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Improvization

3holepunch

A thread about Flamenco improvization! I myself am no where near being a master at it, but I'd sure love to be at least good at it. I figured we could have a thread where we all share tips/ideas/(maybe experiences related to) on improvising.

I think my biggest challenge is keeping any sort of compas with my improv. I always end up stopping at random points and throwing in loads of fermatas, or just losing track of the rhythm completely. And of course I usually stick to E phrygian, throwing in random G#s or D#s every once in a while. They sound pretty cool to me. And some times if I get off on a melodious tangent, I'll the do a three finger tremolo on the down beats.

Anyway... DISCUSS!
A thread about Flamenco improvization! I myself am no where near being a master at it, but I'd sure love to be at least good at it. I figured we could have a thread where we all share tips/ideas/(maybe experiences related to) on improvising.

I think my biggest challenge is keeping any sort of compas with my improv. I always end up stopping at random points and throwing in loads of fermatas, or just losing track of the rhythm completely. And of course I usually stick to E phrygian, throwing in random G#s or D#s every once in a while. They sound pretty cool to me. And some times if I get off on a melodious tangent, I'll the do a three finger tremolo on the down beats.

Anyway... DISCUSS!
Posted: Sep 29, 2009 10:55 PM - Quote - Report!

FretboardToAsh

In flamenco improvisation is often done in a different way than you might think. Most tocaors have a massive amount of falseta's and compas(rhythm part whatever you wanna call it) and they use the several ones they have in their inventory depending on the person they're accompanying and what those are doing.



Diego del Gastor is quite the figure in flamenco, among several other things also known for being able to play whatever his mind thought of. It's better though if you just read the whole bunch in here instead of me copying the whole bunch down.



http://www.gypsyflamenco.com/



http://www.gypsyflamenco.com/personalreminiscences .html



The improvisating part is probably best seen in the Bulerias style, since the tocaor has all the freedom to choose in scales and all that.
In flamenco improvisation is often done in a different way than you might think. Most tocaors have a massive amount of falseta's and compas(rhythm part whatever you wanna call it) and they use the several ones they have in their inventory depending on the person they're accompanying and what those are doing.



Diego del Gastor is quite the figure in flamenco, among several other things also known for being able to play whatever his mind thought of. It's better though if you just read the whole bunch in here instead of me copying the whole bunch down.



http://www.gypsyflamenco.com/



http://www.gypsyflamenco.com/personalreminiscences .html



The improvisating part is probably best seen in the Bulerias style, since the tocaor has all the freedom to choose in scales and all that.
Posted: Sep 30, 2009 10:32 AM - Quote - Report!

Thepredster

I really dont get improvising/soloing in flamenco especially buleria and still keeping that compas. I really dont get improvising/soloing in flamenco especially buleria and still keeping that compas.
Posted: Feb 13, 2010 11:51 PM - Quote - Report!

ILLcoyote

improvisation.. its something that will take a while for me to get into... well i mean, to get good at. I'll play around here and there but i can only make bullsh*t other type of music. I suck at flamenco improv specially cuz I have no idea what note/scale fits into what. improvisation.. its something that will take a while for me to get into... well i mean, to get good at. I'll play around here and there but i can only make bullsh*t other type of music. I suck at flamenco improv specially cuz I have no idea what note/scale fits into what.
Posted: Feb 18, 2010 6:08 AM - Quote - Report!

Thepredster

I think its all E Phrgian which is what I use for messing around with a spanish sound. I think its all E Phrgian which is what I use for messing around with a spanish sound.
Posted: Mar 18, 2010 12:55 AM - Quote - Report!

FretboardToAsh

First things first, the scale most associated with Flamenco is indeed the Phrygian scale. And the Major Phrygian, Spanish Gypsy, Harmonic A minor, or Moorish Phrygian which is a combination of both.

There are dozens of names, whatever you want to call the thing, it has the harmonized sound because the 3rd note is one and a half step from the 2nd and is thus dubbed "that spanish sounding scale".

Right, now that that's out of the way, it's going to be called Modo Dorico from now just to avoid confusion(or enlarge it, either way you're stuck with me calling it that).

Modo Dorico, can be played in several positions. And by position I'm not implying which fret, but whether you're playing it Por Arriba, which is starting on the E string or Por Medio, which is starting on the A string.

While there are many other scales used in the many different scales, like Major scales for most Alegrias, Minor scales for Farruca, and practically every scale you can come up with for the Bulerias. We'll stick with a few rhythm parts and falseta for the Bulerias in Modo Dorico now.

Before you start actually improvising around the style, it's best that you can manage to play a rhythm part in Compas, and get a general feel for the style. With this, I mean you're going to have to live the next few weeks in Compas. You're going to walk it, breath it, eat it, and piss it. When you finally can play the thing well without having to think about it, that means you're indoctrinated well enough to actually improvise things on your own. For now, you'll have to do with what I've typed out below.
First things first, the scale most associated with Flamenco is indeed the Phrygian scale. And the Major Phrygian, Spanish Gypsy, Harmonic A minor, or Moorish Phrygian which is a combination of both. 

