Senorita Intro by Shawn Mendes

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We occasionally see the Latin guitar find it’s way into mainstream pop songs and the pop hit Senorita by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello features a Bossa Nova like groove and intro riff. As a part my new series of Latin guitar in popular music I have made a solo arrangement of the introduction (a little adapted) as a fun exercise to practice Bossa Nova.

The melody in this intro is featured in the bass part and can be muted as done on the recording. However I think it sounds better if you let all the notes ring longer. The piece is in A minor with the featured chords are Am7 – Cmaj7 – F maj7 – Em – G.

Interestingly, there is no dominant chord which would be E7 so the progression does’t feel very resolved rather it moves up from Em to G then to Am . This gives the feeling of what we call an ‘interrupted cadence’ which occurs when a progression in a major key goes to chord V then chord VI. For example if we playing in C major we might go C then to F then to G (or G7) then A minor. Going to A minor can feel surprising because we would expect a return to the C chord (the tonic) but instead we move up one more chord to Am.

In Senorita, we are not in the key of C but there are enough major 7th chords to give it a relaxed jazzy feel and the harmony works without one feeling too much tension and excitement.

I have kept as many open strings as possible to make it easier overall, and I would say a beginner to intermediate player shou be able to manage this with practice. Keep in mind the division between bass melody and chords.