Flamenco Guitar

3 Important Things for Beginners to Learn About Flamenco Guitar:

1. Who are the famous flamenco guitarists?
2. What are flamenco guitar styles (toques) and compás?
3. What are most common flamenco guitar techniques and definitions?

The world of Flamenco guitar is one of rich history, intense emotion, and expansive musical complexity. Flamenco guitar differs from classical guitar in many ways, and for a long time the styles appeared at odds with one another. However, as someone who enjoys the music of cultures from all around the world, I can confidently say it’s possible for both of these styles to coexist in a positive light.

In fact, learning the techniques and nuances of both classical and flamenco styles will improve your overall playing ability, approach, and understanding of the very object we hold so close to the heart: the guitar!

Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia accompanying Camarón de la Isla
Paco de Lucia (right) accompanying Camarón de la Isla (left)

As a guitarist who was trained in the classical style, I found it very time consuming and difficult to find clear answers to common terms and questions related to flamenco guitar. How does one get started with such a vast and layered music tradition?

Although there may not always be one “correct” answer to certain flamenco topics, I’ve compiled some of my research findings in an attempt to present the fundamentals of flamenco guitar in an organized and approachable way.

Below you’ll find various topics with links to subpages dedicated to basic flamenco guitar study. My hope is that this will serve as a helpful introductory resource to those new to the art of flamenco. These pages are not intended to teach you how to play flamenco guitar, but rather they’re intended to provide insight into the important cultural, historical, and musicological foundations that make flamenco guitar so distinct.

I encourage you to listen to flamenco guitar constantly to help you navigate the soundscape and feeling of this wonderful art form!

If you’d like to start learning guitar or have feedback, please contact me.

Getting Started with Flamenco Guitar

1. Flamenco Guitarists and Albums

This page includes links to some of my favorite flamenco guitarists and their full albums on Youtube. Familiarizing yourself with these artists and albums is the perfect place to start developing an appreciation for flamenco guitar.

Listen to classics by Ramón Montoya, Niño Ricardo, Sabicas, Paco Peña, Paco de Lucía, Manolo Sanlúcar, Tomatito, Vincente Amigo and more here.

2. List of Flamenco Guitar Palos (Toques) and their Compás

One of the joys–and initial difficulties–of flamenco is distinguishing between the different ‘forms’ or styles, known as palos or toques. Understanding a toque and its related compás is the key to understanding flamenco composition, and knowing how and why a flamenco piece sounds the way it does. Learning the toques and their compás is perhaps the most essential roadmap for identifying flamenco guitar music characteristics.

Learn about the Soleares, Fandangos, Siguiriyas, Tangos, Ida y Vuelta forms and their subcategories here.

3. Flamenco Guitar Techniques and Definitions

As a non-native Spanish speaker, I found myself getting tripped up on a lot of the flamenco guitar terminology. For a list of common flamenco guitar terms and their definitions, visit my page here.

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