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RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco   You are logged in as Guest
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Paleto

Posts: 243
Joined: Jul. 29 2003
From: San Diego, CA

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to HemeolaMan

Reflecting upon what drove me to write about this topic, I remember a recent wedding I played. It was the first that I worked with a wedding coordinator, whom I knew of but hadn't worked with yet. And she said she referred a guitarist she liked when clients asked for flamenco. I knew of this guitarist, and knew he was a classical guitarist. In the moment, I said I had never met him, and that most of the people who play flamenco here knew each other, hinting that he wasn't really a flamenco player.

I bit my lip and let it pass, but checked out his website and heard what was a clear imitation of, but nothing near flamenco. He listed lots of pop tunes, very typical stuff, but also listed flamenco. I find it very difficult to let people continue in ignorance, but for the sake of good relations, I don't force my view. I do sometimes explain differences I think are important, but I do respectfully, as if I am a friend explaining something I think is meaningful.

I guess one other aspect of this is that by "playing what the people want" the artist is letting an uninformed public decide what music is good, even what flamenco is, rather than allowing the artist to inform the public and give them something most of us think is of higher value and quality. So for me, I refuse to play pseudoflamenco, which doesn't stick to the flamenco song forms, ignores the compás of alegrias, solea bulerias or whatever. I see it as keeping some integrity, and being respectful of what defines flamenco. And I see faking it as kind of artistically degrading.

-Anthony
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2007 7:19:49
 
Ailsa

Posts: 2277
Joined: Apr. 17 2007
From: South East England

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Paleto

This is such an interesting thread - I give you all 2 stars

And I've heard this conversation so many times with guitarists and dancers too. At a recent gig we did, we talked about whether I could dance a Seguiriyas because it was a community event and 'not the right time'. My argument at the time was that it made the alegrias seem even happier by comparison! But that was a bit of a silly argument.

I usually take the route of wanting to do something approachable to get people relaxed - guajiras maybe - then get into something more serious. But in a way I know that's patronising - it's like I'm trying to educate them.

@ Paleto, thanks for sharing your approach with us. It sounds as if what you do is well balanced - I hope you get lots of work!

@HemeolaMan - So you do have a serious side! So much passion in one so young! Well put argument.

@Flo who said "nothing about weddings is real life, the hair looks ridiculous, the bride dress and grooms suit are out of style and out of normal , the cake looks good but tastes like crap, the speaches are over the top, the brides mades dresses are ugly" Flo I am almost offended - my wedding was not like any of that! That comment deserves a spanking
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2007 10:00:10
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12352
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Paleto

Paleto, good for you for sticking to your guns and doing music YOU like rather than the requested standards and such. Not sure about the actual educating you are doing, but most folks can tell if a player is good or not, just by your sound. Saddly, even though you are doing advanced and authentic music, it is still mainly background and you could be doing just rumba, improvising or even practicing scales and arpegios and such, and it will still goe over well. Honestly, I don't like to play the type of stuff you are doing as background music, but I have done it a few times. I much more prefer to play with another guitarist so we have more interaction. I save complex solo guitar for when there is an audience for that specifically. And there actually are those times.

But you are right about the fact that since you and others in your network are doing "the real thing" that you don't like hacks intruding and miss representing. It is a shame that ,a lot of times, both you and the hack guy will go over equally well. Sad but true.

Ricardo
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2007 20:20:22
 
eccullen

 

Posts: 90
Joined: Aug. 14 2007
 

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Paleto

Paleto,
... a personal committment to artistic quality and integrity, but respectful and with an "as a freind" educational style is a strong and attractive and persuasive stance. Incremental unforced change is good I think. Some people who maybe are entirely uneducated regarding flamenco if exposed to it this way will see the integrity for what it is, and probably have at your gigs; the ones who can't probably wouldn't in any case.
I would take lessons from you ( except for being > 1000 miles away).
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 2 2007 23:53:50
Guest

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Paleto

quote:

hey this is not really to do with the topic but does the classical world have a juan martin equivilent?

well i guess the answer is no hes just a special phenomonem to the flamenco world.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 3 2007 1:49:29
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Guest

Dominic, there are so many.

Did anyone see the spread on flamenco in this months acoustic guitar ? Juan centre stage, just ahead of Tomatito. How does he sleep at night ?

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 3 2007 2:56:14
 
Conrad

Posts: 533
Joined: Jul. 16 2003
From: Toronto, ON, Canada

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Guest

I don't know, though I'd like to know, Dom. Perhaps anyone who plays "Romance de Amor"??? Nah, just kidding, I'm ignorant, frankly...

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 3 2007 3:09:09
 
gato

Posts: 322
Joined: Jun. 9 2007
 

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Paleto

Anthony, that's the beauty of free will, and artistic liscense; you don't have to play what you don't want to play. I think it's great to have creative standards that you follow, so uphold the true flamenco above the rest! You deserve it, and you obviously put a lot of work and passion into it. That is you're thing, but you know how negativity spoils everything. People do what they will, and we can't stop it, just contribute our part in the grand scheme of things, and your part is true to the form! That's all I ment by what I said. I think that diplomacy will smooth over the rough edges though, you keep it up with your integrity and you'll go far...I will admit it is hard to be diplomatic with such passion....

Gary
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 3 2007 4:29:43
 
hassurbanipal

 

Posts: 191
Joined: Jul. 14 2006
From: belgium

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Paleto)1 votes

my two cents,

good music is good music, wether it's flamenco, classical, pop, jazz, metal,....
to divide music is so difficult you can never succeed or it will be totally different for someone else.
about 100 years ago when there was no internet (no easy communication) it was more to difficult to exchange but now everything is easy to find within minutes.
All I'm trying to say is, what would vicente amigo be without classical influences like his frasing sometimes? without jazz?
it's all part of the act, it's just, what do you do with all that you receive of different styles?
and that's the difference between musicians, how you use what you learn.
so it doesn't matter to me, as long as it is good. I didn't like the russian playing the taranta from paco, well, easy, I just don't listen to it so it doesn't bother me...

_____________________________

Plus je connais les hommes, plus j'admire les chiens."
E. Satie
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 3 2007 12:51:09
 
nhills

Posts: 230
Joined: Jul. 13 2003
From: West Des Moines, IA USA

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Paleto



Norman

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"The duende is God's orgasm." - Antonio Canales

"I'm just a poor crazy man in love with his art." - Santos Hernandez (as translated by R. Brune)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 5 2007 14:49:00
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12352
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to nhills

quote:

ORIGINAL: nhills



Norman



Great find norman! I always liked and respected John Williams. Ironically he gets a lot of criticism for being "too robotic". Yet even he can at least ADMIT that his rhythm ain't so great. And notice how he can't making it through the beginning of the piece without stopping and messing up the timing. Why? Because his left hand is the leader. Flamenco guitar students need to learn that the right hand is leader, the left hand has to play "catch up" if you dont' have it down. Williams is trying to infuse flamenco rhythm on his classical playing "backwards". But at least he is trying, so my hat off to him. And he seems real nice and humble. He doesn't need Paco Peña's help (I like how he laughs at him at his first attempt ). A simple metronome would do the trick.

Anyway, even though I love this little clip and what he is saying, and respect his playing, etc, again even here we have missconceptions getting spread. Like "most" rhythmic strumming in flamenco starts with the thumb up???? Sure that happens a lot, but what a bad generalization to make. Also, Albeniz "Sevilla" IS a "sevillanas"???? Por Favor. They try to make it one in Carlos Saura's latest film Iberia, but I don't see the point. It is not even based on sevillanas. It is BASED on the impressions of the town called "Sevilla".

Anyway thanks for finding that excellent clip.

