November 26, 2008

Bossa Nova

Please click image to view larger version.

The bossa nova is a wonderful song style originating in Brazil and I think it is very important for all drummers to be familiar with the drum groove that accompanies it. The groove above is the 'basic' bossa nova pattern for drum kit. The feet and right hand play an ostinato which is unique to the bossa nova, while the left hand plays a 'brazilian clave' figure with cross sticks. If you have never played this groove before I would suggest starting by playing the ostinato pattern by itself, leaving the snare drum part out. This pattern for the most part will stay constant and eventually you want this to be on 'auto pilot' so you can add variations and improvise underneath it. Once you are comfortable with this pattern try adding the cross stick pattern one note at a time.

Below is a slight variation on the first pattern that you can try once you are comfortable with the first. The difference with this groove is in the ride pattern, which is now following the feet. This opens the groove up a bit giving it more space.


Ralph said...

Thanks again for posting. The first clave I learned for the kit was similar to this, but shifted the rim click to the upbeat (on 3) on the second measure. A great groove nonetheless. I still fall into it when I'm looking to cleanse the palette.

Groove Library said...

Sounds like you are referring to the cuban 'Son' clave. There are three main clave used in latin music - the Son, the Rumba (both Cuban) and the Brazilian (or Bossa Nova) clave. The clave used here is obviously the Brazilian. You can find the two Cuban clave on my Cascara post (

They are all great rhythms and they all work well in lots of different situations.

Ralph said...

You are correct sir, a 3:2 Son Clave with the same ride and foot patterns. I was bored on notated it out:

3:2 Son Clave

Anonymous said...

No! No! Bossa-Nova,Samba and Choro are all played and written in 2/4 time--don't confuse people please!