THE FIRST POINT TO BEGIN IN YOUR STUDY OF THE FLAMENCO GUITAR, IS TO KNOW THE TECHNIQUES THAT EXIST. AND FOR THAT WE HAVE TO BEGIN TO EDUCATE THE NECESSARY MOVEMENTS IN YOUR RIGHT HAND, SO THAT OF THIS FORM YOU CAN STEP BY STEP PLAY WITH MORE AND MORE FLUIDITY.
ALL THE FLAMENCO GUITARISTS WE HAVE STARTED WITH BASIC EXERCISES OF THE RIGHT HAND..
THE RIGHT HAND OF A FLAMENCO GUITAR PLAYER IS THE "MOTOR" YOU NEED TO PLAY WITHOUT DIFFICULTY.
ALL MUSICAL STYLES NEED A PARTICULAR TECHNIQUE. FOR THIS YOU HAVE TO MENTALIZE THAT YOU HAVE TO SPEND A PERIOD OF TIME OF CONCENTRATE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF EACH OF THE TECHNIQUES THAT I STEP BY STEP I WILL EXPLAIN TO YOU.
THE MAIN TECHNIQUES OF THE RIGHT HAND ARE:
ANTIQUE, THE FLAMINGO GUITARISTS DID NOT HAVE THE TECHNIQUES SO DEVELOPED AS THE CURRENT GUITARIST.
FORMERLY, THE FLAMENGO GUITARISTS DEVELOPED THEIR TECHNIQUE THROUGH RASGUEADOS AND PULGAR (THUMB). THE FLAMENCO GUITAR AS WE KNOW IT TODAY IS VERY DIFFERENT THAN THE FLAMENCO GUITAR 70 YEARS AGO.
EVERY TIME HAS HIS SOUND. THE JAZZ DID NOT SOUND IN THE SAME WAY IN 1940 AS IN 2018. ALL THE MUSIC AS WELL AS ALL THE ARTS HAVE AN EVOLUTION.
AND THIS EVOLUTION COMES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TECHNIQUE AND DOMAIN OF THE INSTRUMENT.
WITHOUT THE STUDY OF THE TECHNIQUE, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE THAT YOU CAN PLAY IN THE FUTURE THE FLAMENCO GUITAR. BUT DO NOT BE AFRAID, THERE ARE WAYS TO MAKE IT FUN AND BEAUTIFUL FROM THE FIRST MOMENT.
IN MY METHODOLOGY I APPLY THE TECHNIQUE OF THE RIGHT HAND ON THE MAIN FLAMENCO STYLES FROM THE FIRST LESSON.
SO YOU CAN FEEL LIKE THE FLAMENCO FLOWS THROUGH YOUR HANDS FROM THE FIRST DAY. AND STEP BY STEP YOU CAN FEEL THAT YOU ARE FREELY NAVIGATING THROUGH EVERY FLAMENCO STYLE.
In each of my reports, I have always referred to the traditional music of a country, as a mixture of different cultural factors that have to be considered for their understanding and expression.
This report has been made in "CASA DA GUITARRA" of Porto (Portugal).
And the interview was made with Serafim Teixera, a specialist in Portuguese instruments, music and culture.
In this report we will know more about the different instruments to develop the Fado:
-CAMPANISA DO ALENTEJO
-TOEIRA DE COIMBRA
-VIOLA DA CASTELO BRANCO
-VIOLA DE MADEIRA
-VIOLA DE SAN MIGUEL
In the same way that in Spain "flamenco" is accepted as an artistic and cultural value that comes from the south of Spain (and that subsequently develops in different places of Spain and now internationally), "Fado" is presented as an element of fundamental identity to understand the culture and art of Portugal.
There are two main styles of "fado":
-”Fado from Coimbra"
-“Fado from Lisbon”
Investigating in this music "Fado", we find many similarities with flamenco music. Not only at a musical level, but at a social level.
The origins of this music, like the origins of flamenco, are confusing and diverse. There is no starting point that certifies it. The "Fado" is presented as a music with great external influences and mixed through different cultures to show what is now known as the great music of Portugal
The "Fado" is a music that develops differently depending on which part of Portugal you are.
The same happens with "flamenco". The flamenco that is developed in Madrid is not the Flamenco that is developed in Andalusia or Barcelona. These are different.
And these differences are what confirm the cultural element that I insist so much.
“To understand the culture of a country is to understand the thought and, therefore, to understand the form of expression and the humor of a region. Of a country”
Note: The episode is in Spanish and portuges with subtitles in English.
In this video you will learn the main points to be able to express flamenco art in the most authentic way
When we are going to study music, dance, singing or art in general from another origin that is not ours, we must first understand its historical process and its culture. Within a culture there are certain codes that can help us a lot when it comes to studying or expressing ourselves as artists through it.
In my lectures I try to explain how, only by understanding these cultural concepts and codes, can we enter more deeply into a feeling that is new to us so far.
Understanding and feeling these codes and concepts is finely able to express in the most authentic way the necessary "character" of an art.
