Tutorial at ISMIR

Why is Brazilian Guitar Interesting?
Presented by: François Pachet and Giordano Cabral

Abstract: Following the ISMIR 2012 tutorial “Why jazz is interesting?” this tutorial will give an overview of the wonderful facets of “Brazilian guitar” for a MIR audience. Both presenters are accomplished Brazilian guitar players, and the tutorial will include many live demonstrations of the concepts addressed. Brazilian guitar is not a genre per se, nor a style, not even a specific instrument. But almost every Brazilian knows how to play guitar in a certain way: rich chords, complex rhythms, harmonious melodies. Almost every Brazilian also knows hundreds of songs and this shared repertoire plays a big role in shaping Brazilian culture in general. Consequently, Brazilian guitar is a key instrument in many genres of so-called “MPB” (Música Popular Brasileira for Brazilian Popular Music), including choros, bossa nova (of course), samba, and all the developments of an incredibly lively musical country.

However, it is still a hard task to learn how to play Brazilian guitar and understand its basic principles. Its intrinsic rules are still ill studied, and poorly formalized. This tutorial will attempt to explain why Brazilian guitar is so fascinating. Like the preceding tutorial on jazz, it will be delivered from a “musician” viewpoint, but targeted at a scientifically advanced audience of MIR people. The main assumption of this tutorial (hopefully to become a series) is that in-depth knowledge of specific musical genres is a prerequisite to build the next generation of MIR systems.