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"One Note Samba"

Title One Note Samba
ComposerA.C. Jobim (arr: F.G.J. Absil)
Instrum.Concert Band
DateNovember 1985 (re-orchestrated in 2011)
StyleLatin - Bossa Nova - Samba
Tempo100 BPM


A musical score excerpt
  • Piccolo, Flute 1-2, Oboe 1-(2), Bassoon 1-(2), Eb Clarinet, Clarinet in Bb 1-2-3, Bass Clarinet;
  • Alto Saxophone 1-2, Tenor Saxophone 1-2, Baritone Saxophone;
  • French Horn 1-2-3, Trumpet 1-2-3-4, Trombone 1-2-3-(4), Baritone 1-2, Tuba;
  • Guitar, Piano, Acoustic Bass, Drums;
  • Timpani, Percussion (2 players: agogo bell, bass drum, bongos, cabasa, claves, congas, shaker, triangle), Mallets (vibraphone, xylophone).


This arrangement of the well-known Brazilian standard One Note Samba is converted into a lively bossa nova for concert band. The arrangement is in three parts. The opening and closing chorus have the main theme: two French horns and trumpets are the lead instruments, playing the characteristic one note melody (see m. 21 ff. [B], m. 45 ff. [D], and m. 141 ff. [M]). The bridge (m. 37-44 [C] and 125-132 [K]) has a woodwind lead in parallel thirds. A new, original woodwind melody is presented on the last chorus (m. 109-124 [J]).

The middle section (m. 61-76, [E], and m. 85-100, [G]), in slightly more genuine samba style, is a feature for drums and percussion (bongos), answering each other in ad lib phrases. This section is interspersed with orchestral phrases (muted brass in m. 77-84 [F] and chords in 4ths in m. 101-108 [H]). Introduction (m. 1-20) and transition (m. 133-140, [L]) use solo percussion, pedal notes and unisono phrases.

The instrumentation does not require a full concert band (optional parts are provided for Oboe 2, Bassoon 2 and Bass Trombone). Adding jazz guitar and piano to the rhythm section improves rhythmic support. The tuba has the complete written-out bass part (in case an acoustic bass is missing); otherwise, make a balanced task division between the two. Feel free to add Latin percussion.