Músicas e Brincadeiras: A collection of Brazilian children's songs and games compiled, analyzed, and annotated for use in the American general music classroom



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The purpose of this study was to compile, analyze, and annotate a diverse collection of Brazilian children‘s songs and games for use in the American general music classroom. The data gathering process consisted of 47 days of fieldwork in several locations in Northeast, Southeast, and Central Brazil and ongoing conversations with informants. Research employed participant observation, structured and semi-structured interviews, and content analysis. The raw data consisted of audio and video and field notes. The following criteria for song selection were developed: 1) accessibility for the young voice, 2) accessibility of Portuguese for the English speaker, 3) aesthetic reasons (beauty, novelty, etc.) 4) diversity, 5) and the representation of Brazilian children‘s songs. From these criteria, the collection was limited to 30 songs. These were notated in standard notation and mastercopy format, translated, and pronunciation helps (IPA and phonetic) were included. The results of this study yield information about history/context, music elements, extramusical elements, specific to individual songs and the songs as a collection. The historical and contextual background of the songs reveal subjects ranging from history, land, animals, cuisine, and social issues, to economy, work, relationships, religious, and military life. In many cases, the songs reflect the demographics and social classes of Brazil. The genres consist of: cirandas, playground rhymes and songs, action songs, singing games, nonsense songs, children‘s songs, holiday songs, courting songs, role playing songs, and love songs. The musical and textual features of the songs are: anacruses, outlines of the tonic triad, melodic sequences, repeated note group fragments at the ends of phrases and motives, and descending pentachords at the final cadence. The text often contains animal sounds, repeated syllables and vowel sounds, and parlendas (tongue twisters). The time signatures are 2/4 and 4/4, with only one song in 3/4. The rhythmic content ranges in complexity from quarter notes to sixteenth-eighth-sixteenth notes and dotted sixteenths. Approximately two-thirds of the songs contain anacruses and two-thirds (20 of 30) of the songs contain semitones. The smallest range is a minor third, and the largest range is an octave. With the exception of one song in the Aeolian mode, the tonality of the songs is either major or intervallic centered with a major feel. Formally, the songs are divided into two or four sections. Songs in this collection can be used at many levels of teaching and learning because of the variety between simple and complex musical material. Trustworthiness is sought by using triangulation in the form of multiple data sources, member checks, and the involvement of peers and dissertation committee members in reviewing material for authenticity and reliability; an extended period of fieldwork and communication with informants, and self reflection. Recommendations and implications for further research are included.