The music of Brazil encompasses various regional musical styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms. Instrumental music is also largely practiced in Brazil, with styles ranging from classical to popular and jazz influenced forms. Little is known of the music of Brazil before the area's first encounter with Portuguese explorers on 22 April During the colonial period, documents detail the musical activities of the major Roman Catholic cathedrals and the parlors of the upper classes, but data about musical life outside these domains are sparse.
Further registration of musical activity in Brazil came from the activities of two Jesuit priests in Some of the reports of that time show the fascination of the indigenous people for European music. In the 18th century, there was intense musical activity in all the more developed regions of Brazil, with their moderately stable institutional and educational structures.
The previously few private orchestras became more common and the churches presented a great variety of music. In the second part of the 18th century, there was a great flourishing in Minas Gerais , mostly in the regions of Vila Rica currently Ouro Preto , Mariana and Arraial do Tejuco currently Diamantina , where the mining of gold and diamonds for the Portuguese metropolis attracted a sizable population.
At this time, the first outstanding Brazilian composers were revealed, most of them mulattoes. The musical pieces were mostly sacred music. All of them were very active, but in many cases few pieces have survived until the present day. In the city of Arraial do Tejuco, nowadays Diamantina , there were ten conductors in activity. In Ouro Preto about musicians were active, and in all of the territory of Minas Gerais almost a thousand musicians were active. A crucial factor for the changes in the musical life was the arrival of the Portuguese Royal family to Rio de Janeiro in Until then, Rio de Janeiro was musically similar to other cultural centers of Brazil but was even less important than Minas Gerais.
The presence of the Portuguese Royal family, in exile, radically changed this situation, as the Capela Real of Rio de Janeiro was established.
The secular music had the presence of Marcos Portugal , who was designated as the official composer of the household, and of Sigismund von Neukomm , who contributed with his own work and brought the works of the Austrian composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Joseph Haydn. The works of these composers strongly influenced the Brazilian music of this time.
Nunes Garcia was the most prolific Brazilian composer of this time. This period, however, was brief. In , John VI went back to Lisbon, taking with him the household, and the cultural life in Rio de Janeiro became empty. And, despite the love of Peter I of Brazil for the music — he was also author of some musical pieces like the Brazilian Independence Anthem — the difficult financial situation didn't allow many luxuries.
The conflagration of the Royal Theater in was another symbol of decadence, which reached the most critical point when Peter I renounced the throne, going back to Portugal. The only composer who had a relevant work in this period was Francisco Manuel da Silva , disciple of Nunes Garcia, who succeeded him as kapellmeister.
In spite of his few resources, he founded the Musical Conservatory of Rio de Janeiro. He was the author of the Brazilian National Anthem 's melody. His work reflected the musical transition for the Romanticism , when the interest of the national composers was focused in the opera.
These operas were very successful in European theaters, like the Teatro alla Scala , in Milan. At the end of the 19th century, the greatest composers for the symphonic music were revealed.
One of the most outstanding name of this period was Leopoldo Miguez , who followed the Wagnerian style and Henrique Oswald , who incorporated elements of the French Impressionism. In the beginning of the 20th century, there was a movement for creating an authentically Brazilian music, with less influences of the European culture.
In this sense, the folklore was the major font of inspiration for the composers. This trend reached the highest point with Alberto Nepomuceno , who used largely the rhythms and melodies from the Brazilian folklore. An important event, later, was the Modern Art Week , in , which had a large impact on concepts of national art. In this event the composer Heitor Villa-Lobos , regarded as the most outstanding name of the Brazilian nationalism, was revealed.
Villa-Lobos did researches about the musical folklore of Brazil, and mixed elements both from classical and popular music. He explored many musical genres such as concertos , symphonies , modinhas , Fados , and other symphonic, vocal and chamber music. Koellreutter adopted revolutionary methodes, in respect to the individuality of each student and giving to the students the freedom of creativity before the knowledge of the traditional rules for composition.
The movement edited a magazine and presented a series of radio programs showing their fundaments and works of contemporary music. Later, Guerra-Peixe and Santoro followed an independent way, centered in the regional music. Other composers, who used freely the previous styles were Marlos Nobre , Almeida Prado , and Armando Albuquerque , who created their own styles.
After , the Brazilian avant-garde movement received a new wave, focusing on serial music , microtonal music , concrete music and electronic music , employing a completely new language. Carlos Gomes was the first composer on non-European origin to achieve wide recognition in the classical music environment of the Golden age of Opera in Italy.
Bossa Nova was created as anti-opera in a time when opera seemed to represent the art-form of the elite. Nowadays, Brazilian music follows the guidelines of both experimentalism and traditional music. Brazil has a large number of internationally recognized orchestras and performers, despite the relatively low support of the government.
In the s, a wave of Brazilian heavy metal bands gained public attention. The intrusion of alien elements into Brazil's cultural system is not a destructive process.
The return of a democratic government allowed for freedom of expression. The Brazilian music industry opened up to international styles and this has allowed for both foreign and local genres to co-exist and identify people. Each different style relates to the people socially, politically, and economically.
