Thursday, January 04, 2018


I've been playing a lot of northeastern Brazilian music lately.  When people say "northeastern music" in terms of Brazil, they're generally referring to music from the state of Pernambuco, in easternmost South America.

The music up there has a completely different vibe to that of samba heard in the south around Rio, and dare I say (as much as I love samba), it's much funkier.  There's far too much music in Pernambuco alone for one blog post, so let's start with the most recognizable rhythm that some of you have most likely already heard of or played: Baião.

Baião comes from a family of rhythms and dance steps called Forró.  You can almost think of Forró like ballroom dance.  Foxtrot, Quickstep, Waltz, etc. all refer to both rhythms/tempos and corresponding dance steps.  When a particular rhythm is played, the dancers know what steps to do.  Forró is very much the same.

We already talked about the basics of baião in an earlier post in which I transcribed Edu Ribeiro playing one.  So today I've got a page today help you develop your baião vocabulary.  A lot of you really seemed to enjoy the Jazz Samba Builder, so I figured I'd put together a similar sheet for baião.

E-mail me for a PDF
Baião is very much characterized by upbeats.  There's an accent on the upbeats in the triangle part, and often on wood blocks.  So, when practicing this I'd recommend putting your metronome on the &'s.  Or, better yet, play along to some music...

Luiz Gonzaga is considered the "King of Baião", and is credited with creating it.  Here's a recording of one of his most famous tunes, conveniently titled Baião.  This recording sits a very manageable tempo, perfect for working through the sheet above.