Multiple Authorship and Intermedia Revision
An Editorial Approach to Pedro Homem de Mello's Poems Adapted to Fado
If the intimate ancestral relationship between poetry and music is evident from the form and etymology of the word “lyric,”
no less evident is the resistance, or at least suspicion, that has often arisen from adapting poetry to song. Fernando Pessoa
(1888–1935), through the voice of his heteronym, Álvaro de Campos, would maintain that poetry itself was already imbued with
musicality, and therefore any attempt to set it to music would be redundant, or even artificial:
And this is what poetry is: singing without music. That’s why the great lyric poets, in the grand sense of the adjective “lyric,” are not musical. How could they be lyric if they were musical?
Perhaps this is why modern poetry had been somewhat sidelined from the Portuguese music scene during the first half of the twentieth century, a panorama dominated by fado—the iconic Portuguese song originating in the neighborhoods of nineteenth-century Lisbon, and since 2011 included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
In its early days, fado was mainly a traditional folk music genre. Initially the lyrics were anonymous and passed on orally, and gradually from the 1920s onwards they were written by popular authors. Fado only began to cross over into the area of cultured poetry in the 1950s, especially through the voice of the famous singer Amália Rodrigues (1920–1999) and the decisive influence of Franco-Portuguese composer Alain Oulman (1928–1990). The melodic characteristics of fado, with its subjective focus, melancholic tone, dramatic pauses, and rubato, indeed seemed like a perfect match for the lyrical intensity of elegiac poetry. Thus, gradually, though not without controversy, poets began to take the stage. Pedro Homem de Mello (1904–1984) was one of the first whose work was sung, shortly followed by David Mourão-Ferreira (1927–1996), José Régio (1901–1969), Luiz de Macedo (1925–1987), and, still later, Alexandre O’Neill (1924–1986), Sidónio Muralha (1920–1982), and Vasco de Lima Couto (1923–1980), among others.
In this article, I present a few poems by Pedro Homem de Mello that were adapted to fado, and consider an editorial approach to suit the specificity of these texts. I point out some examples of cultural appropriation intersecting with authorial revision and focus on the implications for editorial theory and practice. The concept frame of reference will therefore be within the scope of social-text editing, which was notoriously responsible, during the 1980s, for drawing attention away from the Greg-Bowers-Tanselle ideal of a single text fulfilling an author’s intentions, toward “a socialized concept of authorship and textual authority” that comprehends multiple historical versions “regardless of how many authors contributed to the writing.”
Because the editorial interest and challenge here arise at the nexus of versioning and remediation, the digital medium and its affordances will emerge as the key imaginative toolbox for the edition, in order to address the multimedia nature of the materials involved and the intricate adaptive revisions through which texts are perpetually revived.
I. Pedro Homem de Mello’s Poems Adapted to Music
Pedro Homem de Mello is one of the relevant lyric poets in twentieth-century Portuguese literature. His extensive poetic oeuvre was awarded important literary prizes (such as Prémio Antero de Quental 1939, Prémio Ocidente 1964, Prémio Casimiro Dantas 1966, and Prémio Nacional de Poesia 1972), and his books were acclaimed by some of the most influential critics of the time. Despite the continued strong popular appreciation, though, Mello has received little to no critical reception in recent decades, which can partly be explained by ideological reasons (due to his association with the 1933–74 dictatorial regime) but may also have to do with the vastness and inaccessibility of his works, which are spread across a wide variety of supports. These include an array of paper-based media, but also multimedia material such as vinyl recordings of musical adaptations of his poems.
Indeed, his poetry is indelibly embedded in fado’s cultural repository. The author himself recognized his own vocation in fado, and the critics have also noted the musical qualities of his lyricism, which is deeply rooted in the medieval song tradition. This was credited to the author’s “remarkable sense of popular rhythms and language,” which is certainly not indifferent to his commitment, as an ethnographer, to folklore.
