Singing in Brazilian Portuguese: an Introductory Guide to Diction, IPA, and Repertoire

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Brazil has a rich culture and a large body of art song repertoire, largely unknown to singers and audiences. One reason for this under-representation is the language. The diction of Portuguese in singing is often seen as a challenge by native and non-native speakers alike. In 2005, a group of Brazilian phoneticians and professional singers met and voted on standard pronunciations and published a document titled PB Cantado − Normas para a Pronúncia do Português Brasileiro no Canto Erudito. This document was first published in the Brazilian Association of Singing Bulletin. It was revised and published again in 2007 in both Portuguese and English versions.

In 2017, Marcia Porter published Singing in Brazilian Portuguese, the first and only book about lyric diction in Brazil. The author used symbols, without explanation, that seem to be a combination of those found in two articles published

prior to the official Brazilian IPA of 2005. These symbols are confusing even for those experienced with IPA.

As a native Portuguese speaker and professional singer, one of my objectives was to create an accessible manual to serve as a guide for those interested in exploring Brazilian repertoire, using the approved 2005 standards. I included a brief history of Brazilian Portuguese, provided basic rules for pronunciation, guidance in producing the sounds, a comparison of European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, challenges for the non-native speaker, suggested repertoire, useful links, and some examples of songs with IPA.

I believe that my research will be useful to everyone, but especially to those with a basic knowledge of IPA. My hope is to produce a work accessible to both amateur and professional singers, as well as to choral conductors.