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I, too, need help with Bulerías   You are logged in as Guest
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swampflower

 

Posts: 10
Joined: Dec. 15 2021
 

I, too, need help with Bulerías 

I've meant to post questions on this forum many times, but I always found the answers or solutions through searching and experimenting before I did. Now I have not, so here I am like a beetle on its back waving its legs in the air.

I've only immersed myself in playing (if you can call it that) Soleares.

I feel like it's "my thing."

I have an obsession with Escobilla to the point where the people around me have probably grown to hate it with passion.

My second most favorite palo is Bulería. Often when I'm doodling around with my unorthodox, non-muy flamenco renderings of Soleá, it typically reaches the point where I feel that it would naturally progress into Bulería - and it makes me feel handicapped lacking the ability to ride that wave. I feel like I have the spirit but this realm is out of reach, and I really want to speak this language.

I have watched dozens of tutorials, even purchased some courses, and the pattern is that every time I watch a video, I think I understand some new aspect of it, but I'll never be able to apply anything I thought I'd learned.

My biggest problem seems to be that I have an absolutely abysmal sense of rhythm. I've gathered that this is an idiosyncrasy of mine that I have to find ways to cope with. I've tried a metronome and it was definitely helpful, but another problem is that I absolutely can't count while playing. What makes it even more difficult is the lore about typically counting from the "last" (12.) beat, except when you don't for some reason.

Then there's the accents on 12, 3, 6, 8 and 10 - the last of which is supposed to wrap up (remate) the cycle. Sometimes the accent goes on 7 instead of 8, which is even more difficult for me to follow - but I don't worry about that particularity at this point, just shaking my fist here.

Next we have the upbeats that are intrinsic to how this style "breathes." I have enough difficulty just keeping track of the downbeats, so this is another source of my frustrations in trying to develop structural awareness of how I'm proceeding through the compás.

Another quintessential, and - due to difficulties in facets mentioned above - frustratingly difficult element is what's not there, i.e. the empty space, the "air", the silence and subtle fading harmonics that instill meaning into what was said before and what is coming next. Taking into account that I have a difficult time just knowing when I've come a full circle, couldn't count to save my life, have sub-par innate rhythmic sense, and can't seem to develop intuition for the punctuation points in the compás, this "nothing" is like the final boss to me, and yet I feel like it might be essential for developing that feel for the currents running through Bulerías and mounting this wild horse.

Just for the record, I'm not overly ambitious about mastering this difficult palo. I just want to get a basic, simple, down-to-earth groove going, but I just can't seem to be able to take even the first steps.

I don't even have a specific question, I'm just hoping that someone would come up with some trick or exercise or make me notice something that eludes me, by insight, by accident, or just sheer luck. External references (videos, books, articles, etc.) also welcome (although I've been through quite a few, but I'll give anything a try).
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 10 2024 0:38:38
 
metalhead

 

Posts: 135
Joined: Apr. 15 2023
 

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

I was like you, found it impossible to count, but now Bulerias is my strongest palo, not boasting but I've gotten to the point where I can play Bulerias in compas without counting it.

So what helped ? Start slow, and always practice with a metronome.


1.) make sure you can play solea in compas with a metronome, play a few compases and a falseta or 2 in loop repeatedly over and over with the metronome


2.) do not go into Bulerias from solea. I did it and I'd to come back to solea again. Bulerias has a groove, solea doesn't, so if you go from solea to Bulerias directly, it'll be very very difficult.

3.) After you have done 1. go to Tangos. Tangos is groove but isn't complicated , so this will really help you understand how groove is meant to work on flamenco. Same thing as solea, practice a few compases and a falseta in loop

4.) While working on these 2, simultaneously work on your right hand technique. Bulerias requires a good technique so make sure before you start Bulerias, you don't have too many weaknesses.

5.) After you do Solea and Tangos, switch to Bulerias but do not start playing complicated stuff right away. Practice the most basic pattern for Bulerias , the por media chord progression with accents on 12, 3 ,6 , 8, 10 in loops with a metronome, but do not play it at Bulerias tempo. Start at 100bpm, it won't feel like a Bulerias and that's fine. From 100, increase the tempo by 10bpm very slowly only when you're comfortable with the current tempo until you reach the 200bpm and above point. Do not practice anything else in Bulerias until you've this pattern extremely strong, to the point you can play it while sleeping.

I recommend a subscription to Flamencoexplained.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 10 2024 7:34:59
 
Manitas de Lata

Posts: 664
Joined: Oct. 9 2018
 

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

maybe try Sevillanas, Alegrias before and Bulerias after
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 10 2024 9:16:13
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14971
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

quote:

ORIGINAL: swampflower

I've meant to post questions on this forum many times, but I always found the answers or solutions through searching and experimenting before I did. Now I have not, so here I am like a beetle on its back waving its legs in the air.

