Brazilian Music and Dance

Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Brazilian Music and Dance

  • Host University

    Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina

  • Location

    Florianópolis, Brazil

  • Area of Study

    Dance, Latin American Studies, Music (BA)

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

    54
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4
  • Overview

    1. LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION – The course is offered in English.

    2. CONTACT HOURS – 45 hours  

    3. AUDIENCE – The course allows students from outside the ISA group to join the room.

    4. COURSE PRE-REQUISITES – There are no pre-requisites for the course. 

    5. GENERAL COURSE DESCRIPTION – This course offers an exploration of two main aspects of Brazilian popular culture: music and dance. Students will delve into the historical context of emergence of the main musical genres in Brazil, exploring their regional variations and cultural/religious backgrounds. Students will gain first-hand experience with opportunities to hear musical performances at local venues, witness dance performances and learn some key Brazilian genres of dance like samba and forró.

    6. OBJECTIVES ­– Students attending this course are expected to:

    • learn about the history and popular manifestations of brazilian music and dance.
    • distinguish and recognize the music of brazil and the various regional musical styles influenced by african, european and indigenous matrixes
    • experience and learn popular dances in brazil – mainly samba and forró.

    7. METHODOLOGY AND REQUIRED READINGS – The course methodology will be based on a combination of lectures, screening of documentaries, analysis of songs and extra-class activities, where students will be given the opportunity to witness and dance Brazilian musical styles. The course literature is based on two main references: The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil (by Chris McGowan and Ricardo Pessanha, Culture Planet, Playa del Rey, 2014) and Music in Brazil: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture (John Murphy, Oxford, New York 2006), occasionally complemented by articles from academic and popular journals on specific themes.

    8. CONTENTS

    Part I – The Brazilian Musical Landscape

    Class 1 – Introduction: Music and Dance in Brazil

    • Contents – Introduction to the course; music and society; the Amerindian, Portuguese and African matrixes of Brazilian Music and Dance; main musical genres in Brazil and their regional variants
    • Objectives – Introduce students to the Brazilian “Musical landscape.”
    • Activities – Round of introductions; presentation of course outline: literature, aims, problems, activities and methods of assessment.

    Class 2 – Five Centuries of Music

    • Contents – Basic elements of the history of Brazil; the indigenous peoples and the Portuguese conquest; Portuguese musical styles; “entrudo” and Carnival; Africans in Brazil and their cultural legacy; the irmandades orders; Afro-Brazilian religious traditions.
    • Objectives – Understanding the sociological basis of popular music and dance in Brazil.
    • Activities – Regular Lecture. Screening of BBC documentary: “Brasil Brasil: From Samba to Bossa” Part I.
    • Reading – McGowan & Ricardo Pessanha (2014) Chapter 1: “Five Centuries of Music.” In: The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil (digital edition).  

    Part II – African Matrixes

    Class 3 – Samba: the Brazilian heartbeat

    • Contents – The history of samba: from favelas to a national genre; Getúlio Vargas, Ary Barroso and Carmen Miranda: Hollywoodian renderings of Brazil; the radio era; the formation of samba schools in Rio de Janeiro.
    • Objectives – Have students understand the historical context of emergence of samba in the early XX century.
    • Activities – Regular Lecture. Screening of BBC documentary: “Brasil Brasil: From Samba to Bossa” Part II.
    • Reading – McGowan & Ricardo Pessanha (2014) Chapter 2: “Samba: the heartbeat of Rio” In: The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil (digital edition).  

    Class 4 – Extra-class activity 1: Practical Samba dancing class at Casarão da Dança (Centro). Meeting at UNISUL’s Trajano building at regular class hour.   

    Class 5 – Extra-class activity 2: “Alapalá – encounter of Masters of African cultural matrix” at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. From 16:00 – 17:00, Workshop of Afoxé dance and percussion and Angola Capoeira with Mestre Moa do Katendê; from 17:00 – 18:30: workshop of Maracatú Dance and Percussion of the “Nação Estrela Brilhante do Recife” with Mestre Walter França and Baiana Rica Maurício Soares.

    Class 6 –  Extra-class activity 3: Visit to the “Samba de Terreiro” of the Escadaria da Irmandade de Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Homens Pretos.

