Second Basic Bossa Nova Phrase

The second bossa nova phrase may be constructed by composition of 2 + 3 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 3 rhythm played in chord voice and 2/4 rhythm played in bass voice. Following the first ternary beat group (3) from the first part of the phrase, the rest of the chords are played exclusively on weak beats therefore creating a highly syncopated feeling.


This phrase can also be described by using interleaved onbeat and offbeat sequences as explained in the previous section. The starting sequence contains 2 onbeats and is followed by a sequence of 5 offbeats.

With Bossa Nova Guitar numbering scheme we label this phrase as 1332. It appeared in Bim Bom by João Gilberto recorded in 1958 on his first bossa nova single.


This phrase was also used in Rosa Morena on album O Amor, o Sorriso e a Flor from 1960 and O Pato recorded live in Carnegie Hall, Garota de Ipanema and Doralice from Getz/Gilberto. In reverse version (3213) it appears in Você e Eu on João Gilberto album during second, instrumental part of the song. Syncopated variation (1333) appears in O Barquinho on album João Gilberto, Desafinado on Getz/Gilberto and Bim Bom and O Pato on Carnegie Hall concert.

Video Lesson: Bim Bom

This song is played with frequent muting of strings, with the style known as staccato. While the same playing style is used in almost all other songs, with the exception of Insensatez from the first lesson that is played exclusively with legato, in this one the notes are shortened even more than usual by early muting. More on staccato and legato can be found in Advanced section.

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