From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Correio da Manhã AN 403.jpg
Background information
Birth nameAlfredo da Rocha Viana Filho
Also known asPizinguim, Bexiguinha, Pexinguinha, Pixinguinha
Born(1897-04-23)April 23, 1897
OriginRio de Janeiro, Brazil
DiedFebruary 17, 1973(1973-02-17) (aged 75)
GenresChoro, Maxixe, Samba, Waltz, Jazz
Occupation(s)Songwriter, composer, arranger, instrumentalist
Instrument(s)Saxophone, flute
Years active1911–1973

Alfredo da Rocha Viana Filho, known as Pixinguinha (Portuguese: [piʃĩˈɡiɲə]; April 23, 1897 – February 17, 1973) was a Brazilian composer, arranger, flautist and saxophonist born in Rio de Janeiro. Pixinguinha composed popular music, particularly within the genre of music known as choro.[citation needed]

By integrating the music of the older choro composers of the 19th century with contemporary jazz-like harmonies, Afro-Brazilian rhythms, and sophisticated arrangements, he introduced choro to a new audience and helped to popularize it as a uniquely Brazilian genre.[citation needed] He was also one of the first Brazilian musicians and composers to take advantage of radio broadcasting technology and studio recording. Pixinguinha composed dozens of choros, including some of the best-known works in the genre such as "Carinhoso", "Glória", "Lamento" and "Um a Zero".[citation needed]

Early life and early career[edit]

Pixinguinha was the son of musician Alfredo da Rocha Viana, a flautist who maintained a large collection of older choro scores and hosted frequent musical gatherings at his home. Pixinguinha learned to play the flute at home but soon became a pupil of Irineu de Almeida, composing his first piece at age 14 and making his first recording at age 16. In 1912 he began to perform in cabarets and revues in the Rio de Janeiro neighborhood of Lapa. He then became the flutist in the house orchestra at the Cine Rio Branco movie theater (silent films at that time were often accompanied by live music). In 1914 he joined with his friends João Pernambuco and Donga to form the group Caxangá, a group which gained considerable attention before it disbanded in 1919.[1]

Os Oito Batutas[edit]

Pixinguinha as a young man
Pixinguinha playing saxophone

Five years later in 1919, Pixinguinha, along with his brother China, Donga, João Pernambuco, and other prominent musicians, formed the musical group Os Oito Batutas (lit.'The Eight Amazing Players').[2][3] The instrumental lineup was at first fairly traditional, dominated by a rhythm section of plucked strings: Pixinguinha on flute, plus guitars, cavaquinho, banjo cavaquinho, and hand percussion. Performing in the lobby of the Cine Palais movie theater, Os Oito Batutas soon become a more popular attraction than the films themselves.[4][5] Their repertoire was diverse, encompassing folk music from northeast Brasil, sambas, maxixes, waltzes, polkas, and "brazilian tangos" (the term choro was not yet established as a genre). The group appealed especially to the nationalistic desires of upper-class Brazilians who yearned for a homegrown, uniquely Brazilian musical tradition free from foreign influences. Os Oito Batutas became a sensation across Brasil, though they were not without controversy. Certain members of the white Rio elite were not happy with black men performing in venues for example.[6]

Os Oito Batutas, and Pixinguinha specifically, were the target of attacks reflecting anxieties about race and the influence of Europe and the United States on Brazilian music. The group, which consisted of both white and black musicians, performed mainly in upper-class venues where black musicians had previously been prohibited. Moreover, they were criticized ferociously by those who felt that Brazilian musical culture should reflect primarily its European roots and that a black musical ambassador was an embarrassment. Finally, Pixinguinha's compositional style and his incorporation of trumpets and saxophones was criticized as being corrupted by American jazz, which was then becoming popular via radio broadcasts.