     

    Class 7Chorinho: a popular classic.

    • Contents – Choro: an early carioca instrumental style; the emergence of choro; Northeastern influences; women in choro; choro revival and present vitality
    • Objectives – Understanding the historical context of emergence of chorinho and its relationships with other Brazilian musical genres.
    • Activities – Lecture, analysis of songs and discussion.
    • Reading – Murphy, John (2006) Chapter 2: “Projecting Brazilian Identity Nationally and Internationally” In: Music in Brazil: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, New York: Oxford, pages 29-35.

    Complementary reference: Magalhães, Marcelo (2014) “The Brazilian Choro: its History and Structure”, Ars inter Culturas, n.3.

    Part II – Urban Fusions: Bossa Nova and MPB

    Class 8 – Bossa Nova: the New Way

    • Contents – Bossa Nova: the Samba beat with an international flair; the reception of Bossa Nova in the USA; Bossa Nova and Jazz; Bossa Nova and the image of Brazil abroad.
    • Objectives – Grasping the creative context of new Brazilian musical genres gaining international prominence in the 1950s/60s.
    • Activities – Lecture, analysis of songs and screening of film: “Vinicius.”
    • Reading – McGowan & Ricardo Pessanha (2014) Chapter 3: “Bossa Nova: the new way” In: The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil (digital edition).   

    Class 9 – “Brazilian Popular Music” (MPB)

    • Contents – “MPB”: A musical rainbow; the music festivals of the 1960s; the tropicália movement; the work of Chico Buarque.
    • Objectives – Understanding the historical and political context of emergence of the genre known as “Música Popular Brasileira”.
    • Activities – Lecture, analysis of songs and discussion
    • Reading – McGowan & Ricardo Pessanha (2014) Chapter 4: “MPB: A Musical Rainbow” In: The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil (digital edition).

    Class 10 – Extra-class activity 4: visit to the “Engenho Boi-de-Mamão” along with the other international students, departure from UNISUL’s Trajano building at 14:00. (Activity Cost: 15 Reais).

    Part III – Sounds of the Hinterlands

    Class 11 – Forró: the sound of the Sertão  

    • Contents – “Baião”: Luiz Gonzaga and the invention of the Northeast; the variations of forró rhythms; Dominguinhos and his music.
    • Objectives – Acquiring familiarity with and gaining insight into the several musical genres of the Brazilian backlands.
    • Activities – Lecture, musical analysis and screening of “Especial Dominguinhos”.
    • Reading – Murphy, John (2006) Chapter 4: “The Sound of the Northeast” In: Music in Brazil: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, New York: Oxford, pages 94-108.

    Class 12 – Extra-class activity 5: Practical Forró dancing class at Casarão da Dança (Centro). Meeting at UNISUL’s Trajano building at regular class hour.   

    Class 13Maracatú, Frevo and other Northern beats

    • Contents – The folkloric musical traditions of the North and Northeast and their cultural contexts
    • Activities – Lecture, musical assessment and discussion.
    • Reading – Music in Brazil: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, New York: Oxford, pages 71-93.

    Class 14 – Extra-class activity 6: African Percussion and Dance Workshop with the group Abayomi (yet to be confirmed).

    Class 15 – Sertanejo (Caipira) Music

    • Contents – “Música caipira” in sacred and secular contexts; viola caipira; traditional sertanejo and “sertanejo universitário”.
    • Objectives – Gaining familiarity with the musical genres of rural regions of Brazil and their recent urban refashioning.
    • Activities – Lecture, musical assessment and discussion.
    • Reading – Murphy, John (2006) Chapter 5: “Musica Caipira: Rural Music of the South” In: Music in Brazil: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, New York: Oxford, pages 109-117.

