One of the most important elements of the flamenco style is rhythm, so this time we’re looking at a particular pattern of accented beats known as the compas. Although there are no excessively difficult chords or progressions in this piece, the rasgueado and golpe techniques together with the importance of keeping accurate rhythm mean it will require a fair amount of time and practice to master. Rhythm and the rhythmic compas are at the very heart of flamenco. There are many different types of compas: Malaguena, Alegrias, Bulerias and Soleares to name but a few. Each compas has its own individual rhythm and pattern of accents and a thorough understanding of these is of utmost importance to anyone seriously interested in the study of flamenco.
This time, we’re looking at my own arrangement of the traditional Soleares compas (bars 1 – 4), plus three variations (bars 5 – 8, 9 -12 and 13 – 16) and a traditional ending compas (bars 17 – 20). The Soleares rhythm or compas consists of twelve beats, so four bars in 3/4 time makes up one compas. The accents are on beats 3, 6, 8 and 10 and sometimes on 12. Before attempting to play the Soleares and its variations make sure you know exactly where the accents fall. This is important because it won’t be a Soleares unless the accents are placed correctly and accurately. You can get a feel for the accents by clapping the beats. Clap each beat making sure that the accented ones are marked by playing them louder, this is not as easy as it may sound and may take a bit of practice. Accents are indicated in the score by > above the relevant chord or note.
There is a new technique introduced in this lesson: the golpe. This is the Spanish word for ‘tap’ and basically involves striking the body of the guitar, near the sound-hole, with the ‘a’ finger. A golpe is indicated in the score by a square above the staff on the beat that the golpe is to be played. The technique itself is not that difficult, the problem – as with all new techniques – is incorporating them into the music and keeping in time. As always, listen to the recording, as it will help you get a ‘feel’ for the music as you are learning it.
Photo 1 shows the preparation: the ‘a’ Finger is poised a few centimeters above the guitar body, the ‘a’ Finger then strikes the body with nail and flesh together – this is the completion of the action, see Photo 2. It is important to ensure all movement comes from the finger and not the wrist, the right hand should not be moved from its natural playing position to play a golpe. Remember: playing golpe can damage the soundboard of the guitar – minor dents and scratches caused by the nail of the ‘a’ Finger. To prevent this occurring you can always fit a golpeador or, in English, a scratchplate.
Juan Martin’s guitar method is a good starting point for anyone interested in flamenco – an excellent accompanying CD, composed and performed by Mr Martin, compliments his detailed description of each flamenco form.
The Golpe – Use these hand positions to get it working right.
It’s a part of Flamenco Lesson. Soleares – Compas.
Through the link below you can download a full transcription of
Soleares lesson with music track, tabs and sheet
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