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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to learn first?   You are logged in as Guest
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estebanana

 

Posts: 7502
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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

welcome to the foro


Personally I can't stand all the "vs." type threads and arguments. Why does it always have to be either/or? Why not both/everything?

Like many here I started out listening to the guitar only. But I started playing at dance classes (with someone else), and then started listening to cante recordings because I needed to learn how to play compas strumming for accompanying dance classes, and cante recordings had a lot more of it than solo guitar recordings.

It didn't take long for me to love cante as much as guitar, and my disc "collection" (for want of a better word, i'm not really a collector, just like music and insatiably curious) is probably 50-50 split.

The first time I played at all with a singer I knew how to strum compas from playing for dance classes, so i strummed some compas and he sang. Then he stopped singing and I stopped playing. Then, (with a flourish of his hand) he said something like: "now you play takatakataka..." to indicate I should play a falseta while he took a rest. I didn't have a falseta, and we didn't continue. After that I vowed to learn some technique and some falsetas.

Good accompanists seem to know a few falsetas. It may not be the most important part of accompanying. It may be possible to accompany without falsetas, or with very few, or with very simple falsetas. But the soloists I like to listen to all seem to do or have done a lot of accompanying. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive.


If a few of us don't say ridiculous iconoclastic cliches' then the threads would not be as lively.

Someone has set up the ball to give you a chance to spike it deep over the net. in order to make a point and stimulate discussion I don't mind bringing in Link Wray....

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 12:00:49
 
Escribano

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From: England

RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Piwin

I thought the proposition was to listen to more cante as a basis for understanding a palo, not to try to accompany. Who is one going to accompany, anyway?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 12:22:17
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Escribano

quote:

I thought the proposition was to listen to more cante as a basis for understanding a palo, not to try to accompany. Who is one going to accompany, anyway?



Yes. Exactly. And to make point Page and Wray. But it gets taken as an attack on solo playing, which it's not.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 12:26:51
 
Escribano

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From: England

RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Yes. Exactly. And to make point Page and Wray. But it gets taken as an attack on solo playing, which it's not.


Yep, I listen to a lot of Page and SRV but I don't play like them, sadly.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 13:01:30

Piwin

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Escribano

"My advice is forget solos as listening material, but play solos to learn"
"solo records are death"

You got "listen to more cante as a basis for understanding a palo" out of that? Well, I'll have to reconsider my comprehension skills I guess because that's not what I got out of it at all. To me it's just the usual merry-go-round and I'd prefer to go wait in line for another ride while you guys do this one for the umpteenth time. Maybe the pedal boats. I know the kids always get a kick out of pedalling backwards on those things.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 13:09:15
 
Inglés

Posts: 22
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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

Well boys, looks like we have sacrificed another flamenco virgin on the rocks of Foro Reef.


I'm still here. But I'm going to need to work hard on my solo technique before I'm ready to satisfy even one dancer, never mind a whole roomful of them. My virginity will remain intact for a while.

It sounds like I need to develop a proper flamenco right hand, I appreciate the advice from various posters. Because yes, whether solo in my living room or playing at a juerga or for a dance class I do need to sound flamenco, which means no wimpy right hand. And I intend to listen to a bit more cante, if only to compare the guitar to solo guitar
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 14:09:05
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

"My advice is forget solos as listening material, but play solos to learn"
"solo records are death"


Can I have a little more latitude for using hyperbole here?

Ingles, Good for you. Despite all the crazy talk, learning the chords for each palo for accompaniment and some basic patterns will serve you well. And a nice mix of cante and solo.

Welcome to the sandbox.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 14:59:16
 
mark indigo

 

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From: UK

RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Inglés

quote:

I intend to listen to a bit more cante, if only to compare the guitar to solo guitar


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 15:09:15

Piwin

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

Can I have a little more latitude for using hyperbole here?


Give me a day or two to crawl out of my anal retentive mood and realize how much I was overreacting.

Speaking of anal retention, that big animal on Inglés's avatar picture seems to not be retaining much and the lady in pink is about to find that out the hard way. Or is that a scrotum? Whatever it is, someone should warn her.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 16:03:37
 
mark indigo

 

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From: UK

RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

"My advice is forget solos as listening material, but play solos to learn"
"solo records are death"


quote:

it gets taken as an attack on solo playing, which it's not.


quote:

Can I have a little more latitude for using hyperbole here?


