Basic Bossa Nova Phrase Syncopated

In bossa nova songs the majority of chord changes coincide with the phrase boundary. In the previous example almost all such chord changes occurred on the first beat of the phrase except for the two occasions when they occurred on the last beat of the previous phrase. That leads to syncopated variation of the basic phrase. In syncopated variation the last beat of the phrase in the upper voice is played instead of the first beat of the following measure as it is showed below:


This variation is being used in many songs, one of the most famous of them is Corcovado by Antonio Carlos Jobim. It is showed here as it was played by João Gilberto in 1960 on album O Amor, o Sorriso e a Flor.

In the example above the chord change happens on the last beat of second measure. Without it, i.e. if the same chord change happened on the following first beat of the next measure we would get the basic phrase.

This is probably the most widely used variation of the basic bossa nova phrase. It was used frequently in Chega de Saudade, Outra Vez, Garota de Ipanema, Desafinado, Meditação, Discussão, Vivo Sonhando and occasionally in almost every bossa nova song recorded in the early period. In this example Gilberto syncopates the melody regardless of the chord syncopation.

Video Lesson: Corcovado

In the video lesson you can see that when the chord change happens on the last beat of the phrase, then the chord isn't played on the first beat of the following phrase, leaving only bass on that first beat. This is used whenever the chord changes occur on weak beats within this song.

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