Flamenco art has no origin; has “origins". Through many centuries and the mixture of many cultures (many of them very far from Andalusia), a mixture of sounds and a very defined personality is centralized. So definite that it finally materializes in a time and space.
The first documents of the word "Flamenco" appear at the end of the 19th century, referring to a popular and traditional musical art with this word
And this happens in those referring to Andalusia.
What I try to explain in my talks, is the importance for a student to go to the country of origin of the art he loves.
As a flamenco guitarist, one of the most important lessons for me has been to understand that artistic expression comes through feeling and communication.
And to communicate, it is necessary to master a language that was created by a collective character
In conclusion, we could say that they are 4 main points to understand and express flamenco:
-As a student, have a strong discipline
-Live the customs of Andalusia.
-Live personal experiences with flamenco people.
-Understand the language and musical codes to express the authentic character of this art.
The main topics of the conference at the Technical University of Istanbul were:
-Origins of flamenco.
-History of flamenco.
-Music of Al-Andalus and evolution to today's flamenco music.
-Rhythmic and melodic structure of the main flamenco styles: "Palos".
-Agrupation of styles in flamenco: Free styles and rhythmic styles.
-How to understand flamenco from the beginning as a student?
-How to start with flamenco guitar and flamenco music?
-How to accompany singers and dancers in flamenco?
-Improvisation in flamenco-The musical codes on the stage.
-The rhythm in flamenco
-Principal flamenco guitarists.
-How is the daily life of a professional guitarist?
The conference was held at the Technical University of Istanbul, in the Department of Musicology:
MÜZIK ILERI ARAŞTIRMARLAR MERKEZI (MIAM)
Find more information about flamenco culture in my BLOG
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<img src="https://www.alvaroantona-flamenco.com/blog/flamenco-tablaos-and-associations-in-spain-flamenco-infographic" width="540" alt="Flamenco tablaos and associations in Spain">
</a><p><strong>Flamenco tablaos and associations in Spain</strong>, courtesy of <a href="https://www.alvaroantona-flamenco.com/blog/flamenco-tablaos-and-associations-in-spain-flamenco-infographic">Alvaro Antona flamenco guitar</a></p>
Throughout the Spanish territory, we can see how flamenco is more or less "consumed" depending on the city in which we are or want to visit.
But, don't fool yourself!. There are two types of flamenco:
1) Commercial flamenco (includes tourist agencies or simply to watch a show on a specific night with family or friends), which takes place in "Flamenco Clubs" or "Tablaos Flamencos".
2) Popular flamenco or cultural flamenco.. This include the cities and towns where flamenco is developed as something typical or authentic from a territory and where there are special places for its development. These expressions take place in "Flamenco Associations" or "Peñas Flamencas”.
There are different types of flamenco tablaos. Some are more ancient than others. Some have more history, others have more charisma. Some have more dynamic shows and some are more expensive or cheaper than others.
Flamenco tablaos directly involve a club where flamenco shows take place every day of the week and although the show is done by professional artists, it is focused on a commercial activity where tourists (mostly) consume shows during their visit to a particular city.
Of course, also the locals go to these events, depending on whether we are interested in the show and the artists of that day. But the large percentage of the public of a "Tablao flamenco" are tourists.
Most of us, professional flamenco artists, have worked in flamenco tablaos at some point. We decided that it is the real 'university of flamenco', since it is fundamental to be able to develop and mature the individual art in each one of us.
In the flamenco tablao you can understand the way of expressing your artistic side as a flamenco guitarist, as a flamenco singer or as a flamenco dancer.
It is a fundamental step to be able to be professional in the flamenco world. As I said in previous videos and reports, flamenco music is full of codes that books can't explain, and that must be understood in order to express flamenco art correctly, and in flamenco tablaos you learn whether you understand and handle this information.
Each and every one of the flamenco flamenco artists that we know, have worked at some point in their lives in a tablao. And although their careers are international, sometimes they return to work for small periods of time.
Let's say that in the same way that a doctor works in a hospital (usually), a flamenco artist works in a “tablao.
And of course, although the concept of "tablao" is currently focused on a commercial activity by entrepreneurs, the quality of the flamenco show can be excellent if the "tablao" you visit is of good artistic quality.
A "Peña flamenca" is generally a musical association that is located in different towns in a region or in different neighborhoods of the same city.
This point is very important, because it is not focused on the commercial factor of ticket sales for a show, but it is a meeting place where people from that same place come together to enjoy the music they love and also this is part of their place of origin.
Although, of course, many of them have a monthly entertainment program where the raise money from their own admission and at the same time pay the artists. Many of them also receive help from the government.
The profile of these associations is more local and more particular. They are usually not in the tour guides and the shows are offered to people who are flamenco followers throughout the year.
The prices are lower than the "Tablaos Flamencos" and the atmosphere is usually more familiar.
But one of the most important things of the "Peñas flamencas" is that they tell us what places are more 'flamenco' within the Spanish territory.
