Section 30. Playing the Lisbon Portuguese Guitarra by Ronald Louis Fernández  (October 7, 2021)

Selected Bibliography on the Portuguese Guitarra and Fado

Barreto, Mascarenhas

1967 Fado: Origens Li­ricas e Motivacoes Poeticas (Lyrical Origins and poetic Motivation). Editorial Aster Lda, Largo de Dona Estefania, 8, Lisboa, Portugal. No ISBN number. There is no indication of the date of publication in the front or back of the book so this book is usually listed as having no date. However, I found on page 115 in footnote 17 the statement that this book was completed on October 17, 1967. 590 pages with a phonograph record. This book is written in both Portuguese and English; the translation was done bt George Dykes. This book is extensively footnoted but strangely the bibliography does not list any dates of publication. Throughout this book there are lyrics for many fados and there are good translation of the Portuguese words into English. While I am not convinced by some of Barreto's ideas about origins of the fado, nevertheless, I consider this an essential and interesting book for anyone studying the fado. In another essay I will discuss various theories on the origins of the fado given in this and other books. If you can find this book you will learn a lot. Unfortunately it was not printed on good paper nor was the binding very strong so my well read copy is in poor and declining condition.


1999 Fado Falado. Ediclube: Amadora. ISBN: 972-719-077-4. 383 pages. Um Seculo de Fado Collection. This book consists of transcriptions of interviews done by Baptista-Bastos with many of the great figures of Fado. I really like this book because it brings forth the charm and personality of so many of the greats. There are interviews with: Alcindo de Carvalho, Amalia Rodrigues, Antonio Chainho (one of my favorites), Antonio Rocha, Argentina Santos, Beatriz da Conceição, Camané Carlos do Carmo, Carlos Zel, Fernanda Maria. Fernando Maurçio, Fontes Rocha (one of my favorites), Frutuoso França, Gabino Ferreira, João Braga, João Ferreira-Rosa, Joel Pina (the great viola bass player), Jorge Gomes, Jorge Tuna, Luis Goes, Machado Soares, Mario Pacheco, Merces da Cunha Rego, Misia (one of my favorites), Raul Nery, D.Vicente da Camara.

Brito, Joaquim Pais de

1994 Fado: Vozes e Sombras. 243 pages Lisboa: Electa, Museu Nacional de Etnologia. This book includes a number of very good articles about the history and sociology of the fado. It has many unique photographs and was apparently connected with an exhibit in Lisbon in 1994. There is a short article entitled "Vozes e Guitarras na Pratica interpretativa do fado by Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco which nicely describes the musical and poetic structure of the fado; the author of this article has a very good understanding of the fado, it is unfortunate the article is not exhaustive.

Caldeira Cabral, Pedro

1999 A Guitarra Portuguesa. Ediclube, Edição e Promoção do Livro, Lda., Rua da Industria, 4, Alfragide, 2724-517 Amadora, Portugal. ISBN: 972-719-077-4 The book was originally sold as part of the special collection of videos, CDs and books called Um Seculo de Fado.

This is a wonderful 399 page book with dozens of full color photos of Portuguese guitarras and extensive original discussion of the origin of the guitarra, its relationship to other instruments, the place of the guitarra in the fado, the constructors of guitarras, the famous guitarristas, the structure of the guitarra, tunings, playing technique, notation, and the repertoire. There are over 20 pieces written out in music notation at the end of this book. They are "classical" music pieces from the 13th century on: among the composer are JSBach, Domenico Scarlatti, Carlos Sexias (1704-17420, Fernando Sor (1778-1839), Carlos Paredes, Pedro Caldeira Cabral, Ricqardo Rocha and others. These are pieces for serious players. These are apparently all transcriptions by Pedro Caldeira Cabral himself. Unfortunately, for aficionados of Lisbon guitarras, there are no examples of Lisboa fado variations nor accompaniment. I do not think that this deficiency should be blamed on Pedro since his interests have long been on polyphonic music rather than traditional fado (although we know from his recording that he plays a great Fado Lopes). The lack of written music in the Seculo de Fado collection showing authentic Lisbon style guitarra really speaks to the issue that the fado guitarra has traditionally been learned by ear and by direct observation rather than from written transcription.

