Playing the Lisbon Portuguese Guitarra by Ronald Louis Fernandez (continued)

Section16a. Fado do Marinheiro, an early Portuguese Fado

Here is an image of the "Fado do Marinheiro" which appeared in 1904 in Alberto Pimental's book
A Triste Canção do Sul (which means the Sad Song of the South). Original publisher was Livraria Central, Lisboa.

The caption under the music says that this: This Fado is the oldest which the elderly guitarist Ambrósio Fernandes Maia claims to have known.

According to Pedro Caldeira Cabral (A Guitarra Portuguesa, 1999:224)  Ambrósio Fernandes Maia was born in 1830 and died in 1912.  We do not know when Maia learned of this song but we might  conjecture that it was in the first half of the 19th century. While none of this proves that this is "the earliest fado", it certainly suggests that it is an early Fado song. I should mention here that Maia was an important Portuguese Guitarist and that he authored 2 method books, one with D.L. Vieira in 1875 and one by himself in 1877 (republished in 1899 and 1900).

Below are my 2 versions of this piece. The first is my direct transcription from the unclear image published in the old book.  In the second version I have transposed the melody down an octave (which is easier to play on the Portuguese guitarra and I have added a simple accompaniment for the Viola de Fado (i.e., Spanish Guitar) part.

Here I have a few technical comments for Musicologists.

The first transcription is straight forward except for the last note in the 10th bar.  We can see in the original sheet music (above) that the 3rd note in bar 10 is definitely a C#, and that the 5th note appears to have been naturalized so it would be a C natural. I have a problem with this C natural--it sounds out of place to my ears. For years I just accepted it as a strange sound composed in another time. Repeatedly I examined the printed sheet music to decide whether there was really a natural sign in front of the C. Was it a natural sign or was it a sloppy sharp sign which was repeated? I could not decide. So I looked elsewhere for answers. 

In looking at the rest of the musical structure  I saw that at bar 12 there is a similar rhythm pattern where the 2 highest notes in the bar are identical, they are not  a 1/2 tone apart as in bar 10. This similarity suggested that perhaps the naturalized C was a mistake. Next, I surveyed the book and found other mistakes in written music. For example, on page 86 of the Fado Corrido I found that the flat signs in the key signature were misplaced in both the treble and bass clefs--this shows carelessness with regard to the musical content of the book. Consequently, I feel that there is a good likelihood that the naturalized C could be a mistake by a careless publisher.  For these reasons I feel justified in changing the naturalized C in my version.

Image of misplaced flats in key signature in both treble and bass clefs. The 4 flats should be Bb, Eb, Ab, Db. Page 86 of A Triste Canção do Sul.

Here is the full view of page 86

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