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The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil Kindle Edition
|Length: 256 pages||Language: English|
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Unfortunately, unless a person is willing to spend countless shopping hours and a couple of thousand dollars building up collection of Brazilian records, he or she will gain almost no insight from this book into what the music feels like. The authors describe individual works and artists in only vague terms - terms often identical to those previously used to describe others. They beat the term "syncopation" into irrelevance - it's clear only that all Brazilian music is syncopated. The authors habitually refer to folk music genres and song forms ala "Composer X's work is all based on the Y song form..." But they provide no practical examples or definitions of those genres or forms.
The authors stridently dumb-down their text, accepting as axiom that one has to "hear it to believe it" and that it is meaningless to describe Brazilian music in technical terms. They generally refrain from even using common musical terms - bar, measure, pulse, key, etc. - to give the reader a clearer understanding of Brazilian rhythmic and harmonic structures. They use few effective musical comparisons or verbal metaphors. It is understandably difficult to describe music in writing. But it is possible. Judicious use of metaphor, comparisions, and technical descriptions would have greatly fleshed out what in the end comes off as a skeletal text.
This 1998 edition serves as the update to the first, apparently published in 1990 or 1991. However, the amendments appear to have been quite minor - embodied by an isolated paragraph here and there, and four meager pages in the final "More Brazilian Sounds" chapter. It's as if nothing has really happened in the evolution of Brazilian music since 1990 - an impression that must be wrong.
The Brazilian Sound catalogs decent research, but is neither good writing nor effective music history.