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Flamenco Guitar Technique

By Thomas Wilhelm

One of the bottlenecks when learning to play guitar is to figure out the left to right hand combination, the combination of chord progression, and their rhythmical dynamics and strength. A good approach to train overall guitar styles rhythm, timing and fret hand chord moving flexibility is to combine your overall guitar technique practise with Flamenco guitar.

Flamenco embodies a complex musical art form that originates from Gypsy, Arabic, and Andalusian cultures that have existed in Andalusia in southern Spain throughout history. However, other areas in Spain and Latin America have later contributed to the development of several flamenco musical forms. The word Flamenco, which applies to the song, the dance and the guitar, did not come into use until the 19th century.

Musically Flamenco contains an extended mindset in the build up of beats and contains as the most important forms styles like bulerias, solea, siguiriyas, alegrias, tarantas, fandango, sevillianas, colombianas, all of which express a different kind of mood or atmosphere. It utilizes quite many known methods from classical guitar, but at the same time Flamenco is primarily meant for dance and singing accompaniment, even though stand alone guitar tunes exist, especially in the tarantas style. As an example of the timing it can be mentioned that bulerias consists of usually 5 chords played in 12 a beats, where the first 2 chords are played in 3 beats each, and the last 3 have 2 beats each, but other combinations are possible as well. For instance 2nd chord might use 4 beats.

And contains a numerous of new chords that can also be adopted in more commercialized music as well. It utilizes a combination of major, natural, harmonic and melodic scales. Some of the chords are quite similar to the ones used in modern and jazz music, but at the same time quite often use of bigger intervals in the chord build up, and especially 9th chords are usually quite different, usually they are more like add (-)9 chords than a 9 jazz chord where it's mostly assumed that a 9 th chord contains a 7 th tone.

Physically the typical Flamenco guitar has thinner neck and body compared to the typical acoustical nylon string classical guitar. At the same it has a bit higher direct sound power but less sustain, logically when it is used for playing chords for dance accompaniment.

The problem with learning Flamenco is that the music is rarely documented in note transcripts or tabulator like classical guitar, which either way would be difficult. Reason is that Flamenco has always been taught in a mouth to mouth manner in so called tablas (meeting place for performers), and by playing along with others, with plenty of room for improvisation and personal interpretations.

Still it possible to learn Flamenco, with private lessons by forums and video lessons, and it might spice up and speed up the overall guitar education, in the sense of training rapid chord changes ability and syncopation. Managing flamenco technique puts just as high demand to the guitar picking technique, like rasgueados, as the fretboard hand, with a lot of exiting techniques.
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Flamenco - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
Flamenco Early Intermediate Level. By William L. Gillock. (Piano). This edition: 9218. Willis. 4 pages. Published by Willis Music. (415585)
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La Bella Elite 820 Flamenco (Red Trebles) Guitar Strings - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com La Bella Elite 820 Flamenco (Red Trebles) Guitar Strings For Guitar (Classical). Misc. Product. Labella Strings. Flamenco. Accessory. Published by Labella Strings. (99204AX)
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Flamenco Music Theory - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com
Flamenco Music Theory By Lola Fernandez. By Lola Fernandez. For Guitar (Classical). Theory & harmony. Flamenco. Level: Beginning-Intermediate. Book. 136 pages. Published by Acordes Concert. (L0010)
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Mastery of the Flamenco Guitar Series Volume 1 - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com Mastery of the Flamenco Guitar Series Volume 1 Mastery of Technique. By Guillermo Rios. Taught by Guillermo Rios. For Guitar (Classical). Methods. Flamenco. Level: Beginning-Intermediate. DVD. Duration 95 minutes. Published by Fine Fretted String Instruments. (97798DVD)
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Mastery of the Flamenco Guitar Series Volume 2 - sheet music at www.sheetmusicplus.com Mastery of the Flamenco Guitar Series Volume 2 Soleares and Alegrias. By Guillermo Rios. Taught by Guillermo Rios. For Guitar (Classical). Methods. Flamenco. Level: Beginning-Intermediate. DVD. Duration 76 minutes. Published by Fine Fretted String Instruments. (97799DVD)
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