More than fifty poems of his can be heard worldwide through the voices of famous performers, such as Amália Rodrigues, Tereza Tarouca, Fr. Hermano da Câmara, and, more recently, António Variações, Carlos do Carmo, João Braga, Dulce Pontes, Camané, and Sérgio Godinho. Besides these, some lesser known singers such as Germano Rocha, Alexandre dos Santos, Zélia Lopes, Fernando Gomes, Carlos Ramos, Maria Manuel, Beatriz da Conceição, Valdemar Vigário, João Ferreira Rosa, and Jorge Silva have interpreted his poems, as have others whose names appear in the poet’s correspondence, insistently asking for lyrics (though questions remain as to whether these requests were met).
It is no wonder, then, that several of his poems were written especially to be sung, and there are even examples of his poetry which only came into the public domain through audio recordings. Such is the case for “Olhos fechados,” “Tive um amigo . . . e morreu!,” “Bastam as pedras do rio,” “Rua da Sorte,” and, more recently, “Te juro,” which was recorded long after the poet’s death, based on musical manuscripts from Alain Oulman’s estate. These lyrics were written with fado in mind, and have been adapted to the musical register with great skill, as can be observed from the surviving manuscripts and the subsequent musical recordings.
Greater editing challenges are raised, though, by the so-called poesia non per musica—that is, poems not intended to be sung but subsequently adapted from their published form. Less common are cases of linear remediation, where the switch to a musical register either leaves the text unchanged or merely involves repeating verses and refrains. A posteriori adaptations usually present complex variation issues in terms of both production and transmission, where authorial responsibility is ambiguous and difficult to ascertain.
In fact, some of the poet’s manuscripts contain versions that correspond to the lyrics used in musical renditions, suggesting that he was somehow directly involved in the adaptation. Yet, most frequently, only remote authorial monitoring can be inferred from the correspondence with musical composers. Such is the case in the adaptation of the poem “Verde, verde,” which Alain Oulman had sent to Pedro Homem de Mello for his approval. In another letter, Tereza Tarouca asks the author’s opinion about the changes made in the poem “Marcha fúnebre,” to be included in her 1968 EP, Meu Bergantim.
In many other cases, however, the musical adaptations occurred entirely independently of the author, while remaining both culturally and textually relevant. In this regard, let us consider as an example the song “Fria claridade,” which was adapted from the poem “Naufrágio,” published in the 1940 book Estrêla Morta.
Originally written during a trip the author made alone to Paris, around 1922, “Naufrágio” [Shipwreck] was inspired by an attractive
woman with whom he made eye contact while strolling down the Champs-Élysées. These are the events described in the composition, which was then adapted to music by José Marques do Amaral and recorded
in Amália Rodrigues’s 1951 LP, Melodia. Her biographer had the following to say about the incidents surrounding the adaptation process:
Um dia, Amália viu o poema de Pedro Homem de Mello [. . .] Naufrágio, num livro, gostou e, como de costume, cantou, metendo o poema no Fado Tango, do célebre guitarrista e cantador, Joaquim Campos, embora o poema tivesse sido bastante cortado e bem cortado. Por quem? Quem transformou adeus em Deus? Mistério profundo. Estávamos em finais dos anos 40, e o fado foi um sucesso. [. . .] No entanto, quando o autor telefonou a Amália, embora ela o soubesse seu admirador, temeu que fosse a reclamar da sua ousadia. Mas Pedro Homem de Mello estava extasiado, declarava que, embora sempre muito combatido, tinha finalmente a noção de uma grande vitória, pois através de Amália, a sua poesia “tinha subido até ao povo.”
[One day Amália read Pedro Homem de Mello’s poem [. . .] Naufrágio in a book. She liked it, and as was usual, she sang it, to the tune of Fado Tango from the famous guitarist and singer, Joaquim Campos, though the poem had been cut, and well cut at that. By whom? Who changed adeus (farewell) to Deus (God)? A great mystery. It was the late ’40s and this fado was a success. However, when the author phoned Amália, although she knew him to be her admirer, she was afraid he might intend to complain about her audacity. But Pedro Homem de Mello was ecstatic, declaring that while constantly embattled, he finally had the notion of a great victory, because through Amália, his poetry “had risen to the people.”]
