Tag Archives: Samba

Bossa Nova Guitar patterns 2 – Partido Alto

How to play a samba? In this lesson I’ll go over one of the most common samba patterns, the Partido Alto. To give you somewhere to play it I’ll go over some chord voicings  and a very common progression for Bossa Nova pieces.

The Chords in two variations

All the examples in this lesson are in the key of C major. The progression that I am going to use through out this lesson is this one:

|C6/9|C6/9 |D7|D7|

|Dm7|G7 |C6/9|G7|

These 8 bars are found (though sometimes in other keys of course) in many famous pieces like “Girl From Ipanema”, “Só Danço Samba” Though in some cases the V is replaced by it’s tritone substitute (which would be Db7 in this key)

The chord voicings I’ll use are very typical for this style of music. I suspect that one of the reasons is that it is fairly easy to play the 1 – 5 bassline with them. 

The chord voicings are shown in example 1:


Since i am going to demonstrate two different variations of the groove I need to sometimes have a chord voicing where I have the top string included. The note I add is shown in the example in brackets. In the video I talk a bit about how you need to change the way you play the chord to add that note. In later examples it will become clear what we need it for. 

The Partido Alto pattern

The basic version of this groove has two layers. The bass part is, as it was in the first Bossa Nova lesson, just a 1 to 5 movement. And also here we repeat the one if necessary because we can’t go to the fifth as a bass note.

The chord pattern is a bit more complicated as it is two bars long and starts on the 4&. The absence of a 1 on the strongest beat in the period is quite typical for latin music. When you work on this groove you should probably start with the chord pattern by itself. Once that feels easy to play you can move on to the whole groove.

It is also useful to note that these Samba and Bossa Nova grooves are felt in half, so you feel only the strong beats, ie. 1 and 3. I demonstrate this in the video as well.

The basic version of the groove is shown in example 2:


The variation of the groove is splitting the chord part in two layers. The idea is that there are two phrases in the chord pattern, one only consisting of off beats and the other of beats. The variation places an accent on the last chord in each phrase. The accent is the higher part of the chord.

This is shown in example 3:


As with the bass-line you can leave out the accent if it is not possible to fit it in there.

Taking the groove through the progression!

If we take our 8 bar progression and play the groove through that we end up with example 4:


And of course we can also use the variation with the accent when playing the chords:


Play some Brazilian music!

When you play these examples (and hopefully you can extend them to a whole song) you can really feel how this music is really written for guitar. The arrangement of the bass and the chords sits very well together in the groove. I also find it really nice that one guitar part really contains the whole rhythm section of a style. That is not so often the case.

Take it further with this solo lesson

If you want to dig into some ideas for soloing over Blue Bossa then you can check out my webstore lesson:

Blue Bossa Solo 1


Should you want to study the examples I went over in the lesson you can of course also download them as a pdf here:


It is important to hear some “real” examples of these grooves then you can check out these songs:


If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for topics or how I can make the lessons better then please feel free to leave on the video or  send me an e-mail. That is the best way for me to improve my lessons and make them fit what you want to hear.

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Bossa Nova Guitar patterns 1 – Blue Bossa

Bossa Nova is, like Rock and Blues, a music that was invented on guitar. It has also become an essential part of Jazz and Pop repertoire in terms of must know grooves. In this lesson I am going to show you a one bar Bossa Nova pattern and some jazz chords so that you use this groove to play through the song Blue Bossa.

Bossa Nova lessons

I have been getting requests for a Bossa Nova tutorial for the last 2 years. I decided to make it a small series because I think each groove deserves a lesson in itself. When you work on this it is better if you take them one at a time. That way you get really familiar with the feel and how to phrase them.

The song Blue Bossa is not actually a Brazilian Bossa Nova tune, but since it is a very common tune and with a short form it is a good vehicle to practice this groove.

As you can see in the video I chose to play my Ibanez AS2630 and not my Nylon string electric. This is because I usually use that guitar when I am playing this type of music and mostly because it is a much better instrument…

Chords for Bossa Novas

Let’s first have a quick look at the chords we need. For this groove we are playing chords with the root in the bass and the chord voicings are fairly common. If you want to check out more voicings that work well for Bossa Nova rhythms like the one I am covering here you can check out my lesson How To Play Jazz Chords


As I mostly do I have not included the extensions in the name of the chord since you can just as easily chose other voicings with other extensions.

The Groove

One of the nice things about Bossa Nova patterns on guitar is that they are mostly two layers. In that way the guitar is in fact laying down the whole groove and nothing else is needed to accompany the melody.

The first part of the groove is the bass movement. In Samba’s and Bossa Nova’s the bass movement is usually a root and fifth bassline as shown in example 2.

For some reason I have very often come across tutorials where there is an upbeat for all bass notes. I almost never hear that when I am listening to records so I think it is something that was added along the way by mistake.

The 2nd line of example 2 is the bassline and then the one bar rhythm for the chord on top of it. When you play you want to have it sound like 2 layers as well.

At first just play the bass and then try to add the chords on top, and try to get comfortable playing the groove with one chord. In the example I am using the Cm7 chord from the song.


Blue Bossa with the groove

When using the groove on the song it is always possible to use a 5th as a lower note for the bass except when the root is on the 6th string. This is the case on the G7 and the Ab7. In both cases I just repeat the root as a bass note. In my experience the higher 5th usually does not sound that good and is quite tricky to get in there. The only other chord where you need to take care with the bass note is the Dm7(b5). Here you need to play the lower Ab (which is what I have written out) and if you don’t like the sound of this you can always choose to play the root(D) twice.


How to practice the groove

One way to get better at playing this music is to use a drumloop like you can find in DrumGenius. This is what I am playing over in the intro to the video. It also contains a loop that is exactly corresponding to the groove that I went over in this lesson.

As you can tell this groove is a slow or medium groove so when you come across faster songs. There are other slightly more complicated grooves that I will try to cover in later lessons. I always found this groove a very good place to start and a solid foundation to explore this style further.

If you want to dig into some ideas for soloing over Blue Bossa then you can check out my webstore lesson:

If you want to hear some “real” examples of this groove then you can check out these two songs:


If you want to study the examples I went over in the lesson you can of course also download them as a pdf here:

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