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What happened to the "traditional" flamenco hold?   You are logged in as Guest
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britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

What happened to the "tradition... 

Having been out of the flamenco groove for a few years (maybe 30 or so) I 've noticed a few changes, when browsing the Internet.

One of them that strikes me is how few players seem to prefer using the 'traditional' flamenco hold any more; i.e. high on the chest, lower bout resting on right thigh, etc. I was taught this way in Madrid many years ago, and I still find it the most comfortable and 'playable', especially for playing rasguedos. To me its the most natural way to hold a guitar, and you can feel the vibrations going right through the chest. Great feeling!

So many players I see on the Net recently use the 'right ankle cocked over the left knee' position, which I find somewhat awkward. Others use footstools or some variation of the standard classical guitar hold.

Why is the traditional high hold out of favour these days?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 15:18:59
 
kudo

Posts: 2064
Joined: Sep. 3 2009
 

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

how about this one? like Diego del Morao? I think its because modern flamenco has so much more going on in the left hand than the very old traditional flamenco and the traditional position limits what you can do in the left hand, which would explain why the traditional position is used in fiestas more, because there is not complicated stuff going on. here is an example, diego del morao playing this and sitting this way. I personally dont think he can play this exactly the same way and same speed if he were to sit in the traditional position.


Im recently playing in this same position as i find it more comfortable when theres too much going on in the left hand. I have seen great modern spanish players infront of my eyes doing the exact same thing, sometimes they use a foot stool if its going to be a long performance. I personally dont like the foot stool, I find it too high and uncomfortable even at its lowest position.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 15:33:31
 
mezzo

Posts: 1409
Joined: Feb. 18 2010
From: .fr

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

quote:

I was taught this way in Madrid many years ago, and I still find it the most comfortable and 'playable', especially for playing rasguedos.

As for the use of your little pinky finger for doing rasgueos I suppose!

( eami for ever! )

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"The most important part of Flamenco is not in knowing how to interpret it. The higher art is in knowing how to listen." (Luis Agujetas)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 15:42:33
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 15:44:24
 
Arash

Posts: 4409
Joined: Aug. 9 2006
From: Iran (living in Germany)

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy







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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 15:46:04
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 16:32:58
 
Rmn

Posts: 308
Joined: May 14 2011
 

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

I always play in traditional position. I think it's better even for modern toque. Because:
1 the neck is higher you don't have to bend your wrist so much to achieve certain chords.
2 when you "lock" the guitar between your upper arm and your chest, it becomes very stable and for me that feels more freedom.
3 compare this situation with violinist: they lock the violin between their shoulder and chin for more freedom. A violinist that plays "unlocked" can't play complicated patterns and scales.
4. i notice with when I sit like that that my knee is in front of the sound hole a bit.
5. it's not a nice feeling to not feel your leg any more...

I think paco once sat there practicing with a dancer and a choreographer and as these two were figuring out the choreography, Paco was quite bored. In the mirror that he was sitting in front off in the dance studio he began first to make funny faces and laugh about himself out of boredom. Then when he finished doing funny faces he stared a bit at himself in the mirror thinking how damn handsome he is about himself. But one thing was missing, something was wrong... when he put down the guitar he felt sexier about himself. So it was the guitar, not him. Hmmm, so whats wrong with the guitar? Rosetta? finishing? no it was all allright he thought. Than he realized that it might be the position he HELD the guitar was what made him look so dorky. He tried different ways of holding his guitar (even on his back, out of more boredom) and finally the most sexy pose was with the leg across the other. Made him feel like a king!





Sorry about the second part of my post.... First part is serious. Second is just a joke. I think what feels comfy for you is the best position really. with some falsetta's I feel more comfortable using paco's position, but these are not necessarily hard modern ones.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 17:44:48
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1721
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to Guest

I think everyone else may missing the point.

The traditional position is only comfortable for short people, and historically Spaniards have been short — especially the generations that went through the Civil War and the Años de Hambre that followed. Even in the ’80s I remember standing in a bar in Córdoba and feeling like a giant at 5'10".

That is no longer the case. With the social revolution after the death of Franco came better nutrition, and today’s adults are as tall as I or taller. My friend José Martínez who died in 1993 was, I guess, about 5'5", the same height as Paco Peña, and he played in the traditional position. His son Pepe is well over six feet, and can’t play in that position without crouching over the guitar.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 18:35:31
 
Rmn

Posts: 308
Joined: May 14 2011
 

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

Hi Paul, I am 1,84 m (thats 6' I think) and like I said up here I prefer traditional
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 18:46:28
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1721
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to Rmn

quote:

Hi Paul, I am 1,84 m and like I said up here I prefer traditional


I make that about six feet? I’m comfortable with it, too; but for my classical guitar teacher Julian Byzantine, who was (is) 6'7", it’s flatly impossible.