Comparing poem and song (Figure 1), Amália Rodrigues’s version has been shortened by eliminating four descriptive stanzas in order to meet the musical register’s specific requirements. These were then compensated for with the characteristic rubato in the fado performance, when the singer holds the note in key words, contributing to “reinforce the stark emotional oppositions and tensions created by the requisite generic compression.” The adaptation also contains other alterations: the broken rhythm in the line “E os olhos, logo perdidos” [And the eyes, soon lost] is substituted for the more fluent alternative “E aqueles olhos tão lindos” [And those eyes, so beautiful], and, in what appears to be a paronymous corruption, the line “Tive presságios de adeus” [I had presages of farewell] is changed to “Tive presságios de Deus” [I had presages of God].
Interestingly, however, the shortened fado version was later adopted by Pedro Homem de Mello for his final publication of the poem (in the 1975 book Pedro). It also appeared in a later posthumous anthology (Eu, Poeta e Tu Cidade) with some slight variations from the poet’s revision in Pedro.
[view full sized image in new window] Figure 1: Side-by-side comparison of the poem “Naufrágio,” Amália Rodrigues’s song “Fria claridade,” and subsequent authorial versions. Gray: text common to all versions; yellow: nonauthorial revisions incorporated by the poet.
As we can see in this case, the “transmission variants”—corresponding to remediation processes independent of the author—were
eventually adopted by the poet himself, thus becoming “version variants” (“changes in different printings of the same work”). Hence there is an ambiguous interaction between the epigenetic production archive and the social transmission archive. In these circumstances, a scholarly edition that intends to account
for the transformations undergone by the poem cannot ignore this interaction, even at the risk of provoking some theoretical
discomfort. Therefore, I believe we should adopt in these poems what John Bryant envisioned as a fluid-text approach, that is, “a broader conception of geneticism in which the notion of work embraces all versions of a text, including sources and adaptations, and the creative process is extended to include all forms of revision, both authorial and cultural”:
fluid text editing attempts to trace the phenomenon of textual evolution by focusing on the text as a dynamic process that charts the changing textual identities of originating version, authorial revisions and adaptive revisions.
An edition of Pedro Homem de Mello’s poetry in such terms should thus follow the various stages these texts have passed through, along the chain of writing, transmission, and reception. It should highlight the dialogue between the printed and genetic witnesses from the poet’s archive, and also between these and the respective adaptations to other codes such as audio readings and musical interpretations.
Now let us look closely at a few more examples, with evident tensions between composition vs. adaptation, authorship vs. appropriation, and literary vs. musical creation. I will then present an editorial proposal to combine written poems with music, while bearing in mind the textual challenges raised by these intermedia revisions.
One of Pedro Homem de Mello’s most iconic poems was originally entitled “Povo” [People] and was inspired by real events experienced by the author in a remote village of the countryside, where women washed their clothes in the river and men had to carve out of trees the boards for their own coffins. This long fifty-two-line composition was then published with slight variations in the books Miserere (1948), Poemas Escolhidos (1957), and Povo Que Lavas no Rio (1969).
In the early 1960s, Amália Rodrigues came across the poem in one of the author’s books and decided to adapt it to music by Joaquim Campos. Similarly to what had happened ten years before with “Fria claridade,” she undertook the necessary changes herself, shortening the original poem by 20 percent while altering the order of some lines and repeating others in the refrain (Figure 2).