After performing at a gig for the dance couple Duque and Gabi at the Assírio cabaret, they were discovered by the wealthy Arnaldo Guinle who sponsored their first European tour in 1921.[7] In Paris they served as ambassadors of Brazilian music, performing for six months at the Schéhérazade cabaret. Their tour was a complete success and Pixinguinha received much praise from many distinguished Parisian musical artists including the Harold de Bozzi.[8] Upon returning to Brazil, they toured to Buenos Aires where they made recordings for RCA Victor. It is in these recordings that the mature sound of Os Oito Batutas can be heard.

Pixinguinha returned from Paris with a broadened musical perspective. He began to incorporate jazz standards and ragtime into his group's repertoire, changing the lineup dramatically by adding saxophones, trumpets, trombone, piano, and a drum kit. The name was changed to simply Os Batutas to reflect the new sound. He had also purchased a saxophone for his personal use which he began to experiment with.

Orquestra Victor Brasileira[edit]

In the late 1920s, Pixinguinha was hired by RCA Victor to lead the Orquestra Victor Brasileira, and during his tenure there he refined his skills as an arranger.[9] It was common for choro musicians at the time to improvise their parts based on a simple piano score, but the growing demand for radio music from large ensembles required fully realized written scores for every instrument, and Pixinguinha was one of the few composers with this skill. It was in this role that he created some of his most famous compositions, which were popularized by well-known singers of the age such as Francisco Alves and Mário Reis.[10]

Lacerda's conjunto regional[edit]

In 1939 he was succeeded by well-known composer Radamés Gnattali, and Pixinguinha left Victor to join flautist Benedito Lacerda's band,[11] where he took up the tenor saxophone as his primary instrument and continued to compose music for the group.

Lacerda's band was a conjunto regional (or just regional), the name given to in-house bands hired by radio stations to perform music and accompany singers, often live in front of a studio audience. Throughout the 30s, 40s regionais provided steady employment to the very best choro musicians of the day and led to the professionalization of the Brazilian music industry. It was with Lacerda that Pixinguinha began another fertile period of composing and recording. Due to economic troubles as the regionais fell out of favor in the late 40s, Pixinguinha had to sell the rights to his compositions to Benedito Lacerda, who for this appears a co-composer of many of Pixinguinha's tunes, even those composed while Lacerda was a boy. In the recordings with Lacerda, Pixinguinha plays secondary parts on the saxophone while Lacerda plays the flute part on tunes that Pixinguinha originally wrote on that instrument.[12]

Retirement and death[edit]

By the mid 1950s, changing tastes and the emerging popularity of samba and American jazz in Brazil led to the decline of the choro regional as other genres became dominant on the radio. Pixinguinha spent his time in retirement, appearing in public only on rare occasions (such as the "Evening of Choro" TV programs produced by Jacob do Bandolim in 1955 and 1956).[13]

Pixinguinha died in 1973 in the Church of Nossa Senhora da Paz in Ipanema while attending a baptism.[14] He was buried in the Cemitério de Inhaúma. The day, which was believed to be his birthday, April 23, is today commemorated as the National Day of Choro in Brazil. The day was officially established in 2000 after a campaign by bandolim player Hamilton de Holanda and his students at the Raphael Rabello School of Choro. In November 2016, however, it was discovered that Pixinguinha's real birth date was May 4, and not April 23. Despite that, Brazil's National Day of Choro remained unaltered.

Pixinguinha is depicted in the 2021 biographical film Pixinguinha, Um Homem Carinhoso. He was portrayed by Brazilian actor Seu Jorge.[15]

Musical contributions[edit]

Compared to the older chorões of the late 19th century from which he drew inspiration, Pixinguinha's compositions were more sophisticated in their use of harmony, rhythm and counterpoint. Whereas many of the older compositions were intended to be played on piano, Pixinguinha's works took full advantage of the larger musical groups (regionais) with which he worked, incorporating intricate melodic lines, brassy fanfares, contrapuntal bass lines, and highly syncopated rhythms. Pixinguinha was one of the first band leaders to regularly include Afro-Brazilian percussion instruments, such as the pandeiro and afoxé, that have now become standard in choro and samba music.

