Queda de quatro (2014) – berimbau quartet
Queda de quatro (or “falling on all fours”) is a common defense move in the Afro-Brazilian tradition of Capoeira Angola. As part of Projeto Arcomusical, we have been training capoeira to better understand the traditional context of the instrument, so this title seemed appropriate for a berimbau quartet. I also wanted the title to reflect the falling patterns that are consistently found throughout the piece, whether they be pitched or unpitched. There are common themes where the upper wire notes are falling down in pitch while the lower wire notes are “falling up” in pitch, as it were. The two falling patterns meet up in the middle to create a beautiful melody from both sides of the wire.
During the course of rehearsals my colleagues and I renamed rehearsal letter B “sapinho” (or “little frog” in Portuguese). Sapinho is another movement in capoeira named for reasons that are instantly obvious to any observer. Rehearsal B presents 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 and joy when we first tackled it.
Queda de quatro is released on the album MeiaMeia: New Music for Berimbau from Innova Recordings. Score and album are both available for purchase at www.arcomusical.com.