In the early nineteenth century, a great novelty was introduced in the musical scene of Rio de Janeiro: the guitar, also known as viola francesa at the time. The instrument - which emerged in Europe in the late eighteenth century - achieved immense popularity in the concert halls of the Old Continent.
The trend was quickly assimilated in Brazil. That fact can be confirmed through research done on the advertisements published in newspapers at the time, which focused mainly on musical scores, teaching methods and professionals in general, including both teachers and master craftsmen. The guitar became the principal accompanying instrument to be used in popular music styles, such as lundus, maxixes and sambas. Its evolution and synthesis led to the bossa-nova.
This process involves an important change in popular music: after three centuries of diffusion, viola, which was then identified with urban musical practice, disappeared. It will return to the musical scene in Rio de Janeiro’s stage in the twentieth century, no longer as a means of songs harmonization, but as an instrument associated with regional identity.
Marcia Taborda is a guitarist, PhD in Social History at UFRJ and conducted post-doctoral linked to the New University of Lisbon (2015). She is the author of Violão e identidade nacional: Rio de Janeiro 1830-1930, published by Brazilian printing house Civilização Brasileira. She also the performer in DVD A viola e o violão em terras de São Sebastião; with Acari Records, she recorded the CD Choros Paulinho da Viola, featuring guitar adaptations of songs by Brazilian songwriter and performer Paulinho da Viola. Marcia also produced the CD Human Music with record label ABM Digital, featuring Brazilian contemporary repertoire. Marcia is a guitar teacher and coordinator of guitar research group at the Music School of the Brazilian Federal University (UFRJ).