“O Berimbau: A Project of Ethnomusicological Research, Musicological Analysis, and Creative Endeavor” – Gregory Beyer, DMA Thesis (2004)
In 2004, Arcomusical Artistic Director Gregory Beyer completed a doctoral thesis dedicated to the Afro-Brazilian berimbau in its multiple facets. Divided into three principal sections, the thesis provides an overview of the berimbau in Brazil (specifically in capoeira and in the hands of the late Naná Vasconcelos (1944-2016), details the African gourd-resonated musical bow relatives of the berimbau, and analyzes compositions that Beyer either wrote or commissioned in the early years of his work with the berimbau as a solo instrument.
“The purpose of this thesis is to collect my historical findings and musical transcriptions in a way that illuminates the development of my own creative project with the berimbau. I intend to create links between the old and the new, by drawing parallels that guide creative work along the lines of what has been done in the past. Because the research is in large part my own, or my extrapolations and extensions of what research has been done before me, the story is a personal one. Telling it shall at times take on a narrative form that I hope is engaging and informative.”
Deeply studious and committed to researching the traditions of the berimbau in capoeira and beyond, Argentinian musician Ramiro Musotto (1963-2009) began sketching a book, “The Berimbau in Capoeira,” which included dozens of pages of his own transcriptions of classic capoeira recordings by Mestre Bimba as well as Mestres Gato Preto, Canjiquinha, Vavá, and many others. Under the seal, Harp Dan Special Projects, a much richer yet still incomplete second edition of the book under the title “The Berimbau of Bahia” seems to have been published in 2010 with support from the Secretaries of Culture and the Economy.
Here, Arcomusical is committed to completing and extending Musotto’s book in its original format with bilingual text and links to Musotto’s own artistic output as well as the many wonderful recordings that informed Musotto’s transcriptions.