The Flamenco Music
Flamenco's origins are obscure. It is regarded as gypsy music coming from Andalucia, a region in Spain. However, it is generally accepted that this musical form was Moorish influenced from North Africa.
The emergence of Flamenco came about towards the end of the 18th century when it was always played as a combination of dance, song and guitar accompaniment. The original form later split into two different styles - Solo Flamenco Guitar and Cante Flamenco.
Spanish guitarist Ramon Montoya (1880-1949) was credited as the man who gave birth to the solo guitar form. Performing artistes such as Paco Pena, Paco de Lucia and a host of other noted modern-day Flamenco solo guitarists have turned the solo guitar form into a popular musical genre worldwide.
Flamenco music is often regarded as a loose, undisciplined form. In actual fact, it is a combination of improvisation and strict rhythmic structures.
For example, the soleares is one of the four most significant structures. It has a rhythm based on a 12-beat form, with accents on the third, sixth, eighth and tenth beats. It is played in 3/4 time. More often than not, a guitarist usually sticks to one form of specialization.
The Flamenco Guitar
When it comes to wood, the flamenco guitar is traditionally constructed from Spanish cypress for its back and sides. The finest cypress is reputed to come from Aranjuez. The Spaniards call cypress the "sad wood" because most of the wood comes from old trees cut out of cemeteries where Spanish cypresses are usually found.
Cypress is adopted because the wood produces a more brilliant, penetrating sound, thus giving the instrument greater volume. The Flamenco guitar is normally an accompanying instrument, its qualities being percussive rather than melodic. The sharp metallic tone of the guitar will cut through all the background noise of dancing, singing and palm clapping during a Flamenco performance.
The Flamenco guitar is usually slightly smaller than the Classical guitar. Traditionally, wooden pegs are favoured for Flamenco guitars. They are considered to give a better tone than geared pegs which are normally used on Classical guitars.
While Flamenco guitars are generally associated with light golden colored woods the real differences between modern Flamenco guitars and Classicals are in design and construction.
Today Concert Flamenco is something rather removed from the traditional style. Paco de Lucia usually play Classical guitars in his concert performances. - acoustictwang