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Published on Jan 28, 2016
Bossa Nova Guitar Lessons #7 and #8: Third Basic Phrase in: A Felicidade (Antonio Carlos Jobim - Vinícius de Moraes) as played by Roberto Menescal on Orfeu Negro soundtrack from 1959.
This song is important for several reasons. It was recorded at about the same time João Gilberto recorded his first bossa nova album. Agostinho dos Santos was among the first singers that figured Gilberto's singing style, as well as Roberto Menescal picked up the new way of playing guitar accompaniment. It was also probably the first bossa nova song that crossed the world as it was played in the opening of Black Orpheus movie that got Palme d'Or in Cannes in 1959 as well as the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1960.
This video shows two variations of the third basic bossa nova phrase, the first contains 3+3+2+2+3+3, while in the second variation beat groups 3+2 are replaced with 2+3 which results in 3+2+3+2+3+3. Few notes about the playing A Felicidade:
1. The whole song is played with staccato. In the third basic phrase the strings are muted by planting the right hand fingertips on the strings at the moment of playing the next note. The thumb mutes the bass, while i,m,a mute high strings.
2. Agostinho dos Santos sang the song mainly on offbeats and there are no chord changes on the last beat of the phrases. When João Gilberto recorded the same song later, he sang on different beats. In Gilberto's version it would make sense to syncopate some phrases with chord changes on the last beat (beat 16) in relation to the rhythm of the melody.