Essay on Bossa Nova, the Misunderstood

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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 …show more content…

The bataria has three primary instruments, the surdoo, agogo, and tambourine. The surdo is a membranophone that acts as a bass drum and normally comes in three different sizes that vary in pitch. These instruments are the heart of the entire ensemble. The tambourine is also a membranophone that is normally played with one stick while the hand that holds the drum is used to mute which helps accentuate some beats and muffle others. The agogo acts as the melodic instrument even though there are only two notes that can be played. The agogo is an idiophone that resembles two different sized cow bells attached together.
Samba is normally played at a fast tempo and contains many overlapping complicated rhythms accentuate the first note while playing in duple meter. Also, a lot of the time you will hear an emphasis on threes while playing in duple (you will either hear this through accents or triplets). When listening, we can hear the syncopation between the different rhythms due to the polyrhythm of the music. One might ask how samba then relates to the Bossa Nova if the music itself is fast, loud, and has an emphasis on percussion and not so much melody or lyrics. The structure of the Bossa Nova is pretty much identical to that of samba except much more laid back; it is "samba broken down to its bare essentials" (The Brazilian Sound, 55). However, the structure is not the only aspect of samba that relates to the bossa nova, the melody is similar as well. The bossa nova

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