Ricardo

Ps, just remembered my funny vid of Bream's encounter with Peña. Very different than how William's approached the subject. (again, no offence to bream fans, but I thought this would be funny).
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 5 2007 15:57:22
 
guitarbuddha

 

Posts: 2970
Joined: Jan. 4 2007
 

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Ricardo

Hi Ricardo. I can assure you that he did need to meet Paco Pena ( I think they were neighbours ) check out his way of playing the Albeniz piece as a teenager on his Spanish Guitar music CD, really wooden and unrhythmical. All chords played at exactly the same volume (way too heavy) with the same attack and weight all of the time, this gives the piece no sense of upbeat or downbeat or rhythmical intent at all.

All credit to Williams he definately has improved a lot over the years, which takes some humility since he was the highest paid and most in demand classical guitarist in his late teens. The difference between his first and second album of Barrios music is huge. Still seems like there is often something missing for me though, phrasing and breathing mostly, he often changes colour mid phrase in a way which really has nothing to do with the sense of the music he is playing. For all poor old Julian pulls the time and hams, there is always some sort of musical sense in operation, even if his knowledge of world music is limited and he is a little gentile for some.

I suppose we should judge Bream by the standards of his time, to have any respect at all for non classical players was not fashionable in post war britain of anywhere else. In some officianados of some styles still make the mistake of failing to hear or give credit to masters of another.

D.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 5 2007 20:30:18
 
Estevan

Posts: 1856
Joined: Dec. 20 2006
From: Torontolucía

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Ricardo)1 votes

quote:

Albeniz "Sevilla" IS a "sevillanas"???? Por Favor. [......] It is not even based on sevillanas. It is BASED on the impressions of the town called "Sevilla".

Apparently the composer thought it was "sevillanas" since he gave it that subtitle. "Cobre" it isn't, but perhaps it sounds (or at least, starts off) more like the sevillanas did in the 1880s than the flamenco-ized ones we are familiar with.
It probably bears the same sort of relation to the sevillanas of his time as Bach's bourrees and gavottes did to the actual dances, i.e. they're stylized compositions based on or inspired by them.


Obviously the form is not like sevillanas, it's Albeniz's standard A-B-A, but Paco is able to play sevillanas rhythm along with the first verse, and that was the point. John used to play it more or less the Segovia way which is, as he remarked, basically all out of time and un-danceable.

quote:

He doesn't need Paco Peña's help [...]. A simple metronome would do the trick.

Aw, lighten up, man! John knows how to play in time, and metronomes don't dance. A couple of great artists want to have some fun, and luckily for us, share it on film.


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Me da igual. La música es música.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 5 2007 21:46:26
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12352
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Estevan

quote:

Apparently the composer thought it was "sevillanas" since he gave it that subtitle.


Hmmm. Too bad for him. Bach...he was not the same as Bach to me. Maybe Bach had it all wrong too, but at least he avoided parallel 5ths and his stuff has rhythm.

quote:

Paco is able to play sevillanas rhythm along with the first verse,


Man, he is going so fast it is silly. And about the metronome. I mean he could have had the ENTIRE SONG prepared (is that a tall order?) before his encounter with Peña OR a dahhhhncer.

Ricardo
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 6 2007 6:05:59
 
Estevan

Posts: 1856
Joined: Dec. 20 2006
From: Torontolucía

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Ricardo

Geez, Ricardo, you're a grumpy old b'astard for someone so young! Oh well, there's no pleasing some people, I suppose.

_____________________________

Me da igual. La música es música.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 6 2007 18:58:22
 
XXX

Posts: 4400
Joined: Apr. 14 2005
 

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Ricardo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Ricardo

Great find norman! I always liked and respected John Williams. Ironically he gets a lot of criticism for being "too robotic". Yet even he can at least ADMIT that his rhythm ain't so great. And notice how he can't making it through the beginning of the piece without stopping and messing up the timing. Why? Because his left hand is the leader. Flamenco guitar students need to learn that the right hand is leader, the left hand has to play "catch up" if you dont' have it down. Williams is trying to infuse flamenco rhythm on his classical playing "backwards". But at least he is trying, so my hat off to him. And he seems real nice and humble. He doesn't need Paco Peña's help (I like how he laughs at him at his first attempt ). A simple metronome would do the trick.