I've only immersed myself in playing (if you can call it that) Soleares.

I feel like it's "my thing."

I have an obsession with Escobilla to the point where the people around me have probably grown to hate it with passion.

My second most favorite palo is Bulería. Often when I'm doodling around with my unorthodox, non-muy flamenco renderings of Soleá, it typically reaches the point where I feel that it would naturally progress into Bulería - and it makes me feel handicapped lacking the ability to ride that wave. I feel like I have the spirit but this realm is out of reach, and I really want to speak this language.

I have watched dozens of tutorials, even purchased some courses, and the pattern is that every time I watch a video, I think I understand some new aspect of it, but I'll never be able to apply anything I thought I'd learned.

My biggest problem seems to be that I have an absolutely abysmal sense of rhythm. I've gathered that this is an idiosyncrasy of mine that I have to find ways to cope with. I've tried a metronome and it was definitely helpful, but another problem is that I absolutely can't count while playing. What makes it even more difficult is the lore about typically counting from the "last" (12.) beat, except when you don't for some reason.

Then there's the accents on 12, 3, 6, 8 and 10 - the last of which is supposed to wrap up (remate) the cycle. Sometimes the accent goes on 7 instead of 8, which is even more difficult for me to follow - but I don't worry about that particularity at this point, just shaking my fist here.

Next we have the upbeats that are intrinsic to how this style "breathes." I have enough difficulty just keeping track of the downbeats, so this is another source of my frustrations in trying to develop structural awareness of how I'm proceeding through the compás.

Another quintessential, and - due to difficulties in facets mentioned above - frustratingly difficult element is what's not there, i.e. the empty space, the "air", the silence and subtle fading harmonics that instill meaning into what was said before and what is coming next. Taking into account that I have a difficult time just knowing when I've come a full circle, couldn't count to save my life, have sub-par innate rhythmic sense, and can't seem to develop intuition for the punctuation points in the compás, this "nothing" is like the final boss to me, and yet I feel like it might be essential for developing that feel for the currents running through Bulerías and mounting this wild horse.

Just for the record, I'm not overly ambitious about mastering this difficult palo. I just want to get a basic, simple, down-to-earth groove going, but I just can't seem to be able to take even the first steps.

I don't even have a specific question, I'm just hoping that someone would come up with some trick or exercise or make me notice something that eludes me, by insight, by accident, or just sheer luck. External references (videos, books, articles, etc.) also welcome (although I've been through quite a few, but I'll give anything a try).


At least you are asking all the right questions, indicating you are a good student. But that is a lot to cover. Start with your escobilla transition into buleria for a start, watch Jason at the timing points indicated:

the first transition is at 5:02 but watch from 4:40, 8:17, and at 14:35 he plays some straight solea but super fast throughout the buleria so you can keep track of count 1, it’s pretty cool:



_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 10 2024 12:22:00
 
JasonM

Posts: 2081
Joined: Dec. 8 2005
From: Baltimore

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

To simplify things, my 2 cents is to practice playing a simple ramate phrase over and over.

- You can play it with nothing but index down and up strokes.
- No rest, no dead air. Add that in later.
- Pick your key: say, por medio, and play A and Bb.
- Index down on the count. 12,1,2,3… Index up in between
- start on 12! change chords on count 3 and count 10.

Additional points:
The most important part to make it sound ‘more’ like bulerías is to accent the 12, 3, and 10. So unlike Solea, only have 3 accents in this example.
Beat 11 is almost silent.
Make the 12 (the start) really strong to drive it in during each loop, and beat 10 is sort of ‘closure’ or period of the sentence. You could really just accent the 12 and 3 counts.


I’m trying to simplify things as much as possible. But I think if you start here, you can then start to add swing, which is really important, and get it drilled in. This is similar to how Ricardo first taught it to me a long time ago. He may have a better way now. I also think you should post here for feedback to make sure you arnt drilling in something wrong.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 10 2024 16:05:23
 
Stu

Posts: 2618
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

Keep listening to loads of bulerías too. Find a 'bulerías' play list of Spotify and listen on loop.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 11 2024 1:05:41
 
swampflower

 

Posts: 10
Joined: Dec. 15 2021
 

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

Thank you everyone for the replies, and sorry for the late response. I've been occupied , and also developed a stiffness in my right thumb probably due to bad technique and thus able to practice less.


quote:

ORIGINAL: metalhead

2.) do not go into Bulerias from solea. I did it and I'd to come back to solea again. Bulerias has a groove, solea doesn't, so if you go from solea to Bulerias directly, it'll be very very difficult.

