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Flamenco rhythms

    Flamenco is a general term for Andalusian folk music that originated in southern Spain and combines song and dance. There are two main directions of flamenco – this is the ancient, deep and dramatic style of Cante Hondo and the more modern, simple and lightweight Cante Chico. Within both directions in flamenco, there are more than 50 genres, the exact boundary between which is sometimes not easy to draw.

    The origins of flamenco begin in Moorish musical culture. Gypsy music also significantly influenced this style, since it is the Spanish gypsies who are considered the true bearers of this style. Having arrived in Spain from Byzantium in the 15th century, they settled along the entire southern coast of the province of Andalusia and began to adopt local musical traditions. As a result, as a result of the fusion of two musical cultures, Spanish and Moorish, flamenco was born.


    For a long time, flamenco was considered a “closed art”, since the gypsies lived in isolated groups and this style was formed only in narrow circles. But at the end of the 18th century, the persecution of the gypsies stopped, and flamenco gained freedom and entered the stage of taverns and cafes. At the end of the 20th century, flamenco began to absorb Cuban melodies and jazz motifs. Among the innovators, the most famous is the Spanish guitarist and composer Paco de Lucia, who updated the concept of the flamenco musical form, ridding it of the “canonical standard” and introducing a new lively stream and expressiveness into it.

    The basic element of flamenco rhythm is called Compás – this is the main unit of musical meter in flamenco. Each compass is nothing more than a repeating part, consisting of musical accents arranged in a special way, setting the pulsation of the rhythm and, in general, the rhythmic form of the whole work. There are a fairly large number of different compasses that correspond to certain forms of flamenco.


    This is one of the most ancient forms of flamenco, which served as the basis for a huge number of subsequent styles. In the genre classification of flamenco, Soleáres refers to the direction of Cante Jondo. Traditionally, Soleáres are played to the accompaniment of a single guitar and the Phrygian mode is typical in harmony. In Andalusia, flamenco students begin their studies with this form. The word Soleá, is a derivative of Soledad, which literally means loneliness. This form of flamenco fully displays sadness and sadness, and conveys a feeling of heartache. Sometimes it can appear despair, closer to Seguíríyas.

    The rhythmic structure in Soleáres plays an important and fundamental role.



    One of the most emotional and deep forms of flamenco. Like Soleáres, the origin of this form of flamenco is inextricably linked to the gypsies of Andalusia. In the second half of the 19th century, Seguiriyas began to win the hearts of fans widely and developed into a huge number of independent styles. This form also belongs to the direction of Kante Hondo, as it tries to express the most devastating and painful feelings and emotions. In Seguíríyas por Cante, one can hear the heart-rending cry of a man left alone in the battle against life’s failures and death itself. Probably, no other European folk music has such sadness and tragedy.

    In musical notation, Seguíríyas is written in variable meter: 3/4 + 6/8, and the rhythmic pattern looks like this.



    Literally translated from Spanish, Alegría means joy and fun. This form of flamenco expresses joyful and bright feelings, albeit with a slight touch of melancholy. In general, the general mood in Alegrías is one of optimism and happiness. Alegrías belongs to a large family of flamenco forms called cantiñas. They come from the port city of Cadiz, and came about through some transformations of hota performed by sailors from Aragon. The melodies of the hot were placed in the Soleáres compass and used for festive dances. Unlike Soleáres and Seguíríyas, which are played in the Phrygian mode, Alegrías is played in major, and only occasionally shifts to minor, which further emphasizes the happy and carefree spirit of Alegrías.

    The rhythmic structure in Alegrías is identical to the twelve-beat compás in Soleáres, with accents on beats 3, 6, 8, 10 and 12.



    The word is a combination of barullo, which means noise, and burla, which translates as a joke or ridicule. His roots go back to the Spanish gypsies, with whom he still has a connection. The fast tempo and dynamic pulsation make this form the most exciting, yet still contain the sadness and anguish that is almost always present in any form of flamenco. A powerful rhythmic force beats in his heart, which is the very essence and soul of flamenco. Bulerías can be called the main style, as it provides the performer with the greatest freedom for creativity. The brilliant performance of Bulerías also shows the virtuosity of the guitarist.

    The rhythmic structure in Bulerías is identical to the twelve-beat compás in Soleáres, with accents on beats 3, 6, 8, 10 and 12.


    This is the most solemn form of the Tangos family, distinguished by a deeper Cante and Toque. It has a rather slow pace and a serious theme of the texts. Literally translated, Tiento means to grope, to grope, uncertainly. Tíentos is distinguished by a strict, powerful and splendid character, as well as characteristic syncopation and a clear placement of accents.

    The rhythmic structure in Tíentos belongs to the category of bipartite forms, but to make it easier to understand the compás, it is better to break it down into 4-beat patterns.


    It is a simple, lively and melodic form that is very popular throughout Andalusia. Sevillanas originated about three centuries ago in old Castile as a form of danceable folk music. They are always full of joy, fun and poetic poignancy, although some of the poems are more serious. Today, there are a large number of varieties of Sevíllanas, both vocal and dance, as well as instrumental. The best time and place to hear Sevíllanas is during the annual fair in Seville, when crowds of people in festive traditional costumes fill the streets.

    Rhythm in Sevíllanas has a 3/4 time signature, and a characteristic structure, where there are such parts as Intro, Salida and Copla.



    This form is of Arabic origin and has its roots in a time when all of southern Spain was occupied by the Moors. It spread throughout Spain and over the centuries acquired various varieties, depending on the place and type of activity of the performers. In the north, Fandangos gave rise to the development of such forms as Jota, and in the south to Rondeña, Malagueña, Taranta and Minera. At the beginning of the 20th century, Fandangos was so popular that for some time it almost eclipsed all other forms of flamenco. This is a fairly free, in terms of rhythm, form that provides the performer with the opportunity to express the entire range of their feelings and emotions. In Cante por Fandangos, the themes of Coplas are extremely diverse, from tragedy, disappointment and betrayal to light irony and lighthearted humor.

    The rhythmic structure in Fandangos is identical to the twelve beat compás in Soleáres, with accents on beats 3, 6, 8, 10 and 12


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