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Music and ceremonial in Fernão Cardim’s Jesuit letters (1583-90)


This paper addresses Fernão Cardim’s letters to his Portuguese employer, in which he provides details on the missions of the Society of Jesus throughout Northeastern Brazil in late sixteenth century. This study dwells on the historical context of these letters and focuses on reports of ceremonial music, with special attention to themes such as Jesuit inculturation and adaptability. In analyzing the Jesuits’ peculiar musical engagement and interaction with the natives and their ceremonial practices, this paper evaluates the significance of this interrelationship for Jesuit Catholic ritual. This research also explores Cardim’s accounts on the intersection between Christian ceremonies and local rituals as one of the earliest documented signs of religious syncretism on Brazilian territory.


Music and ritual, ceremonial music, inculturation, Jesuit missionaries, religious syncretism, Fernão Cardim

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