I came across this post the other day that referenced a "push chord". What does "push chord" mean in that context? Is that a term specific to Bossa Nova (a latin jazz genre), or is it just a term I haven't heard before?

2 Answers 2


It's not the chord so much as the rhythm that gets pushed. Nothing much to do with bossa, but it happens all the time in a lot of pieces,

The emphasis is expected to come on the 1st beat of the next bar, but instead, comes a little earlier, usually on the & of 4 of the bar before (in 4/4).

It effectively puts the emphasis where the next heavy beat comes a little earlier than anticipated - `a quaver before we expect it. instead of actually on the beat of the next bar, it's on the quaver before. Been around for at least 60 years and so is nothing new!


I was wondering too, when I read this term in the other question about the Bossa Nova.

Then I've found this link (s.below) that confirms what Tim explains.

It says: Rhythm is also defined by chords and where they fall, a little earlier or later - I would say similar or the same as off-beat:

I thought, the push chord must be what I know from the big band sound in the final chord (or final 2 chords) of a big band piece, off-beat or - in German we would say "vorgezogen" that means actually the opposite of push: PULL!): the final chord, the POLY-Chord, which is often "vorgezogen" (pushed down, or later.

Well, here is the link. It explains it perfect and better than I could:


a good example must be SMOKE ON THE WATER

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