Viola Caipira

Name: Viola Caipira.
Type: Chordophones > Lutes > Guitars > Viola.
Hornbostel-Sachs No#: 321.322.5
Country: Brazil.
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
Name 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:

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