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TGerman

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
 

Introduction and a question 

Hi Everyone,

I've been lurking around for a little while now and as I am a newbie to flamenco I didn't feel that I could contribute or that I have enough knowledge to ask questions, until now! First I'll give a little history; I am an elite cyclist (ya know, like 'Lance' but not even in the same world) who has had a knee problem for a while, this problem led me to Spain (Valencia) for 4 months to seek treatment for it, while there I could not ride my bike but I discovered flamenco and fell in love with it. I had to come home due to a family illness in June with the intention of going back in October. During this time I decided to try and find a flamenco guitar teacher, which I did and I have been studying for ~4 months (the first few months were learning to read music and learning some technique, I have now learned a Sevillanas, a Farruca and I am working on a Petenera now). Back in september I was out riding my bike and I was hit by a truck, since then I've had knee surgery and at the end of this month I have to get shoulder surgery (Grade III left separated AC joint), this will require my left arm to be immobilized for 6 weeks with no movement at all. Now for my question, my teacher says that I am doing really well and picking it up fast and it's a shame that I have to stop now, I want to keep progressing but what, if anything, can I do to limit my loss? Are there any kinds of exercises that I can do with the right hand on open strings? I know I can practice rasqueados, tremolo and picado but I am sure that this will get tiresome real fast doing it on open strings and I feel that I will need some structure.

If I can figure out how to record maybe I will try and upload something to get everyones critique, remember I am an extreme newbie.

Thanks everyboby,
Todd

To ToddK - sorry about the username, I registered without first looking to see if there was already another Todd, I will change my username if I can figure out how
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 11:53:09
 
Escribano

Posts: 5922
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

Welcome to the forum and you'll be safer in Spain in a 4x4 if you try cycling here

Seriously, cycling is well respected and they get a wide berth on their team outings around my way.

Get well soon.

quote:

To ToddK - sorry about the username, I registered without first looking to see if there was already another Todd, I will change my username if I can figure out how


You can't but I can if you let me know what login name you want. I think it would be best to avoid confusion.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 12:14:40
 
TGerman

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

Thanks Escribano! The little riding I did in Spain was great and I really hope I can overcome these injuries and continue racing, it is highly doubtful though.

I do plan on moving to Spain, I really like the way of life there. I'm not sure where yet, I have heard good things about Granada and Seville but I guess it depends on where I can find a job. I would also like to be around more of flamenco in general and I guess that would lead me to the south? Valencia is nice, especially Las Fallas it's incredible! Have you ever been?

quote:

You can't but I can if you let me know what login name you want. I think it would be best to avoid confusion.


I have always fancied myself as don Antonio Jose Luis Maria Hernandez but a simple TGerman will suffice

Thanks again,
Todd
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 13:22:26
 
Ryan002

 

Posts: 173
Joined: Oct. 18 2005
From: Singapore

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

Sorry to hear about the accident.

Perhaps the six weeks could be spent immersing yourself in the more theoretical aspects? I know its boring but if you spent all that time memorising compositions of a major chord, relative minors, etc. you will probably be giving yourself a huge step up when you are recovering your skillz later. And it's something you'll have to tackle eventually anyway so you'd still be doing something to progress...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 14:03:50
 
TGerman

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to Ryan002

That's true Ryan, any ideas where to start? Just start memorizing the majors and minors? I really don't know theory at all
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 14:14:10
 
Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

quote:

ORIGINAL: Todd
Are there any kinds of exercises that I can do with the right hand on open strings? I know I can practice rasqueados, tremolo and picado


Also Alzapua/pulgar work, golpe, rumba patterns.

Another thing you could usefully spend you time on is studying compas. Palmas is obviously out, so maybe slap your thigh or do the knuckle rapping thing on a table top (somebody give me the Spanish term for this?...). You could work with Solo compas CDs (of the palos you haven't studied yet).

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 14:15:07
 
Escribano

Posts: 5922
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

I can vouch for Granada province but you will be very lucky to find a job in any of Andalucia.

quote:

a simple TGerman will suffice


Done - use that next time you login

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 14:30:48
 
Ricardo

Posts: 11282
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

Mute the strings and practice strumming, arpegio, rasgueados, compas for different forms, while watching TV. After 6 weeks your rhythm will have improved greatly!

