Name: Viola Caipira.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitars > Viola.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Region: South America.
Description: The viola caipira, often simply viola, Portuguese for country guitar, it is a Brazilian ten-string guitar with five courses of strings arranged pairs or double-strings. It was introduced in the state of São Paulo, where it is widely played as the basis for the música caipira, a type of ‘folk’ music originating in the caipira country of south-central Brazil.
Origins: The origins of the viola caipira are obscure, but evidence suggests it evolved from the vihuela / viola de mano that Spanish and Portuguese settlers took to the new world. It shares similarities with the 5 course baroque guitar, that elsewhere evolved into the modern guitar.
It is likely a descendant of one of the many folk guitars that have traditionally been played in Portugal. The viola braguesa and viola amarantina, for example are two types of ten-string guitars from the north of Portugal, which are closely related to the viola caipira.
The Tunings: The tunings are in courses of five strings, doubled or paired as 10 strings in total. The G / D / G / B / D tuning is as an open G tuning is related to the tuning used on the Mexican instrument, Jarana Huasteca.
|Viola Caipira Tunings|
|Portuguese||A E F# B E|
|Portuguese||G D E A D|
|Boiadeira||G D F# A D|
|Rio Abaixo||G D G B D|
Citations: Bibliography: Moura, Reis 2000. Descomplicando a Viola: Método Básico de Viola Caipira [in Portuguese] by the author ed. Brasília. p. 62. ISBN 85-901637-1-7 ; Corrêa, Roberto 2000. A Arte de Pontear Viola [in Portuguese] by the author ed. Brasília. p. 259. ISBN 85-901603-1-9. Websites: