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#1
Here's a thread about authentic flamenco and I'll attempt to clear any misconceptions about it. I don't claim to be an expert but all these are observations and research that I've done all these while.

I've said this time and time again. Flamenco is NOT a particular 'sound' or 'style'. It's a WHOLE culture in itself. Flamenco is from a minority in Spain, hence Spanish music doesn't necessarily refer to only flamenco. Flamenco is Spanish-influenced, along with Arabic, Moorish and Eastern influences, just for starters.

It isn't technically hard to play authentic flamenco, just look at some streetside performers in Spain. All you need is a cheap guitar, a few open chord and some strumming. The catch is that flamenco is rhythmically 'technical'. Not difficult but rather, it's unusual and hard to catch.

If you can't fit in with the compas (flamenco rhythm), all your rasgueado and picado won't help you play flamenco. It's what I call a flamenco wannabe.

Here's an example:

Pepe Romero (an excellent classical guitarist) tries to play a flamenco form called the bulerias
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWZs...mero%20bulerias

He has the technique but he isn't in rhythm and has horrible 'flamenco tone' anyway. Not in compas? Then this isn't flamenco, it's just a rip-off.

Here's Paco de Lucia, a flamenco guitar legend. Now this guy knows his stuff. If you're sharp, you can feel the driving and flowing rhythm in this video, which isn't in Romero's playing.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rS2S...ucia%20bulerias

Now that's the WHOLE WORLD of difference between flamenco and fake-menco, which many people happen to indulge in.

Next, flamenco is separated into rhythm forms or 'palos'. Egs are bulerias, tangos (not to be confused with the Latin Tango), seguiriyas, rumba flamenca, solea, alegrias, guajiras, tarantas, rondena and hundreds more. They each have distinct features that distinguish each of them. Some are distinguished by their key, chords, lyrics, tempo, feel and rhythm.

Eg. the bulerias is a rather fast and driving rhythm form with the common accent pattern:
X x x X x x X x X x X x
But it can be varied to become the following possibilities:
X x X x X x X x X x X x
X x x X x x X x x X x x
X x X x X x X x x X x x
X x x X x x x X X x X x
all a whole lot more..

Counter rhythm is common in some forms like bulerias. While the guitar played one pattern, the percussions would overlay it with another.
Eg.
X x x X x x X x x X x x
X x X x X x X x X x X x
However, the basic 12-count rhythm isn't lost and this creates an amazing mixture of rhythm patterns.

Traditionally, flamenco was all about singing (cante) and dancing (baile). Rhythm was hit out with clapping (palmas), out hit out with a stick (also called a palo). Or even feet! However, the guitar was later introduced to play chords and enhance rhythms.

This meant that flamenco guitar was simply for accompaniment and not for solo! Solo flamenco guitar was popularised later on, by greats like Ramon Montoya, Nino Ricardo, Sabicas and after that, the legendary Paco de Lucia. Of course, solo flamenco guitar was frowned upon by traditionalists and still is by some orthodox flamencos.

The charm of flamenco isn't sound or complexity, it's the way the rhythms are weaved and the feeling that grips you.

This is probably too much for a beginner to digest but feel free to clarify anything. As I said, I don't claim to know everything or be 100% correct. These are just the results of my research and observations of flamenco. Hopefully, this helps people draw the line between true flamenco and the rip offs.
Last edited by imLoUsY at Dec 18, 2006,
#2
Some real flamenco guitarists are Paco de Lucia, Paco Pena, Sabicas, Ramon Montoya, Nino Ricardo, Tomatito, Manolo Sanlucar, Juan Serrano.

But from time to time, these artistes play other kinds of music, eg. instrumentals, classical or latin. These particular tracks have to be distinguished from the flamenco. They may be authentic flamenco guitarists but they don't have to play flamenco all the time.
#3
hot damn- learn something every day. very interesting, imLoUsY.
I will call you out from shelter burn your wings and learn their letters
#4
I find with the bulerias that counting 123456 then 1and2and3and helps. Has to start on the last beat of the bar..
#6
Sabicas is the man and i never liked pepe romero's flamenco playing.

vicente amigo owns , the man has rhythm.

don't forget tomatito.
Quote by Jimi Hendrix
The Blues Is Easy To Play But Hard To Feel.

Quote by Chris Impellitteri
I Promise That My Solos Will Only Get Faster.
[Practice Makes Perfect][Hell Yeah]
#7
To confirm that, Pepe Romero doesn't play flamenco. He tries and fails to play flamenco, to be exact.
#8
Quote by imLoUsY
To confirm that, Pepe Romero doesn't play flamenco. He tries and fails to play flamenco, to be exact.


lol, awww... Don't be so harsh on the guy, he's a great player otherwise
My God, it's full of stars!
#9
Great classical guitarist I must add, one of the most technically perfect classical guitarists. Ignoring interpretation, he has even better technique that masters like Segovia, Bream and Williams. However, technique isn't everything, it's just a means for you to express yourself.