Ricardo
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 14:33:32
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3523
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

Todd,
thanks for sharing your story. I am in awe of endurance cyclists. I used to run 5ks and I thought that was hard!

As far as your unfortunate injury, I suffered a much more minor finger injury last year and did do a few different things to keep moving forward. I worked on music theory and solfege. Solfege is learning how to sing from sheet music, basically. It's good! Any ear training you undertake will help you. If you can memorize the intervals or at least get a good start on it, that will be of great help.

Besides that, compas is a great thing. ONe option would be to get an Alesis sr-16 rhythm machine (or other), and start working on rhythm. Learn how the rhythm all works. You can do that with one hand. It's another lesson that will help you ever day you play music.

Good luck, and welcome!

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Arizona Wedding Music Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 15:05:57
 
flyeogh

Posts: 555
Joined: Oct. 13 2004
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

quote:

I will need some structure.


Welcome Todd. I'm in my second year so no expert but just a thought. Why not get yourself a drum m/c, or some simple percussion, and record some compas tracks?

The guys here have recently got me back to compas basics. I have also recently increased my CD (tradicional flamenco) collection and looking for and tapping out compas with a beer on the sofa is a great way to pass the time.

What ever enjoy

Sry Todd I started this reply an hour ago when you were Todd and it has been somewhat overtaken by the guys above. Best you listen to them anyway - they are the experts

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 15:48:53
 
Escribano

Posts: 5922
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

You could do worse than listen to a lot of flamenco - buy Robin Totton's book (with CD I think) "The Song of the Gypsies" learn the various palos and how to tap out the compas.

It may be a blessing in disguise. Training your brain is a good place to start.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 16:12:05
 
TGerman

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to Jon Boyes

Thank you everyone for your replies, they are all excellent ideas!

Jon:
quote:

You could work with Solo compas CDs (of the palos you haven't studied yet).

Ignorant question (sorry), but what are these exactly and where do you get them? Are they just the palmas tracks recorded so you can hear the compas? I try to hear/feel the rythym in these palos but I am finding it difficult, though I do feel A rythym, probably not the right one.

Ricardo:

I figured that I would put a capo on to add some tension to the strings and practice exactly what you said. I just have to find some more exercises such as alzapua, golpe et al.


Miguel:

I can race my bicycle for 200k (~124 miles) but I CANNOT run 10 feet without falling over!

Learning the rythym, is it just a matter of listening to a lot of music and then program the drum machine with what you hear?

flyeogh:

I have been increasing my CD collection slowly but I find that I really like the more traditional sounding stuff better as opposed to the newer fusion/jazzy flamenco, don't get me wrong when I listen to VA, Nunez, PdL I am completely blown away and there is quite a bit that I do like from them but so far I have to say that I really like Paco Pena, Mario Escudero, Moraito, I also like Roman el Granaino


If there are anymore ideas, don't hesitate to send 'em on over

Un saludo,
Todd (now known as TGerman)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 16:54:20
 
Miguel de Maria

Posts: 3523
Joined: Oct. 20 2003
From: Phoenix, AZ

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

Todd,
it's an exercise or process of understanding what makes various rhythms tick. This is so important and I'm actually only finally starting to do it!

Say you want to make an alegrias track. Well on these drum machines, you can choose how many beats in a cycle...put 12. then you go about putting various percussion instruments on those beats or around them. Say you know that alegrias has accents on 12 3 7 8 10, so it would make sense to put a strong beat, say a snare drum, on these accents. Then it sounds a little sparse, so say you put a lighter instrument, say high hat (kish kish) on eighth notes, all the way through. I may be speaking Greek to you, but if you get in there and do it, the pieces will fall together for you (feel free to ask for guidance here along the way), and it will give you a confidence in rhythm you would have a hard time getting just playing guitar.

Another exercise is to "reverse engineer" some of the rhythms the machine came with. Mine has an 8 beat cycle, so I just wrote down eight beats on some paper and listened and wrote down where the things happened. For example listen for the kick drum (boom boom). I noticed it hits eight times. (boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom). I noticed that there is a tamborine hit right after the 8...Anyways I found this useful and you learn a lot about percussion and how rhythm works.

