OF CHORO FLUTE PLAYING
This study explores one of choro’s most creative, productive, and volatile periods – that of approximately 1920-1955, through the life and career of one of this era’s most prominent musicians, flutist Benedicto Lacerda (1903-1958). Lacerda, well-known for his musical virtuosity and compositions as well as for his roles as bandleader and activist, was not only a product of his era, but a contributor as well.
Since choro’s inception in the late nineteenth century, its instrumentalists and composers alike have felt the changing tides and assimilated when necessary. From the initial inspiration of European salon music, through the introduction of jazz, to today’s newly coined “choro novo” [new choro] style, musicians have had to adapt for their very survival, as well as the survival of the genre. Benedicto Lacerda was representative of this adaptability during an age when many changes were occurring in Brazil, such as the advent of the recording and broadcast communication industries.
Lacerda’s style, characterized by rhythmic flexibility and swing as well as his use of a variety of tone colors including vibrato and flutter tonguing, is part of the continuum of the trend set by his predecessors including flutist and choro founder, Joaquim Antônio Calado. Benedicto Lacerda was a pivotal and influential figure in the development of choro flute playing. This study traces his musical influences, crucial to his stylistic development, and sheds light on the legacy he has left to future generations of flutists.
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