SALE: Forever Site Access Memberhip for $149 Get It Today! Normally $179. BONUS for Supporing LearningUkulele.com and Curt • All FOREVER members will receive a FREE one-hour private lesson. Email Curt to schedule your FREE session.

Bossa Nova

The best known syle of Brazian music popularized in the 1950s and 1960s.

PUBLISHED: Sep 19, 2018 UPDATED: Apr 13, 2020 • VIEWS: 9 • LESSON CODE: UL901

Instruments: ukulele music guitar Subjects:

Each PDF file is a formatted high resolution file that prints out great. You'll need Adobe Reader or a PDF viewing application to view your PDF file.

Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova is a genre of Brazilian music, which developed and was popularized in the 1950s and 1960s and is today one of the best-known Brazilian music genres abroad. The phrase bossa nova means literally “new trend”. A lyrical fusion of samba and jazz, bossa nova acquired a large following in the 1960s initially among young musicians and college students. Since its inception, it has remained a vital part of the standard jazz repertoire.

Additional Content Available for Premium Site Access Plans Only

This content requires a Premium / Gold Access Plan and or enrolled in the Study with Curt - On-line or Private Lesson Program.

To view additional content for this page you'll need to either Sign In or Register for Premium Site Access or upgrade your current access level.

Login or SignUp to View Complete Page

Bossa Nova has typically been performed on nylon stringed classical guitars plucking With the finger as opposed to a pick. This is makes the ukulele a great instrument for performing Bossa Nova. In is purest form it is vocals and unaccompanied guitar.
At its core the Bossa Nova rhythm is based on Samba. Samba’s emphasis on the second beat carries through the bossa nova pattern and at times is often notated in 2/4. A samba, unlike the bossa nova has a distant dance pattern associated with the style.


As with a samba a bossa nova is a clave pattern. In particular a 3:2 pattern.


We'll use one of the most famouse Bossa Nova songs to explore the Bossa Noa style.

The Girl From Ipanema

by Antônio Carlos Brasileiro de Almeida Jobim , also known as Tom Jobim

Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz - The Girl From Ipanema (Garota de Ipanema) (1964) LIVE

This is the original hit from 1964 that created the Bossa Nova craze worldwide. Garota de Ipanema won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and started Astrud Gilberto's career.

Bossa Nova is one of my favorite styles to play.

The Girl From Ipanema - Frank Sinatra & Antônio Carlos Jobim | Concert Collection

Bossa Nova on Ukulele

The role of ukulele performing in the Bossa Nova style is the same as the guitar's role. The guitarist would typically play a nylon string guitar.

Bossa is a syncopated style with a bass note / chord approach.

The bass is typically the root or fifth of the chords and the thumb plays that as the lowest note of the chord voicing. The index, middle, and ring fingers play the remaining part of the chord.

The rhythmic part of the style is a mixture of Levels I, II and IIR of the Modular Phoneic Rhythm System by Chuck Anderson. This is the sytstem I use with GREAT results.

Key of Db

As a jazz standard The Girl From Ipanema is typically performed in the key of F as in the Sinatra and Jobim video. The original Getz/Gilberto recording is in the key of Ab, a better female key for Astrud Gilberto @Svg('link'). I think it sounds amazing in Ab.

Here I transposed to an equally haunting key of Db for the ukulele to take advantage of all four strings and get the same feeling of the original performance in the key of Ab.

Leadsheet Key of Db.

Each major an minor keys conveys ist's own characteristics and emotions. If doing a song instrumentally, i.e. no vocals, you can pick any key that gives you the characteristics and emotions you are trying to convey. I picked Db

German music theorist and composer John Mattheson laid these characteristics and emotions out in his writings in 1713. They were rediscovered and translated by Rita Steblin in her book A History of Key Characteristics in the 18th and Early 19th Centuries in 1983.

Background Chords on Ukulele

These are the chords I'm playing in the video.

The A Section chords are: Db6/9, Eb13, Ebm7, Ebb7(D7), Ebb7b5(D7b5). In the A section the Harmonic Analysis (HA) is: I II7 Im7 bII7 I bII7, Hence the technically correct Ebb7 for the II chord. The Ebb7 (Ebb G Bbb Dbb) is same shape as D7 (D F# A C) and are Enharmonic Equivalents which you might already know.

The A Section Chords for Ukulele

Triple Flat

Triple Flats? – That can't be right. Well, yes Virginia theoretically it is. In the key of Db the second, the II chord is Eb. So the bII would be flatted for E double flat Ebb with te Bbb the fifth of teh chord. And flatting the fifth results in a tripple (bbb) flat. You have to keep the scale degree name / chord degree name in a full diatonic key. Now, granted not a lot of musians, very few in fact would know this and might call it D7. You would get the right pitches – but the names of the pitches would be wrong for the the key of Db Major .

