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2 Questions from a Newbie   You are logged in as Guest
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Johnson

 

Posts: 1
Joined: Aug. 9 2017
 

2 Questions from a Newbie 

I am new to Flamenco. I have been trying to count along to recordings that I am listening to, but I am having a difficulty time. Here is one example of what I have been listening to:

Sabicas - Bulerías 1


Question 1 - Since I am new, I lose count very easily. With all the syncopated beats it seems almost impossible to find any reliable reference point in the middle of a song. Are there any tips or tricks to finding the 12, 3, 6, or any other downbeat once the rhythm is started? Is there a way that guitarists or percussionists signal the top of the circle?

Question 2 - I have read and watched several tutorials which all make sense in theory and in the form of smaller exercises, but it seems like counting bulerías in theory has almost nothing to do with bulerías in practice. I feel like I cannot begin working on flamenco guitar technique until I can at least learn to follow and count along with a recording, but it seems impossible to follow as though performers are constantly changing their rhythm, beat, or compas several times throughout a given song. Am I approaching this the wrong way? Is there a more simplified way to begin understanding what I am listening to?

Any advice would be appreciated.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 9 2017 19:01:24
 
Escribano

Posts: 6321
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: 2 Questions from a Newbie (in reply to Johnson

I can't play it much at all any more, but I did see and listen to a lot of bulerías and the syncopation started to sink in. Watch some fin de fiesta por bulerias on YouTube. See the old ladies dance with such mischief :-)

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 9 2017 19:50:14
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1787
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: 2 Questions from a Newbie (in reply to Johnson

Welcome to the foro. The video has been removed so i can't see how easy or difficult it was. It can indeed take quite a while before one is able to follow most if not all events in Bulerias. As far as "the cycle" is involved, i tend to feel cycli/chains of both 12 beats and 6 beats. The 6 beat chains quite often pair to become a "full compas" again but not always because those 6 beat chains can also become a cycle of it's own in the mind of both the listener and the performer. So it's not as simple as knowing 1 beat for sure and then continue counting 12 beat cycli because many lines take other routes as a 12 beat cycle and embed 1 or more 6 beat chains. The more experienced you are the more you are able to spot cues telling you were you are (whithout an actual need or desire to count anymore).

We talked a bit about it here and at many other foro posts.

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=264276&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=&tmode=&smode=&s=#306011

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 9 2017 23:05:16
 
Mark2

Posts: 1696
Joined: Jul. 12 2004
From: San Francisco

RE: 2 Questions from a Newbie (in reply to Johnson

That recording would be difficult to follow as he's speeding up a little here and there. Listen to recordings with palmas and pay attention to the way the artists are tapping their feet.

One big "tell" in bulerias is that they often play the II chord(Bb when playing in A) on beat three, and often, but not always, resolve to the tonic on beat ten.

The reality is that this is not something you can expect to learn over night. But you can grasp the concept quickly.

The Ah ha moment happened for me when I started to tap my foot every other beat(12,2,4,6,8,10) This is perhaps the easiest way to start to feel the compas in bulerias. Then you hear the 3 as an offbeat, but the other major accents are on downbeats. It is also easier to keep track than if you try to tap on every beat.

Also, it helps to think about bulerias as six beats instead of 12. So if you tap every other beat, you can think of a twelve beat compas as two sets of three beats. Da(12) Da(2) Da(4) Da(6) Da(8) Da(10)



People don't really signal the top of every compas. That's not really needed. Once you start to feel it, you will know. And you will see that the whole 12,3,6,8,10 thing is really not being played all the time. For example, palmas in bulerias often mark 1,2,3,4,5 rest 7,8,9,10,11 with the foot marking 12 and 6.

Guitarists will sometimes hit the 12,3,6,8,10, when playing compas, but not necessarily all of them in a single compas. At a high level, it's about playing with the compas, like a cat plays with a mouse. That's why it's hard for newbies to listen to the greats, especially modern players, and feel it-they are operating at a high level rhythmically, syncopating like mad.