Caiado, Carlos,

1986 Antologia do Fado de Coimbra,. Printed by Grafica de Coimbra, December 1985, 2,500 copies, Deposito legal: 10598/85. 216 pages This is a book with words and music in standard notation (melody only, no chords) of the Coimbra style fado. I bnelieve i found in in a book store in Coimbra. It has the great traditional Coimbra student fados and includes some back ground about the songs. The author, Carlos Manuel Simoes Caiado, was an engineering student at Coimbra and was active in singing groups and he also played the portuguese viola (i.e., Spanish style guitar). He was involved in the creation of the Secção de Fado at the Coimbra University student union. For me this was a nice little find of a book. Especially because I attended a summer school course at the University of Coimbra in 1974.

de Carvalho, Ruben

1999 Um Seculo de Fado. Ediclube, Rua da Industria, 4, Alfragide, 2724-517 Amadora, Portugal. ISBN: 972-719-077-4. 239 pages. This book is part of the extraordinary resource on the fado from Ediclude which includes 7 books, 8 videos and 35 CD. I love the books in this collection. They include lots of photos of people, posters, drawings, paintings, lyrics and one book is devoted to Fado melodies written out in standard music notation. The first part of this book introduces fado and the people, its history, Lisboa, Politics, the Music, the composers, performing sites and other topics. The end of the first part describes various types of fado: Fado Menor, Fado Corrido and Fado Mouraria, Fados Alexandrinos, Fado Vianinha, Fado Vitoria, Fado Alberto, Fado Carlos da Maia, Fado Dois Tons, Fado Meia-Noite, Fado Pedro Rodrigues, Fado Primavera, Fado Proença, Fado Varela, March do Alfredo. The second part of the book categorizes 137 Fados Classicos according to poetic srtucture, recognized composer and makes some special observation on mosrt of these. Also in this second part is a Chronology of Portuguese Socio-Politcal History beginning in 1441 lined up with important events in the history of Fado

Cohen, Donald

2003 Fado Português: Songs from the soul of Portugal. New York: Wise Publications (ISBN: 0-7119-8229-5. This is a nice book (I don't just say that because Donald is my friend). It has lead sheets for 26 famous fado accompanied by a CD with famous fadistas. There are stories about each fado and and good photos of famous singers and players.   There are chords for the 6 string standard guitar along with the melody in standard notation. There are also some "contracantes" which are melodies which are played as a response to the main melody. There are very good translations into English along with the original Portuguese. It may surprise people who have not traveled through Portugal but sheet music for fado is very difficult to find.  So, for those in love with Fado this is a good book.

Fernandez, Ronald Louis

1991 The Portuguese Guitarra: A Modern Cittern. American Luthiere: Journal of the Guild of American Luthiers, Fall issue. This is my little contribution in English to the discussion of the Portuguese Guitarra.

Ferro, Jose

1895 Methodo de Guitarra: Contendo as Principaes Noçoes Elementares. Composto sobre a sua afinacao natural, para facilidade das pessoas que desejan aprender este instrumento em pouco tempo. Porto: Typographia Occidental-Editoria. 31 pages. This short book has very simple pieces written in the natural tuning (C,E,G, c,e,g), a "fado" tuning (A, E, F#, b, e, f#), and a B flat tuning (Bb, F, G, c, f, g).--all tuning are 6th to 1st course. The pieces are of little use to modern fado players.

Fraga, Rafael and Augusto Macedo

2008 Carlos do Carmo: Songbook. Lisboa: Edições Nelson de Matos. ISBN: 978-989-95597-9-0. This book contains 49 pieces which were sung by the great Carlos do Carmo. There are lead sheets with the melody and chord symbols. There are the original Portuguese words along with nice English transcriptions. There is a 20 page essay on the life and career of Carlos do Carmo with photos.  My wife and I met Carlos in the early 2000s when the Museu do Fado (Lisboa) put on a night in his honor. A Fado concert was given in his honor with several performers including guitarist Ricardo Rocha (grandson of Fontes Rocha). Carlos sat next to my wife for the hour performance (my wife was thrilled and honored). 

