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Queda de Quatro

  • Alexis C. Lamb (b.1993)
  • Quartet
  • 2014

“Queda de quatro” (Portuguese, “falling on all fours”) is a common defensive maneuver in the Afro-Brazilian tradition of Capoeira Angola. This title seemed appropriate for my berimbau quartet due to the falling patterns that are consistently found throughout the piece using both pitched and unpitched material. There are common themes in which the upper wire notes are ”falling down” in pitch while the lower wire notes are “rising up” in pitch. The two meet in the middle, creating a beautiful melody from both sides of the wire. During the course of rehearsals my colleagues and I nicknamed rehearsal letter B “sapinho” (Portuguese, “little frog”). Sapinho is another movement from Capoeira Angola named for its hopping, frog-like motions. The musical “frog” is portrayed in a series of 16th-note figures, one for each player that leap into the existing 11/8 rhythmic ostinato. This section was cause for great merriment in rehearsals. – Alexis C. Lamb

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