Sons de Carrillhões by Pernambuco

The next “performance piece” I’ve been working on is Sons De Carrillhões by João Teixeira Guimarães, but often known as Pernambuco, a Brazilian composer of the early 20th century. This piece fits in the genre known as “choro”: complex yet often upbeat instrumental Brazilian music.

It’s popular with guitarists and well-received by audiences. There are many, many recordings on YouTube. My favourite one so far is Kevin Loh’s—musical as well as technically proficient. Players vary quite widely in how they interpret this piece, some choosing to syncopate the accompaniment (here’s one player who syncopates only on the repeat), some playing three chords in the accompaniment.

The score I worked from was the one in Delcamp’s D05 collection. You’ll need to register on the Delcamp forum to be able to download it. It’s worth doing: they’re high quality scores. Other scores are available online. I wasn’t completely faithful to it though. I changed some things such as fingering and the syncopation.

I found this piece a joy to listen to and to play. I couldn’t get enough of it when I first started it, and I’d play it over and over again, sometimes devoting my entire practice session to it. I’d say it has been my most advanced piece yet. It’s in Delcamp’s D05 collection, which suggests it’s around grade five (and I’m probably around grade two or three). Some of the damping was tricky to get right, but in general I didn’t find it technically too difficult. What I struggled with, as always, were the notes higher up the fretboard. I’m still not familiar enough with them that I can sight read, so it took longer to be able to play them. Once I’d memorised it though, there was no holding me back.


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