21G.820 | Fall 2016 | Undergraduate

The Beat of Brazil: Brazilian Society Through Its Music


Course Meeting Times

Seminar: 2 sessions/week, 1.5 hours/session


Students must have taken 21G.804 Portuguese IV or MIT students must have the permission of the instructor. 


At the end of the course, students should:

  • attain an advanced-mid level of Portuguese in the presentational and interpretive modes of communication.
  • be able to identify and distinguish the Brazilian musical styles included in the course.
  • be familiar with the main historical events in Brazilian history in the 20th century.
  • be able to link the different musical styles to specific periods and events in Brazilian history.
  • gain a basic knowledge of the triple heritage (Indigenous, European, and African) and how it reflects on the notion of being Brazilian.
  • be aware of how globalization has influenced Brazilian music, as well as of the transnational aspects of Brazilian music.
  • be able to use the previous knowledge to discuss current notions of Brazilian identity, as well as recent developments in Brazilian music and society.

 Bibliografia Para Referência

Cambraia-Naves, Santuza. Da Bossa Nova à Tropicália. Jorge Zahar, 2001. ISBN: 9788571105928.

 Severino, Jairo. Uma História da Música Popular Brasileira: Das Origens a Modernidade. Editora 34, 2009. ISBN: 9788573263961. 


 Sound of Rio: Brasileirinho. DVD. Directed by Mika Kaurismäki. Milan Records, 2005.

 Jobim, Antonio Carlos, and Vinicius de Morales. Masters of Bossa Nova. DVD. Video Artists International, 2009. 

  Tropicália. DVD. Directed by Marcelo Machado. Mr. Bongo Films, 2012. 

EmbassyofBrazilDC. A Night in ‘67 (Uma Noite em 67). YouTube. Directed by Renato Terra and Ricardo Calil. 2010. 

 Two Sons of Fransico (2 Filhos de Fransico). DVD. Directed by Breno Silveira. Colmbia Tristar Filmes do Brasil, 2005. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is defined by the Center of Academic Integrity as “a commitment, even in the face of adversity to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility.”

Learning a foreign language is not something that typically occurss in isolation. Communication and practice are essential. Therefore, working with others is highly encouraged. However, there are cases in which collaboration is tantamount to cheating. There follow some examples of what is allowed and what is not in our class:

  • Having your pronunciation corrected by a native speaker before an oral presentation is perfectly acceptable. They won’t utter the words for you in class.
  • using a spellchecker is valid if you are writing a text, but having a text edited by another person before submission is clearly a different matter. To a certain extent, the editor is the coauthor of the text.
  • likewise, the use of dictionaries is recommended, but no translation program may be used.
  • obtaining help from people or online resources is allowed as a way of enhancing your learning, but should be avoided altogether if as a result of it, the work submitted is not an accurate representation of the student’s progress or capacity. If that’s the case, it will be considered academic dishonesty.

Cell Phone, Text Messaging and Laptop Policy

NO CELL PHONES or other electronic communication devices are to be used during class. No text messaging or e-mailing will be tolerated during class. Cell phones must be turned off or silenced and kept in your backpacks or pockets during class. Laptops may only be used in a case a class activity requires use of the textbook and you have your textbook online and not a physical copy, and only with the consent of the instructor.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2016