3.) After you have done 1. go to Tangos. Tangos is groove but isn't complicated , so this will really help you understand how groove is meant to work on flamenco. Same thing as solea, practice a few compases and a falseta in loop

4.) While working on these 2, simultaneously work on your right hand technique. Bulerias requires a good technique so make sure before you start Bulerias, you don't have too many weaknesses.

5.) After you do Solea and Tangos, switch to Bulerias but do not start playing complicated stuff right away. Practice the most basic pattern for Bulerias , the por media chord progression with accents on 12, 3 ,6 , 8, 10 in loops with a metronome, but do not play it at Bulerias tempo.

Seems like sound advice. Particularly the point about tango was something I wouldn't have thought of myself, and I'm not at all familiar with that palo. I will give it a try.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Manitas de Lata

maybe try Sevillanas, Alegrias before and Bulerias after

Noted, will check them out. Alegrías hasn't gelled with me yet, but I will see if I can find something that I like.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

At least you are asking all the right questions, indicating you are a good student.

I've been reading your posts on this forum before registering and been blown away by your knowledge, and your tutorials on EliteGuitarist were some of my first steps into flamenco. Never thought THAT GUY would compliment me. It feels meaningful almost in a poetic sense.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

But that is a lot to cover. Start with your escobilla transition into buleria for a start, watch Jason at the timing points indicated:

the first transition is at 5:02 but watch from 4:40, 8:17, and at 14:35 he plays some straight solea but super fast throughout the buleria so you can keep track of count 1, it’s pretty cool:

I have watched this video about three times now. I love the playing. My favorite part is 4:44 to the remate, and in particular the opinionated rhythmic fireworks at 4:47 (I have probably replayed it about 50 times now, trying to understand the musical proposition). I've been trying to figure out whether there is subtle rubato in the rasgueado at 4:26 or my senses get confused by the dynamics. Either way, it is lovely. I also adore the crescendo in the rasgueados from 4:44 to 4:47. There is so much intensity and so many intricate details in this performance, I could study it for hours. Sorry about the superlatives - this music just pushed my buttons.

I still haven't cracked the transition; it looks and sounds so easy, but of course it is not that (from where I stand). I will try to break it down.


quote:

ORIGINAL: JasonM

To simplify things, my 2 cents is to practice playing a simple ramate phrase over and over.

- You can play it with nothing but index down and up strokes.
- No rest, no dead air. Add that in later.
- Pick your key: say, por medio, and play A and Bb.
- Index down on the count. 12,1,2,3… Index up in between
- start on 12! change chords on count 3 and count 10.

I've been drilling this for a few hours now, but I think I really need to find the metronome to progress further. It feels like my inner clock keeps resetting at random times. I often find it difficult to keep in compás even in soleá. When I was younger I would have this weird effect randomly that would cause music to slow down or speed up in my mind. Maybe it's related to my issues with rhythm. I don't get the time stretch effect as much anymore, but my inner clock still sucks.

I'll consider uploading samples. I recorded an hour's worth of playing the other day, and it may well contain illustrative examples of the problems I'm having that I could excerpt out, but I'm sure that to you guys it truly is some foul stuff to listen to.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 12 2024 1:37:04
 
Stu

Posts: 2618
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

quote:

it truly is some foul stuff to listen to.


aw man. Don't be too hard on yourself. Every single player on here has been through that stage of learning and plenty are still there.
I often think self doubt/ criticism can be as helpful as it is destructive.

I still feel like my playing could be judged as foul... and that's after 20 years.

I think if you had the courage to upload youd get some helpful feedback even if it is painful.

I'm terrible at recording myself. I'm not in the habit and every time I feel the urge to, the technique instantly falls apart and I don't do it again for ages.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 12 2024 13:45:39
 
Mark2

Posts: 1891
Joined: Jul. 12 2004
From: San Francisco

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

It’s clear you have spent some time considering various issues such as accents, rests, etc. I think it might be helpful to focus on very small bits of compas as opposed to trying to tackle so much at once. Practice half of a compas, or one compas over and over with a metronome until it feels right, then add another. You also asked if there is a trick to make the light go on and there is. Sit with someone who knows how to play bulerias and have them play one simple compas while you imitate them. I think less analysis and more playing might help. Listening is crucial too. Slow down videos so that you can clearly hear what’s going on. Then take the time to learn a passage, very small bits at a time. But being face to face with someone who plays well will likely be extremely beneficial.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 12 2024 18:14:12
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14971
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

quote:

I still haven't cracked the transition; it looks and sounds so easy, but of course it is not that (from where I stand). I will try to break it down.


Start with one phrase that repeats, that you don’t ever mess up slow, and speed it up. Bass line: ABD,CEG,FEF, E arpegio. You might have to simplify the slow version a bit (for example the bass line with arpegio, you might have to replace a fancy arpegio for just the open top E string). Make sure you can speed that up along with him and the class until it becomes buleria. Keep it going as long as you need or until they stop. That is a first step in connecting the dots. Then do it with strumming chords, only use slow 8th notes at first “1&2&3&, 4&5&6&, etc.”, just index up and down on F maj, C maj, Dm/F, E. Same exercise, keep that going with the class and stop when they stop.

The last stage will be to change the way you express compas at the fast tempo once you have reached it and are maintaining. The idea is to switch between the Soleá phrase from earlier, and a more basic Buleria expression where you are not tracking the count 1,4, or 7, but rather just expressions accents 3,6, 8 etc.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 14 2024 11:51:53
 
swampflower

 

Posts: 10
Joined: Dec. 15 2021
 

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to Stu

Thank you all, again, for the great tips. I very much value the time you took to help me. I will try all these suggestions and hopefully return with some audio.

I need to find the metronome that seems to be extremely well hidden. I have a decent one on iPad but it felt a bit quirky. Tried a few web browser based ones but they were a mostly awful experience. Also half-seriously contemplating making my own software metronome with novel ideas that would cater to some of my idiosyncrasies.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Stu

aw man. Don't be too hard on yourself. Every single player on here has been through that stage of learning and plenty are still there.
I often think self doubt/ criticism can be as helpful as it is destructive.

Yes, and thanks for the encouragement. To be honest, the hardest hitting feedback would be saying that I lack duende. Technically I'm bad, but can get better. My phrasing, articulation, accentuation and dynamics may be crass, but I can develop a more sophisticated taste and better execution. But, god forbid if my most intimate moments of self-expression are exposed as vapid, flimsical, musical platitudes!

I have enough optimism to take on technical challenges and I'm lucky enough to enjoy grinding exercises. But here and then when I come to question whether my music is Truth, or just pretense, that spirals me into an existential crisis. Sometimes I do catch myself getting carried away into too much self-indulgence focusing on secondary aspects such as enjoying some self-perceived brilliance in the small things I do. Even that is fine, but occasionally I've caught myself having spent a good hour on trying to impress instead of express myself. Most of the time I feel I'm being true, and I'm afraid inviting outside observers' opinions might burst that dear bubble of mine.

That said, my style is undeveloped and I can't lie even to myself that it's authentic, so I also welcome any constructive criticism. But style is different than the spirit. You don't need to buy into my metaphysics but I'm a firm believer in some things coming down to; either you have it, or you don't, and it can't be learned. I'm willing to put the foul stuff out here when I get the energy to edit together some clips that I think would serve a purpose.


quote:

ORIGINAL: Stu

I'm terrible at recording myself. I'm not in the habit and every time I feel the urge to, the technique instantly falls apart and I don't do it again for ages.

The trick, for me, is to always record. Then you don't think about it, and you'll be able to forget about it, and when you do relax and get into the flow and do some things that make you think "I wish I'd gotten that down," it's already done. Correspondingly, on the flipside, if there was nothing worthy: delete without remorse. This approach consumes little mental resources. It's better if your recorder allows you to add markers during recording that you can jump to for the important parts afterward.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 15 2024 0:31:08
 
Norman Paul Kliman

 

Posts: 89
Joined: Dec. 5 2023
 

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

quote:

...my style is undeveloped and I can't lie even to myself that it's authentic,...


Develop your playing, then, and convince yourself it’s authentic. If it’s in compás and your tone isn’t horrible, it’ll probably be fine. The opinions of others are also important, but the thing is, unless you play modern, most guitarists will not like it, and there are plenty who will say it sucks even if it’s good but old school. I saw it happen to Steve Kahn, who played Morón style and focused on the playing of Paco de El Gastor. We were in a nightclub in Madrid and Steve played for some young gitano who looked astonished at first and then regained his composure and had unkind things to say. I was sitting next to Steve, and his playing was very good.

Of course, if your goal is to play modern, none of that advice will apply to you.

That said, exposing yourself to the opinions of others is part of the process. But be aware that there will always be jerks who will try to discourage you. And others who may not be jerks, but they’ll have to find some fault, even if it’s trivial. That’s why I say you should convince yourself. Sounds like you’re already your own worst critic, and that’s half the battle, provided that you’re being honest with yourself. And not too hard on yourself, either. In a few years, your playing will be much better, so, for now, don’t expect to play as well as others who’ve got a few years on you.

I’ve found that I’ve played the best for others when I’m able to fully ignore everyone (except the singer or dancer when accompanying). Feeling annoyed or pissed off will get you out of a nervous state and keep you focused on your playing, although it’s obviously not something to aim for. The point is that you have be confident of what you’re doing. Convince yourself.