Remember, too, that the traditional position used to be regarded as a rite of passage, and until you could manage it you weren’t taken seriously. Paco de Lucía changed all that.

And the modern positions take much less practice.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 18:54:13
 
Rmn

Posts: 308
Joined: May 14 2011
 

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

Ok, I see
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 19:21:16
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3013
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Magnussen

I think everyone else may missing the point.

The traditional position is only comfortable for short people....


I'm 6' 4" (1.93m). As was taught in a previous geological era, I play in the traditional position. But I put a footstool in its lowest position under my right foot. In its lowest position the footstool doesn't twist the spine.

The footstool elevates the right leg just a bit, and brings the guitar up to where the right upper arm is horizontal, as it was for short people like Sabicas, Niño Ricardo, et al. With only the weight of the arm holding the guitar, no muscular tension whatsoever, the instrument is quite stable. The left hand plays no role at all in supporting the guitar--it's free to roam where it will. There is no problem playing in higher left hand positions. It didn't seem to bother Sabicas' playing in the upper registers..

Late in his career Sabicas used a footstool under the left foot, set pretty high. It looks like the standard classical position. But if you look carefully you will see that the lower bout is resting on his right thigh instead of between the legs, and the guitar seldom or never touches the left thigh! It's the traditional position, but with a footstool. I never saw him play this way in the late '50s-early '60s when I saw him regularly at various venues and juergas in New York. He always had both feet firmly on the floor.

It was explained to me that the traditional position affords more mobility to follow the movements of a dancer. I wouldn't know, because the bent left wrist of the modern position is uncomfortable to me, so I haven't seriously tried to adopt it.

I play classical in the Segovia/Llobet/Tarrega position, but with a large Dynarette cushion on the left thigh instead of a footstool under the left foot.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 19:53:41
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1721
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

But I put a footstool in its lowest position under my right foot. In its lowest position the footstool doesn't twist the spine.


Yes, obviously if you use a footstool to raise your right leg, that obviates my argument. But most traditional guitarist didn’t.

It is interesting about Sabicas. In the old Sol Hurok films with Carmen Amaya, he’s always in the traditional position, but then he changed after years of it. The new position, too, was so strange as to be (I think) unique.

Maybe the old position finally gave him back-ache…

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 20:18:45
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3013
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Magnussen

Yes, obviously if you use a footstool to raise your right leg, that obviates my argument. But most traditional guitarist didn’t.



I don't know of any traditional guitarist who did use a footstool under the right foot. Took me a while to figure it out for me.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 20:37:50
 
britguy

Posts: 712
Joined: Dec. 26 2010
From: Ontario, Canada

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

But I put a footstool in its lowest position under my right foot


That's interesting, Richard. To sharpen up my (very) rusty technique, I recently took a few lessons from a very gifted young Iranian guitarist who plays excellent traditional flamenco. He used a low (3 inches or so) footstool under the right foot also, and encouraged me to try it. So I did, and it felt pretty good. Nice solid hold.

I think I may get one, or maybe make one?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 20:49:39
 
GuitarVlog

Posts: 441
Joined: Mar. 19 2009
From: San Francisco Bay Area

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

I recalled having come across this old discussion:

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=89197

My understanding was that Paco Pena once used a guitar support in the traditional position. Perhaps it was ergonomics associated with age.

In any case, shouldn't it be all about the music rather than the position of the guitar?


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 21:40:40
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1721
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to GuitarVlog

quote:

My understanding was that Paco Pena once used a guitar support in the traditional position.


Not to my knowledge, and I’ve known him 48 years. I’m not saying that he never, ever, experimented with it, mind.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 29 2011 21:48:13
 
rombsix

Posts: 7483
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

Not to my knowledge, and I’ve known him 48 years. I’m not saying that he never, ever, experimented with it, mind.


Indeed, he has. I've seen an album cover of his with a guitar support (like that Gitano one) stuck to his ax.

Check this thread out by me, also.