The following description, made by Rodrigues’s biographer, is worth reproducing as important testimony on the compositional
history of the text:
[Um dia] Amália leu o poema “Povo,” [. . .] contido no [. . .] livro “Miserere” (1948) [. . .]. E Amália apaixonou-se, cortou o poema, reduziu a obra à sua essência a mais luminosa, numa rara comunhão poeta-cantora, deu-lhe a música do magnífico “Fado Vitória,” do cantador e compositor emérito Joaquim Campos, e tornou-o em “Povo que Lavas no Rio,” um dos seus êxitos perenes. [. . .] Contava-me Amália: “Fui eu que li o poema que, aliás, era muito grande, não podia sequer cantá-lo todo. Fui eu também que escolhi os versos que deviam ficar. Tive até a sorte do poeta não se zangar com a minha escolha, ficou até mesmo bastante contente.”
[One day Amália read the poem “Povo” (People), included in the book “Miserere” (1948). And Amália fell in love with it; she cut the poem, reduced the text to its brightest essence, in a rare communion between author and singer; she set it to the beautiful music of “Fado Vitória,” by the emeritus composer Joaquim Campos, and turned it into “Povo Que Lavas no Rio” (People who wash clothes in the river), one of her permanent hits. Amália told me: “It was me who read the poem (which was very long, I could not sing it entirely). It was also me who chose the lines that would stay. I was even lucky that the poet did not get angry with my choice; he was actually very happy with it.”]
This shortened version of the poem was then interpreted by Amália Rodrigues (1962) and repeated time and again, through the years, by countless singers. Thirteen years after the composition was adapted and interpreted in the LP Busto, Mello decided to publish a second version of the poem, which he entitled “Povo que lavas no rio” and dedicated to Amália Rodrigues. Although not fully coincident with the alterations of the 1962 adaptation (since it recovered a few lines from the original), this second authorial version unhesitatingly shed the long former poem in favor of a shortened, concentrated version that was already inscribed in our collective memory (Figure 2).
[view full sized image in new window] Figure 2: Side-by-side comparison of the poem “Povo,” Amália Rodrigues’s song “Povo que lavas no rio,” and a subsequent version published by the author. Gray: text common to all versions; yellow: nonauthorial revisions incorporated by the poet; blue: transposition.
Once again, a creative exchange between the poet’s primary authorship and the composer’s (or the interpreter’s) secondary authorship is observed and must be explored in an edition that is sensitive to the dynamic nature of textual condition. More important, though, is the intimate association between poem and music in “Povo que lavas no rio” (the song), which had a major cultural impact. It is no surprise, then, that even though the poem is not widely known in its original form, the musical adaptation has become such an iconic representation of the Portuguese culture. So much so that Mário Cesariny (one of the most influential artists from the twentieth century) declared that Amália’s song should be launched into the stratosphere, if ever the human race would need to condense the very essence of Portugal.
Indeed, the song has grown into a classic of fado’s repertoire. It was covered multiple times and evolved into different versions, always keeping the same melody but choosing different parts of the poem. Sometimes the lyrics were even altered to better fit the melodic structure of the tune. This happens, for example, in the adaptation interpreted by João Braga, where the ternary rhythm of “Areais, píncaros, passos” [Sands, pinnacles, footsteps] had given way to an alternative line with more fluent rhythmic connections: “Por onde foram os passos” [Where the footsteps went] (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Side-by-side comparison of the poem “Povo” and musical adaptations interpreted by João Braga, Zélia Lopes, and Tereza Tarouca. Gray: text common to all versions.
Editing a poem with these characteristics therefore requires a close monitoring of the remediation process, and an examination of the relations established between the new form and the texts that precede it or follow it, but above all it needs to provide what only the adaptations have to offer: the musical component. It is precisely through this use of the auditory function that the reader can access an aesthetic valence that extends far beyond the literary realm.
3. “Canção verde”
The conclusion is even more evident if we think of those poems that were adapted to different tunes, resulting in several alterations at the textual level. Pedro Homem de Mello’s compositions that fit these characteristics include poems like “Violeta” (which had two different song forms interpreted by Tereza Tarouca), “Escárnio” (used in two songs by Fernando Gomes and Zélia Lopes), “Prece” (set to three melodies, interpreted by Zélia Lopes, Alexandre dos Santos, and Amália Rodrigues) and “Canção verde” (adapted to two different songs by Amália Rodrigues and Tereza Tarouca).
