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The truth about playing (flamenco) guitar   You are logged in as Guest
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devilhand

 

Posts: 854
Joined: Oct. 15 2019
 

The truth about playing (flamenco) g... 

I wonder if guitar is invented/made for accompanying a singer.

When I started to play guitar, my main goal was to accompany myself on guitar. When I watch someone playing guitar on youtube without singing I always feel sorry for them. I don't understand why they play only guitar. Of course playing a solo on e-guitar in a band is a different story. But is it really what guitar is originally made for?

When I discovered flamenco I came to know that guitar is used primarily for accomanying cante which was a very satisfying feeling. In an interview Paco talked about the real truth about playing flamenco guitar. I used google translate. If someone has a more accurate translation, feel free to post it.

"Para ser un buen solista flamenco se requiere conocer este arte en profundidad y, por lo tanto, cubrir varias etapas. Una de ellas, que yo veo fundamental, es la de saber acomponar tanto al cante como al baile. Esto lleva muchos anos, pero es lo que da un dominio de la base estructural del flamenco. A partir de ahi, con ese bagaje, digamos, tradicional, te puedes permitir el lujo de comenzar a tocar solo. El, que intenta tocar solo desde el principio siempre va a ir cojo. En el cante esta todo el lenguaje que precisa el aspirante a solista. Un solista que tenga sentido, claro, porque por muy brillante musica que haga y por muy depurada que sea la tecnica, si no huele Andalucia y a ese aroma de los antepasados, sera en buen profesional, pero no sera flamenco"

To be a good flamenco soloist, it's necessary to know this art in depth, and therefore, cover several stages. One of them, which I see as fundamental, is to know how to accompany both singing and dancing. This takes many years, but it is what gives a mastery of the structural basis of flamenco. From there, with that background, let's say, traditional, you can allow yourself the luxury of starting to play solo flamenco. He who tries to play solo flamenco from the beginning is always going to be lame. In cante there is all the language that the aspiring soloist needs.
No matter how brilliant music he makes and no matter how refined the technique is, if it doesn't smell like Andalusia and that aroma of the ancestors, it will be a good professional, but it won't be flamenco.


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2021 21:58:57
 
Escribano

Posts: 6147
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to devilhand

quote:

I wonder if guitar is invented/made for accompanying a singer.


And your point is?

Perhaps you might post some of your guitar accompanying your singing here?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2021 22:19:08
 
Escribano

Posts: 6147
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to devilhand

quote:

Of course playing a solo on e-guitar in a band is a different story


Not completely. The band also plays along. With a few bands, the singer and guitar work together or do a call and reply. Quite common in the blues, for example.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2021 22:21:49
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12682
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to devilhand

All music and instruments are an extension of the human voice. Thanks to god music is not only and ever in its service alone, such that any instrument, no matter how superficially limited, can be used to fully express an individual’s feelings and tastes once they have mastered certain aspects of its manual technique.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2021 22:24:53
 
ernandez R

Posts: 354
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to devilhand

If we take this back a step, a really really big step, the first instrument was most likely the clapping of hands. I'll go out on my blue collar working mans limited education limb and say clapping, and stick beating, and rock knocking with all its associated rhymec nature most likely predates human speech as we know it. And yes HR is poking DH with a rhythm stick a little over his previous palmas comment but in good fun.

Truth is we can hardly tell, or rather agree, with certainty what Flamenco was pre wax cylinders.

Ha, reread the comments and noticed Ricardo says the voice has primacy and all instruments are emulating the passion of the voice. I don't doubt that but I could not say why I feel there is something else, some quality that makes me lean away from his idea and back to mine where I see an early human pre speech expressing himself rubbing a stick across the teeth of the jaw bone of an ass....

HR

_____________________________

I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

www.instagram.com/threeriversguitars
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2021 22:55:28
 
Auda

 

Posts: 202
Joined: Sep. 28 2019
 

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to devilhand

quote:

When I watch someone playing guitar on youtube without singing I always feel sorry for them.


My heart breaks too when I watch PDL, Sabicas et al play solo but probably for different reasons.