Gallop, Rodney,

1936 Portugal:A Book of Folk-Ways. Cambridge University Press. 291 pages. This is an ethnographic study of Portuguese folkmusic and customs. Chapter XI (p. 243-265) is entitled The Fado; this chapter is a introduction to Fado for readers in English up to the mid 1930s. The problem with this introduction is that it is quite out of date.

Gomes, Manoel

1929 A Guitarra Portuguesa: Método Fácil: Para aprender a tocar de ouvido e por música. This was probably published around 1920. It is 16 pages long. It includes preliminary information on tuning and hand position and a few exercises. Its 6 pieces are written in old tunings and have a charming melodic appeal. I transposed the Fado Corrido Menor (Section 8) and Fado Corrido Maior (section 9) in this work  from F Menor and F Major. When I originally obtained this method book it had no cover page so I did not know the author for many years, consequently for a long time I listed the work as anonymous.

Gouveia, Daniel

2010 Ao fado tudo se canta?. DG edicações, Ave. D. pedro V, 15-5. Esq, 2795-151, Linda-a-Velha, Portugal. ISBN: 978-989-8135-40-7. 364 pages with 3 CDs of musical examples. This is a labor of love by Daniel Gouveia, a writer of fados and a publisher of many books. There are many topics touched in this work. The analysis of the structure of Fado poetry is very good. There is discussion of the origin theories of fado and an interesting perspective which separates fados structures into 4 generations. There is discussion of the aesthetics of properly singing the fado. And, some eclectic sections which compares Portuguese Fado with Arab music, Spanish flamenco, Argentine tango, American jazz and Anglo pop music.

Guinor, Maria, Ruben de Carvalho and Jose Manuel Osorio

1999 Historias do Fado. Ediclube, Amadora, Portugal. ISBN: 972-719-077-4. 375 Pages. Explanatory text with lots of great photos as well as reproductions of old sheet music covers, publicity posters, movie posters, restaurant menus, lyrics for at least 16 fados, a few pieces of sheet music in standard music notation. In Chapter 5, there is biographical information on many faamous fadistas with photos.

Morais, Manuel

2002 A Guitarra Portuguesa: Actas do Simpósio Internacional (Universidade de Evora, 7-9 Setembro 2001). Manuel Moraiso Morais. Nota Introdu by Rui Vieira Nery. Estar Editoria, Lda, apartado 1094, 1052-001 LisboaCodex, Portugal. This is a collection of papers (7 in Portuguese, 1 in Spanish, 1 in French, 4 in English) about the Portuguese guitar as an instruments and closely related member of the cittern family such as the English Guitar

Nery, Rui Vieira

2004 Para Uma Historia do Fado. Publico, Comunicação Social, S.A. Lisboa, Portugal. 303 pages. ISBN 972-8892-32-2, Deposito legal 219429/04. This book is totally in Portuguese. This is a splendid book. It is among the best books on the social and historical context of the Fado, it explains the structure of the fado song form and presents many details about famous singers and musicans. In addition it has many interesting photos and drawing. If you cannot read Portuguese you will enjoy all of the graphics. If you can read Portuguese you are in for an in-depth and very interesting read. I like this book. The author is a good academic and thoroughly researched the fado, he is the son of a famous Portuguese guitarist, Raul Nery.

Niza, Jose

1999 Fado de Coimbra I. Ediclube, Amadora, Portugal. ISBN: 972-719-077-4. 287 pages. This book is part of the fine Um Seculo de Fado collection. This book tells the story of the Coimbra fado. It touches on important personalities, differences from Lisboa Fado, serenatas, republicas (fraternal societies), academic organizations, Coimbra Fado in Porto. It has many good photos

1999 Fado de Coimbra II. Ediclube, Amadora, Portugal. ISBN: 972-719-077-4. 310 pages. This is a continuation of Fado de Coimbra I.

