Heitor Villa-Lobos and middle-late period ragtime

Recently I started trying to learn Villa-Lobos’ Choro Tipico for solo guitar. Not long after I got the music out of the library, I bought a CD of all his solo guitar music, and started listening to it closely.

It sounds amazingly like certain ragtime composers, between about 1910 and 1920! Think late period Scott Joplin, or Artie Matthews, or Robert Hampton. As I listened to Choro Tipico I was irresistably reminded of Artie Matthews’ Pastime Rags, Obviously, I don’t mean that any one composer copied the other, it’s more a strong stylistic resemblance.

It probably struck me close to home because years before I took up guitar, I was a ragtime pianist (can’t play a note, now), and more recently have been listening to a lot of ragtime on Professor Bill’s ragtime website. For most of the 1970s I lived and breathed this music, so it’s rather interesting, in this next musical life of being a guitarist, to have hit on something that is so much like that.

Do we have any other former ragtimers-current classical guitarist in the house? Have you ever noticed anything like this before?

If you’re interested in the similarities between choro and ragtime you should check out the work of New Orleans pianist Tom McDermott. He has recorded two CDs - Choro do Norte and Danza - that feature both choro and ragtime (follow the links to learn more about them). Clarinetist Evan Christopher also performs on Danza.

Is choro a musical form? I thought in the title of Choro Tipico it was just a name, and that it translated as “A Typical Chorus”.

It reminds me of when I first started playing guitar. I went to the library and asked for a piece called “Gigue” by a certain composer, not realizing that he had written at least 8.