Glossary of Flamenco: From A to J - Flamenco Beirut  
a compas
Song or dance that is performed faithfully following the rhythm or cadence of the corresponding style.

a palo seco
Song performed without accompaniment of the guitar "a capella".

"Malagueña" guitar playing executed to the rhythmic theme of the "fandango". Its tonality is modal and is usually realised "por arriba" (E/F). Its etymology has two possible aspects, one being the possible accompaniment of this song with a mandolin, and the other the proliferation of banditry in the mountain ranges of Ronda and Córdoba where the "abandolaos" style is indigenous.

Type of wood that is used in making the harmonic lid of guitars, this part needs to be made of a material that provides a high level of vibrations.

Name of the guitarists from the eastern part of Andalucía that execute the tremolo badly and instead of five notes, the player is only capable of playing three. In the west known as "caballito".

Musical note with a rhythm which is executed with more force. With this method it is even possible to differentiate two types or styles of song submitted to exactly the same tempos, as in the case of the "fandango" and "soleá".

The work of a guitarist in following the song or dance. Normally a good accompaniment guitarist should know both aspects of flamenco well aswell as the singer or the dancer who they accompany at that moment, since it is almost a law of customs that after a the third part the singer needs a melodic variation played by the guitarist "falseta de desahogo" in which to pause and that the dancer doesn't need phrases of more than three rhythms.

A conjunction of musical notes executed in harmony, producing a sound similar to another musical note. In the flamenco guitar the basic chords are A, G, F and E, although from these notes an extensive range of others are generated by means of the exercise of transport. The majority of guitarists also call the "acorde", "postura".

An enthusiast of the art of flamenco. Also an performer of any of its aspects who doesn't practice as a professional.

Rough husky voice, rasp and rough, that recieves this name due to the famous singer El Fillo having the same type of voice.

An electronic apparatus that measures with precision the tuning of each of the guitar strings. Although it saves a lot of work, many guitarists find it inconvenient since its precision makes the strings rub in the same place and break sooner.

Label which applies to songs and dances from andaluz folklore and other musical styles that are performed with the flamenco intonations and rhythm.

Perform songs and dances which are not flamenco with tones and rhuthms which are.

("gaché, gachó, gachonal..."). Words used by gypsies to refer to those people who aren't of their same race and whoes songs don't have the sound of gypsy influence.

Sounds that are produced by musical notes being executed on the first three strings, also called "primas". These sounds are also known as "femeninos".

Song or dance from a region, for example the "fandangos" are called "aires de Huelva".

al aire
It is said that a guitar is played "al aire" when the capo isn't used. In this case, the musical notes that are executed coincide with those of the score. The concert guitarist should always play "al aire" although afterwards this measure isn't hardly produced.

Guitar playing that is executed on a "bulería" rhythm by "soleá" but sustained on major and not modal tones in order to adapt them to the requirements of the nuptial song.

Guitar playing realised by three by four or by six by eight, on major tones. Depending on the variety the rhythmic base is played "por arriba" (E/B) or low (A/E) or in C/G, although they can be played on chords of the same tonic scale.

consists in strumming the thumb from bottom to top, functioning like a plectrum (i.e. is moved up and down). It is a technique exclusively found in flamenco.
Person who dances flamenco.

Flamenco is a lively dance in constant evolution, but its basic characteristics seem to have taken form between 1869 and 1929, the period known as the golden age of flamenco. The basis of flamenco dancing is that it is indisolubily connected to the guitar, an indispensable instrument in flamenco.

Name that a guitar recieves in the "jerga caló", in that of the gypsies. In some cases it is also denominated "bajandí".

Song. It's "copla" is composed of four octosilabic verses, although sometimes a different scheme is used. It is a folk or traditional with flamenco influence.

The style of holding the guitar, customary of old guitarists, withouth crossing legs the instrument resting on the right leg and placed diagonally across the body. II Nick name of a guitarist from Cadíz, Paco el Barber, student of the maestro Patiño, who along with Paco el de Lucena and Antonio Reina composed the first generation of flamenco guitarists, to which there is reference.

base rítmica
Rhythmic points on which the beat is supports itself, normally asociated with a series of chords that define the style.

Subdivision of the beat in which in each part the crotchet is divided in to two quavers. This is the case of three/four.

Colloquial name given by guitarists, to the three first strings, also know as primas.

Characteristic of guitars whose normal tension whilst tuned is soft. This type of instrument allows the player to economise on playing, since it has better exit. However there are guitarists who prefer hard guitars in order to control better the clarity of their playing.

Main hole in the harmonic lid where the sound comes out. It isn't convenient to play over it, since this takes sonority from the instrument.

Tap of the thumb excercised on the bass string which provokes a vibration, unpleasant to the ear.

