Song Styles

Next step beyond the chords are what rhythmic feel to use. What style?

Bossa Nova

Next step beyond the chords are what rhythmic feel to use. What style?

It's the Rhythm!

Not a particular strumming pattern. In fact, for a Bossa Nova it's not strumming that will get you that authentic feel and sound of the traditional Bossa Nova.

The Bossa Nova or Bossa for short is based on the clave patten.

The Clave is a five-stroke pattern that represents the structural core of many Afro-Cuban rhythms.

The Bossa clave pattern is a 3:2 pattern as that is similar the the son clave, but has a second note of the two side of the 3:2 clave is delayed. The clave pattern is typically played as a snare rim pattern. The pattern can be notated on 2 or 4. Traditional Brazilian music is noted in 2/4. North American charts are more likely in 4.

3:2 Bossa Clave Pattern


To practice the pattern, clap or tap the following eight note pattern with the accents, as indicated on the 3:2 clave.


The clave pattern can also be played 2:3, simply swapping measure one and two.

Using the Modular Phonetic Rhythm System level I and mainly level II with rests and ties rhythmic syllables using fingerstyle - you will get an authentic Bossa Nova feel. Especially on ukulele as a classical guitar with nylon strings is traditional associated with accompaniment in this style.


Pretty any song can be performed in the Bossa Nova style. Especially songs where the harmonic density is typically one chord every measure or two.

Here are some songs that are truly Bossa Novas that are part of the standard jazz repertoire.

  • The Girl From Ipanema
  • Desafinado
  • Manha de Carnival (Black Orpheus)
  • Insensatez
  • Corcovado
  • One Note Samba
  • Chega de Saudade
  • Meditation

Pretty much any Antonio Carlos Jobim song as many of Jobim's songs are jazz standards.

Coming Soon

Examples patterns and video demos.

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