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surdo

Brazilian Rabeca

6 posts in this topic

Don't think anyone has ever posted anything here about the rabeca - I'm uploading some photos of an instrument by Nelson dos Santos (Nelson da Rabeca) from the state of Alagoas in the north east of brazil. The rabeca is a Brazilian folk violin - it's meant to have its roots with the rebab - but that's a long story...

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This rabeca is made from a wood called praíba - it's a softwood and very light. He tunes the lowest string between E flat to G (the open G on a violin) - and the other strings are tuned as a 5th, a 4th and a major 3rd - ie. a major triad. At the moment I have the instrument strung with viola strings and it sounds pretty nice. Nelson uses steel-string guitar strings or that of the cavaquinho (brazilian steel string ukulele) or the "viola caipira" - a brazilian guitar of portuguese origin.

The body, tailpin and the base of the neck are carved together from a single piece of wood with a cane knife and a plane. He then saws this "rabeca shaped obect" lengthwise from the side to form the top and bottom plates. These are hollowed out with a flat-edged pick and glued together. The neck, scroll and finger board are made from a second piece of wood and grafted to the neck stub on the body. The rabeca has a sound post but no bass bar.

Nelson is in his 80s - he is an ex cane cutter - and started late as a musician and a luthier - 54 years old. One day in the 70s he saw a violinist on TV - he liked the idea and built himself an instrument.... He plays mainly a style known as forró.

For video links of Nelson da Rabeca see: http://video.google.com.br/videosearch?q=%...emb=0&aq=f#

other rabeca sites in portuguese: http://www.gramani.com.br (not working right now ), www.rabeca.com.br, http://www.museuvivodofandango.com.br/main/home.htm - this last one is about "Fandango" from the south of Brazil. Click "o circuito", then a town on the map that appears, then "fandangueros" - many of these individuals play or make rabeca - there are some interesting videos for most of them (see the video icon to the right of each photo)

cheers,

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It's nice to see these creative instruments every once in awhile.

No bass bar and very unique cycloids. :) [recent discussion Topics]

The sound is very different, but not unexpected. Make great music!

Thanks for sharing,

Jim

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This instrument has a rare beauty about it.

Thanks for the pics

Geoff, Bristol

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I saw this comment on one of the you tube videos. I thought exactly the same thing. It's not translated but it's pretty easy to read if you know Spanish or French.

"Meu portuguese e muito mal, pero, muito brigado por essa! Eu estava la no su pais, e eu foi para una festival alla. Eu veu o Rabeca alla. Essa instrumento e muito similar a musica na Estados Unidos, na Appalachia montanas. E muito importante que personas registrar essas cosas. Especialmente agora, na essas tiempos. Pode perde muitos cosas com tiempo. "

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To confirm your suspicions, here's a video of "folia de Reis" with some familiar sounding vocal harmonies:

it's a celebration of the three kings (3 wise men) at Christmas time. Happens in the countryside - bands of musician travel to farms - they sing, make prayers and receive a free meal and some drink.

I read once that there are "Celtic" people in the Iberian peninsular - but that the link to other celtic peoples was not so much genetic - but based upon a common culture (expressed in art, tools and practices) brought about through sea-trade on the Atlantic.

Another link to the "rabeca chuleira" (country dance rabeca) in Portugal:

I saw this comment on one of the you tube videos. I thought exactly the same thing. It's not translated but it's pretty easy to read if you know Spanish or French.

"Meu portuguese e muito mal, pero, muito brigado por essa! Eu estava la no su pais, e eu foi para una festival alla. Eu veu o Rabeca alla. Essa instrumento e muito similar a musica na Estados Unidos, na Appalachia montanas. E muito importante que personas registrar essas cosas. Especialmente agora, na essas tiempos. Pode perde muitos cosas com tiempo. "

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This instrument has a rare beauty about it.

Agreed. It would be fun to see what someone with a more refined/classic working method could do with a similar design/approach.

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