Don’t let the weird chord names throw you, or prevent you from learning this song. It’s actually not very hard. In fact, it’s the very first Bossa Nova song I ever learned, strumming it softly, before I ever learned to finger-pick. I’ve included the lyrics to all the verses, and a cheat sheet at the end, for those who prefer to strum it and sing the melody. (The cheat sheet chords are even easier!) If, like me, your fingers work better than your voice, you may want to pick it as a guitar solo instead. It sounds great either way. “Lovely” is about the only word to describe it. If you don’t know the piece, see the guitar version by Antonio “Tom” Jobim HERE. I don’t know if this is the original composer, Antonio Carlos Jobim, who also went by the name Tom Jobim, or a wonderful guitarist with a similar name. As you can see, my chords are lots easier, but his are LOTS prettier! Or check out the melody as originally performed by Astrud Gilberto in 1967 HERE.
In tabbing this piece, I have tried something new. There are several places where a barre is indicated, to make the left hand fingering easier, but the indicated note is not actually played. Where this occurs, I have marked the string with a capital X in lightface type, in place of the usual boldface 0. The chords are A9IV, G9II, and especially Fmaj7I, in which the 5th string isn’t even part of the chord, but must be barred in order to ease the transition from C.
On the Coda, just barre the first five strings in the indicated space and slide from one chord to the next, sustaining each chord for just a moment, so the whole slide takes six beats. If your guitar won’t sustain this long (few acoustic guitars will), try playing it as three separate two-chord slides, or play each chord separately as a finger-stopped thumb strum. Finger-stop the chords (except for the last one) by quickly easing the barring finger pressure against the strings just slightly, just enough to damp the strings so they quit sounding, before moving to the next chord. After finger-damping the chord, be sure to lift the finger completely off the strings while moving to the next chord, or the strings may sound. This will not sound like a cool slide, but rather like a muffed transition. Either make the slide definite, or make the stop definite. Let the final Cmaj7 chord ring, and take your bows. I just love a Major Seventh resolve. Your audience will, too.
If you play around on YouTube, you’ll find that every artist who covers this piece does it differently. It’s JAZZ. There’s no “right” way to play it, just so it sounds good to you. A nice thing about this song is that it sounds equally good as a simple melody, or tricked up with all kinds of fancy riffs. Play around with it. Have fun. That’s what jazz is all about.
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