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


  1. Armelle April 13th, 2011 6:55 pm

    Beautiful pieces, Al. The good thing is that I will be able to try them on my GCEA ukes as well as my baritone.
    Thanks for tabbing.

  2. pepamahina April 13th, 2011 7:44 pm

    Ahh, today we see the harpist (or perhaps lutist) in your heart. Now I will definitely “need” a dedicated low G uke so I can do this proper justice. Lovely, thank you.

  3. Minipixel April 13th, 2011 8:51 pm

    Excellent work, sir!
    It’s a treat to get such quality tabs for free.


  4. plink freud April 14th, 2011 7:55 am

    Whoa – hang on – “creative commons license” That’s a new thing to me. Sounds really interesting. Any chance of a special post explaining what you know?

  5. George Stone April 14th, 2011 10:58 am

    Very interesting Al, good post, and work!

  6. alec April 14th, 2011 2:17 pm

    Fantastic. Really interesting.

    You played the Waltz with a re-entrant ukulele (and didn’t touch the G string), but the Danca Camponeza on a low-tuned one?

    How do you think the Waltz would sound campanella?

  7. Chris April 14th, 2011 9:40 pm

    This is super cool! I’ve had a cavaco sitting around for awhile but didn’t really have anything to play since all books I could find were in Portuguese and standard notation. I think these are the same tuning so should be some fun!

  8. Helena Mc Guinness April 15th, 2011 2:50 pm

    just now heard the uke for the first time ! am hooked ! goining looking for one! thank you . Helena

  9. Simbosan April 19th, 2011 4:39 am

    So pretty. I had to re-read the bit about machete cos I was thinking that had to be a bit rough on the fingers what with the sharp edges an’all.

  10. Woodshed April 19th, 2011 8:49 am

    Armelle: You’re very welcome.

    pepamahina: The harp is one of my favourite instruments. Although I think I’ve done much more harpy stuff than this.

    Minipixel: Thanks!

    plink: I might well do a post on it sometime.

    George: Glad you like it.

    alec: I’m planning on doing ukulele arrangements and they’ll certainly include campanela bits.

    Chris: Enjoy!

    Helena: Hope you enjoy it.

    Simbosan: Hahaha!


  11. Woodshed April 19th, 2011 8:56 am

    Chris: Have fun with it.

    Helena: Hope you enjoy it.

    Simbosan: Hahaha! Be careful with that.

  12. Sam August 1st, 2015 8:08 am

    Hi Al, the link for “Manuel Morais‘s Colecção de Peças para Machete” doesn’t work anymore and Amazon has it as unavailable. Do you know if this is still available? Any info you have would be much appreciated. Thanks! All the best, Sam

  13. Woodshed August 1st, 2015 8:08 pm

    Sam: I don’t know of anywhere it’s available now, I’m afraid.

  14. Sam August 2nd, 2015 8:20 am

    Al, I managed to track it down. For anyone else who might be interested the book is available from Wook

  15. Woodshed August 4th, 2015 12:20 pm

    Thanks very much, Sam. I’ve added the link to the post.

  16. Andy August 13th, 2015 12:57 pm

    is the waltz tab low g?

  17. Woodshed August 14th, 2015 7:52 pm

    Andy: It’s intended for low-G or baritone. But it also works on high-g (that’s what I used for the MP3).

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