It's nice to start with the drum machine because there are a finite amount of instruments, the patterns are short and repeat, and you can have the feedback of making your own pattern and seeing how they match up.

Plus, it's nice to have a drum machine because they are great practice tools. Good luck!
(by the way, you can check out "Sal's Flamenco Soapbox" for a lot of basic information on flamenco rhythms).

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Arizona Wedding Music Guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 18:05:19
 
Kate

Posts: 1827
Joined: Jul. 8 2003
From: Living in Granada, Andalucía

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to Escribano

quote:

ORIGINAL: Escribano
buy Robin Totton's book (with CD I think) "The Song of the Gypsies" learn the various palos and how to tap out the compas.


Yes it comes with CD, specifically to illustrate the various palos, but is called Song of the Outcasts

Kate

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 19:02:09
 
Escribano

Posts: 5922
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to Kate

quote:

but is called Song of the Outcasts


Oh yeah, whoops!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 20:16:53
 
Florian

Posts: 9240
Joined: Jul. 14 2003
From: Adelaide/Australia

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

Hi TGerman

First of all welcome to the forum and its so nice of you to introduce yourself this way.
I am sorry to hear about your accident but i really do think it is a blessing is disguise as Simon said.

Please allow me to give an example :

When i was 18 i used to play 8 ball every single day, i got so good that i was even playing kids for money ( i was a litlle ratbag) I think i broke my arm or something and tought well this is it for 8 ball, but i was wrong I found that i was concentrating even harder and not trying any showoffshots because it was hard for me to move my righthand too much. I was winning alot more because i wasent so arrogant with my shots.

Just like when i am tired and i have to play for a gig, i find i make way less mistakes because i know i am tired and i need to concentrate extra hard.

My point is because of this your concentration will be greater on your righthand, because you have no choice but the right hand just so happens to be the more important hand to exercise at the start.
Many users have given you many good suggestions , i am gonna repeat some here just to show you how many posibbilityes you have:

-Learn theory (palos etc)
-Listen to flamenco cds
-learn compas
-Copy struming patterns from cds
-practice picado
-practice rasqueado
-practice arpegio
-thumb related techniques
-practice tremolo
-try to count along to the recordings to practice your compas
- thank you lucky stars is not "THE HAND" , u know ... the important one u know.. ... ok u dont know ignore this one.

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Rest In Peace Ron, I will never ever forget you my friend.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 10 2006 21:07:34
 
Francisco

Posts: 879
Joined: Jun. 13 2005
From: SW USA

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

quote:

Say you want to make an alegrias track. Well on these drum machines, you can choose how many beats in a cycle...put 12. then you go about putting various percussion instruments on those beats or around them. Say you know that alegrias has accents on 12 3 7 8 10, so it would make sense to put a strong beat, say a snare drum, on these accents. Then it sounds a little sparse, so say you put a lighter instrument, say high hat (kish kish) on eighth notes, all the way through.

I've beend doing this, but with Guitar Pro.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 11 2006 3:06:31
 
Jon Boyes

Posts: 1377
Joined: Jul. 10 2003
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

quote:

ORIGINAL: TGerman

quote:

You could work with Solo compas CDs (of the palos you haven't studied yet).

Ignorant question (sorry), but what are these exactly and where do you get them? Are they just the palmas tracks recorded so you can hear the compas?


Yes - you buy one CD of, say, Alegrias, and you get tracks with just the guitar, tracks with just palmas, tracks with just the singer, that kind of thing. They are good because apart from hearing things separately, the guitar is usually basic rhythm compas - not lots of fancy falsetas.

As for where to buy them, it depends where in the world you are (Edit your profiles everybody, to say where you are from ) but in Europe this is the one stop shop for your flamenco needs:

http://www.flamenco-world.com/

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Spanish Guitarist in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 11 2006 8:16:43
 
flyeogh

Posts: 555
Joined: Oct. 13 2004
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to Jon Boyes

quote:

the one stop shop for your flamenco needs


but beware. Only last week I visited them to buy compas stuff and they could not stock a special offer that they were squaking on their web site. Check first by email.