Similarly, I'm not being hard on Pepe Romero by saying that he fails to mimic flamenco. The rhythm is completely collapsed in his attempts at playing it.
#10
who ever heard of Paco pena ?
Quote by Jimi Hendrix
The Blues Is Easy To Play But Hard To Feel.

Quote by Chris Impellitteri
I Promise That My Solos Will Only Get Faster.
[Practice Makes Perfect][Hell Yeah]
#11
Paco Pena carries on the work of the pioneer masters of solo flamenco guitar. Very traditional style and I love it! Great technique as well. He's the teacher of Juan Martin by the way.
#12
Learn Heratbeats by Jose gonzalez it sooo gd, wen he play the main part he does laods of variations(i have Tab ) but learn the sceleton n theree ya go, makre ur own subtale change BUT keep a steady 8th not rythm with the thumb!!!
#13
Sorry, that's just another good example of 'flamenco rip-off'. Not every guitarist with exotic names is a flamenco guitarist. Conclusion: That guy's another fake-menco guitarist.
#14
Well at least thats cleared up. I thought a flamenco was one of the pink plastic birds I see in people's front yards. Why do they do that. No I'm kidding.
#15
those are called flamingos and are of nothing to do with flamenco other than the fact that both are real fun to look at
#18
Juan Martin knows his stuff, seems like a nice person and a keen teacher. His technique is fairly good and has good rhythm. Apart from that, alot of his playing lacks depth and drive.
#19
I'd like to continue on flamenco technique next.

Flamenco technique in accompaniment consisted mainly of thumb rest strokes, some rasgueados (strumming) and golpes (taps on the guitar top). Why rest stroke? Simply because the guitar had to cut through a huge racket of clapping, cheering, singing, foot stamping etc. Hence flamenco guitars tend to be loud and have a piercing tone, as opposed to the sweet classical guitar tone.

Later on in solo guitar, classical guitar and other techniques were added on and modified for solo use.

1. Picado - a rest stroke using alternated 'im' fingers most commonly, with more attack towards the soundboard for stronger, lounder and punchier tone.

2. Alzapua - a thumb technique supposedly from a technique of a Middle Eastern instrument, played with a plectrum, called the Oud if I remember correctly.

3. Rasgueado - It's 100% flamenco! A simulation of foot stamping, hand clapping and castanet rolls.

4. Tremolo - They modified the classical pami tremolo to become most commonly piami.

5. Golpe - Another rhythm oriented technique. Done in a huge myriad of ways.
#20
And some on physical differences between a classical guitar and a flamenco guitar.

To be more specific, flamenco guitars are for flamenco! But coincidentally, they work well in general Spanish music, Mexican and South American music.

1. Buzz is reduced to a minimum in classicals. Flamenco can buzz quite abit and it makes them sound better too.

2. Classicals try to have better sustain while flamencos try to reduce it. Long sustain interferes with clarity when doing various techniques, eg. rasgueado, alzapua etc.

3. All GOOD flamenco guitars have a golpeador installed (a transparent or white tap-plate installed like a pickguard, though white plates are 'out of fashion' now). If it doesn't have it, it's most probably a classical guitar trying to pass itself off as a flamenco guitar to sound more appealing to naive buyers.

4. Flamenco guitars have lower action for high speed and to allow the strings to slap against the fretboard when doing certain flamenco techniques.

5. Flamencos tend to have a smaller body to get a more treble sound. Almost ear piercing sometimes, in order to cut through and be heard through all the feet stomping and singing.

6. Both types have different bracing patterns most of the time. However, the bracing pattern of Torres is known to work very well for both kinds of guitars. Bracing affects the tone alot, but other construction charecteristics play a huge role as well.

Flamencos are built light coloured (called blancas) traditionally. But now, dark coloured ones (called negras) are getting more popular. Blancas are typically spruce tops with cypress backs and sides (sycamore backs and sides for low end models). Negras have spruce tops with rosewood backs and sides.

