Watch the Bossa Nova Track online guitar lesson by Brad Carlton from Guitar Lab: Weekend Jazzer

To understand the harmonic nature of this typical bossa nova tune, it is important to analyze the changes. Chart 1 is the rhythm chart for this tune which shows the form as follows: AABA. As you look at the chord symbols, you will notice that you are dealing with the following qualities: major 7, dominant 7, minor 7, dominant 7 b5, and dominant 7 b9b5.

Chart 2 reveals chord scale relationships for the chords in this tune. The arpeggios for the chords are color coded in red to correspond with the chord symbol. The remaining tones are labeled in black to correspond with the names of the modes. This way you can keep track of the color tones.

As you look through the rhythm chart for this tune, every place where there is a major seven chord you would play the guide tones for that chord which are the 3 and the 7. Likewise every place where there's a 7 chord (the word dominant is implied), the guide tones would be 3 and b7. This would also serve for the altered dominant chords in this tune; the 7b5 and the 7b9b5. Every place where there's a minor seven chord you would use the b3 and b7.

I suggest you memorize the formulas for the chords that you're going to be playing over. This will help you understand the harmony. When we start extending the chords in future lessons, you can apply the various modes as options for note choices.