The triple flats show up in the chord tones for the Ebb7b5. E7 is E G# B D, Eb7 is Eb G Bb Db, Ebb7 is Ebb Gb Bbb Dbb, and Ebb7b5 is Ebb Gb Bbbb Dbb. These are the correct chord spellings for these chords.

This music theory stuff is wild. - Curt

The B Section Chords for Ukulele

The B section of the songs is rich in harmonic movement. It is actually not that hard to navigate.

The B Section chords are: D6/9, G9, Dm9, Bb9, Ebm9, Cb9, Fm7, Bb7#11b9, Ebm7, Ab7#11b9,. In the A section the Harmonic Analysis (HA) is: I II7 Im7 bII7 I bII7, Hence the technically correct Ebbr7 for the II chord. The same shape as D7 which you might already know.

No Vanilla Seventh Chords

Notice that I didn't play many plain vanilla chords. There is an un-written rule in "jazz" that you don't play a simple straight-ahead seventh chord, plain vanilla secenth chords. Add upper partials / chord extensions and/or alter the chord. The extensions and alteration depend on what the resolution of the seventh chord is.

Download the lesson's PDF file for the latest, complete and most up-to-date version of the lesson. As well as additional information not presented on-line.

Members and Active Students need to sign-in
to download the premium lesson PDFs for the complete lesson.

Related Lessons

Related Lessons for Bossa Nova at this time.

Modular Phonetic Rhythm • Updated: Aug 1, 2018

Modular Phonetic Rhythm represents a significant advance in the teaching and application of rhythm. Eliminating many inefficient aspects of rhythm education, Modular Phonetic Rhythm streamlines the traditional educational approach, resulting in a reflexive reaction to rhythm. This approach is applicable to all ages and to all styles of music. It has applications for the individual musician as well as for groups such as orchestra, jazz band, marching band, small groups etc.

Related Books

Related Books for Bossa Nova at this time.

A Guide to Ukulele Strums
Updated: Apr 11, 2019

Learn a variety of strums and rhythmic patterns in wide range of musical styles.

Modular Phonetic Rhythm, The Foundation and Workbook 1
Updated: Nov 9, 2015

Modular Phonetic Rhythm represents a significant advance in the teaching and application of rhythm.

Related Songs

Related Songs for Bossa Nova at this time.

Any Song Will Do
Updated: Dec 7, 2015

When any song here can be used for the concepts in the lessons.

Black Orpheus
Updated: Dec 9, 2019

A Boss Nova standard from the 1959 film, Orfeu Negro made in Brazil by French director Marcel Camus and starring Marpessa Dawn.

Blue Bossa
Updated: Feb 9, 2016

Blue Bossa is one of the easier songs that beginning jazz players tackle.

Desafinado
Updated: Apr 25, 2018

By Antônio Carlos Jobim with lyrics (in Portuguese) by Newton Mendonça.

Girl From Ipanema
Updated: Feb 9, 2016

The Girl from Ipanema (Garota de Ipanema) is an essential jazz standard that every jazz musician should know.

Related Lesson Series

Related Lessons Series for Bossa Nova at this time.

Modular Phonetic Rhythm by Chuck Anderson
Updated: Jan 1, 2003

Modular Phonetic Rhythm represents a significant advance in the teaching and application of rhythm. Eliminating many inefficient aspects of rhythm education, Modular Phonetic Rhythm streamlines the traditional educational approach, resulting in a reflexive reaction to rhythm.

Site Access Plans for LearningUkulele.com

Forever Access - With Forever Premium Access you get Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt as FREE downloads. Pretty much everything on the site and NEVER worry about a subscription or surprise payment again. And jump the queue for my responding to any questions.

Premium Access - This premium gives you Unlimited 24/7 access to ALL lessons, downloads, songs, play-along jam tracks, videos, email access to Curt, resources and related assets. As well as ALL books by Curt Sheller as FREE downloads.

Basic Access - A limited selection of basic lessons — ( currently over 140 ) and 100+ songs for ukulele as well as basic general music reference material — Completely FREE — Simply Register/Signup. HOWEVER - I've been doing ukulele and LearningUkulele.com since 2003 and probably have given too much away already - as reflected in my income from the site in relationship to the time spent on the site. So help support this site and its continued development by signing up for one of the below Premium Access Plans or buy a few of my books. - Thanks, Curt

NOTE: Each higher access level includes ALL the benefits of the lower levels. Private Lessons include all the benefits of a Premium Access Plans as long as you remain a student on the schedule.

Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books!Peter Rhee

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the bestGlen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too.Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent.fatveg — Portland

Thanks for visiting and checking out the site!

curtieAnim.gif

Original Curtie Animation from 1987 for my first web site on a Macintosh II.
33 years ago.

“Built for myself (Curt), and sharing with the `Ukulele community!”

LearningUkulele.com has one of the largest collections of lessons, songs, and TABS, luthiers, ukulele builders, ukulele festival and club information, and, ukulele links on the web. I’ve been on the ®Internet since the early 1990's and This site just never stops growing!!!

Content is added and updated almost daily - so check back often.