Brazil (Port. República Federativa do Brasil)
- Gerard Béhague
(Port. República Federativa do Brasil)
Country in South America. It is bordered by all other South American countries except Chile and Ecuador, and by the Atlantic Ocean to the east. It was colonized by Portugal after 1500, but the culture of the indigenous peoples survived. São Paulo, the largest centre of production in Latin America, is its financial capital, and Rio de Janeiro its cultural capital. The official language is Portuguese.
Relatively little is known about art music activities and composition during the first two centuries of Brazilian history. The substantial documentation attesting to important musical activities in Pernambuco (Olinda, Recife) and Salvador, Bahia, was not compiled and studied until the mid-20th century. Throughout the colonial period most music-making related directly to church services, and surviving colonial music is therefore mainly sacred. The regular clergy was responsible for first organizing Christian religious life in Brazil. The Franciscans started using music in the conversion of the Amerindians, but it was the Jesuits who had the strongest influence on the musical life of the colony, and as early as ...