Fado, born in the city of Lisbon in the 19th century, is a musical genre that is very representative of Portuguese popular culture. Of urban origin, it was developed under the influence of Afro-Brazilian dances of the late 17th century or even from the Modinhas, sentimental and expressive songs inspired by the Italian style and much appreciated in bourgeois salons in the early 19th century. Identified from 1840 onwards, fado will
forge its legend through several mythical figures, namely that of Maria Severa (1820-1846), a fado singer of working-class origin from Bairro da Mouraria (Lisbon), who became a true icon of the genre. Known as the first fado singer in history, she was protected by the Count of Vimioso who made her known to the Portuguese nobility.
With the tragic death of Maria Severa, fado will continue to emancipate itself in Lisbon between 1840 and 1860, drawing its identity in the romantic history of this emblematic figure and will continue to live to this day, served by many interpreters.
Another fado, also called Fado de Coimbra, will also take root and develop its urban and social identity thanks to the musical tradition of the students of Coimbra, the oldest university city in Portugal. The expressive qualities of Coimbra’s Fado will also be highlighted by famous 20th century composersperformers such as the singers António Menano, Luís Goes, José Afonso or the guitarist Carlos Paredes, to whom we owe the great renown of the Portuguese guitar. (*)
This volume of Portuguese Composers | Repertoire for Pianists offers a wide selection of fados for piano that are part of the historical repertoire. This is the first time that a significant amount of fado has been collected and published in anthology form. The aim of this edition is not only to allow the discovery of this musical genre, but also to offer each pianist the opportunity to approach fados according to their abilities. The pieces published in this volume are thus classified into three difficulty groups: easy / medium difficulty / advanced.
The fados selected for this volume received their first publication between the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. We will be able to discover certain historical fados extracted from the Cancioneiro de Músicas Populares by César das Neves published in 3 volumes between 1893 and 1898, but also others whose arrangements are part of the catalogues of several old editions. Certain fados, such as Fado Robles, are offered here in various versions. Many of these fados were sung by famous fadistas (fado singers) of their time and published separately and were part of the repertoire of Revista à Portuguesa (a genre of musical theater with national roots). We decided to present these fados publishing only the piano part.
The singer’s melodic line was removed because, in the old editions, it was systematically doubled in the instrumental part. However, these fados composed for the voice always have a strong connection with the poems that inspire them, sometimes signed by well-known composers, so we wanted to present some of these poems in their original language at the end of the musical text.
In addition, several composers from the field of so-called “erudite” music are also represented here, such as Alexandre Rey Colaço, Óscar da Silva, Ruy Coelho, Francisco Bahia or Alfredo Keil because they enriched the repertoire in the 19th and 20th centuries with fados originally composed for piano, thus offering a real interest in interpretation.
Finally, the famous Fado Burnay composed by Eduardo Burnay appears in three versions,
including the one by Armando José Fernandes for
two pianos, published in an appendix. Fado is the first artistic expression to be declared an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. With the anthology Fados para Piano, this repertoire is now accessible to all
pianists. We wish you a good journey in the discovery of fado.
(*) We encourage you to read the book A History of Portuguese Fado by Rui Vieira Nery, Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda (INCM), 2nd revised edition in 2012.