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=71110&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=sitting%2Cposition&tmode=&smode=&s=#174547

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 30 2011 1:31:59
 
Ramon Amira

 

Posts: 1025
Joined: Oct. 14 2009
From: New York City

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

Check out this thread -

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=139784&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=manuel%2Ccano&tmode=&smode=&s=#139813

Ramon

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 30 2011 2:56:05
 
Pimientito

Posts: 2481
Joined: Jul. 30 2007
From: Marbella

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

Its not just height. I think age is another factor. I've noticed that players in their 20´s sit with the guitar over one crossed leg and then find near their 40's that they are getting all sorts of upper and lower back problems.

Miguel Angel Cortes almost sits with a classical position now using a footstool. Tomatito always used to play with his guitar over one leg and he now sits in a more classical position. Both Paco and Vicente Amigo have had spinal disc problems from years of playing cross legged.

The reason Paco adopted the cross legged position in the first place was not to look cool (very funny RMN ). It allows the fingers of the right hand to be exactly 90 degrees perpendicular to the guitar strings and its part of the secret of the power in Pacos sound. Its mechanically the strongest way to have the hand in relation to the guitar. Unfortunately it also puts a lot of strain on the lumbar discs and the right upper ribs/neck so its easier for a younger player to pull off.

In more recent years I have had to start using a proper chair and footstool and it helps a lot....damn this getting older thing!!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Nov. 30 2011 17:06:02
 
FullMetalGuitarist

Posts: 88
Joined: Aug. 22 2011
 

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

You mentioned that Paco's posture can make problems to the lower back , but how about the simple cross legs posture - one leg on the other? (or any posture in which one leg is higher then the other hearts your spine? )
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2011 15:26:20
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12670
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

trad is still in use...depends on how fat you are. Negra players use a foot stool cuz the guitar is too heavy...I mean if they have the standard beer gut goin on.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2011 19:45:48

ToddK

 

Posts: 2960
Joined: Dec. 6 2004
 

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to Pimientito

quote:

he reason Paco adopted the cross legged position in the first place was not to look cool (very funny RMN ). It allows the fingers of the right hand to be exactly 90 degrees perpendicular to the guitar strings


I have to call bullcrap on that one. Lifting the right leg (footstool) has the same effect as crossing the right leg. I just tried it myself.
It doesnt matter if the leg below the knee is turned in or not. Same effect
on the position of the guitar vs the right hand.


Anyway, i was noticing Rafael Cortes has absolutely perfect posture using trad position. His shoulders are razor flat across, back totally straight. Perfecto.
He's a BIG dude. :)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 2 2011 19:54:04
 
Rmn

Posts: 308
Joined: May 14 2011
 

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

I have an other theory for this analysis:

when you sit in the traditional position you have to hold back the guitar with your right upper arm. Otherwise it 'll fall to the left.
Now a lot of people raise this arm (elbow and arm) when doing picados on the bass strings. This is to maintain the position of the hand for fast picados. If you are sitting in traditional modus when you raise your right arm when doing bass string picados then there is no pressure on the guitar body anymore to hold it in it's place. for that, you have to support the guitar, from falling to the left, with your left hand (for example I noticed rafael cortes in the few movies that i have seen of him on youtube, that when he does picados on the bass strings he supports the guitar with his left hand. for what i ve seen, he plays picados mostly in one region, so that the left hand doesn't have to move, because it is supporting the neck of the guitar).
So in order to do picados all over the neck it works better if your left hand and right arm are free to move (left hand: free to move left and right up and down the neck, right arm: move up and down vertically when playing picado on the bass string to maintain the handposition for speed and even sound).

That is what I think crossed legs position is done widely in the first place; you place the guitar higher without geeky holders and to obtain the freedom of left hand and right arm.

This theory I came up with today after buying a geeky holder myself. I thought deeply about positions and remembered this topic.
Any way, I will continue playing without the holder. it's ****. has a cool name though: Gitano

by the way, sabicas used to curve his wrist while doing picado on bass strings. i find that quite painful. must be bad for the wrist and the nerve
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 24 2011 14:13:37
 
rombsix

Posts: 7483
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to Rmn

quote:

I have an other theory for this analysis:

when you sit in the traditional position you have to hold back the guitar with your right upper arm. Otherwise it 'll fall to the left.
Now a lot of people raise this arm (elbow and arm) when doing picados on the bass strings. This is to maintain the position of the hand for fast picados. If you are sitting in traditional modus when you raise your right arm when doing bass string picados then there is no pressure on the guitar body anymore to hold it in it's place. for that, you have to support the guitar, from falling to the left, with your left hand (for example I noticed rafael cortes in the few movies that i have seen of him on youtube, that when he does picados on the bass strings he supports the guitar with his left hand. for what i ve seen, he plays picados mostly in one region, so that the left hand doesn't have to move, because it is supporting the neck of the guitar).
So in order to do picados all over the neck it works better if your left hand and right arm are free to move (left hand: free to move left and right up and down the neck, right arm: move up and down vertically when playing picado on the bass string to maintain the handposition for speed and even sound).