There are dozens of names, whatever you want to call the thing, it has the harmonized sound because the 3rd note is one and a half step from the 2nd and is thus dubbed "that spanish sounding scale". 

Right, now that that's out of the way, it's going to be called Modo Dorico from now just to avoid confusion(or enlarge it, either way you're stuck with me calling it that).

Modo Dorico, can be played in several positions. And by position I'm not implying which fret, but whether you're playing it Por Arriba, which is starting on the E string or Por Medio, which is starting on the A string.

While there are many other scales used in the many different scales, like Major scales for most Alegrias, Minor scales for Farruca, and practically every scale you can come up with for the Bulerias. We'll stick with a few rhythm parts and falseta for the Bulerias in Modo Dorico now.

Before you start actually improvising around the style, it's best that you can manage to play a rhythm part in Compas, and get a general feel for the style. With this, I mean you're going to have to live the next few weeks in Compas. You're going to walk it, breath it, eat it, and piss it. When you finally can play the thing well without having to think about it, that means you're indoctrinated well enough to actually improvise things on your own. For now, you'll have to do with what I've typed out below.
Posted: Mar 19, 2010 5:31 PM - Quote - Report!

FretboardToAsh

12 1 2 3 4 5
P^ AM P P^ AM P^ AM P P^ AM
E-0--0--0--0--------0--------0--0--0--0--------0-- ------
B-2--2--2--2--------2--------2--2--2--2--------2-- ------
G-2--2--2--2--------2--------2--2--2--2--------2-- ------
D-2--2--2--2--------2--------2--2--2--2--------2-- ------
A-0--0--0--0--------0--------0--0--0--0--------0-- ------
E------------------------------------------------- ------

6 7 8 9 10 11
A(Golpe) P^ AM P P^ AM P P^ AM P P^
E-*--------0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0-------|
B-*--------2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2-------|
G-*--------2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2-------|
D-*--------2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2-------|
A-*--------0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0-------|
E---------------------------------------------|

Which is apparently going to be the next post, seeing as how there's a text limit in these things.

What we have here, is a rhythm part, played with a tresillios described in the appropriate technique thread. This one, in case we've forgotten about it or need a pointer.


Now, what we're doing here is just triplets at the 12th, 3rd, and 7th to 9th beat of the compas. Try playing this with the right feel, it's a motivating part and used often in an intro. In the next post we'll move on to a typical rhythm part of the Bulerias. Meet you there.
  12       1        2        3        4        5       
  P^ AM P  P^       AM       P^ AM P  P^       AM      
E-0--0--0--0--------0--------0--0--0--0--------0--------
B-2--2--2--2--------2--------2--2--2--2--------2--------
G-2--2--2--2--------2--------2--2--2--2--------2--------
D-2--2--2--2--------2--------2--2--2--2--------2--------
A-0--0--0--0--------0--------0--0--0--0--------0--------
E-------------------------------------------------------

  6        7        8        9        10     11
  A(Golpe) P^ AM P  P^ AM P  P^ AM P  P^      
E-*--------0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0-------|
B-*--------2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2-------|
G-*--------2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2-------|
D-*--------2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2--2-------|
A-*--------0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0--0-------|
E---------------------------------------------|

Which is apparently going to be the next post, seeing as how there's a text limit in these things. 

What we have here, is a rhythm part, played with a tresillios described in the appropriate technique thread. This one, in case we've forgotten about it or need a pointer. 


Now, what we're doing here is just triplets at the 12th, 3rd, and 7th to 9th beat of the compas. Try playing this with the right feel, it's a motivating part and used often in an intro. In the next post we'll move on to a typical rhythm part of the Bulerias. Meet you there.
Posted: Mar 19, 2010 5:39 PM - Quote - Report!

FretboardToAsh

12 1 2 3 4 5
P P^ P^ P^ P P^ P^ P^
E-0---0~~~--0~~~--0-----------------------
B-2---2~~~--2~~~--2---3---3~~~--3~~~--3---
G-2---2~~~--2~~~--2---3---3~~~--3~~~--3---
D-2---2~~~--2~~~--2---0---0~~~--0~~~--0---
A-0---0~~~--0~~~--0---1---1~~~--1~~~--1---
E-----------------------------------------

6 7 8 9 10 11
P P^ P^ P P^ P^ P
E-----------------------------0~~~----|
B-3---3~~~--3---3---3~~~--3---2~~~----|
G-3---3~~~--3---3---3~~~--3---2~~~----|
D-2---2~~~--2---0---0~~~--0---2~~~----|
A-3---3~~~--3---1---1~~~--1---0~~~----|
E-------------------------------------|

This lovely piece of work is a typical Bulerias part, it's not hard, but it's a complete thumb movement so you better get your old Nintendo/Sega/etc. out and start practicing. It's not that much of a monster, and if you want you can put in a Golpe with your ringfinger at the red marked beats.

Note to self: Make the damn golpe/apagado thread, it's one of the threads that didn't survive my harddrive wipe btw.

