Braguinha, Augusto Da Costa, Funchal (Madeira), before 1898, inv. 2496
Braguinha, Augusto Da Costa, Funchal (Madeira), before 1898, inv. 2497
Braguinha, Augusto Da Costa, Funchal (Madeira), before 1898, inv. 2500
The MIM has three plucked instruments built in the 19th century in Funchal, the city on the Island Madeira. In the past they were called machete, but today one usually calls those instruments braguinha. In 1898 Victor-Charles Mahillon, the first curator of the Conservatory's Instrumental Museum, bought them from luthier Augusto Da Costa .
The machete is usually shaped as a small guitar with four single strings, tuned D-G-B-D. However, Da Costa liked to build instruments with unusual shapes, such as the fish-shaped braguinha with inventory number 2496 or the 2500 in the shape of a heart.
In the 19th century, the machete was played in different social settings, both by peasants and wealthier people. For strumming musicians used metal picks attached to their fingers.
The ukulele, a small Hawaiian guitar, is thought to be an instrument derived from the machete, introduced at the end of the 19th century by migrants from Madeira.
Text: Anne-Emmanuelle Ceulemans
- Rui Alves Trindade (1995). Instrumentos musicais populares madeirenses. In: Xarabanda: 8:3-23
- Manuel Morais (1997). Uma colecção de peças musicais do século XIX par: Machete e Guitarra. In: Xarabanda 11: 2-10
- John King (2005). A Few Words about the Madeiran "Machete". In: The Galpin Society Journal, 58: 83-88, 217-219