That is what I think crossed legs position is done widely in the first place; you place the guitar higher without geeky holders and to obtain the freedom of left hand and right arm.

This theory I came up with today after buying a geeky holder myself. I thought deeply about positions and remembered this topic.
Any way, I will continue playing without the holder. it's ****. has a cool name though: Gitano

by the way, sabicas used to curve his wrist while doing picado on bass strings. i find that quite painful. must be bad for the wrist and the nerve


I agree 100%. My plan is to experiment with Anders' rubber sheet that you put on your right leg. Will see if that works...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 24 2011 16:16:44
 
Ramon Amira

 

Posts: 1025
Joined: Oct. 14 2009
From: New York City

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

quote:

ORIGINAL: Paul Magnussen

Yes, obviously if you use a footstool to raise your right leg, that obviates my argument. But most traditional guitarist didn’t.



I don't know of any traditional guitarist who did use a footstool under the right foot. Took me a while to figure it out for me.

RNJ


My teacher, Mario Escudero, frequently used a foot stool under his right foot. I have also seen Victor Monge play that way.

Ramon

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 24 2011 21:39:30
 
Ramon Amira

 

Posts: 1025
Joined: Oct. 14 2009
From: New York City

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to Guest

quote:

Hi. Paco expresses his view in one of the most recent documentaries on him. I forget which one.

He says that there were a limited number of chords used when that position was popular, probably none past the third position. It was therefore easier to hold the guitar up in that position.

However, Paco's falsetas (AND OTHERS) became increasingly complex with a greater use of the fretboard and many more chords as well as florid left-hand techniques. It is impossible to play many modern falsetas in that position and Paco adjusted. Many followed suit and here we are.


Paco might have said that, but that doesn't make it true.

Many guitarists of the past, Nino Ricardo for one, Pepe Martinez, Mario Escudero for most of his career, Serranito in his earlier career, and others, played in the traditional position, and they were hardly restricting themselves to "no chords past the third position."

As for "complex falsetas" being "impossible" in that position, Nino Ricardos's falsetas were plenty complex, and all over the fingerboard, and I think it's safe to say that were he alive he would easily play any modern falseta in the traditional position. The same for the others cited above, all of whom played complex falsetas, and were fully able to play any modern day falseta.

And obviously the same could be said for Sabicas, who earlier in his career used the traditional position. I don't think anyone would want to argue that Sabicas would have not been able play any falseta, however complex, in the traditional position.

There are also more modern day guitarists - Rafael Cortes comes to mind - still using the traditional position and playing complex falsetas.

So the idea that modern falsetas are impossible to play in the tradtional position doesn't seem tenable.

Ramon

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 24 2011 22:25:48
 
devilhand

 

Posts: 845
Joined: Oct. 15 2019
 

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

Traditional position is even used in the non-flamenco world too. I bet he doesn't know about the flamenco position. I would say he ended up playing in this position just because he feels comfortable.





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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 11 2020 20:21:14
 
davewphx

Posts: 51
Joined: Jul. 11 2011
 

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to britguy

Big thumbs up for the rubber sheet method. I've been taping a very thin (.010") , High stiction rubber sheet to the bottom of my acoustic guitars for a few years. I use blue painter's tape. The guitars are not expensive, so I don't have to worry too much about finish but it hasn't made any noticeable mark so far. I find it very difficult to play without it now. I also prefer playing without a shirt as the skin has more stiction and a piece of cloth obviously. I'm about 5'5" and play In traditional position. I attempt the crossed leg but feel that my left arm is too short.... lots of rubber sheets I tried actually don't have enough stiction.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2020 2:28:31
 
devilhand

 

Posts: 845
Joined: Oct. 15 2019
 

RE: What happened to the "tradi... (in reply to davewphx

quote:

Big thumbs up for the rubber sheet method

You mean anti-slip mat? I bought it (75x30cm anti slip mat) for 1€. Very thin and light as a feather. You can cut and reshape it. Here in the picture 150x30cm. Longer than mine. Costs 5.99€ on amazon. One can find a cheaper one somewhere else.



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 12 2020 21:41:51
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