With some 150 years of history, choro repertoire is already extensive and still growing. One of the challenges we face at Choro Camp, then, is how to find or create common musical ground. No doubt this will happen in the most organic fashion as it always has—on the fly in actual rodas de choro.
That said, at a typical roda in Brazil or elsewhere the “regulars” have a shared repertoire that makes up much of what will be played whenever they gather. So we’re recommending some repertoire to prepare, to whatever degree possible, in advance. We’ll provide a variety of materials for learning these tunes well before Choro Camp.
For starters, here’s sheet music for the 10 tunes that will make up our Core Repertoire for camp this year. The tunes in each collection below are the same: one is in concert C and the others are transposed for Bb and Eb instruments. (Thanks to Stephen Paul Guerra for the transcriptions!)
To help you make the best use of your preparation time we’ll organize the suggested repertoire into two “tiers”:
Tier 1 Core Repertoire
Tier 1 is a selection of 5 tunes to which we are sure to devote intensive study at Choro Camp. They are organized here as they will be at camp, by the underlying rhythm we’ll use to play them. Click the name of any tune to hear a performance of it, but we encourage you to listen to several. All are easily available online.
- Polca: Coralina (Pimentel)
- Choro: Simplicidade (Jacob do Bandolim)
- Choro/Samba: Chorinho de Gafieira (Astor Silva)
- Maxixe: O bom filho à casa torna (Bonfiglio de Oliveira)
- Baião: Delicado (Waldir Azevedo)
In more advanced classes we’ll assume you already know these tunes and can play them at or near performance tempo without great difficulty. If that doesn’t describe you—and even if you don’t learn the Tier 1 tunes at all before arriving— that’s fine. You’ll be welcome to learn them here in one of our Level 1 classes. But the more familiar they are when you get here, the more time you can devote to refining and enjoying your interpretation of them.
If learning those first five tunes leaves you with time to spare, try these:
Tier Two Core Repertoire
As you can see, these tunes are organized by the same rhythms as those above, so they will provide us an opportunity to go deeper into each rhythmic style. We may or may not study these tunes as intensively as we will those in Tier 1 – that depends on you! – but they will surely come up in rodas by virtue of being recommended here. Also, please note that two of the tunes in Tier 2 were co-composed by Esmeraldino Salles, a Paulista composer who deserves to be much better known.
- Polca: Ele e Eu (Pixinguinha)
- Choro: Uma noite no Sumare (Esmeraldino Salles and Orlando Silveira)
- Choro/Samba: Novato (Esmeraldino Salles and Osvaldo Colagrande)
- Maxixe: O rasga (Pixinguinha)
- Baião: Um Tom pra Jobim (Sivuca e Oswaldinho do Acordeon)
If you are interested in how the Core Repertoire will be presented, please see the section On Reading Music on the page devoted to Program>Overview.
For those with even more time for study, we recommend you select tunes from those that have been included in the “Choro Challenge“, a public group organized by Susanne Ortner on Facebook after last year’s Choro Camp New England. Since the first week of July 2019 she has been posting a new tune there, with sheet music, reference recordings and sometimes backing tracks. The advantage of learning some of those tunes over whatever else you (or we) might choose is, once again, the likelihood that others at Choro Camp will have been learning them too.