What is the Flamenco Bulerías?

The flamenco Bulerías is the fastest branch of Soleares, with a lively, intense dissonance that compliments the advanced rhythmic structure of the compás. Bulerías are possibly the most popular, yet also the most virtuosic and demanding for flamenco guitarists.

The typical Bulería ranges from 160-275 BPM (extremely fast). Bulería is usually played por medio, and includes chord variations of A, B flat, and C.

Another important characteristic of the Bulería a rhythmic switch, where beat 12 becomes the strong downbeat and beginning of the compás.

To simplify the feel, you may find it easier to count a series of 5 as written below the compás. This rhythmic feeling switch can be seen in the two common patterns below:

Bulería Accent Pattern 1:

Bulería Accent Pattern with beats 12, 3, 6, 8, and 10

Bulería Accent Pattern 2:

Flamenco guitar Bulería accent pattern
Bulería Accent Pattern 2 on beats 12, 3, 7, 8, and 10

The “Al Golpe” Rhythm

Another rhythmic variation worth mentioning is the “al golpe” Bulería. The golpe technique is used frequently in the Bulería to separate it from the Soleá. The late flamenco guitarist Diego del Gastor is especially well known for the al golpe style of Bulería.

The most basic al golpe form has golpes on the first two of every three beats consistently as seen below. Beats 3, 6, 9, and 12 are usually played as an upstroke that is quickly muted using the pinky (apagado technique). The golpes are indicated by the hollow box:

Flamenco Guitar Bulería al golpe compás version 1.
Bulería al golpe rhythm version 1.

Another al golpe rhythmic form aligns with the Soleares compás as seen here:

Flamenco guitar Bulería al golpe rhythm compás and accents version 2.
Bulería al golpe rhythm version 2

Flamenco Bulería Examples and Links

Here are some of my favorite Bulería examples:

Paco de Lucía – Plazuela (Bulerias)
Paco de Lucía – Almoraima (Bulería)
Tomatito – Bulerías
Paco de Lucía – Cepa Andaluza (Bulería)
Diego del Gastor – Bulerías
Vincente Amigo – Bulerías
Moraito Chico – Bulerías
Vincente Amigo – Bulerías
Paco Peña – Bulerías