Cheers
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2021 23:13:40
 
aaron peacock

Posts: 136
Joined: Apr. 26 2020
From: Portugal

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to Escribano

quote:

With a few bands, the singer and guitar work together or do a call and reply. Quite common in the blues, for example.


call and response, dialogue (vs monologue), breaking up a melodic line into 2 or more parts and orchestrating them on different instruments, playing "between" other peoples note when you join in, "from the one comes the 2 comes the many... "

I hear call and response in so much good music, even just as an orchestration pattern

Ernandez says
quote:


I see an early human pre speech expressing himself rubbing a stick across the teeth of the jaw bone of an ass...


Sorry mate, I was trying to stay hidden actually, that's why I was in the bushes...not the most socially condoned activity, I'll admit...


I love it when players can play well and sing well at the same time, that's tricky.
That golden age of "angelic voiced" singers (up til about the 60's) before voz ronca became the rock-n-roll de rigeur
there's some voice doing some gyrations that are not acquired tastes, but would blow your grandmas mind, whomever she was

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 30 2021 23:40:23
 
RobF

Posts: 951
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to devilhand

I think that’s a very good quote.

One unfortunate aspect of learning flamenco guitar for many international players is the lack of available cantaors to work with or share development. It almost forces the non-Spanish player to prematurely move towards being a soloist. I think also culturally, North American guitarists are more accustomed to the rock, blues, jazz aesthetic of guitar improvisation which celebrates ‘solo’ guitar or, at least, guitar ‘solos’. So, the natural tendency might be to assume the same convention also applies to flamenco guitar.

I think the first music probably grew out of voice combined with rocks, handclaps, etc concurrently. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot was learned through the imitation of animals and birds, probably for reasons of the hunt, followed by being hauled out during the requisite after dinner bragging and story telling.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2021 0:28:44
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12682
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to RobF

quote:

It almost forces the non-Spanish player to prematurely move towards being a soloist.


The guitar solo concept comes from Segovia who “rescued” the guitar from the noisy flamenco players. Being Andalusian he claimed to be a big aficionado of the cante. Ramon Montoya was a bit older than Segovia and already the more celebrated Andalusian guitarist professional having made dozens of recordings already before Segovia began his career. After Segovia’s success in Paris and subsequent recordings, Montoya’s friends pushed him to record his solo guitar stuff, also in Paris. Of course Montoya probably thought it was strange thing to do, but again, we can thank Segovia for the guitar solo concept in the modern era. Before him there was Sor, Aguado, Gaspar Sanz, Arcas, Tarrega etc. Conversely the “anti solo flamenco” sentiment also stems from Segovia’s deliberate division of the spanish guitar’s role.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2021 15:16:35
 
JasonM

Posts: 1567
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to devilhand

quote:

I don't understand why they play only guitar.


We had a discussion about these younger fingerstyle guitarist who do note for note renditions of popular songs and slap the rhythm on their guitars. I would agree in this case, it gets old quick and sounds anemic. But I’m more annoyed that people think it’s amazing and ask me if I’ve heard of this Marcin kid

Anyhow, to each their own. Besides, Paco is saying it in the context of development as a solo player, not as solo guitar is inferior.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2021 16:04:47
 
devilhand

 

Posts: 854
Joined: Oct. 15 2019
 

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to ernandez R

quote:

reread the comments and noticed Ricardo says the voice has primacy and all instruments are emulating the passion of the voice.

I just read about the saxophone being the closest to the human voice. I think it's a very good idea to emulating cantaor's voice using saxophone.



quote:

One unfortunate aspect of learning flamenco guitar for many international players is the lack of available cantaors to work with or share development. It almost forces the non-Spanish player to prematurely move towards being a soloist.

We are all in the same boat. Going for flamenco solo for that reason is to me a bad excuse. We have to find a good solution for our problem. A good example is the video above.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2021 17:33:05
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3146
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to devilhand

quote:

I just read about the saxophone being the closest to the human voice. I think it's a very good idea to emulating cantaor's voice using saxophone.


I have a double CD album entitled: "Ramon Montoya: El Genio De La Guitarra Flamenca, Grabaciones Historicas 1923 - 1936." There are several pieces with Montoya accompanied by a gentleman named F. Vilchea playing a saxophone.

I have always found this interesting. Although I was not a fan of Paco de Lucia incorporating instruments like bass guitar and harmonica into his group, Montoya did it with a saxophone early on.

Bill

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2021 18:46:17
 
RobF

Posts: 951
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to devilhand

quote:

I just read about the saxophone being the closest to the human voice. I think it's a very good idea to emulating cantaor's voice using saxophone.