In order to open a flamenco association, there must be a minimum number of members united by a love of flamenco music and culture. These partners will be the ones who pay a fee every year for the maintenance and development of the flamenco association.
It is voluntary, and therefore it is something totally cultural.
In this way we can see what places in Spain are more flamenco, not only for a tourist factor, but for a traditional factor of the citizens of a place.
If we look at the map, we can see how Andalusia is the region of Spain where most number of flamenco clubs exist.
In each city, in each town, even in each neighborhood, there are flamenco associations where locals enjoy flamenco in a much more familiar way than people who come to a "Tablao flamenco".
The quality of a flamenco show depends on the artists. You can find great shows in a "flamenco association" and you can find bad shows in "tablaos flamencos" depending on the quality of the artists as I said before.
Finally I would like to comment that to find a good flamenco show you have to invest part of your time in informing yourself and investigating the best option.
The tourist offer is large and confusing.
If you do not try to investigate where you should go, you can pay a lot of money and not see anything special. But if you take your time and inform yourself properly, you can see a show that you will never forget in your life.
The Flamenco has a great impact on people who see it for the first time because flamenco is a music that is alive, and it develops on the stage through the expression of the feelings of the artists.
If you want to know more about where to attend a great flamenco show, you can contact me, and I will advise you the best within the existing options of the moment.
I had the pleasure to share some of my thoughts about flamenco guitar in Parrillada Millenial, a podcast by digital entrepreneur Peru Buesa.
His podcast showcases current trends and new ideas of how to approach life, and the episode I was interviewed for focuses on flamenco guitar and improved methods for learning.
In the conversation we cover the following topics:
Note: The episode Is in Spanish.
Full episode details here.
Find more information about learning flamenco on my How to learn flamenco guide..
In this video you will learn how to play "alzapúa" in a defined, clean and rhythmic way. but above all, in a comfortable way.
The "Alzapúa" is one of the strongest flamenco guitar techniques.
Traditionally it was used as the final part of a melodic structure or "falseta". Actually the "Alzapúa" is used in very different ways and used as a rhythmic and melodic resource.
Origin of alzapua technique
The origin of this technique comes from instruments such as the "mandolin", the “Arabic ud”, the "Bandurria", and we use this technique with the thumb imitating the movement of a pick or plectrum.
How to play alzapua
The "alzapúa" technique is a derivation of the thumb technique.
The "alzapúa" has 3 sounds:
-The first sound is moving the finger outwards and a little bit downwards, touching the following two strings in this way.
-The second sound is coming back and playing the same strings.
-The third sound is touching a string with the thumb and resting the thumb on the next string we already played, this way, the thumb is ready to start again.
The wrist must be at an angle of about ninety degrees towards the outside and the index finger must be touching the first string of the guitar as a reference point for position of the hand. The index finger moves a little when we take out the thumb in the second movement…returning later to the starting point.
We can practice the technique of "Alzapúa" in a basic way by playing the sixth, fifth and fourth strings.
Normally the "alzapúa" is developed on the sixth, fifth and fourth strings, but sometimes we can see some "Alzapúas" on the third and second strings.
If this information resonated with you, click the link below to check out my study programmes.
In this video you’ll learn why you cannot learn flamenco by reading sheet music or tabs.
Many of my students request sheet music and music scores to learn new things, and I always tell them what I will tell you on this video.
If you really think you can learn flamenco through musical scores, you are very wrong.
Scores are very important, but only once you have developed the most important element you need to play the flamenco guitar. I’m talking about intuition.
We professional flamenco guitarists mostly started out the classical way. This traditional way is face to face with your teacher, listening as he played and understanding the structures of each style he showed us.
Flamenco is not a book, flamenco is not a paper. Flamenco is a culture, and flamenco music is alive. This means you have to understand some codes that the scores will never teach you.
Within flamenco, you never play, sing or dance twice in the same way. We are not learning classical guitar here, we are training to be a flamenco guitarist. So, we don’t have to play the same way twice but we have to navigate freely through the styles.
A music sheet of paper will never ever teach you the intuition you need to play the flamenco guitar. And neither can you be taught by people who aren’t used to being on stage and sharing moments with flamenco singers and flamenco dancers.
If you really want to develop your potential as a flamenco guitarist, start with the most important thing:
understanding what music sheet can never teach you. Begin to work your musical intuition as a starting point to understand and play the flamenco guitar.
If this information resonated with you, click the link below to check out my study programmes.
Have you ever listened to the mesmerising sounds of a flamenco guitar at an event in a beautiful venue?
Flamenco is one of the best music genres to perform at events such as weddings, networking events or gala dinners. It is relaxing, deep and warm, and can be played at a low enough volume for people to interact and speak comfortably.
Last Thursday I had the great pleasure to perform a solo flamenco guitar concert for a gala dinner happening at the legendary Casino de Madrid.
Thanks to the excellent sound technician I had the pleasure to work with, I created some footage of the event and the venue.
Behind the scenes video
Following my usual flexibility with the sets, I played: