Advanced Bossa Nova Phrase 4444

Repeating beat sequence in this phrase contains only 2 beats. This is the same phrase that was used as an example in Single Beat Rhythmic Phrases lesson. It is very similar to the previous phrase but without the second 16th note from 4-beat rhythmic pattern. The beats may be counted as ..4,1..4,1..


Using Bossa Nova Guitar numbering scheme the resulting phrase is described as 4444. This phrase is sometimes used in samba where it is usually performed by surdo drums, while in bossa nova guitar playing it is almost exclusively used in song transitions (bridges) as well as in openings and closings. We present it here in an opening of Desafinado by Tom Jobim - Newton Mendonça, as played by João Gilberto in the first recording of Desafinado in 1958 and included on album Chega de Saudade from 1959.


In this example from Desafinado both bass and chords are played on main beats, however in most of other cases only bass is played on those beats, while the previous 16th note is sustained. This phrase is usually played with staccato. It has been widely used in early bossa nova recordings by João Gilberto including Chega de Saudade, Meditação, Bim Bom and Lobo Bobo, while in the cut-out form the half of this phrase (44) makes an important part in formation of many other advanced phrases, and as such appears in many bossa nova songs. This will be covered later in this section

Video Lesson: Desafinado

This is loosely based on the first recording of Desafinado by João Gilberto from 1958. All the rhythmic phrases, the key (E major) and majority of the chords came from that recording, while some chords were replaced by those played by João Gilberto in his subsequent recordings (transposed from Eb and D that João would use later). Additionally some chords were replaced, most important being F#7/-5 that replaced 7 that João used initially and 9 that he would use later on.

The most challenging aspect of playing this song is maintaining smooth legato with quick and sometimes large chord jumps throughout the song as well as the large number of different chords (40). While rhythmic phrases are relatively simple, the melody is also somewhat tricky as it involves singing diminished fifth on top of F#7 chord (that's the reason behind 7/-5 replacement).

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