I think, for the player, the violin and viola are closest, due to their proximity to the larynx while playing. The visceral feedback* creates a loop which is going to lead the player towards some level of vocalization in their execution, even if subconsciously. Perhaps, for the listener, the reed instruments may approach it due to their tonality and having their sound produced by breath. Guys like Coltrane sure pushed the concept, no doubt about that.

But I think you may be misunderstanding my point. Flamenco saxophonists are likely as rare as hen’s teeth, so I’m not sure how easy it would be to find a saxophonist outside of Spain with the requisite background to be able to perform the task. Especially one who would be willing to work with a student level guitarist.

There are more violinists available, it seems to be a trend, but the nature of the instrument tends to lead them towards playing falsettas in lieu of the guitar, rather than mimicking the vocalizations of cante. In other words, they are performing the response, rather than the call. At least, that’s what I’ve seen in my (limited) experiences, it might be different elsewhere. I’m not going to claim to be the last word on this, that’s for sure.

* I’m not sure if that’s the right term for what I’m trying to say, which is that the instrument’s vibrations are felt in the throat which leads the player to experience a sense of vocalization, however unconscious.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2021 19:18:38
 
chester

Posts: 812
Joined: Oct. 29 2010
 

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

The guitar solo concept comes from Segovia

So you're saying the entire shrapnel lineup owe their existence to segovia??

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2021 20:25:14
 
Mark2

Posts: 1588
Joined: Jul. 12 2004
From: San Francisco

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to devilhand

Saxes, violins, etc are no substitute for a singer IMO. As has been pointed out many times, cante accompaniment can be fairly simple, as in cases where letras are set to dance routines. That is not much different than learning the chords to a pop tune, with the added responsibility of playing for the dancer. It can also be very difficult, as in the cases where singers are not tied to baile, and have the freedom to complicate things.

I imagine a sax player could study cante to the point where he/she could take the liberties that a singer in the second scenario would, but that is a tall order. I just don't see why a sax player would involve themselves in that kind of study, unless they were obsessed with cante.

Playing along to a sax playing a solea melody isn't likely to get a guitarist to where he'd want to be IMO. I suppose it's a start though.

For the record, as a guitarist I'm fairly comfortable in the first scenario, but not the second. Not many singers around here who sing pa'alante....and the ones who do come through, want a guy who's already in the category 2 level. Can't blame them.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Mar. 31 2021 22:39:14
 
aaron peacock

Posts: 136
Joined: Apr. 26 2020
From: Portugal

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to devilhand

Well, a guitarist can begin training to sing also...



I won't make any promises about how *authentic* ones first efforts will be, and one cannot expect Antonio Molina to emerge on day 1, but it surely will help in developing timing sensibilities...

Manuel Fernández Molina (Parilla de Jerez) could dance like a king.
I'm trying to remember which historical players could also sing reasonably well.
In lieu of that, here's Camarón playing guitar


Here's an example of what can happen if call-and-response goes haywire


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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 1 2021 4:22:39
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12682
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to chester

quote:

ORIGINAL: chester

quote:

The guitar solo concept comes from Segovia

So you're saying the entire shrapnel lineup owe their existence to segovia??




I Don’t even get what you are laughing at. Absolutely...in fact that whole shredder mentality is more directly coming from the Flamenco idea of dark melody and hard rhythm. It is not a direct line of course, lots of filtering through jazz fusion shred.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 1 2021 18:46:08
 
chester

Posts: 812
Joined: Oct. 29 2010
 

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: chester

quote:

The guitar solo concept comes from Segovia

So you're saying the entire shrapnel lineup owe their existence to segovia??




I Don’t even get what you are laughing at. Absolutely...in fact that whole shredder mentality is more directly coming from the Flamenco idea of dark melody and hard rhythm. It is not a direct line of course, lots of filtering through jazz fusion shred.


Not sure if this is your idea of an april fool's joke, but I don't think flamenco invented displays of technical virtuosity.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 1 2021 23:19:14
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12682
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to chester

quote:

Not sure if this is your idea of an april fool's joke, but I don't think flamenco invented displays of technical virtuosity.