Oliveira, Ernesto Veiga de

2000 Instrumentos Musicais Populares Portugueses. Lisboa: Fundação Gulbenkian/Museu Nacional de Etnologia. This is a revised version of the 1964 book of the same name. There are 2 sections of about the Portuguese guitarra, one is by the author of the book and the other is by Pedro Caldeira Cabral.

 Parreira, Antonio and Maestro Jorge Machado

1999 Notas de Música. Ediclube Edição e Promoção do Livro, Lda., Rua da Industria, 4, Alfragide, 2724-517 Amadora, Portugal. This is part of the collection Um Século de Fado. This is a unique and wonderful book. It contains 120 essential fado melodies which comprise most of the music to which fado poetry is sung. These melodies were collected by Antonio Parreira and written down by Jorge Macahdo.

Paulo, Jose Santos

2006 Metodo de Guitarra Portugesa. Edição Comemorativa dos 115 Anos da Tuna Acadmica da Univesidade de Coimbra. Published in Coimbra, Portugal. ISBN: 989-20-0141-9. 400 pages. I bought a copy through the Student Union at the University of Coimbra. I do not know where to get more copies. This is a very good book, it is a challenging book. It is completely in Portuguese. It does not have any tablature. It is all written in musical notation. Many of the pieces have both guitarra and viola parts. There are some well know pieces such as Canção, Verdes Anos (Carlos Paredes), Balada de Coimbra (Carlos Paredes version) , Canção de Alcipe (Carlos Paredes Version), Movimento Perpetuo (Carlos Paredes), Marcha em Fa (Artur Paredes), Valsa de Outros Tempos (Gonçalo Paredes and Artur Paredes). And there are a number of interesting pieces by Octavio Sergio, Jose Paulo, Jorge Tuna, Jose Amaral, Carlos Seixas (a great 18th century Portuguese composer). This book will keep you busy for years.

Pimentel, Alberto

1904 A Triste Canção do Sul: Subs­idos para a Historia do Fado. Originally published by Livraria Central de Gomes de Carvalho (Editor), 158, Rua da Prata, 160, Lisboa. Reprinted in 1989 by Publicaçãoes Dom Quixote, Lisboa. This book should be viewable on the internet from Google Books. It contains 302 pages. This book (The Sad Song of the South) is the sister book to As Alegres Canção do Norte (The Happy Song of the North) by the same author. Since it was written in the early 1900s it has captured an early perspective of the 19th century version of Fado. It presents ideas on the origin of fado and depicts early personalities of the fado. There are lyrics to many fado, background on various fados and information on fado composers. On page 35 there is a transcription in musical notation of Fado Do Marinheiro which the famous guitarist, Ambrosia Fernandes Maia (who was old at the time said it was the oldest fado he knew; this takes our research back to the mid-1800s.

On pages 86 and 87, there is a piano version in standard music notation of Fado Corrido.
On page 139, there is a piano version of Fado Choradinho.
On page 158, there is a piano version of Fado da Severa.
On page 183, there is a piano transcription of Fado do Conde de Vimioso.
On page 213, there is an engraving of Augusto Hylario  who died April 3, 1896.
On page 226, there is a piano version of Fado Serenata (music by Augusto Hylario).
On page 228, there is O Ultimo Fado by Augusto Hylario.
This is an important work for the fado historian.

Pinto de Carvalho (Tinop)

1903 Historia do Fado. Reprinted by Publicações Dom Quixote, Lisboa in 2003 (5th edition). No ISBN number. With an introduction by Joaquim Pais de Brito. This is a useful history of earl fado and should be read with A Triste Canção do Sul by Pimentel written at about the same time.

Salgado do Carmo, J.C.

1929 Metodo Elementar Teorico e pratico de Guitarra Portuguesa. (Ilustrado com 41 fotogravuras). Fotografias de: Lazarus-Lisboa. Sassetti & Ca., Editores, 54-58 Rua do Carmo, Lisboa. The copy I have of this method has 64 pages. The method starts with standard music theory as applied to the guitarra. Then it sets out a number of technical exercises. The third section, "Estudos Recreativos", includes 7 pieces for the guitarra--five pieces include a full written part for the viola (6 string "Spanish" type guitar) and two pieces are presented as guitarra solos. I especially like the traditional sounding variations in the piece entitled "Fado em Ré Menor".

