Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2018

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)



Committee Chair

Douglas Rust

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Danny Beard

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Joseph Brumbeloe

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Chris Goertzen

Committee Member 4 School



The songs of Antônio Carlos Jobim are a national treasure of Brazil, beloved around the world. Their beauty and subtle simplicity have enthralled audiences for the last 60 years, yet they often reveal some unusual construction. Following the lead of other Brazilian theorists, this study was commenced with the belief that applying rigorous theoretical analysis to bossa nova would show its qualityand enduring worth. Four songs were selected for analysis based on their importance in Jobim’s career and their centrality to the bossa nova genre, “Chega de Saudade,” “Corcovado,” “Insensatez,” and “Garota de Ipanema.” They are among the most recorded and widely-recognized of Jobim’s output. The music has not disappointed. Beautiful alterations in form were noted by comparing the various musical domains of melody, harmony, rhythm, and text. A variety of standard analysis methods with minimal modification were sufficient touncover much beauty in these pieces. The subtle simplicity of the surface was shown to cover layers of complexity which held up impeccably to scrutiny. This study will afford its readers a deeper appreciation of this unique corpus of music.

Included in

Music Theory Commons