In this lesson we will explore the tune “Corcovado” by Antonio Carlos Jobim. The Corcovado is an iconic mountain in Rio de Janeiro.
“Corcovado” is an introspective tune. The protagonist described in the lyrics sits in his apartment and looks up at the mountain – he is in a contemplative mood while playing his guitar, creating soft sounds.
The Importance of the Intro
The original recording of this song has an introduction which is not written down in the Real Book. As such international players will often not know the introduction. We examine the introduction harmony and melody to set up the start of the tune.
The deceptive simplicity of “Elevator music”
Soft Latin music tunes like “Corcovado” are often described as “Elevator music”. Yet there is a surprising amount of harmonic sophistication in this “easy-listening” music. This tune is very well constructed, so this solid construction hides the harmonic complexity of the music in chords that are actually simple to play on the piano. As players we are demonstrating our mastery of the music by making it easy to listen to.