Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Irina Voro


This study provides a comparative analysis and performance suggestions for three Cirandinhas and three Cirandas for solo piano by Heitor Villa-Lobos in order to demonstrate their aesthetic and pedagogical value. The primary objective is to argue for the significance of the Cirandas as concert works and of the Cirandinhas as didactic ones. To better explore these two sets of pieces and their interconnections, the selected Ciranda-Cirandinhas pairs are all based on the same folksong theme. Thus, the analyses also demonstrate Villa-Lobos’s desire to represent Brazilian culture through his music and the ingenuity with which he treated the same melodic material within performative and pedagogical contexts. Heitor Villa-Lobos is recognized as the most significant creative figure in twentieth-century Brazilian art music and as one of the distinguished Latin American composers to date. His distinctive compositional style represents a thorough synthesis of influences from European art music with the African, Indo-American, and cosmopolitan urban idioms of Brazilian vernacular music. Villa-Lobos’s output comprises more than 2000 compositions in a wide variety of genres: symphonies, concertos, operas, chamber music, art songs, and solo piano music. Throughout his career, he was a devoted supporter of music education for young people and of the development of a distinctively Brazilian art-musical tradition. The Cirandinhas and Cirandas represent an intersection of these two concerns. This study will be meaningful to both performers and piano teachers, whom it will encourage to include Villa-Lobos’s works within their concert repertory or teaching curricula. The document includes an introduction, a brief contextualized biography of the composer, a comparative analysis of the selected Cirandinhas and Ciranda with performance suggestions that touches on stylistic, pedagogical, and technical features of the pieces; a conclusion; appendices that include a chronological list of Villa-Lobos’s piano works and the titles and translations of all the Cirandinhas and Cirandas; and a bibliography.