In this series I will introduce various Bossa Nova chord progressions. Some are taken directly from famous recordings, others might be exercises for important chord types or harmonic clichés.

Chord progression #1 is actually just two circling chords. It comes directly from Tom Jobim’s recording of his song “Triste” on his 1967 album Wave. This is what it sounds like:

The two chords are an AMajor7(9) and an Aminor7(9).

Apart from the sudden change between major and minor, this is nothing unusual. The special feature lies in the type of voicing: The combination of notes on the 6th (or 5th fret) and the open B and E strings creates a beautiful dissonance that enriches the otherwise simple chord types.

Bossa Nova Guitar CHords

You can use these chords to create an introduction to a song or just as a standalone chord cycle. If you want to use this idea in a minor song, you can just use the A minor chord and combine it with other chords if necessary. Take a look at the notation:

Apart from the interesting chord structure (that B and C / C# really like each other!) the rhythm is a standout feature. Notice how the rhythm of bar 1 is reflected in bar 2! This is very similar to the Partido Alto which is one of the most common brazilian rhythms. 

Now get your guitar and create something with these beautiful chords!

Suggested Bossa Nova Songs:

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