You need, like, a sign or something to hold up, to tell when you do and when you don't mean what you're saying.... too often I can't tell the difference, I mean generally on here, not just you or just this thread.... I think it's partly the medium, I don't have the same level of problem face to face with tone of voice, facial expression etc. to tell me when people don't actually mean what they are saying.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 16:17:38
 
Inglés

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piwin

quote:

Can I have a little more latitude for using hyperbole here?


Give me a day or two to crawl out of my anal retentive mood and realize how much I was overreacting.

Speaking of anal retention, that big animal on Inglés's avatar picture seems to not be retaining much and the lady in pink is about to find that out the hard way. Or is that a scrotum? Whatever it is, someone should warn her.


It is a scrotum. The lady is Penelope Cruz.

It's a detail from a poster for the movie Jamón Jamón - great, mad Spanish film, if you haven't seen it then do.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 16:36:55

Piwin

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Inglés

quote:

It is a scrotum


I figured. Thanks for the recommendation. I don't think I've seen that movie.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 19:22:50
 
Dudnote

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piwin
This whole thing is BS.

BS as in Bull Scrotum. Fantastic! Looks like a good moment to drift off topic and mutate this in to a gastronomy thread.

So what wine does Penelope prefer with her bull scrotum?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 19:55:38
 
pundi64

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From: Thailand

RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Dudnote

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dudnote

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piwin
This whole thing is BS.

BS as in Bull Scrotum. Fantastic! Looks like a good moment to drift off topic and mutate this in to a gastronomy thread.

So what wine does Penelope prefer with her bull scrotum?

I totally agree first bright thing this thread has mentioned.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 19:59:04
 
Dudnote

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to pundi64

quote:

ORIGINAL: pundi64

quote:

ORIGINAL: Dudnote
BS as in Bull Scrotum. Fantastic! Looks like a good moment to drift off topic and mutate this in to a gastronomy thread.

So what wine does Penelope prefer with her bull scrotum?

I totally agree first bright thing this thread has mentioned.


Just so long as no one starts saying 'This is total GS'. I mean, I've got my right hand strengthening exercises to think about. Not to mention the self filatio that is the essential salida to all goat rutting rituals.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 20:03:49
 
pink

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

quote:

Why are solo records death?


Ever listen to Link Wray? Watch this guy listen to Wray:




Right? He is into it, and Rumble is a very basic groove, but it is not easy to play and make such a seemly simple thing interesting. It takes a right hand, and an ear for tone and detail to pull it off.


Eduardo de la Malena being Link Wray for Juan Talega - there's nothing scary about it, except that to pull it off it takes a good right hand, a profound understanding of groove, an ear for tone and details.




I've gone to too many parties where guys who only listen to solos tickle the guitar. If you had a beautiful woman, would you tickle or get serious? Going after solo material too many people develop a tentative right hand, ain't nobody got time for that. I want to go to a party and feel like Jimmy Page listening to Link Wray because someone can play flamenco power chords in compas. Page got to be Page because he figured out among other things, Wray's moves, it was a foundation he used to become the most bad assed player.



Hasn't Jimmy Page got the most disappointing voice .... there's no b ollox to it .....nothing for Penelope to grab hold of and mould into a fantasy.....
nothing for the the legs akimbo bull to pose for.... not even the thought of a good beef burger after the event.
Ummm....Doesn't half get my goat .

Best

pink

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 22:35:09
 
Richard Jernigan

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From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Piwin

There's certainly nothing wrong with focusing on solo guitar. It's what most non-Spaniards do when they start getting interested in flamenco. There's not much of a flamenco scene in my hometown, so there's very little chance to accompany dance or cante.

The examples I posted were to illustrate strong flamenco right hands--including one of the all-time greatest soloists. Though Paco was a great accompanist of cante at an early age, my impression is that when his father locked him in his room to practice all day, he was playing mostly Niño Ricardo solo stuff copped off records.

So lots of soloists have strong right hands. But I have heard quite a few amateurs who don't.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 8 2017 23:20:00
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

Trigger Warning

I may use sarcasm, and witticisms, and say things people don't agree with.