His arrangements were probably influenced by the sound of ragtime and American jazz bands that became popular early in his career. When he released "Carinhoso" in 1930 and "Lamentos" in 1928, Pixinguinha was criticized for incorporating too much of a jazz sound into his work. Today these famous compositions have become a respected part of the choro canon.

Pixinguinha's compositions[edit]

  • A pombinha (com Donga)
  • A vida é um buraco
  • Aberlado
  • Abraçando Jacaré
  • Acerta o passo
  • Aguenta, seu Fulgêncio (com Lourenço Lamartine)
  • Ai, eu queria (com Vidraça)
  • Ainda existe
  • Ainda me recordo
  • Amigo de povo
  • Assim é que é
  • Benguelê
  • Bianca (com Andreoni)
  • Buquê de flores (com W. Falcão)
  • Cafezal em flor (com Eugênio Fonseca)
  • Carinhos
  • Carinhoso (com João de Barro)
  • Carnavá tá aí (com Josué de Barros)
  • Casado na orgia (com João da Baiana)
  • Casamento do coronel Cristino
  • Céu do Brasil (com Gomes Filho)
  • Chorei
  • Chorinho no parque São Jorge (com Salgado Filho)
  • Cochichando (com João de Barro e Alberto Ribeiro)
  • Conversa de crioulo (com Donga e João de Baiana)
  • Dança dos ursos
  • Dando topada
  • Desprezado
  • Displicente
  • Dominante
  • Dominó
  • Encantadora
  • Estou voltando
  • Eu sou gozado assim
  • Fala baixinho (com Hermínio Bello de Carvalho)
  • Festa de branco (com Baiano)
  • Foi muamba (com Índio)
  • Fonte abandonada (com Índio)
  • Fraternidade
  • Gargalhada
  • Gavião calçudo (com Cícero de Almeida)
  • Glória
  • Guiomar (com Baiano)
  • Há! hu! lá! ho! (com Donga e João da Baiana)
  • Harmonia das flores (com Hermínio Bello de Carvalho)
  • Hino a Ramos
  • Infantil
  • Iolanda
  • Isso é que é viver (com Hermínio Bello de Carvalho)
  • Isto não se faz (com Hermínio Bello de Carvalho)
  • Já andei (com Donga e João da Baiana)
  • Já te digo (com China)
  • Jardim de Ilara (com C. M. Costal)
  • Knock-out
  • Lamento
  • Lamentos (com Vinícius de Moraes)
  • Lá-ré
  • Leonor
  • Levante, meu nego
  • Lusitânia (com F. G. D. )
  • Mais quinze dias
  • Mama, meu netinho (com Jararaca)
  • Mamãe Isabé (com João da Baiana)
  • Marreco quer água
  • Meu coração não te quer (com E. Almeida)
  • Mi tristezas solo iloro
  • Mulata baiana (com Gastão Vianna)
  • Mulher boêmia
  • Mundo melhor (com Vinícius de Moraes)
  • Não gostei dos teus olhos (com João da Baiana)
  • Não posso mais
  • Naquele tempo (com Benedito Lacerda e Reginaldo Bessa)
  • Nasci pra domador (com Valfrido Silva)
  • No elevador
  • Noite e dia (com W. Falcão)
  • Nostalgia ao luar
  • Número um
  • O meu conselho
  • Os batutas (com Duque)
  • Os cinco companheiros
  • Os home implica comigo (com Carmen Miranda)
  • Onde foi Isabé
  • Oscarina
  • Paciente
  • Página de dor (com Índio)
  • Papagaio sabido (com C. Araújo)
  • Patrão, prenda seu gado (com Donga e João da Baiana)
  • Pé de mulata
  • Poema de raça (com Z. Reis e Benedito Lacerda)
  • Poética
  • Por você fiz o que pude (com Beltrão)
  • Pretensiosa
  • Promessa
  • Que perigo
  • Que querê (com Donga e João da Baiana)
  • Quem foi que disse
  • Raiado (com Gastão Vianna)
  • Rancho abandonado (com Índio)
  • Recordando
  • Rosa (com Otávio de Sousa)
  • Rosa
  • Samba de fato (com Baiano)
  • Samba de nego
  • Samba do urubu
  • Samba fúnebre (com Vinícius de Moraes)
  • Samba na areia
  • Sapequinha
  • Saudade do cavaquinho (com Muraro)
  • Seresteiro
  • Sofres porque queres
  • Solidão
  • Sonho da Índia (com N. N. e Duque)
  • Stella (com de Castro e Sousa)
  • Teu aniversário
  • Teus ciúmes
  • Triangular
  • Tristezas não pagam dívidas
  • Um a zero (com Benedito Lacerda)
  • Um caso perdido
  • Uma festa de Nanã (com Gastão Vianna) * Urubu
  • Vamos brincar
  • Variações sobre o urubu e o gavião
  • Vem cá! não vou!
  • Vi o pombo gemê (com Donga e João da Baiana)
  • Você é bamba (com Baiano)
  • Você não deve beber (com Manuel Ribeiro)
  • Vou pra casa
  • Xou Kuringa (com Donga e João da Baiana)
  • Yaô africano (com Gastão Vianna)
  • Zé Barbino (com Jararaca)
  • Proezas de Solon
  • Vou Vivendo

