Pelo Telefone

Upon first listen, “Pelo Telefone” doesn’t sound very much like other Brazilian pieces that are more prototypical to the Samba genre. The song lacks traditional Samba instruments, especially in regard to percussion. Instruments such as the surdo, tamborim, repinque, cuica, and pandeiro are missing from the mix. Instead, the song features a stringed instrument that sounds almost like a ukulele. From my limited knowledge of Brazilian instruments, I would guess that it’s the violao. The song also features a voice and a clarinet-like instrument. This song does not soud like a modern Samba because it is actually Maxixe. Maxixe is a genre of Brazilian music sometimes referred to as the Brazilian tango. This song is from the year 1917, before samba was popularized. Maxixe developed from both European and Afro-Brazilian music traditions, which can easily be heard in the sound. This form of music mimicked the European polka and march forms that were popular at the time. We can see the Brazilian elements in the syncopation of rhythms and the trilling and articulation of the voice. The clarinet-like instrument makes the song sound very typical of its era, similar to music that was coming out of the US and Europe at the same time. In this way, it doesn’t embrace Brasilidade in the same way that music does later on. Maxixe is a genre that greatly contributed to Samba.

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