in Flamenco

Flamenco links, Summer 2002

The Flamenco Guitar Home Page

On my list of big things to learn someday is Flamenco guitar. I could start with these resources, which are excellent (for example, the combination of transcription, tabulature, and mp3s of early 20th Century recordings). But I know I would just be reinforcing bad technique, never having learned proper classical finger picking. I’m guessing it’s something best learned from a teacher.

When I listen to the samples, I’m slack jawed at the speed combined with subtle stresses and powerful phrasing. And yet of themselves a writer says this:

For flamencos, it is the ability (at whatever level of skill) to accompany a knowledgeable singer (and knowledgeable dancer) who is performing one of the standard forms in a more or less standard way. You don’t have to be very *good* as guitarist to qualify. Many singers in Spain, for instance, knowing only two or three chords, and playing execrably by anyone’s standards, can crudely accompany themselves or someone else. Most wouldn’t claim to be guitarists at all. But they would claim that whatever they’re doing on the guitar is flamenco, not something else. They know the song, and they know what the guitar needs to sound like to go with that, even if they don’t know the guitar itself well enough to pull it off very well.

In this way it reminds me of vernacular architecture.