If you were to ask people what they know about flamenco music, their answers would probably mention Spain, brightly dressed dancing gypsies and, of course, the guitar. The main problem in this piece, apart from the rasgueados, is the eventual speed. This should not be rushed but built up gradually over a period of time. Flamenco is the general term for a particular style of song and dance that comes from southern Spain, particularly the region of Andalusia. Invariably associated with gypsies and inseparable from the guitar, which provides the accompaniment for the singers and dancers as well as acting as a solo instrument, flamenco is an incredibly passionate and emotional music that has an unmistakable sound.
As well being a distinct type of music in its own right, flamenco has been an enormous influence on Spanish classical music. Such composers as Isaac Albeniz, Manuel de Falla, Joaquin Turina and Joaquin Rodrigo, to name but a few, have all used musical forms and ideas derived from flamenco. The melodies, harmonies and rhythms used in their works, although adapted and smoothed out, still have that flamenco colour unique to Spain – the first movement of Rodrigos’ Concierto de Aranjuez contains many features that pay homage to the flamenco tradition.
As an introduction to the flamenco style, here is my arrangement of Malaguena – the traditional flamenco song of Malaga. The only new technique to be introduced is the flamenco style of strumming – or rasgueado. This may prove tricky at first, but it’s an essential element of the flamenco sound. The right-hand fingers are notated as in classical guitar music (p, i , m, and a), but also added is ‘e’, which denotes the little finger. This is required for playing the four-stroke rasgueado. The photos take you through the rasgueado that starts on the second half of the first beat of bar 9. Here, the triplet strokes are played using ‘e’, ‘a’ and ‘m’, then ‘i’ finishes the fourth stroke on the first half of the second beat. Note that all four fingers move in the same direction – downwards. The first photograph shows the right hand in preparation to play the rasgueado. All four fingers of the right hand should be curled inwards towards the palm. The fingers then unfold in turn and strike the strings; this can be seen in the next four photos, which show each finger in succession as it completes its movement. All right hand motion should come from the fingers; this will feel awkward at first, but try to keep the forearm and wrist as still and relaxed as possible. Don’t worry if you don’t manage to strike all the strings with all the fingers at first or if the triplet rhythms aren’t correct, these are things that will come with practice. Also, start playing slowly and gently at first, increasing speed only as your confidence grows. If you really ‘go for it’ too early you may find it quite painful on the cuticles! Another classical guitar lesson Greensleeves
For anyone interested in the study of flamenco guitar, I strongly recommend getting hold of a copy of Juan Martin’s guitar method El Arte Flamenco de la Guitarra. This excellent book comes with a CD of Mr. Martin, a true master, playing all the main flamenco forms, including the Soleares, Bulerias, Alegrias and Sevillanas.
Through the link below you can download for free
Flamenco Music Malaguena tablature, sheet music,
and full track
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