Cabral Estudos Part 1: Waltz, Danca Camponeza (Machete Tabs)

After I did my post about Madeiran music (the ancestral home of the ukulele), Jay left a comment about music for the uke-like machete (ma-shet). He was also kind enough to forward me a scan of Estudos para Machete Arranjados by Manoel Joaquim Monteiro Cabral which is a machete method book from the mid-19th century. You can see some pictures of it on Nalu Music.

The pieces in the Cabral manuscript are written in standard notation only, so I’ve been writing them up in tab form. And most of them work very well transferred directly to a standard ukulele. The only thing you need to do is tune the A-string down a tone (so it’s the same pitch as the g-string). That’ll give you an open C chord; making it the same relative tuning as a machete which is tuned to an open G chord (DGBD – higher than the ukulele). The one issue is that the machete isn’t re-entrant. So if you’re playing a low-G (or a baritone), it’ll work perfectly. If not, it’ll sound different but – for today’s two pieces at least – it’ll still sound good.

If you’re interested in this topic, I can highly recommend you pick up a copy of Manuel Morais‘s Colecção de Peças para Machete. The written section is in Portuguese and English and the second half is made up of standard notation of music for machete and guitar. The website is in Portuguese but I didn’t have any problems ordering it and it was delivered very quickly.

I’m putting up all these tabs (and MP3s for that matter) with a creative commons license. That means you’re free to use them in whatever way you see fit. Record them, rearrange them, pass them around, sell them if you like.


Waltz (Tab)

The first full piece in the Cabral manuscript is this Waltz. Do note that I’ve never even touched a machete so it’s not to be entirely trusted. The original document does have fingering numbers written in pencil. I’m assuming that’s done by someone who knows more about playing the machete than I do so I’ve tried to tab it out to match those fingerings.

Here’s a version of me playing this tab – without any changes – on a re-entrant ukulele tuned gCEG.


Danca Camponeza

Danca Camponeza (Tab)

Again, I’ve used the fingerings written in pencil as a guide for this tab. But they didn’t really suit my style so I rearranged it slightly for my version to this:

Danca Camponeza – Alternative Version (Tab)

Danca Camponera (MP3)

Creative Commons License
These pieces with arrangements by Manuel Joaquim Monteiro Cabral; and tab and audio by are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

View Comments

Sorry, Comments Are Broken Right Now