Canção do berimbau : for tenor trombone, contrabass and drum set
by Andrián Pertout (2001)
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The principal instrument of the Brazilian 'Capoeira' - a stylized fighting dance of the Bahia region - is the Berimbau, a one-string musical bow of Angolan origin, usually fitted with a gourd resonator. It is performed with a coin or stone (acting as a bridge), a thin bamboo stick, and a caxixi or small wicker basket rattle. Among the many traditional Afro-Brazilian rhythms directly associated with this martial arts form is the 'Toque de São Bento Grande', which features a percussion ensemble consisting of one to three Barimbaus, as well as an assortment of accompanying instruments such as the Pandeiro (a single-headed frame drum with several sets of flat jingles), Atabaque (a conical single-headed drum) and Agogo (a clapperless double iron bell). 'Canção do Berimbau' or 'Song of the Berimbau' is an experimental composition for Tenor Trombone that essentially transfers the 'Toque de São Bento Grande' out of its customary rhythmic context into one involving an instrument generally restricted to a role of 'melody maker' rather than 'beat master'. The conceptual strategy for melodic development based entirely on the performer's aleatoric reproduction of all possible natural harmonics arising out of the Berimbau's limited pitch set - a two-tone scale attributed to the instrument's fundamental and secondary pitches, generated via striking an open string and a 'major tone' touch point respectively. The Tenor Trombone, with its re-articulated circular breathing, attempting to reproduce the Berimbau's drone aspect; and with the multiphonics resulting from the singing and overtone nuances of the harmon mute, attempting to bridge the gap between aerophone and chordophone.
Instrumentation: Tenor trombone, double bass, drum set.
Duration: 6 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional.
The composer cites as influences on the work: Brazilian ‘Capoeira’ – a stylised fighting dance of the Bahia region Berimbau (one-string musical bow) Toque de São Bento Grande
Arranged for Australian trombonist Adrian Sherriff
- Influenced by: South America
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