Doctor of Musical Arts
How often have North American singers considered singing art songs or opera arias in Brazilian Portuguese? How many Brazilian Opera composers do voice students and faculty outside of Brazil know? The lack of language familiarity of Brazilian Portuguese is a barrier to Brazilian vocal music’s accessibility and performance. And the challenging learning curve may contribute to the lack of interest non-native speakers may have toward Brazilian classical music. To help address this problem, the author decided to promote the accessibility of the Brazilian Portuguese repertoire of vocal music by re-imagining/simplifying sections of the Brazilian Portuguese IPA table. This simplified table coalesces phonemes from the Italian, French, and North American English IPA tables and diction concomitantly to a significant reduction of symbols compared to the Brazilian Portuguese IPA established in 2005.
This reflective guide will apply practically the concepts and rules from this simplified Brazilian Portuguese IPA table through the transcription of the one act opera Lampião written by Brazilian composer Paulo Maron. In order to contextualize Brazilian Portuguese vocal music and Maron’s opera, a brief overview of Brazilian music, language and culture will contextualize elements that introduce North American anglophone singers to elements that are important to the performance of Brazilian vocal music and the Brazilian Portuguese texts they employ.
This guide is universally applicable and directed to anyone working with music students or to the students themselves for private study. It is the author’s hope that this re-imagined/simplified Brazilian Portuguese IPA table will facilitate the engagement and performance of Brazilian Art Song and hopefully the production of Brazilian operas outside of Brazil.
Summary for Lay Audience
Imensidões, Lampião, onde, muito, bem-vindo and homenagem.
If you had problems reading and pronouncing these words, it is because you are not familiar with the Brazilian Portuguese language, the language spoken in Brazil. It is the largest country in South America, and the fifth largest country in the world. Even so, it is challenging for people outside Brazil to find material explaining how to pronounce these words correctly, let alone to sing them.
In 2020, Brazilian opera singer Jorge Trabanco created a guide to be used by people who do not speak Brazilian Portuguese yet wish to sing Brazilian songs. These people can learn how to pronounce every sound of the Brazilian Portuguese language correctly by reading this study and using this guide.
Initially, a brief overview of Brazilian music history and eminent Brazilian music composers will be presented to help the reader know more about Brazil and its rich musical culture. The main portion of this study is a discussion of how to pronounce Brazilian Portuguese correctly utilizing a revised chart of Brazilian Portuguese International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). This alphabet offers a modified approach to already existing IPA guides to Brazilian Portuguese, by utilizing typical Roman letters to represent consistent sounds. Once a singer understands how these sound-symbols correspond to written Brazilian Portuguese, one could pronounce the language almost like a native Brazilian. To finish the study, an entire opera in Brazilian Portuguese called Lampião, written by Paulo Maron, is transcribed and translated using this new approach.
The author hopes this study will allow people to approach Brazilian Portuguese with greater confidence and ease thereby making Brazilian Art Song and opera more accessible.
Alves Trabanco Filho, Jorge Luiz, "Re-imagining Brazilian Portuguese IPA: A practical guide utilizing Paulo Maron’s new opera Lampião" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 7795.
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