Playing Brazilian music

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by zac2944, May 22, 2007.

  1. zac2944


    Dec 28, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    I just landed a gig with a Brazilian band and I'd like to get a head start on learning their music and rhythms. These guys get some great gigs and the music is very bass driven. I love it. They play a mix of modern/popular Brazilian pop and dance music, and then they also do some Brazilian and Portuguese folk music.

    None of the guys in the band know much about theory, they all play by "feel". So when I ask for an explanation of what it is they want on the bass they usually sing it or play it. This is cool with me, but they are also very picky about the bass lines and rhythms for each tune. They say it has to be a certain way because it is very traditional. I'm cool with playing it their way, and want to learn as much as I can, but I'm having a hard time remembering what is what. I'm going to start writing out the rhythms for each tune so that I can get it down, but in the meantime I'd like to start becoming familiar some of the music.

    Anyone have a good idea of how I can learn the basics of Brazilian music? Are their any books or recordings that would help? Is Brazilian pop based on certain types of Latin or Afro rhythms?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. moles


    Jan 24, 2007
    Winnipeg, MB
    I grew up listening to alot of that music - My uncle married a Brazilian woman when I was maybe 5 - they've been living in both countries pretty much ever since and its always been on at family gatherings etc.. My (admittedly poor) understanding is the bossanova stuff is based on folk rhythms in the same way that modern brazilian pop would be. If you're looking for music to simply expose yourself to the sound for awhile, and pick apart the rhythms yourself. Then Joao and Astrud Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Stan Getz etc are excellent places to start, as well as any other samba music. As far as modern stuff, about the best I can offer would be Daniella Mercury and Bebel Gilberto (Joao and Astrud's daughter - very cool)...not too familiar with much else. I had a cd from a band called Olodum also that was very interesting, but pretty much drum oriented (it was a long time ago, but I don't remember there being any other instruments at all.)
  3. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    The hardest thing to pickup on in playing Latin/Brazilian bass is getting the muting right. The muted notes are usually the antisapation on the upbeat. The muted note should be louder than the following note. That give a lot of the forward motion to the simple root-fifth lines. When listening to Latin music be sure to listen to muted/ghost notes they are key.

    A good basic book is Latin Bass by George Lopez covers the Brazilian and Afro-Cuban basics. If you really want to get into it then get The Latin Bass Book by Oscar Stagnaro.
  4. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    I'm not sure how much Latin bass playing, at least as commonly understood, really carries over to Brazilian. If these guys are really picky, as you say, I'd suggest going with something that focuses specifically on Brazilian styles, if possible.

    I just got this a few days ago:

    I haven't had a chance to really check it out yet, but if it's up to Sher's usual standards, then it should be pretty good.
  5. drumsnbass

    drumsnbass Bassic User

    Dec 13, 2004
    Phoenix AZ area
    I don't have an answer here, but I MUST plug a CD.

    Bossacucanova's -- Um Batida Diferente

    I love the Brazilian sound, and by far this CD is a fantastic
    modern rendition of it. Check out the sound clips at It's been stuck in my player now for weeks!
  6. chasfr


    Jan 4, 2005
    Putomayo put out a compilation of nice stuff called "Brazilian Groove" that would be worth a listen. Also, Paul Simon's "Rhythym of the Saints" uses lots of Brazilian drum rhythyms.

  7. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002
    Inside The Brazilian Rhythm Section is a good choice indeed.
    The Latin Bass Book by Oscar Stagnaro does have a section on brazilian lines.
    There is a live DVD by Gal Costa titled 'Gal Costa canta Jobim" that is like a masterclass in Bossa Nova and light samba styles.
    The Stan Getz stuff is not authentic - like most jazzers doing bossa standards. The main difference is that Brazilians accentuate the three more than the one.

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