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Flamenco Guitar Lessons

What is flamenco

Flamenco is a contemporary form of musical expression with origins in Southern Spain.

Solea, Bulerias, Alegrias, Fandango, Guajiras are some of the popular styles in flamenco. Each style is categorised by specific harmonic progressions and consequent melodic embellishments.

What to learn

Left and right hand technique is only one of the tools needed to be an efficient player. Students must also master the rhythm and variations needed to create intensity. Students must understand the principles of harmonic progression and how to embellish or modify them in accordance to a specific style. Students must demonstrate fluency in melodic and harmonic transcription skills.

Flamenco guitar is a discipline that requires patience in the learning process. It is great fun and an extremely satisfying social experience when played with others.

Prices Flamenco Guitar Lessons

Prices for flamenco courses differ from the generic price structure. All other conditions remain the same.

  • Private lessons: $95 per hour
  • 10 week course ( 10 hours private): $595 per level

Requirements

Students are required to have a practical understanding of scales, chords and harmony to be effective in the course objectives. All students are required to pass an entrance exam or have completed level 3 in the Creative Guitar School general program. Please email me for details.

paco de lucia flamenco guitar

Levels

I teach Flamenco guitarin three levels where students will learn:

  • The styles of : Solea, Bulerias, Alegrias, Fandango, Guajiras, Tangos. Siguiriya
  • Characteristic harmonic structures, melodies and variations needed to make the songs flow.
  • They will master each style as solo instruments or creating accompaniments.

Each level consist of 10 lessons

Flamenco Guitar Lessons Level 1

  1. What makes the flamenco sound, how to identify the styles.
  2. Basic harmonic structures in bulerias.
  3. Basic harmonic structures in tangos.
  4. Basic harmonic structures in alegrias.
  5. Basic harmonic structures in solea.
  6. How chords are defined in bulerias, tangos, alegrias and solea.
  7. Left and right hand techniques required.
  8. The flamenco time signature in tangos, bulerias, solea and guajiras what you nee to know to understand it and flow in the groove.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons Level 2

  1. How to develop a solid binary and tertiary rhythmic phrasing subdivision in flamenco styles.
  2. Impact vertical intensity versus horizontal.
  3. Learn to play a full buleria, tangos, solea and alegria, guajira, solea pro bulerias as a solo instrument or as rhythm.
  4. Chord scale relationships in alegrias, bulerias, tangos ect.
  5. How to compose in modal harmony.
  6. How to create you own falsetas or solo improvisation.

Flamenco Guitar Lessons Level 3

  1. Advanced harmonic structures in bulerias ( full songs with and without vocals).
  2. Advanced harmonic structures in tangos ( full songs with and without vocals).
  3. Advanced harmonic structures in solea (full songs with and without vocals)
  4. Advanced harmonic structures in alegrias (full songs with and without vocals).
  5. Advanced harmonic structures in malagueñas, farrucas, solea por bulerias ( full songs with and without vocals).

What makes the flamenco sound?

The flamenco sound primarily defines a major key that is modal in character. The flamenco mode must constantly be reminded to the listener by the guitarist. If the mode is not constantly reminded to the listener then our subjective perception will quickly drift to the Ionian sound (pop-music sound).

Contrast between major and minor

Let’s say you are in the relative key of C.  The flamenco tonal centre will be the E, but instead of a diatonic minor chord as a tonal center we alter it and make it sound major. The E7 will now be our resting point of all cadences. 

All cadences must clearly sound like they will to resolve to a C tonal center but if instead you resolve to the E7 and you will then create by contrast the flamenco sound. 

Flamenco guitar lessons chords

You will only understand the sound of flamenco once you have memorised a series of 12 bar phrase that will give you the vocabulary of the style.

Flamenco =  Modal music

In all modal music we create vertical structures to produce tension in relation to the home chord we move towards or away from. As guitar players, we need not to think of chords as structures of consecutive thirds but rather as clusters of notes we select to create degrees of tension when we move to and away from the home sound.

We will learn in our flamenco guitar lessons that the use of chordal vertical structures or harmonic movements that relate to our major sound must be played wisely to maintain the flamenco environment and not to have our perception drift away from the modal sound to its relative major .

How to create the flamenco sound

Let’s  assume with are in the key of E. The tonal centre is defined by the E7 and all available tensions and chords are those of the relative C scale.

In order to start familiarising yourself with the flamenco sound, play the tonic on the Spanish guitar without the third and add the following passing tones: tensions 7- b9 – # 5- sus 4 . Keep them short and make sure you resolve quickly to the corresponding note of major tonic with the third.

Now move away for a beat or two to a subdominant type of sound. One which creates contrast by creating structures from these root notes:

  • b11
  • bV11m
  • and V diminished .

Experiment with them on weak beats and make sure they are short in duration. Do not only play block chords, arpeggiate them to achieve further contrast with the tonic sound

Melodic flamenco passing tones

Experiment as melodic passing tones the following tensions:

  • bII: Tensions b7- 7- b5- #11- 9- b9-13
  • bV11m: Tensions 7- b5- 9-11- 13
  • V diminished : Tensions 7- 9- 11- #11

Create your now chords 

Also experiment with vertical structures that have a  lesser degree of tension than the previous chords Please note that the following chordal structures have some similar notes to the tonic chord.

  • IVm: Tensions 7-9-sus4-6-9-11- 13
  • VI : Tensions 7- Maj7- #5- 9- 11- 13
  • III: Tensions 7- 9- sus4- #5 – 6-11-#11-13

Try creating melodic ideas by arpeggiating them and resolving either on the tonic chord or on the following:

  • b11
  • bV11m
  • and V diminished

Flamenco Styles

Flamenco encompasses over 100 different styles classified by time signature, geographical origin, folk music origin and the structure of the lyrics.

Flamenco Guitar Tomatito

Here are a list of 35 common styles classifies in alphabetical order:

  1. Alboreá
  2. Alegrías
  3. Bulerás
  4. Cabales
  5. Caracoles
  6. Colombiana
  7. Copla andaluza
  8. Corríos
  9. Fandango
  10. Farruca
  11. Garrotín
  12. Granaína
  13. Guajira
  14. Jota flamenca
  15. Malagueña
  16. Martinete
  17. Media Granaína
  18. Mineras
  19. Petenera
  20. Rondeña
  21. Rumba
  22. Saeta
  23. Seguiriya o Siguiriya
  24. Serranas
  25. Sevillana
  26. Soleá
  27. Tango
  28. Tanguillo
  29. Taranta o Taranto
  30. Tientos
  31. Toná
  32. Trillera
  33. Verdiales
  34. Vidalita
  35. Zambra

Use your flamenco guitar technique for other styles of music

In flamenco we use our fingers as resonators ( pluck strum)  and not pick. Hence we develop extreme left and right hand technique beyond any other musical style.

AMEB Classical Guitar Examinations

Students at the Creative Guitar School may follow the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB ) syllabus for  Levels 1 to 3.

Syllabus structure:

  • Level 1 – Preliminary to Grade 4
  • Level 2 – Grade 5 to Certificate of Performance
  • Level 3 – Associate Diploma (AMusA) and Licentiate Diploma
    (LMusA)

More resources for flamenco

If you would like to hear a variety of flamenco style please go to my you tube and select recommenced listening in flamenco to enjoy a variety targeted selection of flamenco artists in guitar music.

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