Blancas are loud, very dry and highly percussive, quite buzzy too! Negras minimise the buzz and will sustain abit more with a darker tone, but can get percussive with correct technique. Negras are getting popular for recital use as they're loud and can project it's sound well.
#21
Those links in the first post are broken.
I will pick you up and throw you!
#22
Great thread idea...I just picked up a classical, and was hoping to get into Flamenco soon enough.
From your last post, can I take it that a classical guitar may 'do the job' in a half assed sort of way, but isn't ideal?
"He has a woman's name and wears makeup. How original."
--Alice Cooper, on Marilyn Manson.
#24
For the compas, for example the buleria tempo (X x x X x x X x X x X x)...I understand this is a 12-count rythm, but what the big X mean ? What do you need to do at this time ?
#25
It might be fine to use a cheap classical just to 'try out' flamenco before getting a proper flamenco guitar.

The big X refers to accents (or louder beats) while small x refers to a softer beat. Eg. if you were to clap out the rhythm, it'll sound like this:
loud-soft-soft-loud-soft-soft-loud-soft-loud-soft-loud-soft

Here are the links again:

Pepe Romero - the Bad
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWZsItr5-Uw

Paco de Lucia - the Great
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aB8xzhGJoQ

If both sound similar or if Pepe sounds better, then you're hopeless! LOL
#26
Sorry for reviving an ancient thread. But just a market survey, would anyone be interested in soundclips and descriptions of the various techniques? Hopefully this can be stickied for 2 reasons:
1. Alot of effort and info went into this.
2. Preventing the same old questions from cropping up again.
#27
Soundclips and descriptions to go with them would be really helpful.
Because footstools are cool UG's Classical Guitarists
pm Confusius or Marmoseti to join
#28
*clears throat for sound samples*

Guess what? My teacher called me, to tell me that one of his old students that had been down in Granada studying flamenco was going to come back and teach up here. Which is awesome, I'm definitely going to get some lessons with him.
#29
ya here paco fanta play he is amazing. i got into flamenco music from my grandma its hard to get down the style. its all about feeling the music. and yes flamenco usually is based on singing and dancing with a guitar just accompaning it. but if you ever go to a restaurant with a theme night just watch how beautifuly they play. much are way better then almost all rock guitarists yet they dont get enough attention
#30
iv been learning sum flamenco, i was wondering if any1 could hook me up with sum cool rasgeados or chord progressions, some websites would be helpful to me to!
thanx!
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#31
imLousy, could you add the sound clips? Id love to hear what all the terms are talking about, and im really interested in Flamenco
#32
Hi all, the reason why I haven't added the clips is that I've been busy lately and I've no idea where I can host the clips. Maybe someone could recommend a site? And lastly, it'll rather disappointing if the thread sinks to the bottom into nowhere after tons of effort.
#34
Ultimate-guitar profiles. Top right of the screen. Links to your profile, you can update it, upload mp3s etc.

Can't wait for those clips, awesome job on you getting the time mate.
#35
Done! These should give an idea on how each technique sounds like. Not exactly a tutorial but it gives a rough guide on how to recognise them when you hear them.
http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/imLoUsY/music/all/play105336

PS. I've pretty poor technique and rhythm, these are just to demonstrate the basic features of the flamenco guitar. In fact I think i skipped a beat here and there but I haven't the time to fix it now.

Anyways, questions and comments are welcomed but subjected to my availability of course.
#36
Ah, you're too good. I loved the way you showed slowly and then up to speed. Great job.

Oh, you have silky smooth tremolo.


EDIT: and look what I found. This Soleá is on Paco's nueva antología but I just stumbled across the video. Definitely one of my favourites.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMftdiEGVbA&mode=related&search=
Last edited by confusius at Oct 20, 2007,
#37
Quote by imLoUsY
It might be fine to use a cheap classical just to 'try out' flamenco before getting a proper flamenco guitar.

The big X refers to accents (or louder beats) while small x refers to a softer beat. Eg. if you were to clap out the rhythm, it'll sound like this:
loud-soft-soft-loud-soft-soft-loud-soft-loud-soft-loud-soft

Here are the links again:

Pepe Romero - the Bad
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWZsItr5-Uw

Paco de Lucia - the Great
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aB8xzhGJoQ

If both sound similar or if Pepe sounds better, then you're hopeless! LOL


well i'm a bit more certain about my feel of the compas now, I couldn't get a hint of it in pepe's performance - the man is fast though. But speed is nothing when one can't get the compas in his blood.
Can't believe I've never seen this thread before, good going - try putting in some tabs next I've found a few good sites about them but since it's not supossed to be written down I'm not sure...
Wise Man Says: The guitar is obviously female, she's got hips, breasts... and a hole.
UG's Flamenco Club
#38
thank you so much for all the info. this stuff has been helping my flamenco playing a lot
#39
pepe romero = classical god
<\\\SuBLiME\\\> ~ ~ ~~

This is Bunny. Put him in your signature and help him on his way to world domination ...
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(='.'=)
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