What is the Flamenco Soleá?

The Soleá is a slow, solemn, and majestic flamenco form that likely comes from the Spanish word soledad, meaning solitude or loneliness. Tragedy, death, and desperation are the common subject matter for the Soleá cante (singers). Guitarists evoke these feelings in their playing as well. This tragic form is also known as the “Cante Jondo” category.

The Soleá is synonymous with the Soleares, known as the “Mother of Flamenco”. Flamenco guitarists usually begin their study with the Soleá since it has a relatively slow BPM (usually 50-110BPM). As a result, students have ample time to feel comfortable with the compás accents.

The compás for the Soleá is as follows:

Flamenco Soleá compás rhythm with accents
Soleá Compás

Harmonic tension between the E major and F major chords is prevalent in the Soleá form, causing both harmonic and tension and resolve throughout a performance. A Soleá may include the escobilla section, where the beat shifts to a feeling of three (1,2,3, 4,5,6, 7,8,9, 10,11,12).

After a long night of dancing and singing lively toques, guitarists may play the Soleá as a melancholy conclusion. When the drinks are finished and there’s a stillness in the air, and the sun is on the verge of rising…play the Soleá.

Flamenco Soleá Examples and Links

Here are some of my favorite exemplary Soleá performances:

Paco Peña – Solea de Córdoba
Paco de Lucía – Soleá
Sabicas – Soleá
Diego del Gastor – Soleá