As for the graphic of Penolope under the rear end of a large bovine creature, I find it very philosophical. One should always 'Honore 'd Ballsack'

I'm gonna stick to my guns on the idea that those beginners who don't learn the tonos and how to apply them for each palo are generally lacking in basic flamenco knowledge. And also that solos are great, once a person get's that basic stuff internalized.

I once was at party and a famous Spanish player said to me off to the side, as the guitar was being passed around the room, "Besides me, you have the best sound here. You understand how to bring a flamenco sound out of the guitar. These other guys, they don't get it." Other pro guitar players have said that, see and I don't really play in the sense that I know a lot of solo material, but if I pick up a guitar in room with pro players, they turn and look to see who is playing basic compas with tonos, and they say "eso". They don't do that when someone one tries to impress with a solo of florid dimensions. They then think oh yeah that's nice dude, my 12 year old nephew can blow you out of the water. Any Gitano guitar player has a bunch of nephews and nieces who can play Paco riffs with the secret aire sauce dripping off them.

So my continual admonition to go at listening cante first is based on my experience that a Spanish player will help you more and be more interested in you, in general, if you are trying to put together the meat and potatoes basics like sound production, tonos, basic compas in a profound way. If you strive for that foundation they can add to your knowledge faster and more completely than if you are noodling or trying to learn set pieces.

I also don't appreciate being called down for this approach, because it is good solid advice. If you want to be a soloist go for it, or play solos of whomsoever gets you excited...... do that - that's fine too. But bear in mind, you often hear people say in retrospect, " I got interested in guitar by hearing so and so play solo, then months or years later I got into cante' and realized that was important to digest, and in some way central to flamenco." I'm saying go right at it in the beginning, along with your solo fun.

If at a party, this just may be me, but my attention will be drawn to a beginner who is farting around with compas problems and chords, and struggling with how to form complete sentences in terms of accompaniment and structure over someone who is struggling with solo material. I would argue that the construction of the palo brick by brick is the universal language of the flamenco player and that the falseta by falseta understanding of beginning guitar playing is somewhat of an illusion. So I'm just saying, in essence, don't be deluded or seduced by the quick rewards of learning solos over the slow, but ultimately profound business of knowing how the palo is constructed.

I hope I did not hurt anyones feelings, seriously because I mean this.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 0:21:19
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

The examples I posted were to illustrate strong flamenco right hands--including one of the all-time greatest soloists. Though Paco was a great accompanist of cante at an early age, my impression is that when his father locked him in his room to practice all day, he was playing mostly Niño Ricardo solo stuff copped off records.

So lots of soloists have strong right hands. But I have heard quite a few amateurs who don't.


Paco was also, probably, when playing along with records getting the tonos to hear how the players before him played for cante'. At that time in Spain the bread and butter money was in having an encyclopedic knowledge of cante' as an accompanist, and that meant listening in person and to records if you had them. Paco was playing for his brother and together they won awards and contests when they were 14, 15 , 16 years old, and the reason was because Paco had a profound understanding of the history of accompaniment. I've listened to those recordings and his brother is a great singer as a kid, but Paco's fluency at knowing how to accompany added a lot to the dynamic of the pair working together. I would even go so far as to to say that was some of Paco's very best recorded work. To play that way took many hours of not copping Ricardo solos, but drinking in all the records from the previous 25 years and making sense of the cante. Not the other way round, He developed as an accompanist, but was a rare genius who took another direction.

That said Paco's daddy was somewhat of a 'stage dad' and he pushed the solo aspect because that is expected of a prodigy. In prodigy Paco's case, as in Mozart's, a lack of knowledge in the structure of the music and it would have collapsed while he was still in his early teens. Paco and Wolfly both had the structure internalized before they jammed like demons.

Americans, we are backwards in our philosophy to flamenco. We always try to put De Carte before De Horse.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 1:16:21
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to pink

quote:

Hasn't Jimmy Page got the most disappointing voice .... there's no b ollox to it .....nothing for Penelope to grab hold of and mould into a fantasy.....
nothing for the the legs akimbo bull to pose for.... not even the thought of a good beef burger after the event.
Ummm....Doesn't half get my goat .