If you post an audio or video of your playing, I think you’ll get honest reactions and more of the good advice you've already seen here.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 15 2024 10:51:34
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14971
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to Norman Paul Kliman

quote:

That’s why I say you should convince yourself. Sounds like you’re already your own worst critic, and that’s half the battle, provided that you’re being honest with yourself. And not too hard on yourself, either. In a few years, your playing will be much better, so, for now, don’t expect to play as well as others who’ve got a few years on you.


Exactly. Good observations.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 17 2024 12:03:48
 
swampflower

 

Posts: 10
Joined: Dec. 15 2021
 

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to Norman Paul Kliman

quote:

ORIGINAL: Norman Paul Kliman

The opinions of others are also important, but the thing is, unless you play modern, most guitarists will not like it, and there are plenty who will say it sucks even if it’s good but old school.

I see. Makes it easier to cope knowing this, I guess.


quote:


I saw it happen to Steve Kahn, who played Morón style and focused on the playing of Paco de El Gastor. We were in a nightclub in Madrid and Steve played for some young gitano who looked astonished at first and then regained his composure and had unkind things to say. I was sitting next to Steve, and his playing was very good.

I love anecdotes like this, thanks for sharing. I'd like to pick that guy's brain. I genuinely want to know the background for that antagonism.

quote:


Of course, if your goal is to play modern, none of that advice will apply to you.

I don't think I've found any modern stuff that I like (excepting Paco de Lucia), and the reason is that I hate jazz with passion. I'm not saying it can't be good - it's just a matter of fact that I've never heard music that purported to be jazz and didn't induce frustration and anger in me. If you want to see a less mellow side of me, we can sling some dung in another thread at another time.

But to be honest I'm not exactly an expert on what "modern" entails. Is Moraito Chico modern? I like him and some Tomatito's stuff, because I feel they play from the heart and their music emanates joy.

I don't like cajón.

Currently my favorite guitarists/artists are:
- Diego del Gastor
- Paco Peña
- Manuel Cano
- Niño de Pura

I enjoy Sabicas, but he's too perfect. I get nervous energy from him, as if I'm about to contract neuroticism just from listening.


quote:


[ ... ] And others who may not be jerks, but they’ll have to find some fault, even if it’s trivial.

I'm one of those people. I find faults as if it's my duty when someone requests feedback. Same with finding something positive to say. Not sure if this is an entirely healthy attitude, but it comes naturally to me and I'm especially good at finding flaws in things, regardless of what the thing is. I'd dare to say that I'm also good at recognizing strengths, but it feels like my mind is just more oriented towards identifying and cataloguing weak spots. In some professions that might actually be desirable, such as critics or engineers.


quote:


Sounds like you’re already your own worst critic, and that’s half the battle [ ... ]

No, that'd be my wife. But seriously, I take that as validating. The point of criticism is not necessarily to tear something down, but to make it sturdier.


quote:


And not too hard on yourself, either.

Right. I'm a truth seeker. When you have little experience and knowledge in something, it's reasonable not to take your opinion on it too seriously, and that ought to be applied to self-evaluation in new ventures. Which is why getting other people's opinions is valuable.


quote:

I’ve found that I’ve played the best for others when I’m able to fully ignore everyone (except the singer or dancer when accompanying). Feeling annoyed or pissed off will get you out of a nervous state and keep you focused on your playing, although it’s obviously not something to aim for. The point is that you have be confident of what you’re doing.

I like this advice! I'm at my best slightly agitated. There's a sweet spot somewhere between Zen and intense stress/anger, where you get a performance boost.


quote:


Convince yourself.

I will meditate on this. Thank you for the thoughtful post.


quote:


If you post an audio or video of your playing, I think you’ll get honest reactions and more of the good advice you've already seen here.

This thread got a bit derailed. (but I appreciate the exchange)

Here is some raw material that pertain to bulerias, cut from two longer sessions (featuring my kids being ****s to each other in the background). This is how I actually play, it's not my best but for all practical purposes you can assume it's close enough. The flaws you find here, are omnipresent.

sf_00.mp3
sf_01.mp3

I'm trying to get hold of the groove (I guess), but the way I'd describe it, it kind of feels like I'm dyslexic to passage of time. If I get around to posting some soleá doodlings later, you will see I have similar issues there.

Maybe I could try to frame it this way:

What do you think it is that I'm trying to do, that I shouldn't be?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2024 2:34:53
 
Ricardo

Posts: 14971
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

Well amigo, NOBODY can say you don’t know your A chord, and fret it exactly correct like a BOSS!!!

If you want advice, it has to start with tempo. You have not yet understood the concept of keeping time. Think of your right hand playing just like when you try to dribble a basketball, or bounce any kind of ball on the ground. Gravity is your enemy and you have to make it your friend. If you don’t maintain some regularity to the thing then you lose control of it and it escapes you. Rhythm is like a bouncing ball and you want to be able to keep it bouncing in definitely while you are standing still. Eventually you need to be able to move around and keep it going but, baby steps amigo.

