Prole do Bebê, series 1

Appleby Catalogue W number: 

These works are about the world of children, but many are fiendishly difficult to play, and many others are craggily modernist in style.  So you can't really say they're for children, except that musical children will appreciate both the complicated rhythms and the feeling that each piece is about something different.

  • Branquinha (A Boneca de Louça) - Little White Doll (The Porcelain Doll)
  • Moreninha (A Boneca de Massa) - Little Brunette Doll (The Paste Doll)
  • Caboclinha (A Boneca de Barro) - Little Mestiza Doll (The Clay Doll)
  • Mulatinha (A Boneca de Borracha) - Little Mulatta Doll (The Rubber Doll)
  • Negrinha (A Boneca de Pau) - Little Black Doll (The Wooden Doll)
  • A Pobrezinha (A Boneca de Trapo) - The Poor Little Doll (The Rag Doll)
  • O Polichinelo - The Punch
  • A Bruxa (A Boneca de Pano) - The Witch (The Cloth Doll)

O Polichinelo from the first book of Prole do Bebe is an encore piece in the repertoire of many concert pianists.  Marcelo Bratke performs the piece in this video:

Listen to Sonia Rubinsky play Book 1 of Prole do Bebe at Mbaraka Músicas (click on Villa-Lobos: Brincando seriamente com piano) 

Thesis: Musical and sociological implications of Villa-Lobos's "Prole do Bebe, No. 1" by Jerke, Angelis, M.M., California State University, Long Beach, 2005, 61 pages; AAT 1429239
Abstract (Summary)

Even with today's increased attention on Heitor Villa-Lobos, there is a lack of detailed commentary on his piano works and their performance issues, which is precisely the type of information that would benefit a performer when playing a work by Villa-Lobos. This project presents information on one of Villa-Lobos's most important piano works: the Prole do Bebê, no 1 . This piece is a collection of eight movements, each one representing a doll, which Villa-Lobos named according to their color and material. These designations are related to ethnicities present in Brazil in the early nineteenth century, and imply different social strata.

This project provides contextualized information on Villa-Lobos and his country, Brazil, discusses the social implications implied by the doll's names, and presents a musical analysis of each movement---performance issues and ideas for interpretation.

Other Theses:

  • Loss, André. 1996. The Villa-Lobos changes in the Prole do Bebê no 1 and in his piano works: a new approach to the study of his evolution. Thesis (Dr. of Musical Arts)--University of Cincinnati, 1996.
  • Sadowsky, Maritza. 1984. Heitor Villa-Lobos: an analysis of Prole do bebê no. 1. Thesis (M.A.)--University Pittsburgh, 1984.
  • Rezende, Marisa Barcellos. 1976. Villa-Lobos: the artist and his Prole do Bebe no. 1 & 2. Thesis (M.A.)--University of California, Santa Barbara, 1976.
  • Lee, Jaeryoung. 2003. A pedogogical study of selected rhythmic patterns in Villa-lobos' A prole do bebê no. 1. Thesis (M.A.)--San Diego State University, 2003.
  • Young, Deanna DuBois. 1998. Brazilian folk-music influences and problems of performance in Heitor Villa-Lobos's settings of Prole de Bebé, volumes one and two. Thesis (D.M.A.)--University of South Carolina, 1998.
  • McPeck, Marlene Anne Meyer. 1963. Heitor Villa-Lobos and his Prole do bebe. Thesis (M.M.)--University of Nebraska (Lincoln campus)--1963.

Maria Lúcia Pascoal, "A Prole do Bebê n.1 e n.2 de Villa-Lobos: estratégias da textura como recurso composicional," full-text in Portuguese, abstract in English.

The score is available at the IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library.

Year Composed: 
Piano Works



Sheetmusicplus  includes a variety of scores - from the complete books of Prole do Bebe, to individual pieces.

Here's a brand-new score from Brazil, the first of the new series of piano scores from Irmãos Vitale, published in 2009 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Villa’s death.

Villa-Lobos, Heitor, and Luciana Sayure. 2009. Prole do bebê no. 1. São Paulo: Irmãos Vitale.


You can download the score at

You can download the score at


The complete series of both books of Prole do Bebe show up in concert fairly often on the Villa-Lobos Concerts database.  More commonly, though, pianists will program the first or second suite separately, or add one or two pieces to their concert program for variety.