What is Flamenco?
Flamenco is a folk art and culture from Spain. It is particular to the province of Andalusia in Spain.
Historically, it has always been the musical outlet of the poor and oppressed. It passed on by oral tradition which the individual artist uses as the basis for his own variations.
Flamenco is a tripartite art, involving singing, dance and the guitar simultaneously - as well as rhytmic punctuation by hand-claps and other methods that is considered an art form. They are defined by characteristic melodic, rhytmic, and harmonic structures; each has a characteristic mood and many are regional variants of essentially similar forms.
The flamenco song or cante , as it is known involves a synthesis of at least four cultures:. The first three were thrown together by the general persecution that followed the expulsion of the Moors in Flamenco was eventually created by the fusion of the cante gitano with Andalusian folk music.
The accompaniment of the singing by the guitar is a later phenomenon altough it is recorded by travellers in Andalusia in the 18th century.
Andalucian folk songs had in the past been accompanied by different instruments including bandurria, violin and tambourine, but now the guitar predominated.
Flamenco first became a public, performing art in the second half of the nineteenth century, with the emergence of the cafe cantante. The first cafe cantante opened in Seville in, and attracted very little attention.
Free Guitar Sheet Music
An audience of aficionados from all classes and occupations watched the performance. They could expect to be entertained by a group comprising perhaps one or two singers, three or four female and two male dancers, accompanied by two guitarists. The second half of the nineteenth century was one of the great ages of flamenco performance.
They would employ a regular first and second guitarist, who had to know how to accompany many different forms of songs and dance, and be able to follow the styles of different singers.
While the singer remained the leading figure, the guitarist came to take a less subservient part as time went on. Good guitarists were in great demand, the competition was fierce. In their efforts to outdo each other, the players introduced new techniques, and sometimes even resorted to tricks and outrageous acts of showmanship such as playing with a glove at one hand or with the guitar held above their head. The years uo to were to be the years of the theatrical presentation of flamenco, of the "Opera Flamenca" and "Flamenco Ballet".
War in Europe and the aftermath of civil war in Spain made the 's an unpropitious decade for flamenco, with little opportunity for paid performance outside the Americas. However, a concern for true flamenco began to reappear in the 's bringing with it opportunities for serious performance. Festivals in Cordoba, Jerez and Malaga in the late fifties and early sixties stimulated public interest and encouraged a new generation of artists.
The modern flamenco guitar.
The modern flamenco guitar is first cousin to the modern classical guitar. The two have a common ancestry, and are handbuilt by essentially the same methods.
5 Classical Guitar Pieces Everyone Should Know
The flamenco guitar, however, has a particularly distinctive sound and playing action of its own, achieved by the use of different timbers for the body and subtly different dimensions and proportions. There are three primary differences between the flamenco and classical instruments:. The traditional flamenco instrument is made entirely of cypress, and is generally lighter in construction, giving it overall a lighter and more percussive sound.
Some flamenco guitarists actually prefer the depth of the classical instrument for their solo playing, while others use a hybrid instrument. These protect the face of the guitar from the taps with the right-hand fingernails, a feature of the flamenco music.
On the classical guitar, these have been replaced by geared machine heads.
5 Pieces Every Classical Guitarist Should Hear
Like the modern classical guitar, the flamenco guitar is an instrument of comparatively recent invention.
Available evidence suggests that Antonio de Torres should be credited with the development and stabilization of the flamenco guitar in the 's, at the same period and in the same way he defined the classical guitar.
An examination of an early flamenco guitar, made by Torres in , reveals the basic characteristics of the type. The six strings are tuned by wooden pegs, and the body is a little smaller than the equivalent classical type.
The two most important characteristics of the typical flamenco guitar, however, are the use of Spanish cypress for the back and sides, and the extreme lightness of the construction. The use of very thin, light cypress sides and backs helps to give the flamenco guitar its distinctive sound. The whole internal construction is simpler than on the classical model.
The action of the flamenco guitar is set lower than that of the classical, with the strings closer to the frets for rapid fingering, and the fingerboard itself is usually slightly narrower.
Classical Guitar Tablature
Finally, the table carries the distinctive tap plate to protect it against the drumming and slapping of the guitarist's fingers, which forms an essential part of flamenco technique. It has been suggested that many of the characteristics of the flamenco guitar initially arose from the need for an inexpensive instrument. There is an element of truth in this argument: flamenco guitarists have not, traditionally, been rich men.
Over the last century and a quarter, the basic flamenco guitar has undergone few modifications, although it has increased a little in size. Trials have been made with maple rather than cypress bodies.
The most recent introduction has been the hybrid "concerto flamenco" guitar, which combines the flamenco fingerboard and tap plate with the classical rosewood and machine tuning. Magnussen, Paul: "Rincon Flamenco No. Links to Flamenco sites.
Flamenco Guitar Lesson W/ TABS - Buleria Falseta 6 - Diego de Oro
Origins The modern flamenco guitar References Links to Flamenco sites.