Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

bossa tips

Discussion in 'Ask Michael Dimin' started by Chip, May 9, 2003.


Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Chip

    Chip

    May 2, 2000
    Hi, im playing a bossa tune (desafinado) at school, and i havent really had any experiance with bossa's in the past and im getting stuck into the 1, 5, 1 simple thing of bossa bass lines
    my teacher says i should try other things, like chromatics or something (he wasnt very clear on what other things i should use!)
    but if you could get me any tips of making a better bossa line that would be great, nothing too simple or too hard

    thanks for any help :)
     
  2. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    Sorry I've not answerd sooner. It has been a crazy week or so. I think that the 1,5, bass line is totally appropriate for Bossa. That being said, the true beauty of the Bossa is in the groove. As you develop your Latin bass lines keep the melodic concept simple (for now). Work on the rhythmic content. The rhythm of latin tunes is made up of a 2 bar phrase called the clave. The bass line plays lines off the clave. There are 2 basic claves the 3:2 (more common) and the 2:3 (less common). The first measure of the 3:2 has 3 accents while the second measure has 2. Within the 3:2 an 2:3 clave's there are some variations. Here is two basic 3:2 claves (for the 2:3 just reverse the measures)

    "son" clave
    1st measure
    dotted quarter | eighth tied to a quarter | quarter
    2nd measure
    quarter rest | quarter | quarter | quarter rest |

    "rumba" clave
    1st measure
    dotted quarter | eighth tied to a quarter | eighth rest | eighth note
    2nd measure
    quarter rest | quarter | quarter | quarter rest |

    Play off of these. The 2 measure phrase of the latin rhythm is very cool. Once you have some rhythmic ideas down then start adding some cool melodic ideas.

    I am sorry for not adding notation. I am still recovering froma huge computer crash.

    Mike
     
  3. Chip

    Chip

    May 2, 2000
    wow thanks alot, my 1 5's sound tons better now
    cant wait to but a bit of melody on the top
     
  4. Jonathan Herrera

    Jonathan Herrera Supporting Member

    May 21, 2003
    Though your description of clave is accurate, it is only applicable to Afro-Cuban Music and its regional derivitives. Brazillian music, the source of the bossa feel, has nothing to do with clave....thinking clave on a bossa or samba will only get you lost and confused...
     
  5. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    swallowswallow,

    In the immortal words of Mario Cuomo:

    If you want to participate in my forum than be helpful not hurtful. Add something to the discussion. Bring your knowledge and influences. Bring your techniques and experiences. If all you have is criticism, please don't bother.

    The Bossa Nova is so highly influenced by American Jazz that it is not(if it ever was) a truly brazilian art form. In fact the terms Bossa Nova and Samba (the 2 Brazilian rhythms) come from New York. When the Brazilian rhythms arrived here and combined with American Jazz, these terms were born. American jazz, as it has changed throughout the years has incorporated lots of influences, perhaps most importantly afro-cuban grooves. The standard dotted quarter/eighth note Bossa groove is dated (unless your doing a GB gig)and just does not cut it anymore. Bringing in the clave does work and works well. Granted you need a good internal clock, but you do if you're playing any of the Latin or afro-cuban rhythms

    Mike
     
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Mike - this is a topic that interests me as I play in a band that 'attempts' this sort of music.

    We have a Brazilian singer, who was born within a stone's throw of Ipanema beach and our guitarist/musical director has made several visits to Brazil to check out the music.

    Of course, I know that Brazilian music was influenced by Jazz and the type of chords you find in Bossas are clearly Jazz chords.

    But I have never heard anybody say that 'Samba' was an American term - so this is the march rhythm used to accompany the Carnaval and Street Samba was going for many decades before Bossa and surely has roots in the music of slaves brought over from Africa?

    I can appreciate your comments about the music being "dated" and I know that Brazilian bands who have come over to the UK, play hybrids of Jazz/Funk and Samba, which to most ears sounds as far away from things like Desafinado as you could possibly get!! ;)

    But isn't Samba still a distinctive rhythmic style - with set percussion roles - Surdo,Tamborim,Agogo, Cuica etc.? Whereas the Afro Cuban rhythms are different again with emphasis on Conga and Timbales that you rarely get in Brazilian music?
     
  7. Jonathan Herrera

    Jonathan Herrera Supporting Member

    May 21, 2003
    Bruce is correct...as a student of ethnomusicology, I assure you that both the bossa and samba rhythms and conventions existed prior to Jobim's introduction of the music to American jazz musicians. Secondly the "dated" dotted quarter, eighth groove is, in fact, and American-born concept...traditional Brazillian samba (and bossa) is much more like a "2" feel, with notes on the 1 and 3. Regardless, if you show up at a Brazillian gig and try to play an Afro-Cuban tumbao, you'll get many a funny look from bandmates.

    Your defensive attitude regarding my comments is unnecessary. It's OK to be wrong on your own forum. In fact, I was not insulting, merely demonstrating accurate information.
     
  8. Mike Dimin

    Mike Dimin

    Dec 11, 1999
    Clinician: EA, Zon, Boomerang, TI. Author "The Art of Solo Bass"
    you did not demonstrate anything! your still have not really shared anything, yet .... still waiting.

    It is my forum and I welcome your expertise, yet you have yet to post anything worthwhile.

    The other issue that you fail to realise is that you did not consider the original post, where he was coming from and in what context he asked the question.

    Please, add something of value if you have it

    Mike
     
  9. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    So, swallowswallow, based on your ethnomusicological experience, what would a skillful Brazilian bassist be likely to contribute to a band playing 'Desafinado'? What rhythm, feel and note choices would give the 'authentic' vibe?

    Wulf
     
  10. He'd play one and three, with three slightly heavier than the one. Rarely, he'd precede the three with an eighth on 2-and, and more rarely play an eighth on 4-and. Pretty much as swallow said.
    On some tunes, depending on the instrumentation, he might play only on three.
     
  11. So much to address; I'll take them singly.
    I'll start with "Samba".
    Samba as a Portuguese word describing a rhythm and a dance was used in an article written in 1838 in the newspaper "O Carapuceira". The article was written by Father Lopes Gama, presumably after one of his frequent trips to New York.
    The history is not crystal clear, but the word "Semba" describes a moment in a West African dance. As a verb, it roughly translates to "pray"; as a noun, it's like a complaint or a cry. Semba is found in West African Bantu languages spoken in, for example, Angola, a Portuguese colony from which Africans were taken to Brazil, colonized by Portugal in 1500.
    Other 19th century names for the form include Mesemba, and Zemba Queca. Apparently, these were the people who never got to New York. The music was adapted for use in Rio's annual Carnaval in 1899.
    Introduction of Samba to the USA around 1917 has been attributed to Virginia Goletz in Pasadena, CA, presumably after she stopped in New York to find out what to call it.
     
  12. The bossa nova clave figure that arrived here around 1960 was neither of the above.
    It modified the above "son" second measure:
    quartet rest/quarter/eighth rest/dotted quarter
     
  13. I was around when the first recordings of it were being brought back to the USA by travelers. Musicians pounced on them and listened intensely. It was around 1960 that I learned about it from drummers Tony Inzolacco (Maynard Ferguson) and Ray Mosca (everybody, including Oscar Peterson).
     



Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.