    Part IV – Cosmopolitan Waves

    Class 16 – Brazilian Rock, Soul and Reggae

    • Contents – The Brazilian rock of the 1980s; Tim Maia and the rhythm-and-blues Brazilian style; the thrust of reggae in the 1990s.
    • Objectives – Have students understand the variety of musical production flourishing in the Brazilian cosmopolitan contexts of the 1980s/1990s.
    • Activities – Lecture, musical assessment and discussion.
    • Reading – McGowan & Ricardo Pessanha (2014) Chapter 10: “More Brazilian Sounds” In: The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil (digital edition)

    Class 17 – Rap, Hip-Hop and Funk

    • Contents – The variety of styles/genres of contemporary popular music in the peripheries of Brazilian metropolis: Rap, Hip-Hop and Funk.
    • Objectives – Have students understand the variety of musical production flourishing in the Brazilian cosmopolitan contexts of the 1980s/1990s.
    • Activities – Lecture, music assessment and discussion.

    Reading – McGowan & Ricardo Pessanha (2014) Chapter 10: “More Brazilian Sounds” In: The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil (digital edition)

    Class 18 – Student Seminar: Oral Presentations

    Based on their learning experiences, students will make an oral presentation of their final course project. For such, they may use a Powerpoint presentation, display photographs, music or videos. Throughout their presentation, students should demonstrate their capacity to relate their own topics of concern and their individual experiences with the course topics, literature and class discussions. Each presentation should not exceed 30 minutes.

    9. GRADING PLAN

    Attendance and participation are essential to the objectives of this course. Participation in class and extra-class activities is an integral part of the course methods of assessment, as are written assignments and evaluations.

    The course final course grade is constructed as follows:

    Attendance: 10%

    The student´s full attendance and his/her punctuality in both class and extra-class activities are essential to the learning objectives of the course and will be evaluated, amounting to 10% of his/her final mark.

    Participation in class: 30%

    This course privileges dialogic classes over the classic lecture model. Students are therefore expected to have an active participation in class – asking questions, making comments on the texts and overall materials analyzed in the course, and partaking in the proposed discussions. Every student’s participation will be evaluated, amounting to 30% of his/her final mark.

    Presentation: 30%

    Students are required to prepare an oral presentation on one of the topics covered by the course. Although this is not mandatory, it is advisable that students present on the same topic they will address in their written paper (so they can receive feedback from class and incorporate it in their writing). Students may elaborate on topics of their own choice – insofar as it be relatable to the course literature, themes and class discussions. The presentation will amount to 30% of the student´s final mark.

    Assignments: 30%

    Students are expected to submit written assignments based on the class and extra-class activities scheduled for the course. The idea of such assignments is to encourage the student’s reflection on his/her learning process throughout the course – the challenges they encountered, the insights they had on the relationship between Brazilian music, history and culture, their sense of improvement in their dancing skills, etc. Precise instructions for each assignment will be given to the students along the classes.

    The course uses a percentage grading scale. The required grade of approval is over 70%, where 100% represents full accomplishment. These percentages are equivalent to a letter scale system (from A to F).

    Grade Scale:

    A

    100-93

    A-

    92-90

    B+

    89-87

    B

    86-83

    B-

    82-80

    C+

    79-77

    C

    76-73

    C-

    72-70

    D+

    69-67

    D

    66-63

    D-

    62-60

    F

    59-00

    Academic Honesty Policy

    Plagiarism, cheating, submitting work of another person or work previously used and other forms of academic dishonesty will lead to lowered course grades, failure of the course or more severe measures, depending on judgments of the gravity of the individual case.

    10. ATTENDANCE POLICY

    10.1 To be approved, the student must have a minimum of 70% of improvement and 75% of class frequency.

    10.2  The student cannot be absent on up to 25% of classes.

    In case of injury or sickness the absence of the student will not count if he presents a medical certificate. In this context, the classroom assignments shall be sent via e-mail to him. When the student joins back his group, the professor is instructed to pay extra attention to him/her in the process of catching up with the class.

    10.3 Possibility of dropping or adding classes

    Spring & Fall / Extensive -The students have the first week to attend all the classes they are already signed up in, and also the ones they might want to add. Then by the beginning of the second week of classes (Monday) they should have their final decision.

    11. REFERENCES

    McGowan & Ricardo Pessanha (2014) The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil (digital edition).

    Murphy, John (2006) Chapter 4: “The Sound of the Northeast” In: Music in Brazil: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, New York: Oxford

    Magalhães, Marcelo (2014) “The Brazilian Choro: its History and Structure”, Ars inter Culturas, n.3.