Best

pink


Maybe Jim ate a tiny swatch of the mad cow on his roast back in that time and it touched him in the head?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 1:36:39
 
Richard Jernigan

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

RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana
Paco was also, probably, when playing along with records getting the tonos to hear how the players before him played for cante'.


....and Paco said he would have been a singer if he could have--indicating a deep interest in cante from early on.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 3:13:57
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2604
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

So my continual admonition to go at listening cante first is based on my experience that a Spanish player will help you more and be more interested in you, in general, if you are trying to put together the meat and potatoes basics like sound production, tonos, basic compas in a profound way. If you strive for that foundation they can add to your knowledge faster and more completely than if you are noodling or trying to learn set pieces.



I agree that this is sound advice, but in my experience the non-Spanish true newbie is going to face at least two obstacles to following it:

1). Outside of really large metropolitan cities in Europe (minus Spain of course), the Americas or Asia, there are very, very few teachers who could support this approach.

2). For non-Andalusians the reaction to their first few exposures to cante is fairly certain to be like hearing fingernails on a chalkboard, even for native speakers of Spanish. I think it's a big reason why you hear so many non-Andalusians say they came first to flamenco guitar, and only later learned that its foundation was in the cante.

So what is the poor payo to do? Wait until he/she can take a few months off and go to Spain? Move to New York, L.A. or San Francisco? Last time I got together with a former pro player in Chicago, he said how much he enjoyed spending the afternoon with someone who understood what he (the ex-pro player) was doing.

Next to the last time I was in Paracho I met a young white guy from Chicago who could actually play bulerias, and his equally white pal could play cajon, so maybe there is some kind of scene there....

Personally, I play solo, because there is effectively no flamenco scene in my hometown, and I listen to cante because a lot of solo playing bores me to listen to it.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 3:51:45
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

I don't see why flamenco has to suffer because it does not fit into the outside world. If it was jazz and people threated it as they do flamenco there would be a lot if hell to pay.

You either do an art form the real way or you do something from your region that is honest. I don't peddle half baked flamenco playing in my area to make money because I don't feel qualified to represent flamenco, because I happen to actually respect the art.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 5:13:49
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

The oft repeated maxim that cante turns people off and therefore guitar first is also strange to me. If you go on you tube and do a search on Norwegian Black Metal you get hits on videos and concert excerpts of singing that is so harsh it makes Manuel Agujetas sound like Enrico Caruso. And people enter into that music via the vocals, as they did with Janis Joplin, and Rush's screamer Geddy Lee.

Bernarda de Utrera, when she goes for her cuple of bolero is essentially a torch song singer like Tina Turner, she sings solea because her family does. But Tina Turner could sing solea too, in her natural timbre. I think of gache singers like Carmen Linares, who l've come to really respect or Calixto Sanchez who I ok like I guess, they what call l smooth' singers in the flamenco context.

There is so much Western pop music that is created from unintelligible vocals, vocals that are grating and harsh that I can't get with the argument that cante' turns people off. Ok in reality some people recoil from cante' but as soon as it's pointed out as double standard when compared to popular music that is rough around the edges the mind and ear can open. The Kinks and Fernanda singing with Marote' are not really that different, once you peel back the language. How many late hippie generation Spanish kids loved the Kinks without understanding but twenty worlds of English? Thousands and thousands....Why did Paco's band use that dumb letra...."Bwana Bwana King Kong"? Maybe outreach to gringos....

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 6:00:30

Piwin

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

I'm saying go right at it in the beginning, along with your solo fun


Except that was not what you were saying at all. And if someone notices that you can't reconcile two contradictory statements, we're told it was just hyperbole. And then we get a long post defending something that nobody was taking issue with in the first place. And the cherry on top is the "I don't appreciate being called down for this approach" as if what you're saying now is what you had been saying all along. Throw in a heavy dose of contempt by suggesting o so subtely that if anyone disagrees with you, they must be doing it not for intellectual reasons, but because of their hurt feelings, or because they were triggered or whatever, and you have a party. I guess that's fair game in the times we live in. After all, all the cool kids are doing it. You might have a shot at becoming president one day.

Back to my pedal boats.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 7:39:08
 
estebanana

 

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

I don't see any problem with being or coming off as contradictory in matters of art. Creative work and the thinking modes that go with it are often contradictory in terms og values of procedure and methodology. That's just the way humans are hard wired on creativity.

