Edvaldo Cabral: Toada e Baião

Baião with Jaelson Farias

(Text extracted from the introduction to the edited work)

In his compositions Edvaldo Cabral makes ample use of counterpoint, associated with a personal approach to harmonics procedures. One of the most striking characteristics of his composition technique - and along with it of his own unmistakable style - is his way of deriving a counterpoint from a single melodic line by means of octave transposition of individual notes.

To illustrate this we can consider the opening theme of Baião

which was first conceived, according to the composer, as the following:

Baião is one of Edvaldo Cabral's earliest compositions for guitar solo and dates from 1978, while Toada appeared around 1982 (in its first version, written for 7-string guitar). In the present version of 2002 Toada and Baião are intended by the composer to represent a single musical unit.

The toada is a kind of slow song with a narrative and melancholical character. The word "baião", which denominates a genre of music and dance typical of the northeast of Brazil, means primarily "dance". By its correspondence and origin, it is associated with the verb "baiar", a regional transformation of the verb "bailar" [to dance].

According to the composer, the rhythmic pattern of the baião may have its origin in the chant of the scardafella squammata (known as "rolinha cascavel" or "fogo-pagô"), a very common bird typical of the region, which insistently emits the following motif:

(Example of the Scaled Dove's song transcribed by Napoleão Costa Lima and Edvaldo Cabral)
Napoleão Costa Lima
Recife, march 2004

Related links:

Edvaldo Cabral: Frevo

Edvaldo Cabral: Nuances

Edvaldo Cabral: Toada e Xaxado

Vida e Obra de Edvaldo Cabral by Napoleão Costa Lima

List of Works by Edvaldo Cabral (with audio examples)