For “Canção verde” [Green song], at least twenty authorial witnesses are available (among autographs, typescripts, printed texts, and even an audio reading record by the author himself). It is also possible to find in the poet’s archive, owned by the Portuguese National Library, a parallel composition entitled “Fado triste,” which shares only two lines with this “Canção verde,” included in the 1951 book Adeus (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Side-by-side comparison of two authorial compositions, “Canção verde” and “Fado triste.” Gray: text common to all versions.
Regarding the second peripheral composition, two observations stand out. On one hand, as the result of vertical revision, it is a very different version, raising sensible questions of whether it can be distinguished and edited separately from the first one. On the other hand, the only autograph witness we have of this text is entitled “Fado triste” [Sad fado] and is accompanied by the indication “letra de Pedro Homem de Mello” [lyrics by Pedro Homem de Mello], suggesting that it was intended to be set to music. The fact that we do not know whether it was actually adapted (nor what its musical shape was) limits our ability to fully understand the genesis of this song-poem.
What we do know for sure is that “Canção verde” was actually adapted as two different songs: “Verde, verde” (interpreted by Amália Rodrigues) and “Canção verde” (recorded by Tereza Tarouca). In both songs we have intermediate witnesses that are slightly different from the versions that were finally sung and which may help understand the sequential steps in the adaptation process.
For Amália Rodrigues’s “Verde, verde” there is a manuscript that composer Alain Oulman had sent to the poet for his approval (Figure 5).
Figure 5: Side-by-side comparison of the poem “Canção verde,” an intermediate adaptive revision by composer Alain Oulman, and a musical adaptation interpreted by Amália Rodrigues. Gray: text common to all versions.
For Tereza Tarouca’s “Canção verde” there is even an autograph manuscript by Pedro Homem de Mello (Figure 6).
Figure 6: Side-by-side comparison of the poem “Canção verde,” an intermediate adaptive revision by the author, and the musical adaptation interpreted by Tereza Tarouca. Gray: text common to all versions.
Comparing poem and songs, we find that several alterations were demanded by the music, namely the exclusion of some lines and the repetition of others. This had a major consequence at the pragmatic level: the partial loss (in both songs) of an iterative central question in the original poem “Why is it green?,” whose anaphoric repetition (in lines 6, 12, 20, 27, 36) was intended to “turn into drama” what, according to the author, would otherwise sound like a mere “naive question.” Both adaptations attempt to compensate for the attenuating effect of the rhetorical disintegration of the poem by seeking new expressive nuances through the melodic subtleties of musical language. Hence the importance of sound files for the analysis of the semantic changes that occurred during the remediation process.
Ultimately, however, what stands out from this textual constellation around “Canção verde” is the need to design an edition in terms of a multimedia and hypertextual architecture, a need that will also be highlighted in the next composition.
4. “O fandangueiro”
Originally published in 1942 under the title “O bailador de fandango” [The fandango dancer], this poem was later adapted by Alain Oulman and interpreted by Amália Rodrigues as “Fandangueiro” (Figure 7).
Figure 7: Side-by-side comparison of the poem “O bailador de fandango” and Amália Rodrigues’s song “Fandangueiro.” Gray: text common to all versions.
In this case, however, it is not the remediation process itself that deserves greater consideration. Although the association with music and human voice enhanced the poem’s expressiveness, textual alterations were pretty much confined to the repetition of verses or refrains. What should be noted is the fact that by the time the adaptation was undertaken, Pedro Homem de Mello had already opted for a new configuration of the poem, one that would continue to be seen in his last publications.
The new form was to merge “O bailador de fandango” with a second poem entitled “Mistério” [Mystery], which had already been published in the book Pecado (1942), although there is also a divergent, parallel version that was composed to be sung by girls of the village of Carreço (Figure 8).