I also post about the solo guitar work I listen to on the Nuestro Flamenco podcast, probably there's a year of my pointing good solo work. Most of the sound samples made by other people if the guitars I make are solo playing. So I do support it.

Also have absolutely no one to talk about Flamenco with where I live so I really don't see why I should self edit in order to make my meta narrative match or have any continuity, when that is not how I think? I'm conflicted over solo playing and cante or accompaniment playing, like laying it out is a mess, who cares if it does make a neat narrative? I could tell it to a wall in my shop, perhaps I should.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 8:28:02

payaso

 

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RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Inglés

A very interesting thread. But I think there are two considerations that need more attention. People who want to play flamenco guitar do so for many reasons and with many different goals in mind. What aspect of flamenco was it that first appealed? Often, but by no means always, it was hearing a solo record. Very few will ever have opportunities to accompany a singer or to play for dancers. What are they hoping to achieve?

Much of the advice offered seems to be geared towards players who aspire to a professional or semi-professional career – in which case an early introduction to cante is probably essential unless they hope to be just a soloist.

When one listens to a lot of beginners playing flamenco guitar, the commonest faults are a lack of power in the right hand, weak tone and impact in notes and rasgueo, and a poor understanding and presentation of compás.

Starting with the Soleá is both traditional and essential, as Escribano recommends. Many want to run before they can walk and the result isn’t flamenco
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 9:54:58
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2604
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

ORIGINAL: estebanana

The oft repeated maxim that cante turns people off and therefore guitar first is also strange to me. If you go on you tube and do a search on Norwegian Black Metal you get hits on videos and concert excerpts of singing that is so harsh it makes Manuel Agujetas sound like Enrico Caruso. And people enter into that music via the vocals, as they did with Janis Joplin, and Rush's screamer Geddy Lee. ..



This is pretty long, but I have thought about this stuff off and on for a while, so I have come up with a few ideas:

I have a good friend who, at an unusually early age, became a leading member of the gamelan of Bangli in Bali. He is a very accomplished musician, and is curious about other cultures. He has perfect pitch. But perfect pitch in Bali works a little differently than it does in the West. Not only are the scales different--the frequency ratios of the notes differ from those in the West and there are several different scales--but different orchestras may be tuned to fairly different basic pitches. There's no A=440Hz in Bali. So Nyoman can instantly name the notes played by an instrument in the Bangli gamelan, but he pauses a little before naming a pitch played by some other orchestras.

After I first played classical and flamenco guitar for him, he asked me to play scales. I also played some simple chord progressions--several times. When asked, he sang an approximation to a C-major scale, but he was pretty far off on some notes, unlike his very precise pitch in Balinese scales.

After Nyoman got familiar with the Western diatonic scale, and--I thought--some harmony, I played him an early Haydn symphony over some good headphones. He said he didn't understand it at all. I analyzed the sonata form of the first movement for him, demonstrating on the guitar: First theme in the tonic, second theme in the subdominant, modulations in the development, recapitulation with both themes in the tonic, and a brief coda.

Nyoman had no trouble identifying the themes. But he professed himself baffled by the changes in key, and the witty modulations of the development. Balinese gamelan music is quite complex and sophisticated in melody, counterpoint, harmony and rhythm. A typical piece can be as long as an early Haydn symphony. But Balinese music doesn't modulate. The predominant instruments of the orchestra are melodic percussion pieces fixed in pitch and scale.

"Music, Language and the Brain" is a book by Aniruddh Patel, which surveys the state of science at the intersection of the fields in the title. I'm away from home at the moment so I can't quote the book, but I think it's safe to say that scientific investigation supports what I'm about to write.

Starting in childhood, people absorb the musical culture (or cultures) of their environment. This includes scales, rhythm, harmony--the whole bit. Scales in particular vary greatly between different musical cultures. I know a few very good young rock and pop drummers, but I can reliably baffle them with a few cuts from a Mongo Santamaria CD.

Coming finally a little closer to the point: People's experience of music is conditioned strongly by their subconscious cultural expectations. Something that doesn't conform to their conditioning can be baffling, or even annoying.