Anyway, even though I love this little clip and what he is saying, and respect his playing, etc, again even here we have missconceptions getting spread. Like "most" rhythmic strumming in flamenco starts with the thumb up???? Sure that happens a lot, but what a bad generalization to make. Also, Albeniz "Sevilla" IS a "sevillanas"???? Por Favor. They try to make it one in Carlos Saura's latest film Iberia, but I don't see the point. It is not even based on sevillanas. It is BASED on the impressions of the town called "Sevilla".

Anyway thanks for finding that excellent clip.

Ricardo

Ps, just remembered my funny vid of Bream's encounter with Peña. Very different than how William's approached the subject. (again, no offence to bream fans, but I thought this would be funny).




LOL and 10000% agree! Lefthand, right hand thing was very good. The only thing i wonder is maybe John Williams could play everything in rythm if he wanted to. Among the classical guitarists he is my favorite for being at most respectful for the rythm. If i wanted anybody from those to play flamenco, it would be him.

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Фламенко
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 6 2007 19:53:43
 
cneberg

Posts: 257
Joined: Apr. 20 2006
From: Sončno polje pri Večnosti

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Paleto

quote:

The only thing i wonder is maybe John Williams could play everything in rythm if he wanted to.


I wonder that too. My guess is that he could. After all, you have an orchestra of classical musicians behind Paco de Lucia playing guajira, zapateado,... Same thing with Vicente's "Poeta".

It's interesting though, every time I listen to Williams or any other great classical guitarist (musician), I never get the feeling that something is wrong. It never "hurts" you know. Completely different then when I try to play something in rhythm and fall out a bit. It's just a different perception of rhythm I guess.

I wondered many times how close are Pdl & company to the metronome. You know, if they start at the same time....
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 6 2007 20:51:26
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12352
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to cneberg

quote:

The only thing i wonder is maybe John Williams could play everything in rythm if he wanted to.


I honestly think EVERYONE can, but it is a matter of how hard you need to work on it, and what it is you need to work on. Some folks that don't seem to "have it", meaning the ability to get the rhythm of something, are simply hearing it wrong. They need to erase the wrong notes from the mind and learn the correct ones. That is easier said than done. Some others "hear it" the right way from the beginning, and seem to be "natural". It is all about the ear and how we percieve rhythmic sounds against our inner clock.

No need to test folks with a metronome. all you have to do is put one on and see how they handle it. If palmeros are not solid, of course the guitar is not going to be. That is not the point of using a metronome. It is a way to train your inner clock and control. But still, you would be surprised just how steady some guys are. I remember keeping my roomates metronome on 116 bpm with the Fancisco Sanchez DVD Cana de Azucar. Those guys were solid for like 5 minutes or something, with no drummer, just their foot taps. And that involved 3 guys. But of course there can be breathing room. But using the "breathing room" as an excuse to not train with a metronome, is a bad idea IMO.

Ricardo
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 6 2007 22:58:28
 
Paleto

Posts: 243
Joined: Jul. 29 2003
From: San Diego, CA

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Ricardo

I think Ricardo is right on here. I have had to work hard to get a decent sense of rhythm and compás, plain old work for me.

I still have much room for improvement, but I can hold it together by and large.

I practice with a metronome and Sólo Compás/Escuela de Flamenco/Ritmo Flamenco cds/mp3s regularly. I also use Flamenco Master sometimes too.

Each has something to offer.

-Anthony
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 7 2007 21:37:21
 
gato

Posts: 322
Joined: Jun. 9 2007
 

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Paleto



Right on! We all do what we can!