Sixth and last string, the thickest of all, normally made of nylon covered in intertwined metal, a substitute to the old cat gut. Generally this name has been extended to defube the three top strings, which are usually called bass strings.

The "alegría" which is executed in C major /G major as are the chords the of base rythm. It is what is call "tono de caracoles" in flamenco.

bulería por soleá
Song. Variation of the "bulerría" whose rhythm is close to that of the "soleá".

Guitar playing born from the "soleá", with a more lively rhythm on a beat of normally six/eight, although it can be played three/four . Tonally there are many variations. In Jerez it is usually played in-between (A major/ B flat), in Cádiz in major tones (A major/E major) and there also in A minor /E major. Depending on the tone of the singer or the melodic necessities, the tones can vary in an exercise of transport, but always within the same tonal cadence.
Name which guitarists in western Andalucía give to badly executed tremolo, since instead of five notes, the player is only capable of playing three. In the east known as "acaballado".

Tonal structure of a piece, based on different scales. For example, a "seguriya" and a "serrana" have the same candence although the first is played "por medio" and the second "por arriba" on the guitar.

café cantante
Local where they serve drinks and offer singing recitals, dance and guitar playing. During their height, in the middle of the XIX century, they contributed in spreading the professional practice of flamenco.

caja de resonancia
Principal part of the guitar composed of the lids, hoops and bridge.

A "copla" which ends a series of songs of the same style but with a different intonations, to break the tone.

Song. It's "copla" has six verses. It is a song with flamenco influence and originated in religious songs from andalucia about Rosario de la Aurora.

Person who performs flamenco songs, in any of thier forms.

Used as an abreviation for flamenco song, denominates a conjunction of musical compositions of different styles that came about a third of the way through the XVIII centry and the first half of the XIX by the justoposition of the musical and folk or traditional modes of Andalucia.

cante chico
Subjective expression denominating the songs which aren't as solemn and more appropriate for dancing.

cante de adelante/cante de atrás
Refers to the relevant situation of the protagonism of the singer. If they sing in first person with the guitarist accompanying them, they do it in front. Whilst, if they sing in second person, they accompany the dance, behind.

cante festero
Happy and noisey styles such as "alegrías", "rumbas" and "tanguillos".

cante gitano
Subjective expresion denominating flamenco songs done by gypsy performers.

cante grande
Subjective expression with which the more solemn styles of songs are known. It is applied also to any song performed well.

cante jondo
Subjective expression which denominates the styles full of solemnity, primitivism, depth and expressive force. Considered the synonym of pure song.

cantes de ida y vuelta
Expression that designates the conjunction of "aflamencado" styles which come from Spanish American folk music.

Song. Name of the conjunction happy and lively styles originating from Cádiz, , that are suposed to have been derived from the old jig from Cádiz. Demofilo Machado said that they are capable of resuscitating the dead and making them pick up castanets to dance. They include "allergías", "caracoles", "mirabrás" and "romeras".

Tap-strum made with the index finger on the lid of the guitar and on the corchet strings at the same time.

Song. The "copla" is made up of four octasylabil verses and is considered to be a variation of the "toná". Its name refers to the theme of its letters, relating to prison or prison sentences. It is performed without the accompaniment of a guitar.

Guitar playing from the "soleá" group, that has a "estribillo flamenco" on guitar parallel to the song, supported on E, F and G.
To sing. Especially in a peculiar style, giving the song intensity and full communication.

Dance. Hard taps made with the foot against the floor, employed as the climax to other steps, corresponding in the guitar with simple strumming simple that go at the end of the melody.

Part of the neck in which you find the frets which are pressed. II. Metal instrument which is used to tune the guitar through A sound which it makes on contacting with the soundbox after being hit against something solid.

Co-ordination of the fingers of the right had at the hour of plucking a musical note, the method of fingering consists in knowing with which finger each string has to be touched at a determined moment. It is different from the "pulsación" in so far as the co-ordination of the fingers of the left hand.

In harmony, the fifth note of the scale of any tone is known as "dominante" because it dominates the perfect tune of the same.

According to the definition of the Real Academia Española de Lengua "mysterious and indescribable enchantment flamenco song". In this poetic expression the magic, supposed to be intrinsic to flamenco is mentioned. According to caballero Bonld has it has a lot to do with dionysian rites, where a type of collective state of trance, is lived.

Time that a musical note is still heard. This is in function of the musical notes and of the rythm that has been chosen.
In the flamenco guitar, this is what the exercise of adding "pulsaciones" on the fret, to a chord that coincides with the latters real tone.

Ascendant or descendent succession of sound produced by grades adjacent in height or intonation, meaning, each at a distance of a tone or a semitone from the prior.

As with any type of art, a school is the style followed by a group of performers, all continuations of the work of the creator or conjunction of creators. In the flamenco guitar, the most notable schools are Ramón Montoya, el Niño Ricardo and Paco de Lucía, although there are others as distinguished as Melchor de Marchena, Diego del Gastor or Manolo Sanlúcar.

