rdencabezado

 

cía = Contemporary Flamenco Music

In support of the position that Paco de Lucia is ultimately the true and ultimate embodiment of contemporary flamenco music, I have selected three of the greatest guitar masters who preceded him—namely Ramon Montoya, Niño Ricardo and Sabicas—and I have carried out a general and harmonic analysis with respect to each of them.  This analysis will provide an objective perspective on flamenco music which preceded Paco de Lucia.  In addition, it will enable you better to see and to appreciate Paco de Lucia’s enormous contributions as well as the immense role he has played in the history of flamenco guitar as well as flamenco music itself.


Then I have, without prejudice, selected a single buleria video from YouTube of each of the best known guitar players of Paco de Lucia’s generation (i.e., Paco Cepero, Pepe Habichuela, Juan Martin and Manolo Sanlucar), the generation guitar players succeeding him (i.e., Vicente Amigo, Niño de Pura, Gerardo Nuñez and Tomatito) as well as the most well-known young, current guitar players of today (i.e., Niño Jero, Niño Josele, Diego del Morao and Antonio Rey).  I have then conducted a general and harmonic analysis of their work as well.


All of this analysis leads to the conclusion that none of the guitar players mentioned above (except for the three greatest guitar masters prior to Paco de Lucía’s era) have offered anything new or innovative in the field of flamenco guitar.  Indeed, some have merely taken what Paco de Lucía has done previously without necessarily even realizing they had done so and merely presuming they have introduced something new.  Others have simply taken for granted that the manner in which they play the guitar is the way that it has always been done.  In any event, the most important thing to recognize from this analysis is that, due to the lack of an academic approach (and perhaps on account of plain ignorance), Paco de Lucia’s contemporaries and successors may present themselves as innovators, iconoclastic composers and so forth when this is simply not true.  Indeed, this has become both an unfortunate as well as a critical situation which ultimately contributes to a lack of creativity in the entire realm of flamenco music.


Here is my analysis:

 

Greatest flamenco guitar masters before Paco de Lucia


Ramon Montoya (1880-1949)


Analysing: Bulería recording around 1930

Harmonic Analysis

Key

Chords used

 

 

f#m (Capo: 4 por medio)

 

 

II7 (on min 0:41)

 

bIII

 

 

 

V7, Vm

 

bVI,

 

bVII

 

Auxiliary Dominants: none

 

Substitute Dominants: none

Comments: 1) Scales used are Minor Natural and Phrygian. 2) The degree Im is never played, it is omitted.

Rhythmic Analysis: Although at that time there was rhythmic reference (hand claps - palmas) while accompanying dance or singing, when playing alone, guitar players did not use hand claps to play over. So, in this recording there is no rhythmic reference.

Arrangement: Only guitar.

 

Niño Ricardo (1904-1972)


Analysing: Bulería

Harmonic Analysis

Key

Chords used

 

 

f#m (capo al 4 por medio)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

V

 

bVI

 

bVII

 

Auxiliary Dominants: none

 

Substitute Dominants: none

 

Harmonic Analysis

0:17

Use of chord bVII and a melody using the Phrygian scale, including  as a  pass-through note, the interval 4+  (from the V)

 

 

Technique Analysis

Min

Technique  Resource

 

 

0:06

Use of the rasgueo ch A M I down over the degree V and tapping  with nail

0:33

We notice the parado. This technical resource is muting the strings with the finger 4 of left hand and it was very much used on those days, in present time, no more.

Arrangement: Guitar and singer

 

Sabicas (1912-1990)


Analysing: Bulerias 1967

Harmonic Analysis

Key

Chords used

 

 

em (Capo 2 por medio)

Im

 

II7

 

bIII7

 

 

 

V, V7, Vm

 

VIm, bVI7

 

bVII7,  bVII

 

Auxiliar Dominants: V/VI

 

Substitute Dominants: none

 

Harmonic Innovation:

0:18

There is an absence of auxiliary dominants except for the aux. dominant V/VI. Certainly it was an innovation the use of chromatic scales as a melody to describe the following chord progression: V7 to bIII7 (min 0:21).

0:51

The use of chains of  b3rds, never used before Sabicas, (from the bII of the V7), with slight descendant chromaticism, then briefly to bVI7 and then comes back to V7.

0:57

Change to key C ionic ( buleria de Cadiz). Observe  that the chord aux. dominant V/V is not used in the context of the minor key, namely fm.

1:10

Use of the aux. dominant V/VI, the goes to VIm. Certainly an innovation, for Ramon Montoya never did something like this, nor anyone else. This is one of the aspects that makes Sabicas innovative at his time.

 

Rhythmic Analysis: Although at that time there was rhythmic reference (hand claps - palmas) while accompanying dance or singing, when playing alone, guitar players did not used hand claps to play over. So, in this recording there is no rhythmic reference.

 

Rhythmic Innovation: None

Technique Analysis

Min

Technique  Resource

 

 

0:17

Tapping with nail A (Golpe de uña)

0:39

Rasgueo: A M I down, P up

0:43

Rasgueo: ch A M I down

0:51

Tapping with nail A (Golpe de uña)

 

 

Technique Innovation:

Min

Technique  Resource

 

 

1:51 to
1:56

The rasgueo A M I down, P up over different parts of the fretboard, that’s another innovation

 

 

Arrangement: Only guitar.

 

 

Part 3 top Part 5

 

 

 

© Ruben Diaz 2009 I Developed by ¡Viva España! Digital I Contact