Composing and working with concepts is bitchen though. And if you can do that and you got compas you are pretty good, though it takes a lot of hard work, and time. Composing takes lots of courage! Now what about classical guitarists, one thing they got is the ability to (quickly) read and study scores, and transcriptions and etc. If they can let go they have that advantage. That's what makes for good flamenco, taking what you got and using it.....you never know who (in the flamenco) was classically trained though. I think it's an honor. Classical guitarists are trained in composition.........
Gary
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 7 2007 23:37:15
 
wiseguy493

 

Posts: 73
Joined: May 9 2007
 

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to Paleto

For me flamenco is very different from other styles of music but also has some similarities. I learned American contemporary styles (bluegrass, country, rock) when I was a child, learned blues and jazz as a young teenager, learned classical in my mid-teenage years and picked up flamenco in my early twenties. I'm 24 now.

Rhythmically, flamenco is much more complex to me but that doesn't make it harder to grasp. I find that the "breathing room" as it was described, is very familiar to me in how it relates to jazz and blues. While a line may be played within a segment of time, the rhythmic value of the notes in the line may vary as long as the line is played in compas. There is no such breathing room in classical, so I think that presents a challenge for classical players. This became even more clear to me when I started teaching my girlfriend to play flamenco, jazz and blues, because she is a very accomplished classical clarinetist doubling as a perfect human metronome LOL When we started playing jazz and blues together, we had a long argument about how to really play a triplet! Once she was able to understand that the accents of the compas are the only definites to play in compas, she was able to play real soulful flamenco, even with just the basic techniques.

I think due to the training classical musicians go to so they can play "perfect" music, they have never been trained to think imperfectly. Everything is rigidly timed and structured, where much flamenco can't be written in a legible form due to frequent tempo changes and note values that would be too confusing to express in written form. I think this makes flamenco powerful and I think that is the thing that classical players lack when they learn flamenco... they try to play as it is written and don't realize that flamenco transcriptions are a simple relational draft of the rhythmic structure, that the rhythm and tempo is variable in the moment of performance and that is the excitement of flamenco.

So many classical players who learn flamenco will have to learn to play out of rigid restraints but still remain in compas. This is a tricky concept LOL At least as tricky as a flamenco player trying to play perfectly as music is written to a metronome without adding rhythmic dynamics (although flamenco players won't have quite as much trouble doing so)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 10 2007 20:26:57
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12352
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Classical guitarists and flamenco (in reply to wiseguy493

Interesting view.

Regarding classical players, I was refering more to guitarists than say clarinetists or pianists. I have not really encountered any "human metronome" classical players except for some pianists and percussionists. Where as most modern flamenco players do play "metronome perfect" in terms of up tempo pieces like bulerias. Same for advanced dancers. Tempo changes happen at specific points, but not every compas. Although the deliberate stretching of tempo in solo guitar pieces or cante is another matter.

I find with guitarists in particular, the rhythm problem is not with playing the music too evenly or metronomically, but rather, not feeling or handling the synchopations properly. I sort of disagree about the "only the accents" are important, but it depends on the specific thing we are talking about. In bulerias say, the groove inbetween the accents is important. You might hit the accents and play evenly, but the groove in between is the "soniquete", and if that is not happening it can be a problem.

In general, I find that musicians that dont' work much with the metronome, drum machine or good live drummers, tend to have a "stiff" carefull following of the time, which I guess folks call robotic. Where as, musicians with a tight groove and control over synchopation, sound relaxed and natural with a metronome or drum machine say. So to me the concept of "metronomic" is a good thing for flamenco in a lot of cases. For example, a lot of aficionados think palmas are easy to do, but if they are just a little bit unsteady, it really feels awful to play against.

Anyway, just some thoughts. Believe me, I know there are other views on this matter.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 11 2007 8:08:37
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