La Guajira Flamenca
La Guajira Flamenca is one of many styles that can be played on the Spanish Guitar. It is happy medium tempo style that evolves from Caribbean Rhythms and melodies brought to Spain and Andalusia by sea farers.
The name of this style defines a specific rhythm, a tempo and a specific melody to be hinted or played . La Guajira in Flamenco is definitely an important part of contemporary Spanish music to be played and mastered by all guitarists.
I have had of lot of nice smiles from customers when this style has been performed at spanish music events here in Melbourne. I would like to share with you all some insights on this style, some music appreciation to help us all understand a bit more what flamenco is from the perspective of a Western Culture guitar player.
Flamenco guitar books incorporate complicated descriptions of the patterns we use in it´s styles. I believe the explanation can be simplified as music is only a simple reflection of human emotions.
Flamenco as all styles of music has a specific pulse, a heartbeat that we communicate on and with. La guajira is really a ¾ rhythm and a waltz style of music.
All music is constructed in phrases which are based on questions and answers.
Let´ take a look at how we accent this ¾ bar. All guitarists should consider incorporating these concepts into their regular playing.
The Guajira like most flamenco has a question of two bars in length and an answer of another two bars in length.
- Try playing on the Spanish guitar two bars of ¾ but accent the first beat of the second bar.
Consider this two bar phrase to be what we call the question on the Spanish guitar.
- Now play the two bars but accenting the first beat of the second bar and answer with two more bars of ¾ . Play what you want in the answer. You can either clap the rhythm or you can strum it if you are a guitarist.
- The more we accent that first beat of the second bar the more silence we will need to express in the reply. Try it.
Flamenco is about questions with strong accents and answers with also strong accents.
Let´ get a feel of how to answer.
- Using either the Spanish guitar or your hands ( clap) play two bars of 3 /4 accenting the first beat of the second bar.
- Play two more bars as an answer but accent every two beats.
We thus have a long question of two bars of ¾ followed by a quick reply of three bars of 2/4. It is important to remember to always accent the first beat of second bar of ¾ and the first beat of the second bar of 2/4.
- 123/ 123 / 12/12/ 12
THUS WE HAVE THE GROOVE THAT WE WILL LAY OUR MELODIES ON.
Flamenco is similar to all other styles of music on the planet in the way melodies are constructed.
Similar to the written language questions and answers form phrases . Phrases form sentences and sentences form paragraphs. In music they are generally all symmetrical in length.
Let´ us now create a paragraph made up of four full sentences ( question and response)
- Once again if you are a guitarist you may use your instrument but it will also work if you just clap your hands.
- This is our first phrase constructed as outlined above: 123/ 123 / 12/12/ 12
- Repeat it three times varying the strength of your accents and when you play it for the fourth time just play four bars of ¾ .
We have now constructed a full sentence. Try the above exercise a few times until you start getting the feel of silence, of passion and express yourself with the rhythm.
This is the tricky part which confuses most western musicians. This section will be useful to fellow guitarist. La Guajira starts on the dominant chord . Most western music starts on the tonic.
- Try the above exercises starting with two bars of E7 and reply with the tonic chord: A .
Enjoy and stay tuned for more simple explanations on how to get a feel for flamenco and understand how to incorporate it´s passion into your life.
This following suggestion can be appreciated not only by guitarists but by all music lovers.
La Guajira has a specific melodic line. Listen to Guajiras and try to figure out what this melodic line is.
Start off by listening to the following video , click on link, go to the time frame of around 31 seconds and learn this typical phrase the guitar is playing.
I´d love to hear about your special event and discuss with you the most adequate selection of styles, formats and repertoire to deliver the personalized and unique entertainment you deserve with flamenco and latin music.
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