American and European mandolinists have long been fond of choro, a form of instrumental folk music from Brazil in which the mandolin is prominent. It’s a lively, two-beat sound, perfectly suited for dancing, with a beat and melodic style not unlike old time or bluegrass fiddle tunes.
Choro (pronounced sho-ro) tunes are commonly three part, as opposed to the two part format in American and Celtic fiddle music. Modern choro players typically use European type mandolins instead of the Loar-inspired instruments found in bluegrass, but the level of virtuosity required is of the highest order.
Banjo players have been less drawn to choro, though that has been changing since Noam Pikelny’s brilliant rendition of O Santo de Polvora on the pre-Punch Brothers album, How To Grow A Woman From The Ground in 2006.
Now, thanks to Jake Schepps, 5-stringers have a handy tune book in tablature to explore a bit of choro on their own. 21 tunes are included in Brazilian Choro Tablatures for 5-string Banjo, all also represented in standard notation for other instrumentalists to play along.
This is demanding music for banjo, requiring a good grip on single-string and melodic style. It would serve as a fine way to work on those sorts of chops, and a great introduction to choro music regardless of your skill level.
One free tab can be viewed on Jake’s site, where the book can be ordered for $29.
Category: Bluegrass instructional resources
About the Author (Author Profile)
John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.
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