Figure 8: Side-by-side comparison of two authorial compositions, “Mistério” and “Canção para ser cantada pelas raparigas de Carreço.” Gray: text common to all versions.
So these two compositions—“O bailador de fandango” and “Mistério”—ended up being merged into a single poem, entitled “O fandangueiro,” which was successively published in three of the author’s books: Poemas Escolhidos (1957), Fandangueiro (1971), and Pedro (1975) (Figure 9).
Figure 9: Final authorial version (merging “O bailador de fandango” and “Mistério”).
Editing such a poem therefore leads us to relate two objects that were originally autonomous but converged in the same composition. Moreover, it also requires that we relate the first of these parts to an adaptation to fado (which was undertaken by Alain Oulman), and the second part to another parallel composition that was written by the author to be sung.
However, we could go even further and connect the text to a French translation that exists in the author’s archive. We could even call upon an article, published in Jornal da Bairrada, where Homem de Mello talked openly about his source of inspiration for the poem, introducing the real fandango dancer, Domingos, and his brother Francisco, who both died suddenly and in the prime of their lives. Although external to the genetic archive itself, both documents turn out to be important for the history of the poem’s creation and transmission, and as such they also have a place in the annotations or in a documentary appendix that may go along with the text.
Therefore, an edition of Pedro Homem de Mello’s poetry would greatly benefit from the combination, in a single platform, of multiple and concurrent elements. On one hand, it should provide a systematic presentation of textual genesis, assembling authorial and nonauthorial versions through an integrated apparatus and signalling the ambiguity among these multiple voices, so that users can explore diachronic revision with no single version being hierarchically privileged over another. Furthermore, it ought to offer the audio component of musical adaptations, which is essential, as we have seen, for understanding the textual alterations and expressive nuances introduced by the adaptation process. Moreover, other optional gateways would improve the fluid-text experience, giving access to paragenetic materials that can further clarify the circumstances surrounding the process of writing or adaptation.
II. A Multimedia Digital Approach
Hence the question “How might the editor clarify the boundaries of related textual identities and provide methods of navigating those versions”? According to John Bryant, “editing adaptation and adaptive revision is best achieved through digital and fluid text approaches.” This is not just due to the fact that electronic platforms can combine written text with other media. It is also because hypermedia environments are best suited to cross-referencing a text’s genetic production archive with its social transmission archive, which has proved to be particularly relevant in the already analyzed examples.
In this sense, the practice that has most commonly been followed within the field of digital humanities consists of thoroughly transcribing and encoding each witness in TEI, a set of guidelines for the representation of texts in digital form that aims to foster interoperability and long-term sustainability, allowing platforms and resources to be shared by several projects around the world.
Among the open-source tools available within the TEI community is one that generally suits the goals of this project and the specific challenges raised by Pedro Homem de Mello’s poems adapted to fado. It is the Versioning Machine, an interface for displaying multiple versions of text encoded with the TEI guidelines. Originally conceived in 2000 by Susan Schreibman, it has since been used in a number of different projects. Its current version, 5.0 (January 2016), is HTML5 compatible and has been developed to suit texts with multimedia requirements, such as these.
Through its hypertextual architecture and a TEI-P5-conformant schema, the Versioning Machine is appropriate for a genetic-critical approach, favoring a text-centric view. Thus, emendations may be added to the transcriptions (using the <choice>, <sic>, and <corr> elements) while the representation of the writing chronology is achieved by in-document substratification and a parallel display of successive versions, which users may choose to visualize and reorder in multiple possible combinations (Figure 10).
[view full sized image in new window] Figure 10: Edition of the poem “O fandangueiro” using the Versioning Machine open-source interface.
The Versioning Machine’s interface allows readers to critically engage with the dynamics of revision by comparing chunks of text alongside word-by-word or line-by-line comparisons, thanks to the underlying apparatus. This may be encoded using either parallel segmentation or the location-referenced method, particularly useful to deal with the overlapping relationships of elements and structures that characterize modernist poets in general and Pedro Homem de Mello in particular. Additionally, the interface may also assemble facsimiles of manuscripts (encoded within the <teiHeader>) and paragenetic documents (which may be encoded as notes to be displayed in user-manipulated pop-up windows) (Figure 11).
