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Thread: Choro guitar method?

  1. #1
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    Default Choro guitar method?

    A friend of mine is a fine classical guitar player, and he's been getting intrigued by choro. I'd like to try playing some duets. Now, I know there are a lot of famous solo guitar compositions by people like Villa-Lobos, but are there any good method books on how to play choro-style guitar within an ensemble situation? I have a few choro fakebooks and I figured could I'd play mando or clarinet on the melody lines and he would handle the counterpoint, but it would be nice if I could recommend something besides 'go listen to a thousand recordings and figure it out by ear'.

    (The white choro songbook has the bass counterpoint runs notated, but just as often it supplies the chord and expects the rhythm player to fill in the rest.)

  2. #2
    Registered User Tune's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choro guitar method?

    Hi. This isn't an answer to the question as you stated it, but given your friend's talent it might still be somewhat useful.

    Both of the following have accompanying CDs; many tracks have guitar and sometimes additional instruments on rhythm, but I don't know guitar to assess how well it's done (at least for your purposes).

    Some of the music in Brazilian Mandolin (Flavio Henrique Medeiros & Carlos Almada; Mel Bay) is shown with guitar notation below the mandolin notation. Very little info about theory.

    Brazilian Choro (Marilynn Mair & Paulo Sa; Mel Bay) includes a good description of history and choro technique varieties, with introductory exercises for theory and technique. But no specific guitar notation--mando notation only.

    I should add that both are beyond my current level of skills.

  3. #3
    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choro guitar method?

    Don't know if this helps but there is this book: Brazilian Rhythms for Guitar. I don't know it from first hand and there are some non-choro portions but it might help. There must be some folks in the Bay area who play -- perhaps the best would be for your guitar player to seek them out fro a few lessons. I would imagine, having watched a master (Douglas Lora) and seen some on youtube, that it is not something you just pick up from a book.
    Jim

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    AlB in PT Al Bergstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choro guitar method?

    Maybe Tim Connell of Rio Con Brio can let Mike Burdette (his guitar player) know that the question was asked and he can chime in. Mike has studied choro guitar parts for some time now. Also there is a guitarist in Grupo Falso Baino (Brian Moran) and Jesse is sometimes on this board. Also, have him come to Choro at Centrum next week, so he can learn from a real guitar player playing 7 string from Brazil! We still have a couple of slots left! www.centrum.org/choro.

    In the meantime, have him listen carefully to the play along books of Jacob, which has a -1 track (minus the mandolin), so as to hear what is going on with the guitarist. That is considered one of the greatest choro bands of all time, and we have the incredible good fortune that Jacob laid down a scratch track and multi tracked his band behind him. It's just a spectacular teaching tool for the money.

    The running bass line by the guitar is one key. Then have him get one or all of the *white books* of choro, available from either Elderly or Atlantico books. Being a classical guitar player I assume he can read bass clef, so he can read the runs for the guitarist in the notated music, which seem to be about as good as we'll get on that.

    With the guitarist in your band, be sure to leave space for the running bass lines, which have as their 'lead' the fills between melody passages. When you drop out or reduce the 'noise' of the mandolin or other guitar playing chords during those breaks it sounds fabulous, and really makes the music come alive.

    Have fun...

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    Default Re: Choro guitar method?

    In my (limited) experience, a lot of choro guitar is played on a 7-string guitar with a low bass note. This makes it difficult to play the lines properly (especially the bass lines) on a regular (6-string) classical guitar.

    I've learned a lot of great Brazilian guitar (not specifically choro) from this book:

    http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/...r-Book/3424107

    (NFI.)
    EdSherry

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    Default Re: Choro guitar method?

    These are really good suggestions you guys, thanks very much. Ed- I have pointed out the 7-string thing to him, but I think he's going to have to get bitten by the choro bug pretty hard to invest in one.

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    Registered User Doug Hoople's Avatar
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    Default Re: Choro guitar method?

    +1 for investing in the White Books and reading the bass lines in there. Probably the single best thing that a classically-trained guitarist can do to get up the choro curve.

    If your friend is in the Bay Area, then attending the Grupo Falso Baiano roda, even as an observer, will put him in touch with Brian Moran (7-string player).

    He might also try to get in touch with Ron Galen. Ron comes from a similar background background (was a classically-trained guitarist who got the choro bug), teaches guitar for a living, and knows his choro inside-out.
    Doug Hoople
    Adult-onset Instrumentalist (or was that addled-onset?)

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