Very few singers in any tradition really nail the pitch. For example, Terremoto (padre) hits the notes pretty accurately. Chocolate is consistent but not as "accurate" as Terremoto. Few cantaores are as "accurate" as these two. I put "accurate" in quotes, because someone used to cante doesn't even notice most minor inaccuracies in pitch. Their brain subconsciously knows what to expect, and if the cantaor is close enough, the brain just classifies the note as the right one.

But the novice to cante faces at least a couple of problems. He doesn't know what to expect melodically or harmonically. And cante is to some extent microtonal. Subtle alterations of pitch are part of the genre, and part of the individual cantaor's propio sello. To introduce people to cante sometimes I like to play them Mairena's recording of the siguiriyas "Los Siete Dolores." Mairena's pitch is sometimes pretty accurate, much of the time not very. In this piece he sings a standard quejío very accurately, then adds a second one for good measure. At the end of the second quejío the guitarist Melchor de Marchena can be heard chuckling in admiration and muttering "ole" as Mairena slides up from almost a quarter tone below to nail dead-on the pitch of the last note.

The novice to cante doesn't know what to subconsciously "expect" so he doesn't hear it the way an aficionado does. His brain works overtime trying to make sense of it. This can actually be physically uncomfortable. But with persistence a person can learn a new musical culture.

For Westerners inculcated with the diatonic scale, flamenco guitar harmony is just a mildly exotic variant of what they are already used to. "Nuevo flamenco" guitar harmony is actually old hat to to the Westerner versed in early 20th century classical music, mid-century jazz or bossa nova. But cante is something different enough in pitch and harmonic structure to take most Westerners some time to get used to.

I think that's why you hear so many people say they were attracted to flamenco first by the guitar, and that they only later came to understand that cante is the basis of the music.

I didn't go to Spain when I was 19 to learn about flamenco. But I was fortunate enough to come across the encyclopedic cantaor Rafael Romero "El Gallina" and his masterful accompanists Perico el del Lunar (padre e hijo), and got hooked on cante. The guitar accompaniment clicked with my Western musical training, and helped me to begin making sense of the cante.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 14:49:07
 
Brendan

Posts: 165
Joined: Oct. 30 2010
 

RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to estebanana

On the subject of inner conflict, here is my attempt to turn subjective psychic dissonance into a list of objective dialectical oppositions:

http://www.foroflamenco.com/tm.asp?m=277957&appid=&p=&mpage=1&key=&tmode=&smode=&s=#278099

_____________________________

https://sites.google.com/site/obscureflamencology/
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 15:30:31
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2829
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Flamenco virgin ... what to lear... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

Coming finally a little closer to the point: People's experience of music is conditioned strongly by their subconscious cultural expectations. Something that doesn't conform to their conditioning can be baffling, or even annoying.


The above-cited observation can be applied equally to the "arts" in general. As an example, I would say that at least 90 percent of non-aficionados who attend flamenco performances in the United States think of flamenco as first and foremost baile (or "dance," as they probably don't know the Spanish term "baile.") It has been ever thus in the US, from the days of Jose Greco in the '50s to the present day. Compared to the ubiquitous dance groups that perform in the US, there are precious few performances featuring cante. Flamenco is thought of as dance, with the guitar as the accompanying instrument. Not only do most not understand the Spanish letras (much less the "Andalu" version) but the guitar will sound much more melodic than the cantaor's singing. In my many years living in Washington, DC since retiring from the Foreign Service, I can think of only one flamenco performance featuring a cantaor, and that was Enrique Morente years ago.

Ideally it would be great if aspiring flamenco guitar newbies began wrapping their heads around cante the way they do in Andalucia, but I don't see that happening. It certainly did not happen in my case. I only began to appreciate cante after learning something about playing flamenco guitar. Cante was for me an acquired taste, one that I have fully embraced. But most aspiring newbies learning flamenco guitar are not going to have the time or the inclination to listen to both Cante and guitar CDs right from the start in order to make the connection. And most people who learn guitar want to play for their own enjoyment and that of friends. They do not aspire to be professional musicians. In any case, there will be few opportunities to play for true cantaors. There just aren't that many cantaors in most cities and towns in the US to make that a reasonable goal.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 18:06:04
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