UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A pianist’s perspective on the Brazilian tango Furtado, Daniel B.


For over a century the tango has been associated with the widely known musical, dance, and poetic traditions of Argentina and Uruguay. The genre, however, is not exclusive to the Argentine-Uruguayan tradition. Brazilian composers began writing tangos in the 1870s, which is approximately when the Argentine tango first started to take shape. Yet, while the genre known as Brazilian tango (Tango brasileiro in Portuguese) prospered during the first decades of the twentieth century, it lost its prominence by the 1930s. Despite this, many Brazilian musicians perform and record Brazilian tangos to this day. It has grown somewhat in popularity internationally over the past few decades, but the Brazilian tango still remains foreign to many pianists and piano students and is relatively unknown to the general population outside of Brazil. This thesis aims to draw attention to Brazilian tangos as a body of work in their own right and to shed light on this lesser known genre while demonstrating their interpretative and aesthetic benefits. This is achieved through: 1) an historical overview of the Brazilian and Argentine tangos and the origins of the term tango; and 2) an analysis and discussion of select Brazilian tangos encompassing formal, harmonic, and rhythmic elements, as well as personal suggestions with respect to practice. Its concluding argument is that the Brazilian tango should be more widely performed, as it can be of interest to seasoned pianists who aim to broaden their repertoire, as well as to late intermediate students, who can benefit from this genre as a means for improving their technical and musical skills.

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