Bossa nova is a well-known style of Brazilian music developed and popularized in the 1950s and 1960s. The phrase bossa nova means literally "New Trend". A lyrical fusion of Samba and Jazz, Bossa Nova acquired a large following in the 1960s initially from young musicians and college students. Since its birth, it remains a vital part of the standard jazz repertoire.
Rosa used the word in a samba:
"O samba, a prontidão e outras bossas são nossas coisas, são coisas nossas" ("The samba, the readiness and otherbossas are our things, are things from us").
The exact origin of the exact term "bossa nova" still remains uncertain. Within the artistic beach culture of the late 1950s Rio de Janeiro the term "bossa" was used to refer to any new "trend" or "fashionable wave". In his book Bossa Nova, Brazilian author Ruy Castro asserts that "bossa" was already in use in the 1950s by musicians as a word to characterize someone's knack for playing or singing idiosyncratically. Castro claims that the term "bossa nova" might have first been used in publicity for a concert given in 1958 by the Grupo Universitário Hebraico do Brasil (University Hebrew Group of Brazil). This group consisted of Sylvinha Telles, Carlinhos Lyra, Nara Leão, Luizinho Eça, Roberto Menescal, et al. And in 1959, Nara Leão also participated in more than one embryonic display of bossa nova. This included the 1st Festival de Samba Session, conducted by the PUC's student union. (This session was then chaired by Carlos Diegues, a law student). While these early musicians were likely using the term "bossa nova" as a generic reference this novel musical style, the term took hold as the definition of their own specific artistic creation to this day.
In terms of harmonic structure, bossa nova has a great deal in common with jazz, in its sophisticated use of seventh and extended chords. The first bossa nova song, "Chega de Saudade", borrowed some structural elements from choro; however, later compositions rarely followed this form. Jobim often used challenging, almost dissonant melody lines, the best-known being in the tunes "Desafinado" (off-key).
Bossa nova was created by intellectuals in small clubs. It was a way to try and be modern, move forward in attempts to live a modern life like they seemed to do in the North of America.
Bossa nova is the music for an age in which everyone lives in an apartment.” — Sylvinha Telles
Bossa was a direct link to Brazilian architect and design. It is a need wanting to be modern just as Oscar Niemeyer created a modern vision for Brazil, Bossa wanted to be the music going alongside it.