Introduction to Bossa Nova Lessons

In this series of lessons we will analyse most important characteristics of Brazilian musical styles, explain their rhythmic structure and hopefully provide some useful tips on playing this music on guitar.

Within these pages you will find a lot of examples, musical scores, guitar chords, videos, etc. As this site is about guitar playing, in the analysis and descriptions of musical styles we will always refer to playing that music on a guitar either with or without other instrumental accompaniment. All terms used, be it rhythmic, melodic or harmonic will always be related to guitar. In Brazilian music guitar often provides rhythm, harmony and melody all at the same time. In order to create proper musical expression a guitar player has to imitate Brazilian percussion instruments while at the same time provide harmonic accompaniment and sometimes even play the melody. At first it may look quite difficult, but after we analyse components which are being used and learn how use them in the right context, the task will show up a lot easier than it may seem.


Lessons are grouped into three sections. In Musical Components section we explain the basic building blocks of rhythmic structure, in Basic Bossa Nova Phrases section we describe basic rhythmic phrases while in Advanced section we will examine advanced rhythmic phrases as well as cover some technique topics like usage of legato, staccato, rubato, right hand fingering etc. Throughout this site some musical score examples transcribed from important bossa nova recordings are being used, some of them may be slightly modified to better serve our purpose. The only prerequisite that you need to be able to follow this course is ability to read musical notation.

To navigate between pages use Previous and Next arrow buttons below every page, or lesson navigation bar on the left side that links directly to a specific page (on smaller screen sizes use Lessons menu on the top of the page). All song charts with bossa nova guitar chords are also available from any page.

Why This Course?

Bossa Nova Guitar site has been online for quite a time and it gained great popularity among admirers of Brazilian music. However for the most of the time it showed only harmonic aspect of playing and disregarding everything else. In the meantime web technologies evolved to the point that enables us to deliver interactive multimedia content that makes these lessons possible.

Information found of this site is completely unique, beside music itself no other sources have been used in creation of these lessons.

Within This Course

Within this course we will often use interactive musical scores as the one found below where you can highlight various components by selecting radio buttons above the staff.


Every information on this site is completely free. If you feel these lessons helped you to bring your guitar playing to a higher level please consider donating some funds that would help us to improve this site and keep it online. Also please feel free to post your comments using social network buttons found below. In case you think any information you found on this site contain errors please let us know so that we can correct them and help others to improve their musical skills.

Disclaimer: The tabs found on this site do not represent official versions of the songs. All songs are transcribed by Bossa Nova Guitar and we are not claiming to have written either the chords or the lyrics to these songs. These files simply represent our interpretation of the music and are in no other way related to the original or any subsequent version of the song that we have transcribed. We can therefore not guarantee that any of the bossa nova chords or lyrics on this site are correct. You may only use these tabs for private study, scholarship, or research. You may not use these transcripts to perform this music publicly or in any form sell them or make money from them. We shall not be considered responsible for any unauthorized use of what is published in these pages. Please read the Privacy Statement.

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