-like wooden body. The instrument can be acoustic and/or electric and it can come in the form of flat top, archtop, wood-bodied or metal-bodied resonator or solid-bodied instruments. Tenor guitars are usually tuned in fifths (usually CGDA, similar to the tenor banjo or the viola), although other tunings are possible, such as "octave mandolin" tuning (GDAE), which makes it easier for a mandolin/bandolim player to use.

In Brazil noted musicians such as Garoto (see picture), Zé Menezes and Claudionor Cruz have used the tenor guitar with great succes, both as a rhtyhm string instrument and as a lead solo guitar. Some sources quote Garoto to be the one, who introduced this instrument in Brazil in 1933, at least he used it extensively on recordings from the late 1930'ies, both with Carmen Miranda and Bando do Lua and in numerous other recording sessions, furthermore Garoto actually wrote a method book on playing the tenor guitar - or violão tenor - still available.

I found a filmed fragment featuring Bando do Lua (- unfortunately without Garoto), the four stringed metal-bodied tenor guitar is audible throughout the performance.

In the contemporary music scene of Brazil the tenor guitar seems to be a rare bird, with notable exceptions. Pedro Amorim is an accomplished bandolim player, who has teamed with the Nó em pingo choro ensemble earlier, made a cd for the Acari label in 1999/2000, ´Violão tenor'(AR-8, iss. 2001), using the acoustic tenor guitar as lead instrument in a repertoire of mostly self omposed choro pieces, accompanied by a small choro ensemble featuring a.o. Luciana Rabello on cavaquinho and Mauricio Carilho on seven string guitar.I highly recommend this cd, both as an example of the tenor guitar in contemporary choro and as a recording of some most delightful music in the great tradition of choro.

As mentioned above, Pedro Amorim is an accomplished bandolim player, his first solo release on the Acari label featured him with this instrument in renditions of pieces by renowned bandolim virtuoso, Luperce Miranda. I haven't listened to this cd, yet, but I found a video performance on YouTube featuring Pedro Amorim playing the bandolim - hope you to enjoy this performance of "Mimosa" by Jacob do Bandolim.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the version of Mimosa played by Peter Amorim very much.

Thanks Jo for sharing.

Keep swinging


23 February, 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home