The music of the samba schools of Rio de Janeiro, the samba-enredo, is a topic of much interest to the popular music studies. One of its most striking features is the fact that most of the composers who are dedicated to this genre does not have any formal musical education, which provides fertile ground for studies on music learning processes and oral memory. At the same time, this music has a prominent position in the brazilian phonographic market, besides being broadcasted by the country’s major television station, which lead us back to the reflections of Theodor Adorno on standardization in popular music. Added to this, the samba-enredo have its own performance circuit (the samba schools) and media coverage (blogs and websites specialized in Carnival), which contributes to the existence of a mode of production and reception that has no parallel anywhere else in Brazil and, I believe, abroad. Therefore, this article aims to discuss the challenges of analyzing this music genre, whose uniqueness lies precisely in being in the middle ground of a mass production and a musical craft still strongly marked by orality and self-taught.
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- The Music of Samba Schools: A Challenge for Popular Music Studies