Sardinha, Jose Alberto

2010 A Origem do Fado. Tradisom, Apartado 69 -4734-909 Vila Verde, Portugal. ISBN: 978-972-8644-13-0. 552pages with 4 CD of related music. This well researched book focuses on the rural origins of the Fado. It includes many original photographs. There is a guide to the recorded music which includes the lyrics. There are detailed counter arguments to hypotheses presented in other books such as those which emphasize a Brazilian dance origin to Lisbon Fado.

 Simões, Armando

1974 A Guitarra, Bosquejo Histórico. Évora. This 251 page book is a wonderful history of the guitarra. It begins in the standard scholarly manner of discussing the origin of the name guitarra and of ancestral instruments. Next, the morpholical features of the early guitarras is handled. Following this is a very informative discussion of the makers of guitarras. The second part of the book handles the variety of ways to string and tune the guitarra, the method books for learning the guitarra, the musical uses of the guitarra, the role of the guitarra in fado music, and the famous players of the guitarra.

Soares, Paulo.

1997 Método de Guitarra Portuguesa: Bases para a Guitarra de Coimbra. Published by Paulo Soares, Apartado 1135, 3000 Coimbra, Portugal. 154 pages. This is a grand contribution to the Portuguese Guitarra. It is focussed on the Coimbra style. It has precise explanations of technique and interpretation and includes very fine transcriptions of a number of pieces: Canto de Amor, Dança Palaciana, Canção, Canto de Embalar, and Melodia no. 2 by Carlos Paredes. Valsa by Gonçalo e Artur Paredes. Estudio 1 by Paulo Soares. O Meu Menino by Alexandre Resende. Aguarela Portuguesa by António Portugal. Balada do Mondego arranged by Artur Paredes. Estudo em Lá Maior arranged by Antonio Pinho de Brojo. Variações sobre o Mondego by Gonçalo Paredes.

Sucena, Eduardo

1992 (1st edition) Lisboa, O Fado e Os Fadistas. 2002 (2nd edition, revised and amplified). Vega Editora, Apartado 41034, 1506-001 Lisboa Codex, Portugal. ISBN: 972-669-720-8. Many phtographs of Fado singers, muscians and composer. This is a fine work about the personalties involved throughout Fado history and there are lyrics to many Fados.

Tinhorao, Jose Ramos

1994 Fado: Danca do Brasil, Cantar de Lisboa, O Fim de um Mito. Editorial Caminho, SA Lisboa. This is a fine piece of historical research. It traces the story of the fado back the 18th century. It looks at the African and Brazilian influences on the 19th century fado. It is thoroughly documented. This is a mind expanding works. It really show the various Atlantic influences on the Lisbon fado.

Vernon, Paul

1998 A History of the Portuguese Fado. Asgate Publishing Limited, Gower House, Croft Road, Aldershot, Hants GUU11 3HR, England. ISBN: 1-85928-377-2. 114 pages with a CD of 24 songs. This book does not provide a comprehensive history of fado; it is only 114 pages. It provides an overview of the fado drawn mainly from English language sources; of the 21 sources listed in the bibliography 14 are English language and 7 are Portuguese. Of course, people who only read English are thankful for this summary. Paul Vernon brings some of the old English language information up to date based on his own experiences in Portugal. For me the most interesting and in-depth section focussed on the recording industry (The Media Industry) and fado music. The CD includes some hard to find recordings of Lisbon and Coimbra songs and instrumentals.

Victória, Joao

n.d. "A Guitarra sem Mestre--O Verdadeiro Methodo de Guitarra". This is a method which consists of 4 booklets. The original booklets contain no date of publication. According to Armando Simões in his book A Guitarra, Bosquejo Histórico (1974 page 172), these method booklets were written in the 1920s. Unfortunately, these booklets utilize obsolete tunings for the guitarra. Consequently, all of the pieces must be transposed to modern tunings before playing on modern guitarras. Nevertheless, any serious student should have a careful study of these little booklets.

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