Ian walks you through the melody of the A part of “Naquela Mesa” in this video.
Check out these songs featured in the Brazilian Choro Mandolin course.
Learn to play Brazilian choro music on the mandolin with young Brazilian virtuoso Ian Coury, from the classic sounds of Jacob do Bandolim to the modern style of Hamilton Holanda. Includes play-along tracks with Ian’s Brazilian backing band.
In this introductory video, Ian talks about the importance of the mandolin in choro music and about some of the characteristics of the music that make it unique.
In the first Brazilian Choro Mandolin lesson, Ian shows you the beautiful D minor choro “Naquela Mesa,” written by Sérgio Bittencourt, son of the legendary Jacob do Bandolim, who was the most influential choro mandolinist. “Naquela Mesa” is a popular Brazilian choro and is often played (as a song and instrumental) at rodas de choros (choro jam sessions).
“Benzinho” is a traditional two-part choro in the key of D minor written by the great choro mandolinist Jacob do Bandolim. It’s not one of the most popular choros, but it is well known at rodas de choros (choro jam sessions) and it's a good tune for players new to choro, because the harmony is very clear, and it’s not too difficult technically.
“Carinhoso” is one of the most popular Brazilian choros and was written by the legendary composer, flautist, and saxophonist Pixinguinha. “Carinhoso” is a beautiful, emotional tune, and in addition to being played as an instrumental, it’s also often sung.
The title of the choro “Eu Quero é Sossego” means “I just want peace” in Brazilian. Written by the choro composer and saxophonist K-Ximbinho, it’s a beautiful melody in D minor that can be interpreted in many different ways.
The choro classic “Assanhado” was written by Brazilian mandolin icon Jacob do Bandolim. It’s in the key of A and has two parts. The first part is melodically very simple but highly syncopated, while the second part has a lot of long, flowing lines and a circle-of-fifths chord progression.
“Receita de Samba” is another Jacob do Bandolim composition, and is a favorite at rodas de choros and wherever choros are played. The title translates as “samba recipe.” It’s in the key of G and has an eight-bar chordal intro.
“Vibrações” is a beautiful slow choro in the key of D minor written by Jacob do Bandolim. Jacob uses a lot of ornaments and tremolo on his recording. Ian starts by showing you the basic melody, and then demonstrates how to play Brazilian-style tremolo and some typical mandolin ornaments.
The beautiful, slow choro “Pedacinhos Do Céu” (“Little Pieces from the Sky”) was written by Waldyr Azevedo, a very successful and important choro conductor, composer, mandolinist, and cavaquinho player who composed 130 pieces during his lifetime (1923–1980). “Pedacinhos Do Céu” is in the key of G and goes to the key of E minor in the second part.
The Jacob do Bandolim tune “Noites Cariocas” is a traditional choro classic. If you play choro mandolin, you play it. There are many versions, but Ian teaches you the original version played by Jacob.
“Bora Brasil” is one of Ian’s own compositions (the title means “Let’s go, Brazil”). He wrote it for ten-string mandolin, but it can be played on eight-string (notation and tab for both ten-string and eight-string mandolin are included).
In this lesson, Ian talks about ornamentation, embellishing a melody, and phrasing as well as his picking technique. He uses a piece of the Jacob do Bandolim tune “Doce de Coco” to demonstrate all of the things he does to embellish and enhance a choro melody.
“Um Tom Pra Jobim” is a baião written by Sivuca and Oswaldinho do Acordeon. Baiãos have a different, more syncopated, underlying feel than choros, but “Um Tom Pra Jobim” has a melodic and harmonic style similar to the choros you’ve been learning. It’s in the key of G and has intro, A, and B sections, as well as an ending. The form is AABA with an intro and coda.
“Chorinho Na Gafieira” is a beautiful choro/samba written by Astor Silva. It’s in the key of C and has more of a samba groove than a traditional choro.
In this lesson, Ian shows you three rhythm patterns you can use when playing backup in choro music: the choro pattern, the choro/samba pattern, and the samba/choro pattern.
The choro “Remeleixo” was composed by Jacob do Bandolim in response to criticism that his music was too difficult. Jacob decided to compose something with a groove, and the result was “Remeleixo” which means something like “dancing in a groovy way.”
“Santa Morena” is a beautiful waltz written by Jacob do Bandolim. It’s not a choro but it’s very popular among choro musicians.
“Doce de Coco” (“Sweet Coconut”) is another tune written by the legendary choro mandolinist Jacob do Bandolim. It’s in the key of G major and is usually played at a medium tempo (65 bpm).
“Brasileirinho” is one of the most well-known choro tunes around the world. It’s a two-part choro written by Waldyr Azevedo, one of the most important cavaquinho players in choro history. The first part is in the key of A major and the second part is in A minor.
The choro “Perigoso” (“dangerous”) was written by Orlando Silveira and Esmeraldino Salles. It’s a beautiful but advanced-level choro with numerous 32nd notes. There are two parts, both in the key of G.