Type of wood used to elaborate the fingerboard. It is a very expensive material and the most used in this area is the
Melodic phrase that intersperseds between successions of chords destined, or to accompany the song or to establish the structure of a concert piece. It is said that a guitarist is "largo" when they are capable of executing different "falsetas" in a same style or type of song.

Guitar playing executed six/eight , but which is based on a structure of ternary rhythm. In respect to its tonality, the "llamadas" are played in modal tones, but the melody can change to minor or major tones in function of the different "fandagueriles" styles that exist. In guitar playing by "fandangos" the style of Alonso has to be underlined, completely different to the rest, since the rhythms are always connected and do not employ strumming. Its principal exponent was Bartolomé Cerrejón, el Pinche.

Guitar playing that uses the structure of the "tanguillo" being as it came late to the flamenco panorama, and comes from galician folk music. One of the first to perform it was Ramón Montoya. It is executed in minor tones.

In flamenco slang, sound that the three first string emit, also known as "agudos" or "blancos".

In flamenco, it is a reunion of enthusiasts and singers in which the respect of flamenco is predominant, which make singers, dancers and guitarists alike feel comfortable, meaning that this is the ideal atmosphere in which to express thier art.

According to the Diccionario de la Real academia Española; "term designating a group of singers and dancers formed by the fusion of certain elements of andulcian musical orientalism, within certain expressive gypsy moulds". Flamenco is the expression of folk music originated in Andalucia and has existed for approximately two centuries. The origins of this term in its actual sense, which finally appears documented at the end of the XVIII century, is still unsolved.

The name that musicology gives to what is known in flamenco as "falseta", meaning, a melodic phrase intersperseddo between chords.

Characteristic of the guitar that indicates the level of vibrations that it is possible to get out of one string with only one stroke.

When there are two guitarists playing for a concert, a leak is produced if both perform a different melodic structure in unison but in harmony.
Guitar playing based on the rhythm of the "tanguillo" also proceeding from folk or traditional forms. In this case it is played in major tones.

Resulting sounds of sliding a finger down one same string over different frets. It is a technique that defines the "granaina", that counts on the "glissando" in its "llamada".

or tap. The rhythmical accents are placed by tapping with the ring finger (sometimes middle finger or both middle and ring finger) of the right hand on the "golpeador" (piece of plastic to protect the guitar top), bringing both nail and flesh into contact with it.

Piece of plastic that is stuck on the inferior and superior side of the harmonic lid to protect the wood from the taps that the flamenco guitarist does against it to follow the rhythm.

Chord in which all the "pulsaciones" that are played give the same tone.

Guitar playing arisen from the demands of the song, since it is executed on the structure of a natural "fandango" but with C major /B minor as the rythmic base chords. This happens because the "granaina" is a song for those who are considered brave and demand a lower tonality than the artist.

Name given to the three last strings or bass strings and, in extension, the sound that these produce.

Guitar playing supported by the same rhythm as the "bulería" but with the accents changed. It is played in major tones in analogy with the song of the same name.

Principal instrument in flamenco, it has strings and is composed of a wooden box, a oval shape stretched in the middle, with a circular hole in the centre of the lid and a neck with frets. Six tuning pegs are placed at the extreme end of the neck and are employed to tune the strings in the fixed bridge in the inferior of the lid, which are plucked with the fingers of the right had whilst those of the left press where necesary to aquire the tone required.

In the "jerga flamenca", name that is given to the guitar makers.
Most primitive period of the flamenco song, named so becuase its defendents esteeme that it was only developed in the intimity of the gypsy homes and when it left that area it lost character.
Type of wood used by the makers of guitars for the elaboration of the hoops and the back.

To encourage and acompany with claps, gestures and different flamenco expressions.

Action and effect of "jalear" and also the conjunction of expressions, admiring words and interjections that is generated to express enthusiasm or to encourage the performers. It can be from the public or the performers themselves, some of these expresions in phonetic andaluz are : "¡olé!", "¡ezo e!" "¡agua!", "¡azúcar!", "¡toma!" "¡así se canta"!, "¡mu bien dicho"!, "¡vamos allá"!.

Sharp sound, like a prolonged "ay", in which the "tercios" of every opening and closing phrase of song are supported. Its principal function is to give "jondura", although sometimes the singer does it to be in tune.

Denomination of certain styles in flamenco, according to a subjective valoration, which express solmenity, arquaic and primitive flavor. Applied, in definitive to those songs, dances and guitar playing characterised by their expresive force, feeling and vital depth.

Party or reunion of enthusiasts and performers, an ideal ambience for the expression of song, dance and guitar playing.

Decorative edges that the guitar has all around the soundbox and the centre of the back part of the neck. Its pattern is the same as the mosaic of the mouth.
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