Of course not, that derives from even older music styles...however it is a requirement for the fundamental execution of cante accompaniment (and solo playing of course) and in terms of guitar playing, it is the more recent creation that has influenced the guitar genres in general. While basic rock derives from blues vocabulary, this “shred” thing derives from the darker modalities, harmonic minor runs, and driving rhythm and chords that are required for flamenco in general. To me the influence (even if indirect via people like Dimeola or Mclaughlin) on rock/metal “shred” is obvious. I am not alone in seeing this connection, just look at Ben Woods.

To me, nothing more “metal flamenco” than Randy Roads with his Jeronimo Peña Fernandez (Jaen) guitar...sure it is “classical” but man what an Andaluz flamenco make those instruments are (so lucky to own one just like his). Manolo Franco and Isidro and Manolo Sanlucar have used these guitars often as well, they just stick the tap plate on. Ole, crazy train!!!



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 2 2021 17:35:44
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12682
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to aaron peacock

quote:

Well, a guitarist can begin training to sing also...


He says it is free style “solea por bulerias”, but sings Serneta 1 orthodox and then Frijones 2, both examples of Solea proper.

I believe Paquirri el Guanter was a guitarist (cadiz, Solea creator of both cadiz and triana styles). Juan Breve of course. My favorite guitarist turned singer at present was Pena Hijo from malaga. Terremoto jr was a pro guitarist for many years before changing to cantaor career. Cepero mainly sang rumbas in public but the reason he is the BEST accompanist I think is because he can probably sing EVERYTHING. Chicuelo sings well, I can tell he coached his buddy Poveda on certain styles (although it could be the opposite, but I doubt it). We guitarists tend to get stuck in chest voice range and don’t develop a technique for singing high notes...it is a general problem for all styles of music I think. I only learned how to get out of chest voice two years ago.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 2 2021 17:43:50
 
aaron peacock

Posts: 136
Joined: Apr. 26 2020
From: Portugal

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

We guitarists tend to get stuck in chest voice range and don’t develop a technique for singing high notes...it is a general problem for all styles of music I think. I only learned how to get out of chest voice two years ago.


this is worthy of a thread of its own (fundamentals of singing, let alone specific flamenco idiomatic techniques). Singing well is hard!
It's all fun and games to make cartoon of Agujetas mannerisms (as a child we laughed and thought it funny to try to imitate him), but it's an intense physical activity
Again, the goal is not to become a singer, but to understand better accompaniment, but who knows, maybe one discovers hidden talent. The voice itself has a character, apart from training, that may have some instant charismatic appeal... or not.
I'm generally advocating natural approaches to almost any kind of learning.
Osmosis. If a person who exclusively listened to solo guitar shredding suddenly starts checking out more "holistic" music (? struggling for words, do you know what I mean?) they will probably pick-up on it's vibe.

Blues is a good example. I'm so very tired of the exclusivity of Rock-based Blues.
Old time Blues has so much more to offer than the singular thread of Blues that the admittedly great Howlin' Wolf delivered to the Rock world... I know that it's not polite to speak badly about the dead, but I'll take SRV's spirited singing over his repetitive encaged soloing, which note-choice-wise never explored the many expressive possibilities even as he bent and wailed and poured his soul into his actual playing...Hendrix' solos leave me bored stiff, but his little mumblings and quiet low-gain semi-clean tone playing intermixed with vocal mumblings are just hypnotic and TRIPPY, for lack of a better word. It's expressive. THAT is his virtuosity, IMO...
Miles Davis and Chick Corea on the Jack Johnson sessions: "Konda" this lovely lovely piece of music that just spontaneously emerges from Chick noodling around and Miles and the band joining in on top. It was an accident, not a song, but it ends up being the strongest song they ever did, IMO, as it's missing all that intellectual foofy pretension and goes straight for the heart with an emotional and emotionally interesting chordal movement.

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List of Arts Where Experimentation is Dangerous:
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2) Aerial Acrobatics
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 8 2021 10:00:15
 
devilhand

 

Posts: 854
Joined: Oct. 15 2019
 

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to aaron peacock

quote:

I'm generally advocating natural approaches to almost any kind of learning.

Could you go into more in detail? What do you mean by natural approaches?

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 10 2021 14:49:16
 
bahen

Posts: 269
Joined: Mar. 4 2006
 

RE: The truth about playing (flamenc... (in reply to Ricardo

Olé!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 12 2021 21:38:15
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