“Samba de Uma Nota Só” (“One-Note Samba”) is a bossa nova song composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim with Portuguese lyrics by Newton Mendonça. The English lyrics were written by Jobim. It was first recorded by João Gilberto in 1960 for his album O Amor, o Sorriso e a Flor.
The song title refers to the main melody line, which at first consists of a long series of notes of a single tone (typically D, as played in the key of G) played over a descending chord progression in a bossa nova rhythm. The first eight measures consist of D, followed by four measures of G, and then four measures of D. This is followed by eight measures of a more conventional, scalar melody line.
This well-known song first reached a wide audience on the Grammy-winning bossa nova LP Jazz Samba (Getz/Byrd/Jobim), which reached the number one spot on the Billboard 200 in 1963. Another well-known release is the Sergio Mendes-Brasil ’66 version, in medley with “Spanish Flea”.
The song was featured in a prominent scene of “A Man Without A Skin”, a 1963 episode of “Naked City”. The song was mentioned in the song “Astrud” by Basia.
Samba De Uma Nota So – Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd
Photo credit: By SAS Scandinavian Airlines (http://images.flysas.com) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons