Bossa Nova, the Misunderstood Essays

2032 Words Mar 7th, 2006 9 Pages
Brett Dorman
World Music
Prof. Searles

Bossa Nova: The Misunderstood

" Tall and tan and young and lovely,
The girl from Ipanena goes walking and,
When she passes each one she passes goes, ‘Ahh.' "

These are the first lyrics of, probably, one of the most famous bossa nova songs sung by Frank Sinatra. The melody of the song is as smooth as the singer, the rhythm is laid back, and the lyrics are simple. Unfortunately, Frank Sinatra's portrayal of this Bossa Nova classic is detrimental to the music's image. The Bossa Nova should not just be considered lounge music, for it is much more than that. The Bosa Nova is a style of Latin music that has subtle complexities and deserves much more credit than is given; once people have
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Samba does have an enormous influence to the genre itself but the instrumentation used in bossa nova, is much more similar to that of jazz music. Though there may be the occasional tambourine, the most common instruments heard in the bossa nova are the acoustic/classical guitar which is played without a pick, piano, horns, jazz flute, etc. I believe this is a main reason why people believe that the bossa nova is more related to jazz, because the jazz instruments create a jazzy sound where as the sound of the samba is much more raw.
However, jazz did not solely influence the instrumentation used in bossa nova but also influenced the music itself. Though the structure and melody of the bossa nova does primarily come from the samba, the complex harmonies and some rhythmic aspects of bossa nova really derive from jazz. Jazz itself, is one of the first world renowned original art forms that derived from North America. It is a genre that descended from the blues and has many features that are associated with the blues including syncopation, swinging, call and response, polyrhythm, and of course, improvisation. As most of us know, the base of this music comes from African descent which is why syncopation, polyrhythm, call and response, and improvisation are such major components of the music. All of these characteristics are features of traditional African music.
The bossa nova uses quite a few of these

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