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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.
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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.
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 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.
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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 for Bossa Nova at this time.
Related Songs for Bossa Nova at this time.
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.
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