Friday, February 05, 2010

Ultimate Classic Guitar Arrangements: Eu So Quero Um Xodo

I tell the anecdote about how I discovered this piece all the time as an example of why I love the internet era. About four years ago, I was putzing around on the World Guitarist website when I clicked a link to check out NYC classical guitarist Don Witter Jr. Well, Don has a clip of his version of Eu So Quero Um Xodo as the intro music for his home page. I freaked - I'm ridiculously jaded, so not many pieces freak me out anymore - and so I contacted Don and asked what the piece was and where I could get the music for it. He told me it was the Brazilian classic Eu So Quero Um Xodo, that it was arranged by Tim Sparks, and he gave me a link to Tim's site. Then I contacted Tim and asked where I could pick up the sheet music, and Tim responded with the PDF attached!

This entire episode took about forty-five minutes.

Don's version is a bit hot rodded compared to the version Tim sent me, so I decided to do my own version, and I changed quite a few things. I added a section of parallel major triads in the bridge to answer the parallel minor thirds - an exotic sounding idiomatic feature of some latin music that does not fit into the diatonic system at all - which I think adds quite a bit to the piece, and then I composed a coda to wind the piece down because I though the ending was too abrupt.

Here's the usual MIDI to M4A version...

Eu So Quero Um Xodo - Dominguinhos

... but you can also hear me playing my first recording of it at my main site. Obviously, I slowed the piece down a lot, and I did this after hearing some of Dominguinhos' recorded versions, but I have since worked it up to about where the M4A file is at.

The piece is in D major with a drop-D tuning, and so it is the concluding crowd pleaser for the D major/D minor suite in my set, which looks like this:

VII] D Major Suite (Drop D Tuning):

48] Figuration Prelude No. 6 in D major
49] Bianco Fiore - Cesare Negri
50] Figuration Prelude No. 23 in D minor
51] Bourree II in D minor, 3rd Cello Suite - J.S. Bach
52] Eu So Quero Um Xodo - Dominguinhos

On to the score.

You can see the traditional Brazilian rhythm pattern in the bass, and with the straight quarters in the melody, there's a nice cross-rhythmic cumulative rhythm created that just propels the piece right along. It takes a while to get this straight in the old noggin - at least it did for me - but once you have it, it's a blast to play. All of this page is quite close to Tim's original, but I fattened it up with a few notes added to the harmony here and there.

I added an internal repeat in there at measure 19 to keep the thing on five pages. The open G in measure 25 I added, and I think it's very effective. I also let the bass notes over-ring, which makes the thing sound positively huge.

I had to make the first and second endings three measures here to get the To Coda in the second one, in case that appears strange to you.

OK, starting in 35 is the bridge, and Tim had three voices in the lead by doubling the top line down an octave. This had the bass alternating between the low D and A, without the high D in there. I didn't want to break that pattern, so I changed the lead to just two voices in minor thirds. You can see that this charming lick is "out of bounds" vis-a-vis the diatonic system, and that's what makes this section sound exotic.

The answering phrase starting in measure 43 originally cycled back and forth between C major and D major triads over the ostinato...

... but created an entirely new lick by putting an E major triad in there too, as you can see at measure 45. Since three major triads all whole steps apart also violate the diatonic paradigm, this also sounds exotic, but happily so, versus the earlier minor thirds, which are almost sinister sounding. I love this section.

At 53 we get the D.S., and the Segno is only needed to avoid the pickup measure: It basically goes back to the top. The To Coda is back at measure 32 on page 3 in that three measure second ending I mentioned, and it keeps the piece from going through the bridge a second time.

Tim's arrangement ended at what would be measure 56 in my version, but it seemed to abrupt to me, so I composed an entire concluding coda to wind things down. Keeping with my minimalist approach, it is simple yet effective from my perspective.

I didn't program a retard into the M4A, but you can hear how I execute it in the home studio recording I did. The last measure of 4/2 is just a written-out fermata, and so I got to employ the breve, which almost never happens in contemporary music. Yay me! lol.

Now, about the word, "xodo." I know some Spanish, so Portuguese is not too hard for me to figure out, but the word xodo had me completely stumped. Well, after posting my recording of this at MySpace Music, I got over a hundred Brazilian friends, so I asked one of them. He told me it's basically a slang term for something that gives one extreme satisfaction, and he used the example, "My iPod is my xodo." In this song though - the original has lyrics, remember - it is referring to a girl, so the title, "I am wanting (or needing) a (or my) xodo" would be, "I am looking for the one." meaning that one special girl. There are cross-cultural constants, you know. :-)


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