It's good that you are focused on learning this, but I wouldn't stop practicing techniques in the meantime. Just use a metronome.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Johnson

I am new to Flamenco. I have been trying to count along to recordings that I am listening to, but I am having a difficulty time. Here is one example of what I have been listening to:

Sabicas - Bulerías 1


Question 1 - Since I am new, I lose count very easily. With all the syncopated beats it seems almost impossible to find any reliable reference point in the middle of a song. Are there any tips or tricks to finding the 12, 3, 6, or any other downbeat once the rhythm is started? Is there a way that guitarists or percussionists signal the top of the circle?

Question 2 - I have read and watched several tutorials which all make sense in theory and in the form of smaller exercises, but it seems like counting bulerías in theory has almost nothing to do with bulerías in practice. I feel like I cannot begin working on flamenco guitar technique until I can at least learn to follow and count along with a recording, but it seems impossible to follow as though performers are constantly changing their rhythm, beat, or compas several times throughout a given song. Am I approaching this the wrong way? Is there a more simplified way to begin understanding what I am listening to?

Any advice would be appreciated.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 9 2017 23:26:19
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3218
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: 2 Questions from a Newbie (in reply to Mark2

All good advice from Mark2. Sabicas does play very, very fast, and he speeds up at times. Here's a more normal speed, by two of the greats in bulerias, in my opinion.

It looks to me as if Cepero almost fakes out Vargas at one point. If you can count this, I would say you have passed the final exam.



RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 10 2017 0:18:05
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3342
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: 2 Questions from a Newbie (in reply to Erik van Goch

try not to get to hung up on the numbers, it's meant to be music not a maths lesson!

quote:

We talked a bit about it here and at many other for posts.

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=264276&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=&tmode=&smode=&s=#306011


the two vids in the 3rd post of this thread are really good resources.... it basically took me 20 years, 3 teachers, various one off classes and workshops and countless hours listening to recordings and playing for dance classes to figure out the stuff that is handed to you in these videos....

that vid of Aurora Vargas and Paco Cepero is great!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 10 2017 9:07:59
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1787
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: 2 Questions from a Newbie (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo

try not to get to hung up on the numbers, it's meant to be music not a maths lesson!


*--*-- and *-*-*- is not about numbers but about feeling musical pulses, still one has to know where 3, 6, 12 and 10 drops in in that pattern :-).
The fist video you liked demonstrate the same 2 pulses (his 123 is my *-*-*-) and he counts the actual beats on top of it as well :-).

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The smaller the object of your focus the bigger the result.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 10 2017 21:56:00
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3342
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: 2 Questions from a Newbie (in reply to Erik van Goch

sorry Erik, I didn't mean that comment to you but to the guy asking the question.

When someone is starting out the 12 beat compas is so strange it's easy to get so caught up in trying to "understand" it that they forget to listen!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 10 2017 22:40:58
 
Erik van Goch

 

Posts: 1787
Joined: Jul. 17 2012
From: Netherlands

RE: 2 Questions from a Newbie (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo
When someone is starting out the 12 beat compas is so strange it's easy to get so caught up in trying to "understand" it that they forget to listen!


The first 10 years i listened to/played flamenco i wasn't even aware there was such a thing as a 12 beat compas, that came only after i was accepted as a student of Rotterdam Conservatory were i had to start from scratch again, both technically and compas wise :-).

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The smaller the object of your focus the bigger the result.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 10 2017 23:25:19
 
Stu

Posts: 1979
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: 2 Questions from a Newbie (in reply to Johnson

Just fill you phone /iPod with loads of buleria.
And listen constantly. Not as a matter of study or to always be counting, but just to enjoy and experience the music.
Your brain will be doing lots of work unconsciously and then one day. BAM!! The penny will drop.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 11 2017 8:39:20
 
mrstwinkle

 

Posts: 497
Joined: May 14 2017
 

RE: 2 Questions from a Newbie (in reply to Johnson

This works for me, but is probably bad advice!.... Listen to lots of Moraito Chico. A because he is one of the best ever at bulerias (IMO....) and b: I find his stuff sticks in my head like glue and when playig bulerias my mind is following his rhythm.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Aug. 11 2017 9:51:53
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