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Choro Meets Ragtime

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All Instruments - Intermediate
Wire bound, SongBook. Brazilian. Book/CD Set. 82 pages. Published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc (MB.981669182).

Item Number: MB.981669182

ISBN 9780981669182. Brazilian. 9 x 12 inches.

The Brazilian Choro and the American Ragtime are two musical expressions that resulted from European and African styling and rhythmic influences. For Choro the influence of polka prevailed, whereas for Ragtime the march was the major influence, but in both cases the African musical culture (with its syncopated rhythms), present in both Brazilian and American societies, was decisive for the formation of these styles.

Although developed independently and in parallel with each other in the late 19th century, these two musical styles share great similarities, even in relation to the negative impact made upon society when both emerged, and the subsequent acceptance of the two styles even by classical music composers.

The purpose of this work is to musically illustrate the incredible similarities between Choro and Ragtime.

We selected ten ragtime tunes (five composed by Scott Joplin, its main representative), which were performed by a Choro Ensemble following the same traditional Choro swing, rhythm and harmony. For the solo we used the typical instruments used in Choro: flute, mandolin, clarinet, and sax.

The melodies were kept identical to the respective original versions. We asked soloists to perform them faithfully following the score the first time the theme was played, adding the typical Choro variations or improvisations in the repeats.

In some repeats, the Choro Ensemble also changed the base music from Choro to maxixe and/or samba-cancao, to illustrate how other Brazilian music styles fall within the project.

In relation to harmony, we followed the indications included in the original scores for piano as basic reference, but made some adjustments to better reflect the Choro language.

Choro and Ragtime finally together, just for you to listen to, or even to play along!