I found 'flamenco vive' more helpful and better stocked. It is also based in Madrid.

http://www.elflamencovive.es/

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 11 2006 8:48:15

JBASHORUN

Posts: 1839
Joined: Jan. 23 2005
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

quote:

Jon:
quote:

You could work with Solo compas CDs (of the palos you haven't studied yet).
Ignorant question (sorry), but what are these exactly and where do you get them?


Hi TGerman, and welcome to the forum!
You might wanna check out the "Todos Los Compases" CDs from Flamenco World too. They are fairly cheap, and a 2 CD set. They feature about 15 different palos, and usually at 3 different speeds ranging from slow to fast. It is pure rhythm... just palmas and sometimes cajones. It is surprising how fast you get the hang of the rhythms with no guitar parts to cloud the issue.


Good luck with both your playing and your health!


James
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 12 2006 23:52:55
 
TGerman

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to JBASHORUN

Thanks James!

I'm going to look into that right now. I found other CDs but they were of only one palo, and they were expensive, something like 30 euros, after conversion to US dollars and shipping from Spain that's a lot of money for a CD.

I'm sure I will have quite a few questions when I start listening.

Todd
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Jan. 13 2006 11:12:20
 
TGerman

 

Posts: 119
Joined: Nov. 27 2005
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to JBASHORUN

Hey James,

I just purchased "Todos los Compases" and I have to say that I am completely and utterly lost! I don't know how to find the rythym in the music. For example; I know that alegrias is

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

but I cannot hear it the music at all, I don't hear any accented beats and I don't know when/where it begins. This goes for all the different palos.

Todd
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2006 12:33:36

JBASHORUN

Posts: 1839
Joined: Jan. 23 2005
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

quote:

Hey James,

I just purchased "Todos los Compases" and I have to say that I am completely and utterly lost! I don't know how to find the rythym in the music. For example; I know that alegrias is

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

but I cannot hear it the music at all, I don't hear any accented beats and I don't know when/where it begins. This goes for all the different palos.


Hey Todd,

I have to admit that I'm getting pretty good at memorizing some parts of that compas CD. But I guess its also a kind of "blind" memorization. That compas CD might be good for laying out the rhythms (as far as I know), but the accompanying (printed) material could be a lot better. It could do with sheet EXPLAINING the rhythms and accents. To be honest, I'm not sure what the best way to learn compas is. Familiarising yourself with the rhythms aurally seems like a good start, but perhaps doing so without THINKING about what you're doing might confuse you even further. If thats the case, it would probably be wise to have a visual explanation or technical breakdown of compas too. Ron (RonM) once recommended the "Understanding Flamenco" book and CD to me as a good tool for explaining the basics. But he also went on to say that compas was best learned by learning to actually PLAY in compas. I think there is no "magic solution" to learning compas, and it may be a matter of combining aural and theoretical elements... training your ear to recognise compas, perhaps assisted by the visual information needed to recognise the patterns within the sounds. But as Ron says, if you can learn to PLAY a piece of music in compas, without having to confuse yourself with the technical details, perhaps this is a simpler method. I'm afraid my knowledge of Flamenco and learning techniques is so limited that I cannot offer much clearer advice. Perhaps some other members can help here. Good luck!


James
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2006 17:42:34
 
Ron.M

Posts: 7051
Joined: Jul. 7 2003
From: Scotland

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to JBASHORUN

James,
You are definitely on the right track here, I'm glad to say.
Yeah...it's kind of "fuzzy logic".
Sometimes you can understand it in the book or CD...but somehow not be able to translate that to the guitar.
It's a kind of going back and forth sort of thing.
CD...Brain...Hands...CD...Brain...Hands...
I've sometimes woken up in the morning and suddenly realized what the timing was for something I heard but just couldn't get!
Weird!

Sounds like your on the ladder!

cheers

Ron
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2006 20:08:25
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: Introduction and a question (in reply to TGerman

quote:

I know that alegrias is
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
but I cannot hear it the music at all


I would listen to La Barrosa by PdL. Maybe there are better exmaples but I think in La Barrosa its relatively easy to feel Alegrias.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Feb. 12 2006 20:52:17
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