Bossa Nova Drum Set Style Essentials

Bossa Nova Drum Style is the second in the series: Essential Latin Drum Set Beats. Over the years, I collected a bunch of books that talked about playing various Latin styles on drum set. I kept going from one book to another searching for answers and ideas. There was some agreement. But mostly disagreement about what is authentic and correct for each Latin style. Here are simple, stylistically accurate and essential Latin rhythms and patterns to play Bossa Nova drum beats on drum set.

Bossa Nova Style on Drum Set


The Bossa Nova bass line retains the characteristic Samba drum beat pattern. Having originated in Brazil, the clave is slightly different from the Afro Cuban Clave varieties. Refer to it as a Brazilian Clave. See: Afro Cuban Clave Essentials. It still has a 2-3 or 3-2 pattern. But unlike the Afro Cuban Clave, it is acceptable to reverse the clave order. Play the 8th note ride pattern on a closed hi-hat or with a brush on the snare drum. Play the clave pattern with a cross stick on the snare drum rim to imitate wooden claves.


Bossa Nova Originated In Brazil


Bossa Nova is derived from the Brazilian Samba. However, it is played in a much more relaxed style and at slower tempos. It was developed and popularized in the 1950s and 1960s. Today, it is one of the best-known Brazilian music styles world-wide. The phrase bossa nova means “new trend” or “new wave”. A fusion of samba and jazz, it acquired a large following in the 1960s. It was initially popular among young musicians and college students. It remains a popular jazz and ballroom dance style. One of the most popular and prolific Bossa Nova composers was Antônio Carlos Jobim (January 25, 1927 – December 8, 1994).


Other Essential Latin Drum Set Beats: 1. Cha Cha 3. Mambo 4. Salsa Cascara 5. Salsa Campana 6. Samba 7. Songo 8. Bembe 9. Conga and Mozambique 10. Beguine, Bomba, Bolero, Guaguanco, Merengue and Rumba 11. Calypso, Soca, Reggae and Ska


Note: Bossa Nova is the “default” drum set pattern many arrangers use for drum charts on EVERY Latin style composition. Including Afro Cuban styles. Look at the bass part to try and identify the correct Latin style to play.


You may also want to see: Three Basic Latin Beats to Cover Your Ass