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I agree mostly with Mairena’s assertion of a “hermetic period”
Ricardo, me sorprende que pienses así. This book has been debunked as racist. At least poco objectivo.
Manuel, the brother of Mairena is a fine singer.
Yes it is pro gitano, and I already pointed out I disagree with some of that. I guess I have to admit that I found something interesting that makes me feel his claim actually makes perfect sense. However, for the wrong reason (gypsy oppression was more about the vagabundos I mentioned than the integrated working classes) he claims it comes out into the public eye and mixes with the payos when the gypsy oppression relaxes. I believe it was a completely different but related reason. And again, I disagree with his notion that it was only cantes basicos that were “hermetically sealed”, I sort of already know that the family of cantes was earlier all together, meaning yes it was hermetically sealed but “it” was the whole package of flamenco songs. The mixing with payos could have been simply that those payos had some of the same flamenco repertoire and put “it” together like chocolate and peanut butter. Obviously, the toreros were involved at some level…as Borrow book reveals, they were involved in the “conspiracy” of this “hermetically sealed” thing Mairena alludes to.
The problem with conspiracy is that you can’t “debunk” it truly. It stands impervious until it is proven TRUE and openly admitted to. I point to the Catholic Church shuffling around peadophiles as one example. Conspiracy is not always about scary evil stuff, sometimes something deep and noble is the reason it hides from the public eye. Like Luke Skywalker and Princess Lea.
One thing you said, Ricardo, is that you'd put Tango as a derivative of Solea. That seems strange to me. I'm sure you have good reasons for saying so, but I fail to see a derivation from Solea to Tango. I can obviously see the link with Buleria for example.
Could you say why you'd classify things that way?
I would have thought it more obvious than my claim about Alegria and fandango. So lets say this. Do you guys know Merengue de Cordoba’s instructional about accompanying cante? If not, that is ok, but basically he has a video and along with the video came two books. One book was typical transcription of falsetas and strumming and such. The other book was a simple chord chart book, similar to the jazz Real book, only even simpler. Basically it takes all the cantes and puts them into a simple chart form where you have meter being either 3/4 or 4/4 or whatever, and chords above the measures at the general points in time you are supposed to change them for the specific cante.
The way you are supposed to use those charts is not the same as for Jazz, where you just repeat ad infinitum. You are supposed to use these as blue prints, where you apply the skeletal structure to the unique delivery of each singer you encounter. They are basic guidelines for how the cantes are designed harmonically and phrasing wise….somewhat rhythmically. It should not be too crazy to accept that when you change key from por Arriba to por Medio, the basic idea is transposed, somewhat redundantly of Solea to Solea por buleria. And of course Buleria. What some folks might not be aware of is despite the different tempos and rhythmic feelings between these, not only these “blue prints” apply but also the LYRICS can be the same. The lyrics also tie together with the blue print structure and provide a clue to the guitarist how that structure might be altered (for example repeating the 1st line of verse several times or NOT repeating the cambio).
What is noticed about the form there is that based on how the lyrics are delivered, all those cantes share a common structural concept which is a Phrygian type opening line that has options to move to three harmonies….in por medio for simplicity, that would be from A Phrygian to either 1.Dm (or Bb as an option for the same melody), 2. E7 (called a cambio, or corta style), 3. C7 (often for extremeña styles or Apola styles). Knowing your melody and chart options helps you decide on the fly. Most styles are distinguished by these options.
What they all have in common next is the Cambio, or the move to relative major which sets up the drama of the letra story and the need for a rhymed conclusion of the words. This is invariant in almost all cantes of this family and fairly “fixed” mathematically, with the exception of the extensions on the relative major chord (C7-F…sometimes extends to extra half compas) before the conclusion (always Bb-A or some variant remate that takes it back to A phrygian and concludes the letra). When there is a repetition of the cambio, it is always both lines of verse TOGETHER (in cases of 4 line verse the lyrics can swap 3 and 4 with 1st and 2nd thanks to the rhyme still working….see Norman’s site for examples in 4 line solea). This gives a basic concept of the A and B structure of all the forms where A has options, and B is the cambio and conclusion together, repeated or not. If the accompanist is somewhat lost or confused by the A structure in the moment, there is always the chance to save the day when the cambio is delivered, and that is the “fun” of accompanying various singers you might not know well. That is how guitarists learn to “follow” the singer.
So after all that long winded thing, let me simply state that Tientos and Tangos adhere to the same exact concepts as above. Even the lyrics of solea or buleria can and will be utilized. You have many styles of corta buleria that move first to Dm, then upon repeat of lyric a shift of melody that moves to E7, then cambio. For Tientos and tangos the similar concept is Dm then C7 instead of the E7, very much like Extremeña styles and perhaps derives from that…but again you encounter styles of Tientos and Tangos that literally do the same (E7) as corta buleria, and then of course Tiento and tango have the combined CAMBIO lines of verse using the same chords…and again it is how you understand to follow the structure. There are variants of course but I am talking fundamentals here. The charts in Merengue’s book shows this same concept…if you had not understanding about flamenco but understood charts it would be easy to see the same song is being played with a different METER, that is all.