_____________________________

CD's and transcriptions available here:
www.ricardomarlow.com
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2024 15:44:15
 
Stu

Posts: 2618
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

Firstly, well done for uploading. takes guts. good on you.

quote:

To be honest, the hardest hitting feedback would be saying that I lack duende. Technically I'm bad, but can get better. My phrasing, articulation, accentuation and dynamics may be crass, but I can develop a more sophisticated taste and better execution. But, god forbid if my most intimate moments of self-expression are exposed as vapid, flimsical, musical platitudes!


I hate to break it to you buy you lack Duende! but duende is sporadic magic that occurs not whilst one is playing in their kitchen or bedroom. what you probably (should) mean is soniquete. but you lack that too! but that stuff is all for later on!

Also, some of those words are big words. phrasing, articulation, dynamics. I know you are saying they need improvement but it seems odd to me you are thinking about such things at your level. you should be focusing on simpler matters. whats my point? I'm saying turn off that inner voice that's talking to you about these specifics, because you have more pressing problems to sort before you can/should start thinking about that stuff.

quote:

But here and then when I come to question whether my music is Truth, or just pretense, that spirals me into an existential crisis


At the moment its pretense unfortunately. this may sound harsh and I dont mean to be, but same thing. you need to go back to basics. You are overthinking stuff but i guess thats probably due to the fact that you are feeling like somethin aint right. You can fix this and your music will be truthful and no need for existential crises.

quote:

What do you think it is that I'm trying to do, that I shouldn't be?


I think you are trying to run before you can walk. (we all do it, I still do it now when practising hard material) As Ricardo says you need to understand keeping time. and then anything you do musically "in time" needs to be simple! If i was sat with you showing you some bulerias, I would have you repeat one simple compas over and over. A and Bb.
super slow. It's hard to direct you to any learning materials, vidoes etc without knowing first.... what have you been studying thus far? Have you had 1 to 1 lessons?

Theres a lot on youtube thats great but also crap. (flamenco chords on steel string guitar kinda guys) steer clear!
the point is if youve been studying the right stuff for the right level and you are still struggling then you probably need a teacher to get you moving in the right direction.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2024 20:08:56
 
swampflower

 

Posts: 10
Joined: Dec. 15 2021
 

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo
Well amigo, NOBODY can say you don’t know your A chord, and fret it exactly correct like a BOSS!!!

Another compliment from the maestro, I truly am blessed. I have been polishing that A major triad for two years before presenting it to you m'lord as merely a hint of the things that are possible in the sphere of music. I have reached a level where I am able to play it with my eyes closed, as if it's nothing.


quote:


If you want advice, it has to start with tempo. You have not yet understood the concept of keeping time.

Sounds like my primary concern should be digging up that metronome. Although I have played piano before guitar, I am self-taught and metronome was never in my arsenal until recently, and using it to full effect requires discipline that I blatantly lacked. I'm not sure what it takes to "understand the concept of keeping time," I just know that it's never come naturally to me.

 
quote:


Rhythm is like a bouncing ball and you want to be able to keep it bouncing in definitely while you are standing still. Eventually you need to be able to move around and keep it going but, baby steps amigo.

I like this analogy. I'm not sure why I expected to play basketball before getting a feel for the physics of the ball. Maybe because I've always been bad at rhythm and tending to avoid activities where it's important (and thus not cultivating it), I lack the appreciation for its role in defining structure. I guess I've thought of it more as a side effect, thinking it's just a ripple in the water that emerges by itself if I just learn to play. So let me try this bulería thing, I'm sure it'll be fine.

Thanks!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 18 2024 20:15:20
 
swampflower

 

Posts: 10
Joined: Dec. 15 2021
 

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to Stu

quote:

ORIGINAL: Stu
I hate to break it to you buy you lack Duende!

Oh no.

quote:

but duende is sporadic magic that occurs not whilst one is playing in their kitchen or bedroom. what you probably (should) mean is soniquete.

Phew. Maybe I do mean soniquete.

quote:

but you lack that too!

Oh no!!


What a burn.


I had to check the "definitions", and I'm pretty sure that I meant duende (I'm reading Wikipedia). It is one such thing I referred to when I said "either you have it, or you don't." Reading the Wikipedia article I feel like I kind of know what they're talking about, but the descriptions themselves seem too artistic and mostly just serve to obfuscate it.

In one word, I'd call it "presence." Not in this room, at this moment, but in the largest possible context of human experience that fits in the psyche in one instant, across space and time, transcending individual perspective. Of course such a portrait contains a lot of death and tragedy. The essence is Truth itself as sensed and experienced by humans, thus defining what it is to be human. When it possesses you, you experience dissociation from your individual self and relate yourself to something greater. But it's not an intellectual, analytical relation, but a feeling of being present so intense that that larger context becomes almost tangible. You know how before a witness testimony you swear "to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" I think duende is like being witness to history.

