Fourth Basic Bossa Nova Phrase

This phrase matches samba partido alto phrase. It may be constructed by composition of 2 + 3 + 2 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 2 and 2/4 rhythms. Using Bossa Nova Guitar numbering scheme resulting phrase is described as 1321.

Fourth Basic Bossa Nova Phrase Reversed

When played in reverse it becomes 2113 in which form it was used by João Gilberto in his own recording of Chega de Saudade from 1956. While the first part of the song was based mainly on first basic syncopated phrase (1213), the second part was based on this phrase and it's variations.


This phrase has been used more in later recordings by João Gilberto such as E Preciso Perdoar from album João Gilberto from 1973 and in most songs from album Brasil from 1981. It can also be heard in Isto Aqui, o Que e, also named Sandalia de Prata. In the example above we can also see a melody on weak beats only.

Video Lesson: Chega de Saudade

This song is important for several reasons:

  • It was the first bossa nova ever recorded (by Elizeth Cardoso with guitar accompaniment by João Gilberto)
  • After being recorded by João Gilberto it started the whole bossa nova craze.
  • In his own recording João Gilberto used almost all basic bossa nova rhythmic phrases.
  • The lyrics by Vinícius de Moraes marked a turning point in writing the lyrics which at the time were dominated by pessimistic and hopeless texts.
  • Pay special attention to the staccato section in the first part of the song. This style of playing João Gilberto often used in his early bossa nova recordings.

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