As such, musicians in the country choose to define their local heritage differently depending on where they come from. In recent years Brazilian artists have become more interested in Africa, the Caribbean and their own indigenous and folk music. While there are some artists who continue to perform rock and Western pop, there are now just as many contemporaries playing a fusion of African and European influences with those from across The Americas. Some artists have even become influenced by Asian music, noticing some parallels between music from the North-East of Brazil and music from India.
The native peoples of the Brazilian rainforest play instruments including whistles , flutes , horns , drums and rattles. Much of the area's folk music imitates the sounds of the Amazon Rainforest. When the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, the first natives they met played an array of reed flutes and other wind and percussion instruments. The Jesuit missionaries introduced songs which used the Tupi language with Christian lyrics, an attempt to convert the people to Christianity,  and also introduced Gregorian chant and the flute, bow , and the clavichord.
The earliest music in what is now Brazil must have been that of the native peoples of the area. Little is known about their music, since no written records exist of this era. With the arrival of Europeans, Brazilian culture began to take shape as a synthesis of native musical styles with Portuguese music and African music. The Afro-Brazilian sport of capoeira is never played without its own music, which is usually considered to be a call-and-response type of folk music. The main instruments of capoeira music include the berimbau , the atabaque and the pandeiro.
Capoeira songs may be improvised on the spot, or they may be popular songs written by older, and ancient mestres teachers , and often include accounts of the history of capoeira, or the doings of great mestres.
This type of music is played primarily in the Recife and Olinda regions during Carnaval. It is an Afro-Brazilian tradition. The music serves as the backdrop for parade groups that evolved out of ceremonies conducted during colonial times in honour of the Kings of Congo, who were African slaves occupying symbolic leadership positions among the slave population.
Also, important female characters are performed by cross-dressed male performers, and all African and Afrobrazilian personages are performed using blackface makeup. The Filhos de Gandhi's appearance was also revolutionary because, until then, the Carnaval parades in Salvador were meant only for light-skinned people. Northeastern Brazil is known for a distinctive form of literature called literatura de cordel , which are a type of ballads that include elements incorporated into music as " repentismo ", an improvised lyrical contest on themes suggested by the audience.
Similar to Repentismo, appears among the Caipira culture a musical form derived from viola caipira , which is called cururu. Choro literally "cry" in Portuguese, but in context a more appropriate translation would be "lament" , traditionally called chorinho "little cry" or "little lament". Instrumental, its origins are in 19th century Rio de Janeiro.
Originally choro was played by a trio of flute, guitar and cavaquinho a small chordophone with four strings. He resisted the popular term maxixe to represent Brazilian tango. Chiquinha Gonzaga composed her first success, the polka-choro "Atraente", in The mainstream success of this style of music By the s came from the early days of radio, when bands performed live on the air. By the s and s it was replaced by samba and Bossa Nova and other styles of Brazilian popular music, but was still alive in amateur circles called "rodas de choro" informal choro gatherings in residences and botecos.
However, in the late s there was a successful effort to revitalize the genre carried out by some famous artists: Pixinguinha , Waldir Azevedo and Jacob do Bandolim. In , prompted by the opening of the first radio station in Rio de Janeiro, the so-called radio era began spreading songs — especially the novelty Samba in its current format — to larger masses.
Popular music included instruments like cuicas , tambourines , frying pans 'played' with a metal stick , flutes and guitars. Antonio Carlos Jobim and other composers helped further develop this fusion of jazz harmonies and a smoother, often slower, samba beat, which developed at the beach neighborhoods of Ipanema and, later, the Copacabana nightclubs. Bossa nova was introduced to the rest of the world by American jazz musicians in the early s, and song " The Girl from Ipanema " remains probably the best known Brazilian musical export, eventually becoming a jazz standard.
Gospel music emerged in Brazil before the s with hymnals that were brought and translated into Portuguese by American missionaries. From the late s the first singers of Christian music groups emerged in Brazil, but the songs were not highly valued. Diante do Trono has become the largest contemporary worship music ministry in Latin America. In the s, young singers like Roberto Carlos and the Jovem Guarda movement were very popular. The late s and early s also witnessed the beginnings of an electronica-inspired scene, with a lot more limited commercial potential but achieving some critical acclaim: Suba , Loop B , Harry , etc.
In the s, the meteoric rise of Mamonas Assassinas , which sold more than 3 million copies of its only CD a record, by Brazilian standards came to a tragic end when the band's plane crashed, killing all five members of the band, the pilot and the co-pilot. The band Pato Fu was considered by Time magazine one of the ten best bands in the world outside the United States.
Female singer Pitty is also very popular. The indie scene has been growing exponentially since the early s, with more and more festivals taking place all around the country. However, due to several factors including but not limited to the worldwide collapse of the music industry, all the agitation in the indie scene has so far failed in translating into international success, but in Brazil they developed a real, substantial cultural movement. That scene is still much of a ghetto, with bands capturing the attention of international critics, but many playing again in Brazil when they become popular in the exterior, due to the lack of financial and material support which would allow for careers to be developed.
One notable exception is CSS , an alternative electro rock outfit that has launched a successful international career, performing in festivals and venues in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
The band has its own style, somewhere between rock and folk, and is recognized as the most important independent band in Brazil. Sin , Shaaman , Violator and the singer Andre Matos.