Bossa Nova

Topics: Rio de Janeiro, Jazz, Bossa nova Pages: 4 (1525 words) Published: April 8, 2008
The musical style of the Bossa Nova was created in Brazil in the late 1950s during a period of economical growth and political change, the bossa nova has been often described as the music of the Brazilian middle and upper classes. This music style started in the upper class regions along the beaches of the city of Rio de Janeiro and both its music and lyrics were composed by middle and upper-class musicians and marketed to the same economic group. For this reason, bossa nova was criticized by some for emphasizing a carefree way of living that little resembled the life of most Brazilians, the great majority of which belonged to the working class (3).

Indeed, bossa nova songs often spoke of love, the beach, and beautiful women and seemed to be a reflection of the author’s casual life rather than a story of Brazilians’ daily life and struggles as usually happened with the samba musical style, a music genre popular among the working class. “The Girl from Ipanema, which became popular outside of Brazil both in its original Portuguese form and in translation, is a perfect example of the uncommitted quality of bossa nova songs.”(1) The Girl from Ipanema is nothing more than the singer’s description of a woman walking down towards the beach, the nice way in which she moves and sways, how attractive she is, finishing with the singer’s statement that she’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen go by.

The musical style of the music on the Bossa Nova CD can be related to what we as Americans listen to as lounge music. It is very soothing, carefree and pleasurable. Through most of the CD the piano, string bass, flute, snare drum (played with a light brush) and female singing voice make up most of the punction of the CD. It is very orchestral composition, rising and flowing. It follows the European style harmonies of the major and minor keys – some are more involved than others. For example “The Girl from Ipanema” follows a simple almost predictable riff...
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