Maybe I'm completely off base, or maybe the "definitions" vary by context, but that's what I got from the Wikipedia article.

It's just more words to sloppily describe (obfuscate) something that eludes definition.

I think it's something that can only be implicated, unlike soniquete for instance (from what I think I understand). Like I said, I believe it's something that some people can tap into, and some can't. Perhaps life experience increases the chances of opening that door, but occasionally I come across professional musicians with decades of experience, who are playing complex masterpieces, yet seem completely oblivious to "duende." Then I accidentally bump into some teenager practicing a piece from a video game soundtrack on a digital piano, and think to myself; "he understands life." It wasn't a magnificent musical moment, it wasn't a celebration, and there was no social aspect, but I'm certain that he "had it."


quote:

Also, some of those words are big words. phrasing, articulation, dynamics. I know you are saying they need improvement but it seems odd to me you are thinking about such things at your level.

I taught myself to play piano from age 17. I had a phase that lasted about a decade during which I listened to (and practiced) almost exclusively Western classical music, so they're just words to describe what is going on in music, and I can't not think about them. It guess you agree that there's room for improvement in those areas.


quote:

At the moment its pretense unfortunately. this may sound harsh and I dont mean to be, but same thing.

They say; "fake it till you make it."

Don't worry, you didn't trash my artistic spirit because these are not the "most intimate moments of self-expression" I talked about. If I get better, that is only going to put more pressure on me, because then I'll have no technical inadequacies to hide behind.

Being honest respects my time. It stings, but so does developing calluses. It also makes me want to retaliate (by practicing better!).


quote:

you need to go back to basics. You are overthinking stuff but i guess thats probably due to the fact that you are feeling like somethin aint right.

I'm an overthinker and have a knack for overcomplicating things. But I also have a hard time with some of the basics, which is highly frustrating when it's not in proportion to some other technical aspects, so I just end up neglecting them.


quote:

It's hard to direct you to any learning materials, vidoes etc without knowing first.... what have you been studying thus far? Have you had 1 to 1 lessons?

I've mostly been following Adam del Monte's lessons, some from Kai Narezo, and quite a few others. I tried to find teachers in my area but they all taught rock or classical, and I have no patience for either. I got the guitar in late 2021 and practiced until spring 2022, then my wife put the damn thing in a wardrobe because it got in the way, and I ended up not playing for the next year. I got it out of the wardrobe in spring 2023, and have been playing on and off since. It's irregular though; I may go for weeks without touching the guitar, then I play seven hours one day, and keep up until something else gets into my head.


quote:

the point is if youve been studying the right stuff for the right level and you are still struggling then you probably need a teacher to get you moving in the right direction.

I probably should get a teacher, but I really don't want them to be second-guessing on the stuff specific to flamenco (even if you think I shouldn't even practice "flamenco" at this point, sooner or later it should become topical), and I couldn't find one teacher who even mentioned it on their profile.

Thanks for the feedback, and advice (again)!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 19 2024 0:47:00
 
Stu

Posts: 2618
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

Ok so cool. Kai and Adam del monte are done if the right people.

I guess now the key is making sure you are learning material that's the right level. I'm sure you are and there are moments in your mp3 where I hear bulerias. The bounce.

So it's in there. Just isolating and working on that.

Thanks for taking my comments in the right spirit.

I kinda lost some of your words on duende. But maybe that was quoted from somewhere?

I don't know you obvs, and I'm not sure if this is your writing style and you are just having some fun. But you seem a little focused on art, feeling, emotion, expression, duende etc the magical stuff.

I'll take a chance and say you need to drop that stuff. Or at least put it to one side for a minute.

Before art comes science. Maths. Hard binary stuff that is tangible and either right or wrong.

If your notes don't sit on the beat (at this stage) then your magic ain't gonna happen. At least in regards to flamenco.
If you don't like counting then that's OK. It's a tool to help you and doesn't work for everyone. If you can feel that timing and accurately play over/ in it then cool. But with either route it had to resemble 'playing in time' otherwise it's just 'noodling'

I mean does your audio sound like any of the material you've been learning??
It really is just a matter of copying kai or Adam. Some really simple parts. And asking yourself. Does that sound like what the teacher is doing? (Albeit at a slower tempo)

Hey where do you live?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 19 2024 13:04:11
 
swampflower

 

Posts: 10
Joined: Dec. 15 2021
 

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to Stu

quote:

ORIGINAL: Stu

Ok so cool. Kai and Adam del monte are done if the right people.

Good to hear I made legitimate choices. I really like both, and there are many that would deserve a special mention in addition to these two, but del Monte is the most relatable to me.

