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Why do so many flamenco players use a capo?   You are logged in as Guest
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LBrandt

 

Posts: 46
Joined: Jun. 7 2011
 

Why do so many flamenco players use ... 

Hello,

I'm not saying that all flamenco players use a capo, but it seems that many of them do. As an example, in the Youtube of Grisha playing several guitars at GSI,
he uses a capo on several.

Why do many flamenco players do this?

Thanks,
Louis
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 11 2012 21:08:41
 
Tomrocker

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From: Italy

RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to LBrandt

Tonality

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 11 2012 21:35:19
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to LBrandt

Here's what I have deduced: Tradtionally guitarists used a capo to adjust the key they were playing in for singers. Then as solo playing developed they found it was easier to play with a capo, especially ligados. Nowadays with all the intricately musical playing that is done a solo will often be playable in only one capoed position due to stretches involved with the left hand. And, like Tomrocker seems to be saying, it just sounds good, especially rasgueados. Or the guitar is more responsive capoed (or perhaps we hear higher notes better).

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 11 2012 22:08:46
 
marduk

Posts: 600
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RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to LBrandt

for us beginners with cheap guitars.... it helps the action slightly too
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 11 2012 22:48:13
 
El Kiko

Posts: 2697
Joined: Jun. 7 2010
From: The South Ireland

RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to constructordeguitarras

quote:

to adjust the key they were playing in for singers

This is true .. a Male would sing open (no capo ) or up to 2nd fret normally, and female could be comfortable 3rd or up to the 5th fret , this is fairly normal , depending if you are in E maj (relative to the capo ) or A maj .
Also some types of music are lighter and can sound better a bit higher , this is also to the players taste . Alegrias for example , which means "happyness" anyway .
But other palos may need the full range of the guitar maybe Solear could be one meaning solitude or lonely you may need the bigger bass sound from the open E .
And others again need even more , like a Rondeña or similar which has the low E string tuned down to a D ,
You can experiment , just get a tune , which ever you want and play it open , no capo , then try it again with capo on 1st , then again on 2nd etc.....see if you can hear what sounds best for that tune and also what feels best to play ...
The typical Dunlop capos are good for this as they are very quick to move , and cheap .

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2012 1:01:26
 
marduk

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RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to LBrandt

are there many singers out there who sing solea all the way up on the 8th fret? I am sure i saw a video of Pedro Cortes accompanying a singer with it on 8. I found it really difficult to play up there
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2012 1:04:31
 
El Kiko

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From: The South Ireland

RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to marduk

I never heard of anyone singing that far up , especially a man ...becuase it would to me infer he was singing in C maj , that is ok as many tunes are in this key (like the ones with tiritiri ti tran tran)
Cmaj and G7th for example but that would usually be open so as not to limit the space of the guitarist .
I usually find it to help more the singer as you may here... "poner la guitarra al tres por medio"; so you will have the capo on the 3rd and play in A maj
@LBrandt Thats another thing you will here talk of "por arriba " (Up high) and 'por medio' in the middle .. is a way of saying to play in the key of A or E ( with the capo ) this is relative to the position of the right hand E maj being higher up , or further from the ground , and A maj being in the middle . ther is a por abajo (down) as well

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2012 1:39:18
 
kudo

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RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to LBrandt

I dont use capo as much as I used to. infact all my compositions are first done in open. EXCEPT bulerias, I dont like bulerias below capo 2.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2012 1:51:59
 
machopicasso

 

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RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to kudo

quote:

all my compositions are first done in open.


I've heard that Antonio Rey always practices without a capo; the reason being that the left-hand work is then always easier when capoed during a performance.

I personally like open strings (at least on my guitar) and so always play open.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2012 8:14:48
 
rombsix

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From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to LBrandt

Makes the guitar sound more percussive and flamenco. I second Ethan about the rasgeuados bit also.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2012 9:12:07
 
vuduchyld

 

Posts: 170
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RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to LBrandt

There's enough going on with flamenco that you shouldn't also have to transpose keys! I've been playing bluegrass and rock guitar for 25 years. Never used a capo until I started playing flamenco.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2012 15:46:13
 
Ricardo

Posts: 15030
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From: Washington DC

RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to El Kiko

quote:

I never heard of anyone singing that far up , especially a man ...becuase it would to me infer he was singing in C maj , that is ok as many tunes are in this key (like the ones with tiritiri ti tran tran)
Cmaj and G7th for example but that would usually be open so as not to limit the space of the guitarist .


No not at all. Camaron and Choza sang solea at 5 por medio which would be capo 10 in E. Niño de Gloria sang fandango at 6 por medio, and Chacon granaina was also up there. The range of the melody is important as to bring the best out depending on a singers range.

Anyway, the reason for the capo with singing is to retain the "aire" and still be able to transpose for a singers range. In the past I believe they would either retune the guitar to suite a singer's range or the singers simply had to struggle with the problem. But after a certain point, the aire or atmosphere of the toque really affects the song form. You can't play Solea in Minera key because of the singers range, you create a whole different atmposphere by doing that.

So the reason guitar SOLO uses capo is because of the same reason. Playing for singing a lot you get a certain aire with your falsetas in certain positions. To retain the flavor of the nice things you do for your usual singer at 3 por medio....well...when you want to do your solo piece using some of the same material you will see that open position sounds kind of muddy or dead and want to capo up.

