Brazilian music is strongly influenced from all parts of the world, but there are very popular music styles influenced by African and European forms, by the native music of the Amazon rainforest and that of other parts of Brazil itself. Samba is no doubt the best known form of Brazilian music worldwide, though Bossa Nova and other genres have also received much attention abroad.
Brazilian Music History:
The earliest known descriptions of music in Brazil date from 1578, when Jean de LÃ©ry, a French Calvinist pastor, published 'Histoire d'un voyage faict en la terre du BrÃ©sil, autrement dite AmÃ©rique' (Journey to the Land of Brazil, also called America).
He described the dances and transcribed the music of the Tupi people. In 1587, Gabriel Soares de Sousa wrote 'Tratado Descritivo do Brasil' about the music of several native Brazilian ethnic groups, including the Tamoios and TupinambÃ¡s.
King JoÃ£o VI of Portugal was known as a music lover and spent a period of time in Brazil. He sent for prominent European musicians to join him, including Austrian pianist Sigismund von Neukomm and composer Marcos Portugal. A local Brazilian musician, JosÃ© MaurÃcio Nunes Garcia, an organist and clavichordist, was appointed Inspector to the Royal Chapel.
In 1739, Domingos Caldas Barbosa wrote a series of modinhas that were extremely popular. A modinha (pronounced moddEEnya) is a kind of sentimental love song whose origin is uncertain, as it may have evolved either in Brazil or Portugal.
Lundu was the first kind of African-influenced music to flourish in Brazil. Lundu, a style of comedic song and dance, was extremely popular and even came to be performed in the Portuguese court.
Brazil became independent from Portugal in 1822, following the Brazilian War of Independence. Soon after, the African comic form 'lundu' spread from the poor black quarters to a broader, white middle-class audience.
Towards the end of the 18th century a form of comedic dance called bumba-meu-boi became very popular. It was a musical retelling of the story of a resurrected ox. These dances are led by a chamador, who introduces the various characters. Instruments used include the pandeiro, the tamborim, the accordion and the acoustic guitar.
During the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century, the classical music in Brazil was strongly influenced by the music style practiced in Europe, particularly the Viennese classical style. The first major Brazilian composer was JosÃ© MaurÃcio Nunes Garcia, a priest who composed several sacred pieces and some secular music. He wrote the opera 'Le Due Gemelle' ('The two twins'), the first opera written in Brazil, but the music is nowadays lost. About 250 works written by him are known in the present days. Elias Ãlvares Lobo composed the first Brazilian opera with a libretto in Portuguese: 'A Noite de SÃ£o JoÃ£o' (Saint John's Party Night).
Near the end of the 19th century, Carlos Gomes (from Campinas ) produced in a number of Italian-style operas, such as 'Il Guarany' (based on a novel by JosÃ© de Alencar). BrasÃlio ItiberÃª was another prominent classical composer, the first to use elements of Brazilian music in Western classical music, in his 'Sertaneja' (1869).
In 1922, the Week of Modern Art revolutionized Brazilian literature, painting and music. Heitor Villa-Lobos led a new vanguard of composers who used Brazilian folk music in their compositions.
By the end of the 1930s, there were 2 schools of Brazilian composition. Camargo Guarnieri was the head of the Nationalist school, inspired by the writer MÃ¡rio de Andrade. Other composers including Guerra Peixe, Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez, Francisco Mignone, Luciano Gallet and RadamÃ©s Gnatalli. Beginning in 1939, Hans Joachim Koellreutter, creator of the Live Music Group, founded another school, characterized by the use of dodecaphonism and atonalism. Other composers in this school included Edino Krieger, ClÃ¡udio Santoro and Eunice Catunda.