I thoroughly enjoy his detailed, analytical explanations. He's a very good communicator of concepts that are genuinely difficult to wrap your mind around. You know the saying "Give man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he'll eat for a lifetime," (or something along those lines). I think del Monte's virtue is in how he makes me stop and think, and emphasizes the importance of developing a solid foundation. He uses analogies that I can understand, seamlessly switches between detailed and big picture, and brings them together. I have purchased quite a few of his lessons.

I would pay for FlamencoExplained if it didn't use the subscription model (which I just detest), because I have found Kai Narezo's material also very well-paced, thoughtful and practical, i.e. I think he's also a good teacher. The nice thing about one-off payments is that if and when I go on a hiatus, I still "own" (the license to view) those videos. I've found Adam del Monte's lessons for a large part so packed with information that I can return to them again and again and learn something new even if I've already done the technical exercises or learned the patterns. I kind of get vibes of mild arrogance from him, but it's so toned-down that it just makes him more likable.


quote:

I guess now the key is making sure you are learning material that's the right level. I'm sure you are and there are moments in your mp3 where I hear bulerias. The bounce.

You don't know how happy that made me, I could not ask for more. However modest it may be to you, I am proud of the bounce! I put a lot of focus on trying to make it happen, because it's something I picked up from the stuff I listened to, and from how del Monte describes bulerías. He uses a lot of words but it always paints a coherent picture that I can then take in, digest and reinterpret. It is like the serpent slithering forward, or the gust of wind following the anticipatory rustling of leaves that you hear before it reaches you.


quote:

So it's in there. Just isolating and working on that.

THANK YOU!


quote:

Thanks for taking my comments in the right spirit.

I'd been reading this forum on quite a few occasions before I even made an account, and afterward before I actually posted anything, so I had a pretty realistic idea of how brutal people here can be. So I literally knew what I signed up for. Your comments have been very valuable so far, and given me a lot to think about.


quote:

I kinda lost some of your words on duende. But maybe that was quoted from somewhere?

I don't know you obvs, and I'm not sure if this is your writing style and you are just having some fun.

It was a somewhat verbose description of my interpretation of "duende" based on what I'd read. If I re-read the Wikipedia article (for example), and compare it to the picture I've drawn, I feel like they're the same thing. "Duende" is something that I knew long before I learned that there was a word for it.

With regard to the writing style, I'm not sure whether you're referring to my florid descriptions of some things, or peculiar diction (or are they the same?). People often think I'm smug because - they say - I use fancy words. The thing is; I'm not a native English speaker, and what may be a fancy word to some, to me just another word that happened to be the first to pop in my mind when I tried to encode my thoughts to words. Aside from the odd diction and the occasional grammatical mistakes, my English is pretty good so I'm done apologizing for what amounts to trivial quirks without ill intent. Not that you gave me any hard time for it, but knowing this might decrease some of the friction we may experience in communication.

I am also having fun. I like words.


quote:

But you seem a little focused on art, feeling, emotion, expression, duende etc the magical stuff.

I'll take a chance and say you need to drop that stuff. Or at least put it to one side for a minute.

Before art comes science. Maths. Hard binary stuff that is tangible and either right or wrong.

If your notes don't sit on the beat (at this stage) then your magic ain't gonna happen.

This kind of hit a nerve. Not as painfully as the original criticisms, but took some digesting nonetheless. I think you put it well. Astute and poignant. I needed to hear this.



quote:

If you don't like counting then that's OK. It's a tool to help you and doesn't work for everyone. If you can feel that timing and accurately play over/ in it then cool.

I can't count to save my life. The feedback I received made me realize how essential the metronome would be to my practicing routines right now. It really is the first item on my list of fixes.


quote:

I mean does your audio sound like any of the material you've been learning??
It really is just a matter of copying kai or Adam. Some really simple parts. And asking yourself. Does that sound like what the teacher is doing?

By chance, at times, it does. Not consistently, and not in tempo.

What I'm going to do next, I'm going to collect all the suggestions in this thread and try to rank them by difficulty, and then apply them in practicing with a metronome.

I'm going to share more audio clips in this thread when I've got something that I consider progress, and then check with you guys again whether I'm going in the right direction.


quote:

Hey where do you live?

Finland.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 21 2024 0:33:01
 
Stu

Posts: 2618
Joined: Jan. 30 2007
From: London (the South of it), England

RE: I, too, need help with Bulerías (in reply to swampflower

Appreciate your lengthy response.

I too enjoy words and you use some pretty grand ones. And that's an interesting point that to you they are just words but to a native speaker it sounds poetic!

Anyways....

https://youtu.be/j-HwM5_LAww?si=hRBtvLpSIvx02wUZ

Try this

Can't ever seem to imbed video anymore! 😒
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 22 2024 18:38:22
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