The thing about the compas…..the same way that solea family is 12 count, the dancers actually count Tiento and tango as 8 count structure. Same rules of half compas situations apply here.
To conclude…. The idea of compas is what I call a “treatment” of the song style. That is how you can have things like Fandango por Solea, or Tangos sung in the Taranto key etc. When you categorize the song structures in your head, the blue print song form takes precedence over the basic underlying rhythm you will use to accompany it. Fast or slow, 12 or 8, triplet etc. Styles of “cuple” buleria can take on all types of melodies that are unrelated to solea…like wise things like Tangos de Malaga and Farruca use the Tientos/tangos compas as a treatment for the accompaniment (just in case you wanted to throw those things at me). Tanguillo/zapateado also is a rhythmic treatment that can apply to various melodies, but traditionally was associated with that ONE song from Cadiz.
Hope this helps. Here is a concrete example, same letra I know as Solea (EDIT:I added it at the bottom) delivered as Tangos and Bulerias:
era morenita y pobre mas morena (or pobre) la canela se la comen los señores
And at 27:29:
Sorry to point to myself, but here is my friend Jesus (RIP) singing the same letra as slow Soleá at 3:29:
Wooaw Ricardo, that was quite an answer. I'm gonna process it and dig into the references you gave (if I can find them online).
Basically what I have understood is that to arrive at this classification, we have to look at the cante and it's structure, instead of just the perspective from the guitar such as speed and 4/4 or 3/4. Which definitely makes sense.
Thanks for taking the time to explain the whole thing: it was really helpfull.
Merengue de Cordoba’s instructional about accompanying cante...
Here's a shot of the tangos and the solea chord charts from his Encuentro chord book.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge Ricardo. Your observation/generalisation is very helpful. You have inspired me to do more study/listen more carefully. The idea of generally having three possible harmonic moves in part A is helpful I will look out for that. My experience with accompanying cante has been limited to 3 singers. Because I haven't had a well developed cante overview, each cante can seem particular and idiosyncratic to me. Having your overview and generalised framework is helpful to begin to see where one cante fits into the wider picture 'structural blueprint'.
Yesterday I was playing for a dance workshop for a dancer I haven't played for before. There was no singer and the dancer quietly sang the letra. There was not much melody for me to follow part A. But as you say playing the cambio in the right place meant they didn't seem to care too much that my part A very likely wasn't harmonically correct.
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Here's a shot of the tangos and the solea chord charts from his Encuentro chord book.
Thanks. The Tientos chart, being slower, allowed Merengue to sneak in some secondary dominants (G7-C, C7-F), which is a little more how I view most tangos as well. However, using the Tangos you posted, some folks might not beable to transpose in their mind so quickly to Soleá, in which case the Solea por Buleria chart in the same book looks close, especially if you consider both letras (buleria larga first, then frijones that goes to Dm).
And for folks that can transpose just fine–and want to make an issue about the missing D7-G from the Soleá structure–can take a glance at the Polo and Caña charts. So an all encompassing “family” of songs seem to enjoy those variations in the A section, and mostly conclude with a “cambio” of some sort.
By the way, I normally don’t like using myself as an example, and after hunting through various letras of Soleá I realized the main reason I was so familiar with “Era morenita y pobre” as a Soleá was because my friend Jesus used to do it. So I added his version to the previous post examples so that there is a nice set of the three forms using the same letra. Hopefully with that included people might get a sense of why Soleá is considered the “mother” form.
Thanks for that. And so people are not confused, that last F chord was the cambio but it goes on to conclude Bb-A as before. They could have, for simplicity, used repeat bars just like Soleá por arriba. Also, that long section of Dm is because the singer took a respiro before repeating and Merengue just waited on the same chord. In my “blueprint” mind all that extra could be discarded because it can confuse the new comers. Anyway, anybody reading can later check out the cante accompaniment thread, examples of Solea or solea por buleria we have on there. The Moneo examples are very challenging though.
One last thing…if anybody has or had the Moraito Encuentro video, he explains the structure of bulerias the way it is done in Jerez, where he states they “rematar en el seis”. Basically, I noticed this many years later as inspired by Manuel Morao’s personal approach to cutting the last line of verse in half. I would argue there is no special reason for doing this other than for fun, but it caught on with many other players to do “on occasion” rather than every single letra. Anyway the funny thing is to realize what he demos in like 5 seconds is the entire structure and form of Solea and family in its most stripped down simple way. He plays like one compas of A to Bb then the second compas is C7-F. Then a half compas ending of Bb-A. So the entire form is only 2.5 compases. Everything after that is application. I always wished that video could be found online for its educational simplicity.