Erik van Goch -> RE: Question about seguyrias notation (Oct. 10 2012 18:09:02)
....In that video at the end Moraito comes to the same conclusion. He shrugs his shoulders and says play the compas with your heart. Siguiriyas has elastic compas when playing for a singer and more strict when for a dancer...... It seems like it is so nuanced in how you articulate the details in time that it would be impossible to write it down.
.... I think it's too complicated to bother to write it in notation because you want to take a siguiriyas off the page as soon as possible and start to play with it an make it your own. Ideally you would learn a siguiriyas by rote for another guitarist or by listening to Melchor or some other player like that.
I think a lot of people just have too much pride to "give in" to the obvious way of notating it with 8-, 10-, 12-, 123, 456-7 simplicity. And sure, when you play for a dance class or a dancer they will count as a five beat thingy because that is what dancers do and how they are taught, but that does not mean it makes the most sense to notate that way for guitar. And if a guitar teacher counts siguriyas as a five beat thingy, you can learn it that way too, but still notate it with simple tab.
I doubt Melchor de Marchena, one of the greatest siguiyeros bothered to write down one scrap. \
Clarity really just depends on how you primarily understand it, what is clear for one person looks like cloudy water to another.
Over a 60 year period of studying, playing, arranging, composing and annotating numerous kinds of music my father developed a highly sophisticated way of dealing with structure, rhythm, context and interpretation. He devoted 20 years of his live studying/teaching the art of flamenco guitar on a full time base (basically 24/7) and invested thousands and thousands of ours in analyzing/annotating every aspect of the art of flamenco guitar in the smallest details imaginable. His handwritten flamenco scores are the very best in existence but available for flamenco students of Rotterdam University of Music only (and even they don't have unrestricted access). No printed/published music known to me (flamenco, classical or otherwise) are a match to the handwritten scores he produced over the years His more than 1000 pages of flamenco music (covering over 20 styles) show you the exact notes, rhythm, left /right hand fingering and (way better than others) the musical/technical context of every single note in relation to the compas and the other notes played.
"Siguiriyas has elastic compas when playing for a singer and more strict when for a dancer...... It seems like it is so nuanced in how you articulate the details in time that it would be impossible to write it down".
I guess the only restrictions my father have are the rhythmic restrictions of written music in general which affect all music from rock to Bach. But within those restrictions he adapted a highly sophisticated way of dealing with structure, rhythm, context and interpretation. Notes/rhythms that are part of the main layer(s) are annotated as usual and notes/rhythms that can be considered as secondary layers are annotated in smaller notes/rhythmic interludes (just like using (...) in written words). As a result all the events are annotated and enjoyed in the same order and with the same level of importance as intended by the artist and in that sense his scores does indeed honer the original idea in every detail.
As far as the "elastic compas" is concerned, that's precisely what it is ELASTIC.....but like a real elastic everything still has an underlaying (un-stretched) base that can be annotated as usual. It's up to the artist if he wants to speed up/slow down and to witch extent. Moraito himself happens to be a very emotional player and most of his seguiriyas falsetas suffer a high dose of unexpected (almost volcanic) speed eruptions. It is nice that he "fallows his heart" but like you stated, what is clear to one person looks like cloudy water to another and although i'm a very experienced player/listener i find it impossible to interpreted his extreme speed eruptions at first ear. It's like he is starting a nice and clear line andsuddenlygets(over)motionalandspeedsuplikehell. Obviously when i re-listen it i can deduct "and suddenly gets (over)emotional and speeds up like hell", which also would be the line annotated by my father (spoken text is also notated in spanish and not in the artists dialect or (sometimes unintended) personal habits).
As far as seguiriyas is concerned my father insisted on using the 5 beat system since this is the pulse felt by (most) professional singers, dancers and guitar player. As a result the main pulse is very clear and you never have to doubt the position of any given note to the main pulse. But like i said, his handwritten music can be enjoyed on many levels and as soon as a lot of notes are played he also shows/clusters the inner beats, creating an artificial 12-beat system inside the 5-beat system (combining the visual clearness of the main pulse with the possibility to zoom in in details).
for instance with rasgueados on beat 3 and 4 (aka 12-5) in a llamada
*....****....****..../* *...****...****./*.............(5-beat system showing inner beats)
*.../****.../****.../* *../****../****...*.............(standard 12-beat bulerias notation)
This clearly shows the advantage of using a 5 beat system (adapting inner beasts when necessary) in comparison to a standard 12 beat notation..... both show the same clusters of notes but the 5 beat system shows you the main pulse as well.
And as far as "i think it's to complicated to bother to write it in notation because you want to take a seguiriyas off the page as soon as possible and start to play it and make it your own" is concerned.....
If a highly trained expert like my father bothers to inventory/select the very best material available, spends years to check/annotate the exact notes, the exact fingering, the exact rhythm, the interpretation and the underlaying structures (all based on a lifetime of experience being amongst top level players) that does not only offer you the notes but also that lifetime of experience (lifetimes in fact since 2 simple pages of music explaining Paco Peñas basic set up of fandangos took my father a couple of hours but it took Paco years to acquire that knowledge....all it took me was the costs of the copying machine).
I once had to learn Paco Peñas Solea por Bulerias. Having it on paper it took me only 3 hours to memorize the notes, the rhythm and the fingering.... i tip my hat if you can memorize that piece in a week using ear play only! His Peteneras took me 3 hours as well.... Funny enough the only piece that gave me "a hard time" was Serranas (basically a seguiriyas in e). The 5 beat system (covering beats of various length and seemingly endless waves of notes) indeed seemed "to much to handle" at first and after 3 hours of struggling i only managed to memorize 1 out of 14 pages of music.....but once i got the drift of it i memorized the other 13 pages in 2 hours..... i'm pretty sure i couldn't have ear played that piece in 5 hours, let along understand it!