Figure 11: Display of two witnesses assembled for the poem “O fandangueiro” with user-manipulated pop-up windows in the Versioning Machine open-source interface.
As for the musical adaptations addressed in this article, the Versioning Machine has built in the ability to incorporate sound files in the poems, by encoding the tracks within the TEI <front> as a list of <witDetail>. Furthermore, a <timeline> element can also be used to provide a temporal alignment of the audio and the text (Figure 12).
Figure 12: Display of a musical adaptation assembled in the Versioning Machine open-source interface.
Such a heuristic display of materials “conveys and embodies a pluralistic notion of text” that is deeply inherent in the digital editorial paradigm, providing for a dynamic representation of the creative process and its permanent intersection with cultural revisions. Where traditional book editions, compliant with the Greg-Bowers-Tanselle school, were driven by the concept of a single authorship and a stable reading text, digital editions like this favor a continual textual flow that is mutable over time and that includes dialogue among multiple authorial voices in the revision process.
Even though the Versioning Machine’s open-source framework may provide only a starting point for the interface of this edition, it indeed seems to address the main concerns of the project: displaying multiple versions of text and multimedia material within a socialized concept of authorship and textual authority deeply implied in Pedro Homem de Mello’s poems adapted to fado.
Only thus can the suspicion of adapting poetry to song, which I alluded to at the beginning of this article, finally give way to an artistically richer vision of cultural objects, proving that “adaptations, far from being at the margins of the orthodox editorial tradition [. . .], rightly belong to its mainstream.”
The research leading to this article was developed at CLUL—Centro de Linguística da Universidade de Lisboa and supported by FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (SFRH/BPD/92155/2013), through Portuguese and European funds.
The author wishes to thank João Dionísio and Francisco Topa for their comments on earlier versions of this essay. Thanks also to the reviewers and to the editor of Scholarly Editing, whose suggestions were greatly appreciated. Special thanks are due to Mariana Homem de Mello and Rita Homem de Mello, to the singers and composers referred to in the essay, and to the institutions that own the manuscripts.
Menéndez Pidal argued that all literature likely to please and be recognized by the common people in general may be called “popular.” There is, however, within this frame, a specific category, which is more rooted in the collective memory, and therefore deserves to be classified as “traditional” [. . .]. To be considered traditional, texts must [. . .] obey some laws: widespread dissemination within the community, persistence in the collective memory, cross-fertilization with other texts and re-elaboration through different variants. Popular texts that do not conform to this process fit in the second designation [. . .]: “non-traditional popular texts.” These are modern compositions that are well known (and often repeated) by the people for a while, but still retain their individual character. (Carlos Nogueira and Elsa Pereira, “The Portuguese Cancioneiros of São João: Traditional Popular, Non-traditional Popular, and Pseudo-Popular,” Folklore—Journal of the Folklore Society 125, no. 2 : 239.)
By “popular authors” I am referring to such poets as João da Mata (?–1947), Henrique Rego (1885–1963), Gabriel de Oliveira (1891–1958), Joaquim João Linhares Barbosa (1893–1965), Frederico de Brito (1894–1977), Carlos Conde (1901–1981), etc. While some of these men were educated (Linhares Barbosa, for example, was a journalist), their lyrics did not incorporate institutionalized culture or so-called high literature. In this regard, see Rui Vieira Nery, Para Uma História do Fado, 2nd ed. (Lisboa: IN-CM, 2012); Sara Pereira, “Circuito Museológico,” in Museu do Fado 1998–2008 (Lisboa: EGEAC/Museu do Fado, 2008); and Vítor Pavão dos Santos, O Fado da Tua Voz: Amália e os Poetas (Lisboa: Bertrand, 2014). [back]