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

Posts: 3223
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

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

I would like to emphasize the word "subconscious" in the above quote. According to the book I cited, the brain adapts to its musical environment, beginning in early childhood. Much of our perception of music is mediated by processes that we are ordinarily unaware of, or even by processes inherently inaccessible to consciousness. One process that has been studied a fair amount is the assignment of pitch.

A reference tone is played, then a subsequent one at a different frequency. The experimental subject is asked whether the pitches are the same or different. There is a band of frequencies around the reference tone which are assigned the "same" perceived pitch. Near the edges of the band the perception becomes uncertain. Far enough beyond the band edges the perception stabilizes on "different." Trained musicians are generally capable of perceiving smaller frequency differences.

People with perfect pitch can be quite accurate in perceiving frequency differences. In high school there wasn't a room big enough to hold the whole concert band to tune up before going on stage. The band director would take half the band into one room with a tuner, the other half would go into a different room with a friend of his, a perfect pitch pro violinist. There was never a discrepancy between the two halves of the band.

The Navy Band School nearby had one of the old style Peterson strobe tuners. It had a rotating wheel for each note of the equally tempered scale. Each wheel was illuminated by a stroboscopic light of the appropriate frequency. If you nailed the pitch the wheel appeared to stand still. If you were off, the wheel would appear to rotate, its speed and direction depending on how far off you were, and whether you were sharp or flat.

My trumpet teacher was Principal in the National Symphony. He arranged for us to use the strobe tuner to learn to play accurately in equal temperament. Then we played ensemble pieces to learn how to make the chords "ring" in just temperament.

One day I ran into the perfect pitch violinist at the School, and persuaded him to sing to the tuner, with his back to it. He was very close, but sometimes just a little sharp, sometimes a tiny bit flat, never absolutely, perfectly on the note. When he could look, he could make the wheels stand still.

With stimuli sufficiently different from the ones we become wired for, the brain's subconscious processes don't work. We can't understand the talking drums of West Africa if we don't understand the spoken language they are emulating. While stationed in Japan my father was assigned a translator. The translator used to joke, "I have a deglee in Engrish from U.C.R.A." He really did have an English degree from UCLA, but having grown up in Japan he had great difficulty in distinguishing "R" from "L."

Sometimes the subconscious processes notify the conscious mind, "This is not music. It's just noise" Other times they might say, "This is hurting our ears. Let's get the hell out of here."

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 20:56:51
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3320
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

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

I was applying your observation to the "arts" in general, not just to music. My example, flamenco, consists of three artistic elements: voice, the guitar, and dance. Whether subconsciously or not, the vast majority of people have been conditioned to think of flamenco as dance, accompanied by guitar. That is the way they have been conditioned, and that is how they perceive it.

Part of the problem is that is how most flamenco performances from Spain present it. They are catering to the American perception of, and taste in, flamenco. As I mentioned earlier, of the many flamenco performances I have attended, most have been dance companies, several have been guitarists such as Paco de Lucia and Paco Pena, and only one (Enrique Morente) featured cante.

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 21:16:19
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3223
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

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

Yes, the only big USA show I remember with cante was one in San Francisco some time in the 1980s. And did it ever have cante! I remember the shock and awe that rippled through the audience when Chocolate stepped a'lante and filled the big hall with that amazing voice.

There used to be a small club in San Antonio that hired Spanish artists passing through, and I've mentioned the New York City club Zambra in the late 1950s-early1960s. Both were more like tablaos in Spain. There were cante and guitar, but baile was the main thing.

Oh, and there was Carmen Amaya's tablao style performance at the Village Gate in NYC in 1962.

Jose Greco (from Brooklyn) struck me as imitating the big traveling troupes in Spain, but with cante completely eliminated. I have heard Spanish aficionados express respect for Greco as a bailaor. I don't know whether he added cante when he performed in Spain.

The Austin Classical Guitar Society presents two or three flamenco shows per season. I suppose someone on the board of directors is a flamenco fan. I've never asked who it is. So among the hundreds of members of the Society, and among the large audiences attracted by the shows, flamenco is perceived, at least in part, as solo flamenco guitar--accompanied usually by palmas, cajon, and sometmes some very ironed out, squared off, rote singing, which I won't even call "cante."

I have only been to a few such performances, all by very big names in solo guitar. I don't know whether this is the same show they put on in Spain.

I remember a dancer in only one show that I went to. There may have been others, but I only remember one. She was really fine, vigorous, spirited, muy flamenca, but they only let her do a zapateado near the beginning of the show and an alegrias near the end. The Executive Director of the Society told me that the guitarist's management cautioned him not to highlight the dancer in the advance publicity. She was the only part of the show I really enjoyed.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 21:37:14
 
Mark2

Posts: 1706
Joined: Jul. 12 2004
From: San Francisco

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

I remember that show very well. I saw it twice. And I remember Farruco having the same impact with a simple twitch of his cane. The artistry in that show has never been matched in SF.
But that was a long time ago, and now I'm looking forward to seeing Vicente Amigo in a few weeks perform selections from what to me is the best new recording in years.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Richard Jernigan

Yes, the only big USA show I remember with cante was one in San Francisco some time in the 1980s. And did it ever have cante! I remember the shock and awe that rippled through the audience when Chocolate stepped a'lante and filled the big hall with that amazing voice.


RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 9 2017 22:44:12
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3320
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

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

quote:

While stationed in Japan my father was assigned a translator. The translator used to joke, "I have a deglee in Engrish from U.C.R.A."


With all due respect, are you sure that in the fog of long ago memories you are not confusing your father with the old Kingston Trio song "Coplas," a song rendered in fractured Spanish with a chorus interspersed with humorous and pithy observations in English? One of the English statements rendered in a faux Japanese accent was:

"Ah so, you are surprised I speak your language. You see, I was educated in your country at UCRA."

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. 10 2017 13:58:41
 
estebanana

Posts: 8341
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

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

quote:

"Ah so, you are surprised I speak your language. You see, I was educated in your country at UCRA."

Bill


Ah good old UCRA, on a daily basis I get offered loast beef, asked if my rugguge is too heavy, and the given always delicious flied lice.

_____________________________

https://www.stephenfaulkguitars.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 10 2017 15:18:50
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3223
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

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

quote:

ORIGINAL: BarkellWH

quote:

While stationed in Japan my father was assigned a translator. The translator used to joke, "I have a deglee in Engrish from U.C.R.A."


With all due respect, are you sure that in the fog of long ago memories you are not confusing your father with the old Kingston Trio song "Coplas," a song rendered in fractured Spanish with a chorus interspersed with humorous and pithy observations in English? One of the English statements rendered in a faux Japanese accent was:

"Ah so, you are surprised I speak your language. You see, I was educated in your country at UCRA."

Bill



Dad was on MacArthur's staff in the early days of the occupation, late 1945-first 3/4 of 1946. MacArthur's Army Air Force man, Sutherland, was suspected of being more loyal to MacArthur than to Hap Arnold, the Chief of Staff. So as soon as Dad got back from the Marianas he was sent with the first installment of occupation troops who came from the U.S., and was assigned to MacArthur's staff. Of course the very first occupation troops were from MacArthur's overseas command. Dad said he pulled every string he had in the Pentagon, but it still took him nearly a year to get away from MacArthur. He told the story of his translator when he got back home for a second time in late Summer-early Fall, 1946, so his story pre-dates even the Kingston Trio.

I have heard the phrase attributed to various people, but I first heard it from Dad, and he attributed it to his translator more than once during the time following his return.

Maybe it is one of those phrases which Borges described as "almost inherent in the structure of language."

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 10 2017 19:41:41
 
Ricardo

Posts: 13409
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

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

quote:

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.


Well, since I have been involved in the area, (20 years), yes it's been scarce, but you missed, Carmen Linares (2x) with Gerardo Nuñez (Angel and Paco Cortez first time), Jose Merce with Moraito, Rafael de Utrera with jose Manuel Leon. Each was headliner with accomp. Guitar in small print, each at Lisner (GW university), and each only filled half the concert hall (or less in case of Rafael). I don't count Cigala, Buika, and the like that don't perform a proper cante concert. Of course there have been great cantaores with dance shows and guitarists always bring their Camaroneros.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 11 2017 11:47:09
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3320
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

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

quote:

Well, since I have been involved in the area, (20 years), yes it's been scarce, but you missed, Carmen Linares (2x) with Gerardo Nuñez (Angel and Paco Cortez first time), Jose Merce with Moraito, Rafael de Utrera with jose Manuel Leon. Each was headliner with accomp. Guitar in small print, each at Lisner (GW university), and each only filled half the concert hall (or less in case of Rafael).


I may have missed the ones you mentioned while on extended assignments overseas as a consultant for the State Department. Or maybe they performed prior to my retirement. In any case, Enrique Morente is the only headliner I recall, and I went to see his performance at Lisner.

Again, I only consider cantaors who are presented as headliners, not cantaors as part of dance groups or guitarists whose programs are presented as the headliners. The takeaway, in my opinion, is that cante is just not that popular in the US compared to the dance and guitar, with the dance by far being what most people think of when they think of flamenco.

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. 11 2017 15:18:26
 
Kiko_Roca

Posts: 82
Joined: Apr. 25 2016
From: Midwest, USA

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

Hi Inglés,

In my own 2 cents, the place to start is playing compás in quater or 8th notes while getting the accented beats, "swing," and typical harmonic progressions down. If you have no previous experience in nylon guitar, you will want to look up basic info on technique like what I see available on Atrafana's channel that Piwin suggested. Sounding notes is very different on nylon string if you are coming from steel string ( I say this as someone who started in flamenco after 10 years or so playing fingerstyle folk).

As far as channels that have good tutorial material on youtube, there is not really what I see as ideal anywhere, but the channel below has a lot of good progressions and comes pretty close to ideal once you have basic technique down - you will find it covers a few different palos and accompaniment and so on... I am linking to a playlist that starts our for soleá compás and I like that he leaves advanced rasgueos out of it at least during the first few lessons. And it may be about up your alley since you have experience with guitar already. As others have said I think it can be helpful to listen to various accompaniment as you learn to get a grasp for pacing and acentuation etc. Hope you find below helpful if you haven't encountered it already. Cheers~

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 14 2017 21:08:38
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