Album Jan Dijker & Oliver Jaeger «Guitarradas & Variações» CD: 2011 / Streaming: 31.01.21
“Guitarradas” (guitar pieces) is the Portuguese name for purely instrumental compositions on the Portuguese guitar.
This style came to life in de 1920’s and 1930’s during the prime of “Armandinho”. This Armandinho (Armando Salgado Freire, 1891-1946) amazed everyone with his enchanting guitar-playing on the Portuguese guitar. He was the first to show the possibilities of the instrument in a solo performance. The guitarist could free himself of his traditional role as the accompanist of a vocalist and start drawing on his technique and imagination instead.
The role of the accompanist of the Portuguese guitar, traditionally the six-stringed Spanish guitar (generally with steel strings in fado), also developed and gained independence during Armandinho’s time. Formerly it only supported the Portuguese guitar in rhythm and harmony but then interaction with the Portuguese guitar developed, which allowed for more individual musical ramblings.
Among the guitarradas there are the so-called “Variações” (variations): when variations and improvisations on a simple chord progressionare made in only one key, they are simply called “Variações em…”, followed by the key and tonality (eg. “Variações em Lá Menor”). When it is a variation ona song, theme or existing composition,it is called “Variações sobre…”.
The purely instrumental compositions which do not fit in this group are guitarradas with different titles (in our case, examples include “Neve” or “Mauresque” or the compositions by Carlos Paredes).
Regarding the “variações”, it is striking that the musicians often cite each other with well-known phrases or pieces or that they incorporate existing songs and traditional themes in their own compilation and thus their own composition.
Our own contribution to and interpretation of this style is that we do not only present an entirely equal role for the Portuguese guitar and the Spanish guitar, but we also play guitarradas in a unique combination of the Portuguese guitar and the bandoneon.