Flamenco consists of a flamboyant dance accompanied by guitar music and song (It has been referred to as the soul of Spain and, like bullfighting, is an essential part of the country’s culture and traditions. What better souvenir to take home with you? Flamenco is divided into many different musical forms called “palos”. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Singing was then the primary aspect of flamenco, dancing and musical accompaniment being secondary. The Spanish word flamenco means “Flemish,” and its later usage in the sense “Gypsy-like,” especially in reference to a song, dance, and guitar-music style, has inspired a number of hypotheses about why the … Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. After the mid-19th century, flamenco song was usually accompanied by guitar music and a palo seco (Spanish: “dry stick,” a stick that was beat on the floor to keep time) and a dancer performing a series of choreographed dance steps and improvised styles. Required fields are marked *. Author of. Ever since, its economic value has been leveraged by outsiders—German Romantics, the Spanish government, novelists, the press—all of whom gained from the perpetuation of stereotypes that have dehumanized flamenco artists. The roots of flamenco spread across the world but the heart is in Andalucia, Spain. Among the many great early 20th-century performers are La Argentina (Antonia Mercé), Vicente Escudero, Carmen Amaya, La Argentinita (Encarnación López), José Greco, and Pilar López, as well as the troupes of Antonio and Rosario (Antonio Ruiz Soler and Rosario Florencia Pérez Podilla) and Ximénez-Vargas (Roberto Ximénez and Manolo Vargas). Flamenco dancing is an incredibly emotive dance style, with the dancer always striving to express his or her emotions through movement. What is Flamenco? (noun) It is very popular in Spain and is known worldwide. That’s a big question. So, what is flamenco? It is our intention that those who wish to know flamenco in Andalucia by tourism, find in this site, ordered and varied references that help you know by a incipient form, of the great cultural and festive treasure, that flamenco supposes. Latin American influence appears in later genres such as the rumbas gitanas and the colombianas. Each palo has a distinct set of musical features in terms of rhythm, mode and lyrics. Flamenco music is characterized by its use of foot stamping and hand clapping. Its origins are still murky, as there isn’t … Flamenco is Spanish, from mainland Spain—in fact, one small part of Spain: Andalucia. The baile is a sensuous display of fluid motion, stylized and yet highly personal, involving movement of the arms (braceo) and upper torso, hand and finger movement (florea), footwork (zapateado), and heelwork (taconeo), which are often displayed in long solo passages (solea). The term derives from "duen de casa" (master of the house), which was also related to an elf or goblin-like creature in Spanish and Latin American folklore. It exists in three forms: Cante, the song, Baile, the dance, and Guitarra, guitar playing. That's precisely why several of our schools offer a one-of-a-kind Spanish + Flamenco course, where you can learn Spanish while learning how to dance flamenco. In Spain they encountered the rich cultures of the Sephardic Jews and the Moors. Flamenco songs fall into three categories: cante jondo (“profound song,” or “deep song”), cante intermedio (“intermediate song,” also called cante flamenco), and cante chico (“light song”). Each song will use a different palo. Historically, it has always been the musical outlet of the poor and oppressed. Its foundation is in Andalusia in Spain. flamenco To begin with, what we call 'flamenco' in the movie (and in real life as well) is itself a recent construct. From the Cambridge English Corpus The rhythm guitar plays a flamenco-like rhythm, … Flamenco is a genuine Spanish art form, or to be more exact, a southern Spanish art form. A flamenco guitar is a guitar similar to a classical guitar but with thinner tops and less internal bracing. When people hear this form of music, they immediately recognize it as flamenco. Classically influenced flamenco artists Antonio Gades, Christina Hoyos, José Greco II, and Lola Greco have also pushed the boundaries of flamenco. That’s why flamenco performance inspires so many people. flamenco a style of dancing; a style of vocal or instrumental music originating in southern Spain Not to be confused with: flamingo – aquatic bird with long legs and neck, webbed feet, and pinkish to … Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Cities known for their flamenco include Seville, Granada, Cádiz, and Málaga. Flamenco is all that and so much more, always passionate and intense. Gipsies are very often named as the fathers of Flamenco, and at least it can be taken for certain that they played an important part in its creation. Several intellectuals, including Lorca and composer Manuel de Falla, sought to restore the purity of flamenco, and in 1922 they instituted the first flamenco competition—calling for cante primitivo andaluz (“primitive Andalusian cante”). Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. "Speculations are varied and colorful about the connection between the bird, the people, and the gypsy dance of Andalusia. Flamenco is a passionate, deeply emotional mixture of song and dance. Thus, the serious soleares, a descendant of the much older cañas, gave rise to the light alegrías, from which developed other light-song types, such as the bulerías. The cante intermedio is a hybrid form that incorporates elements of Spanish music styles, especially the fandango. This extraordinary state is enhanced by rhythmic hand clapping and encouraging interjections (jaleo) from the audience and fellow performers. The Spanish Gypsy people were key to flamenco development, but it is now believed that they weren’t its sole creators (that it was an art form that grew out of the mix of cultures living in Andalusia over a number of centuries). (There, the Roma people are called Gitanos.) Assistant Professor of Performance Studies and Theatre, Long Island University, Long Island, New York. Gades in particular, in his collaborations with the filmmaker Carlos Saura, introduced flamenco to an international audience, demonstrating through his ingenious choreographic direction the dimensions of flamenco as an expandable performance art. The flamenco is a solo dance characterized by hand clapping, percussive footwork, and intricate hand, arm, and body movements. cos. a style of dancing, characteristic of the Andalusian Gypsies, that is strongly rhythmic and involves vigorous actions, as clapping the hands and stamping the feet. Although these commercial interests afforded a living for many performers for the first time, they also brought about what many considered a bastardization of an authentic indigenous art form. Flamenco is folk music from Spain. An inexperienced audience might think the dance is always the same; but as soon as you learn even a little about it, you can start to distinguish the enormous differences that exist between each style. Flamenco is a style of entertainment with song, music and dance. Each song style is distinguished by a characteristic rhythm and chord structure; yet several types of cante may share the same rhythm but individualize accentuation, subtleties, and emotional content. This technique is unique to flamenco guitar, and doesn’t find a truly comparable counterpart in classical guitar technique. 7. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, flamenco - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). See Spanish-English translations with audio pronunciations, examples, and word-by-word explanations. I became hooked on flamenco largely because of flamenco guitar. Flamenco is folk music from Spain. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Translate What is flamenco dancing?. Flamenco is a folk art and culture from Spain. A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. Flamenco, form of song, dance, and instrumental (mostly guitar) music commonly associated with the Andalusian Roma (Gypsies) of southern Spain. This is how it goes: you start listening profusely Read more, Let me paint a picture. A prime example of the fanatical fantasy of flamenco can be seen in Prosper Mérimée’s Carmen (1845). And each palo sets the tone, rhythm and mood of the music and dancing. Contemporary artists such as Eva la Yerbabuena, Joaquín Cortés, Antonio Canales, Belén Maya, and Juana Amaya are creating new rhythmic strategies in the studio and integrating them into longer narrative theatre pieces in which rhythm becomes the dominant element of the dance. The alboreás is traditionally sung only at weddings and is considered unlucky on other occasions. Duende or tener duende ("to have duende") is a Spanish term for a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity, often connected with flamenco. Please select which sections you would like to print: While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies. There are still very few who, in a and planned form, come to Andalucia to enjoy the flamenco tourism. (There, the Roma people are called Gitanos.) In its evolution Andalusian Gypsies … Were the first blues recordings made by women? ), Spanish-born American flamenco guitarist and the first to present that style as serious music to concert audiences.…. Flamenco is a traditional Spanish dance that requires both poise and elegance. That establishment and the many others that sprang up in the major urban centres of Spain—notably Granada, Córdoba, and Sevilla—placed emphasis on the musicians and dancers, and it was in this period that the singer began to take a secondary role. Baile, or dance, has been the dominant element of flamenco since that time, though it is never performed without accompaniment. As an accompanist to the dancer (bailaor [male], bailaora [female]), the singer (cantaor) relates the legends and stories of daily life that reflect the experiences of an outcast subculture within predominately white, Christian Spain. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). From world music to modern opera, sort fact from fiction in this study of musical origins. The golden age of flamenco is usually considered to be the period between roughly 1780 and 1845. Flamenco is rooted in the folkloric musical traditions of the Roma people in the Spanish region of Andalusia, as well as Extremadura and Murcia. In the last few decades of the 20th century, flamenco also was influenced by the general musical trend toward fusion of styles. The ancestry of many types of song is traceable. Let me give you a brief-ish answer. It has three branches: cante (song), baile (dance), and toque (the art of guitar playing). Sharp movements and facial expressions play a greater role in this style of dance than in many others, reflecting … Flamenco is one of the most popular Spanish dances in the world. What may well reveal the ancient origins of flamenco are the gestures of the profound dance (baile grande), in which the arm, hand, and foot movements closely resemble those of classical Hindu dance of the Indian subcontinent. What you need to know about flamenco guitar, Donkeys, Lightning and Piranhas — Nicknames in Flamenco, Flamenco compás — and why it’s the key to understanding flamenco, Best-Rated Private Flamenco Tours in Madrid. These migrants brought with them musical instruments, such as tambourines, bells, and wooden castanets, and an extensive repertoire of songs and dances. A deeply musical dancer, after a 15- or 20-minute sequence, is said to fall into a duende, an intensely focused, trancelike state of transcendent emotion that Federico García Lorca in 1933 described as los sonidos negros (“the dark sounds”) invading the performer’s body. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Flamenco is a genuine Spanish art, and to be more exact a genuine Southern Spanish art. Your email address will not be published. In order to achieve that raspy, growling sound, the back and sides are often made of cypress, a light and resonant wood. Flamenco, form of song, dance, and instrumental (mostly guitar) music commonly associated with the Andalusian Roma (Gypsies) of southern Spain. Male dancers usually perform intricate footwork, whereas female dancers, traditionally wearing elaborately ruffled dresses, emphasize the hands and upper torso. Flamenco guitars, while similar in looks to standard classical guitars, are built for a specific style of music. It is used in toque, the guitar-playing part of the art of flamenco. Other forms, such as the fandangos grandes, were adopted from Spanish folk song and dance, the fandangos becoming more serious in character than the original and begetting a series of descendants that includes the malagueñas and the Arab-influenced cartageneras. The essence of flamenco is cante, or song. It generally possesses a livelier, more gritty sound compared to the classical guitar. Nowadays, if you want to see live flamenco you could go to a “tablao”, which is a venue that specialises in flamenco performances, or you could choose to go to a flamenco concert or show in a bigger venue, such as a concert hall. skinny, grandma). It’s not only dance or a song you can learn, but you must also feel it with your soul. Flamenco is indescribable. Here’s an illustrative and easy-to-follow flamenco palo tree: Like any concert, a flamenco performance is made up of a sequence of songs. The cante hondo are directly related to the cante flamenco, and the latter may be considered the general rubric of classification. Flamenco is one of the most characteristic elements of Spanish culture, especially throughout the southern region of Andalucía. Flamenco makes feelings flow. Flamenco is the traditional song and dance of the Gypsies (flamencos) of Andalucia. Enough theory for now. The woman's flamenco costume is extravagant and styled for the expressive requirements of the rhythmic dance steps. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. What does flamenco mean? The largest element of the costume is the bata de cola, which is a long skirt that weighs 10 pounds, trails 5 feet behind the dancer and is full of flowing, colorful ruffles. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Corrections? This timely attempt to prevent the further debasement of an authentic folk art effectively promoted flamenco to a sophisticated urban public and helped to further the thoughtful development of the art within a modern context. The roots of flamenco, though somewhat mysterious, seem to lie in the Roma migration from Rajasthan (in northwest India) to Spain between the 9th and 14th centuries. I’ve met people who don’t love flamenco, but do love flamenco guitar. It usually has nylon strings, as opposed to steel. If you’ve played some rasgueo in a classical piece, it was likely borrowed from flamenco in some fashion. Flamenco is an art form comprising of songs, dances, and instrumental music associated with southern Spain. Was Carl Perkins one of the founders of rockabilly? What had been an essentially outdoor, outsider, family-oriented activity that focused on cante was transformed beginning in 1842, when Silverio Franconetti founded the first café cantante, Café sin Nombre, in Sevilla (Seville). Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Updates? Your email address will not be published. Flamenco may even have developed from one of the Andalusian classic forms of music. Flamenco originated in a family setting, and not until the mid-1800s did it become a public art form. It is particular to the province of Andalusia in Spain. Perhaps the most renowned of flamenco guitar techniques is the rasgueo (aka “rasgueado”). Flamenco was declared a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010. You’re so excited about seeing flamenco in Spain that you want to whet your appetite by reading about or watching YouTube videos of the artists you’ll be seeing on the Read more, I have a confession to make. The guitarist (tocoar) keeps the rhythm (compás) necessary to the dancer’s individual rhythmic cadences, accompanying (and, when the performance space is large, even following) the dancer. Initially it was performed in the intimacy of Andalusian homes amongst family members and friends, and it was in the 18th century that flamenco made its appearance in public spaces like cafés. In between these two options, there are also smaller venues that will from time to time host flamenco performances (such as bars or nightclubs). The cante jondo, whose structure usually is based on a complex 12-beat rhythm, is thought to be the oldest form. flamenco (n.) 1882, from Spanish flamenco, first used of Gypsy dancing in Andalusia.The word in Spanish meant "a Fleming, native of Flanders" (Dutch Vlaming) and also "flamingo. The guitar music that usually accompanies a dance in this style. It developed in Andalusia over centuries, and took its current form in the 18th century. Gitano flamenco performers regard the cante jondo as a form of prayer, and thus, in duende, the dancer communicates with both the audience and God. The dance is usually accompanied by a … You will see flamenco danced in South America, in the same way you'll see it danced in the US, Europe and Australia—as a modern import. And I totally understand. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. In a flamenco performance, there is usually singing, guitar, clapping and dancing, while other secondary instruments include percussion (flamenco cajón), piano or violin. Most deeply associated with Gitano flamenco tradition are the cantes grandes, such as the siguiriyas gitanas; the saetas, adopted from Spanish religious processions; and the martinetes, an early song type created in the environment of the forge, in which the beat of the hammer against the anvil reflects the pain and sense of persecution felt by the perpetual outsider. Professional flamenco artists tell a story with their whole bodies. So what does flamenco actually look and sound like? As a kid, I had this odd pastime where I would look at my watch to see the seconds count down, then look away for a couple of minutes while counting Read more, Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window). The percussive tapping on the instrument requires a snappy, bright top such as spruce, as well as the addition of “golpeadores” (clear, sometimes colored tap plates) to protect the top from the player’s fingernails. During a flamenco performance, you may hear a flamenco singer say, for instance, “alegría”, “bulería” or “soleá”, in order to inform the audience what palo is going to be performed next. Flamenco is a Spanish art form typical of Andalucía, the southern region of Spain, made up of 3 elements: song (cante), dance (baile) and music (toque). The cante chico, which is generally simpler in rhythm than the other two forms, also requires considerable technical skill but much less emotional investment, dealing as it usually does with humour and subjects of love, the countryside, and gaiety. These qualities offer the genre an expressiveness that moves all spectators, regardless of where they are from or whether they understand the language. Whether you're male or female, learn the basic stamp and tap and immerse yourself in Flamenco. It developed in Andalusia over centuries, and took its current form in the 18th century. It is characterized by profound emotion and deals with themes of death, anguish, despair, or religious doubt. Originally, it was the traditional dance and music of the Andalusian gitanos (gypsies). Its origins are still murky, as there isn’t much documentation about the early forms this music took. Flamenco was, in this era, an artistic haven for romanticists as it was a manifestation of the oriental and the exotic. Omissions? While it is improvisational, you may also develop routines. Some songs/palos will be somber, others jolly, some will be fast, others slow. Their centuries-long cultural intermingling produced the unique art form known as flamenco. If you’re in Madrid, check my flamenco calendar to see what performances are coming up! The dancer is the protagonist of the singer’s narrative and its interpreter. 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