Musical Articulation

In previous sections, while we described rhythmic patterns, we deliberately disregarded rests as parts of rhythmic phrases in order to simplify and reduce number of rhythmic pattern combinations. As our investigation of rhythmic patterns considered only the presence of individual beats in the phrase, we examined only the onset of the note within a phrase, leaving it's duration and ending undefined.

We will now describe different ways of playing notes in regards to their endings, which is known in music as articulation. In general there are two distinct forms of musical articulation. If a note is ended by muting a string we talk about staccato. When the note is ended by playing the next note without any muting in between, this is known as legato.

While the most of bossa nova songs are played with the mix of both styles, there are also songs that are played exclusively or at most by one of the styles described. Typically a whole section of the song is performed by one style, however not all notes within a rhythmic phrase are played with the same style. For example whenever there is a chord change it's impossible to play it with legato, so those are played with staccato. At the other hand if there are tied notes during staccato section there is usually some part of the phrase played with legato.

We will classify bossa nova phrases as being played by staccato or legato depending on the style used in playing their main beats.

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