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Crook, Larry (March 24, 2009). Focus: music of northeast Brazil. Taylor & Francis. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-415-96066-3. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  2. ^ Schreiner, Claus (1993). Música brasileira: a history of popular music and the people of Brazil. Marion Boyars. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-7145-2946-2. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  3. ^ McGowan, Chris; Pessanha, Ricardo (December 28, 2008). The Brazilian sound: samba, bossa nova, and the popular music of Brazil. Temple University Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-59213-928-6. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  4. ^ Palmer, Colin A. (2006). Encyclopedia of African-American culture and history: the Black experience in the Americas. Macmillan Reference USA. ISBN 978-0-02-865821-6. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  5. ^ Vianna, Hermano; Chasteen, John Charles (1999). Mistério do samba. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-4766-4. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  6. ^ Crook, Larry (2009). Music of Northeast Brazil: Focus. Taylor & Francis. p. 158. ISBN 978-0-203-88652-6. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
  7. ^ Livingston-Isenhour, Tamara Elena; Garcia, Thomas George Caracas (July 2005). Choro: a social history of a Brazilian popular music. Indiana University Press. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-253-21752-3. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  8. ^ Rangel, Lúcio (2007). Samba jazz & outras notas: organização, apresentação e notas Sérgio Augusto. Agir Editora. p. 92. ISBN 978-85-220-0763-9. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  9. ^ Crook, Larry (September 2005). Brazilian music: northeastern traditions and the heartbeat of a modern nation. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-57607-287-5. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  10. ^ Crook, Larry (March 24, 2009). Focus: music of northeast Brazil. Taylor & Francis. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-415-96066-3. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  11. ^ Cabral, Sérgio (1978). Pixinguinha: vida e obra. Edição Funarte. p. 65. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  12. ^ Tamara Elena Livingston-Isenhour, Thomas George Caracas Garcia. 2005. Choro: A Social History Of A Brazilian Popular Music. Indiana University Press, July 30, 2005 p. 98
  13. ^ McCann, Bryan (January 2004). Hello, hello Brazil: popular music in the making of modern Brazil. Duke University Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-8223-3273-2. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  14. ^ Pavan, Alexandre (2006). Timoneiro: perfil biográfico de Hermínio Bello de Carvalho. Casa da Palavra. p. 127. ISBN 978-85-7734-033-0. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  15. ^ "Pixinguinha, Um Homem Carinhoso at Globo Filmes". Globo Filmes (in Brazilian Portuguese). November 11, 2021. Retrieved April 24, 2022.


  • Choro: a social history of a Brazilian popular music. Tamara Elena Livingston-Isenhour and Thomas George Caracas Garcia. Indiana University Press, 2005, pp. 91–98.

External links[edit]