Of course there are some guitar players the deliberately DON'T use the capo except when accompanying. They also might use more of the neck up high and "compose" something that is more then just a string of falsetas they would use to accomp. Cante. Of course doing this means you can't use those falsetas for a singer that sings at 7 or whatever, you don't have enough room or the music will sound comical. Too much open position composition and the guitarist will get a labelled a "soloista" or one that doesn't care to accompany for sake of his or her solo music. It's perfectly ok to expand ones repertoire to include both ideas.

And of course there are modern players that have adapted playing in new unusual tonalities that require no capo per say yet still evoke the right "aire" even for cante accomp. For example key of D# can evoke both the 6 por medio aire, or an open tuned Rondeña aire if used a certain way.

Ricardo

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2012 17:44:24
 
Estevan

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From: Torontolucía

RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to marduk

quote:

are there many singers out there who sing solea all the way up on the 8th fret? I am sure i saw a video of Pedro Cortes accompanying a singer with it on 8. I found it really difficult to play up there

A couple of high-altitude classics for you:







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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2012 19:51:28
 
vuduchyld

 

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RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to LBrandt

quote:

So the reason guitar SOLO uses capo is because of the same reason. Playing for singing a lot you get a certain aire with your falsetas in certain positions. To retain the flavor of the nice things you do for your usual singer at 3 por medio....well...when you want to do your solo piece using some of the same material you will see that open position sounds kind of muddy or dead and want to capo up.


Really interesting...I hadn't thought of it that way, but I'd imagine that must be true of advanced players with big repertoires. I read an interesting book chapter this weekend. The chapter was copied out of a book for me, so I can't tell you the name of the author or the book right now, but I can get it.

The chapter was about perfect pitch. Most musicians probably have good relative pitch--can, for example, identify intervals of fourths, fifths, hear the difference between major and minor, etc... But it's actually a reasonably small percentage of folks who can hear a note, for example, and identify it as a C# or an E or whatever.

Apparently, though, musicians with perfect pitch hear such different "colors" that it can really throw them off to hear a piece in a different key. I'd suspect that folks with perfect pitch or something approaching that kind of pitch are much more comfortable hearing and playing pieces and/or falsetas in different keys. It's not been a problem for me, but I'd suspect that many accomplished flamenco guitarists are more likely to have perfect pitch.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 13 2012 3:44:11
 
constructordeguitarras

Posts: 1692
Joined: Jan. 29 2012
From: Seattle, Washington, USA

RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to Estevan

Thanks for sharing these. I never saw them before. From the first one I see (hear) that Juan and Paco del Gastor have used a lot of Juan Maya's material in their recordings together, which surprises me.

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www.youtube.com/marioamayaflamenco
I always have flamenco guitars available for sale.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 13 2012 4:10:08
 
Manitas de Lata

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RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to Ricardo

quite an explanation Ricardo , very good .

I was thinking about this yesterday , and some i allready know , some dont , and i tried some stuff with and no capo. Realise some conclusions that you allready mention , but still remains one doubt.

In solo , falseta , falseta buleria etc , the capo position in fret 1 or 2 or 3 is the same criteria ?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 11 2023 16:03:49
 
Morante

 

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RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to LBrandt

Cante; i.e flamenco
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 11 2023 16:28:18
 
Ricardo

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From: Washington DC

RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to Manitas de Lata

quote:

In solo , falseta , falseta buleria etc , the capo position in fret 1 or 2 or 3 is the same criteria ?


You are generalizing, but yes. A specific example would be a bit more explanatory. For example, I would have to avoid certain falsetas in my rep that were capo 4 or higher. I can play anything at zero, but for certain big stretch things where I won’t make a clean sustain due to reaching and muting unintentionally, it will be uncomfortable. So we need specific cases. In general compas strumming gets muddier the lower we play, and strumming sounds nicer, clearer, up higher. But if you want bass notes…this is why new tonalities were eventually explored. 6 por medio for example is often done in D# transposed, no capo, so the open E gets a nice sound relative to the barred material.

I basically described the situation as it is today and practically, but I have since found interesting information about Renaissance vihuela. Bermudo talks about imagining 7 vihuela all tuned or pitched differently, in order to intabulate good vocal accompaniments, or “in tune the voz”, and our capo today replaces that concept simply. It is the same thing for the same reasons, and it goes back to the Renaissance. As the instrument evolved to a lower pitch class (actually it existed already as the E-la-mi vihuela), the capo became necessary to preserve the old vihuela and guitar tonalities I suspect. In absence of voice, the same concept applied as an aesthetic familiar pitch class.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 11 2023 16:32:34
 
Manitas de Lata

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RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to Ricardo

thank you ricardo , will see later today if the bars are more confortable with capo, my strings are medium-high (need also to change that) maybe it helps a bit also
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 11 2023 16:42:01
 
Ricardo

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From: Washington DC

RE: Why do so many flamenco players ... (in reply to Manitas de Lata

quote:

ORIGINAL: Manitas de Lata

thank you ricardo , will see later today if the bars are more confortable with capo, my strings are medium-high (need also to change that) maybe it helps a bit also


Capo lowers the action the exact same starting at position 1. That is why luthiers want you to measure 12th fret action height while pressing first fret. The Nut can possibly add an hair more action (.5 mm or so). Obviously frets get narrow the higher you capo, which can be both good and bad depending.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Dec. 11 2023 17:18:49
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