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), feelings that are evoked in the guitar playing as well. This 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), and thus students have ample time to feel and get accustomed to 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, the Soleá may be played as a melancholy conclusion. When the drinks are finished and there’s a stillness in the air when 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
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