Moving on, oh look it's notes. Yep, falseta number one.
  12     1     2      3      4     5         
  P   P^    P^    P^  P   P^    P^    P^  
E-0---0~~~--0~~~--0-----------------------
B-2---2~~~--2~~~--2---3---3~~~--3~~~--3---
G-2---2~~~--2~~~--2---3---3~~~--3~~~--3---
D-2---2~~~--2~~~--2---0---0~~~--0~~~--0---
A-0---0~~~--0~~~--0---1---1~~~--1~~~--1---
E-----------------------------------------

  6      7      8      9      10     11   
  P   P^    P^  P   P^    P^  P   
E-----------------------------0~~~----|
B-3---3~~~--3---3---3~~~--3---2~~~----|
G-3---3~~~--3---3---3~~~--3---2~~~----|
D-2---2~~~--2---0---0~~~--0---2~~~----|
A-3---3~~~--3---1---1~~~--1---0~~~----|
E-------------------------------------|

This lovely piece of work is a typical Bulerias part, it's not hard, but it's a complete thumb movement so you better get your old Nintendo/Sega/etc. out and start practicing. It's not that much of a monster, and if you want you can put in a Golpe with your ringfinger at the red marked beats. 

Note to self: Make the damn golpe/apagado thread, it's one of the threads that didn't survive my harddrive wipe btw.

Moving on, oh look it's notes. Yep, falseta number one.
Posted: Mar 19, 2010 5:45 PM - Quote - Report!

FretboardToAsh

12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
P P P P P P P P P P^ P P P
E------------------------------------------------- ------------------|
B-3~~---------------3~~---------------3~~------3~~ ------------------|
G-3~~---------------3~~---------------3~~------3~~ ------------------|
D-0-h2-p0-----------0-h2-p0-----------0-h2-p0--0~~ ------------2~~---|
A----------3--1--3-----------3--1--3-------------- ---1--0~~---------|
E------------------------------------------------- ------------------|

12 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
P A I^ I P P P P P P^ P P^ P P
E-3-p0--*--0--0~~--------------------------------- ------------0-----|
B-2~~---*--2--2~~---3--3~~---3~~---3--3--3~~---3-- 3--3~~---3--2-----|
G-3~~---*--3--3~~---3--3~~---3~~---3--3--3~~---3-- 3--3~~---3--2-----|
D-------*--2--3~~---0--0~~---0~~---0--2--2~~---2-- 0--0~~---0--2-----|
A-------*-----------1--1~~---1~~---1--3--3~~---3-- 1--1~~---1--0-----|
E-------*----------------------------------------- ------------------|

* = Golpe with A(annular, ie. ringfinger)

Falsate 1 continued, the damn thing doesn't fit. I shouldn't be surprised as I hear that more often... yeah I'm like that with jokes >.>

Anyways, as you can see it's mostly the same as the rhythm parts. But getting more technical on the way.

Most falsetas are modelled after chord progressions, my advice is that you try the same first with the progressions I've given you here. Then create your own with other chords and add them in.

Cheers
  12    1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10    11
  P        P  P  P  P        P  P  P  P        P^    P  P     P     
E-------------------------------------------------------------------|
B-3~~---------------3~~---------------3~~------3~~------------------|
G-3~~---------------3~~---------------3~~------3~~------------------|
D-0-h2-p0-----------0-h2-p0-----------0-h2-p0--0~~------------2~~---|
A----------3--1--3-----------3--1--3-----------------1--0~~---------|
E-------------------------------------------------------------------|

  12    1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10    11     
  P     A  I^ I     P        P  P  P  P        P^ P  P^    P  P   
E-3-p0--*--0--0~~---------------------------------------------0-----|
B-2~~---*--2--2~~---3--3~~---3~~---3--3--3~~---3--3--3~~---3--2-----|
G-3~~---*--3--3~~---3--3~~---3~~---3--3--3~~---3--3--3~~---3--2-----|
D-------*--2--3~~---0--0~~---0~~---0--2--2~~---2--0--0~~---0--2-----|
A-------*-----------1--1~~---1~~---1--3--3~~---3--1--1~~---1--0-----|
E-------*-----------------------------------------------------------|

* = Golpe with A(annular, ie. ringfinger)

Falsate 1 continued, the damn thing doesn't fit. I shouldn't be surprised as I hear that more often... yeah I'm like that with jokes >.>

Anyways, as you can see it's mostly the same as the rhythm parts. But getting more technical on the way. 

Most falsetas are modelled after chord progressions, my advice is that you try the same first with the progressions I've given you here. Then create your own with other chords and add them in. 

Cheers
Posted: Mar 19, 2010 5:49 PM - Quote - Report!

Thepredster

This was extremely helpful. The first one really helped me get that sound in my head. When improving with chords the you usually use? I use i II IV & vi to try to exemplify the phrygian mode or does that even matter in flamenco? and what bout improving with individual notes. Is that done? Keep posting more This was extremely helpful. The first one really helped me get that sound in my head. When improving with chords the you usually use? I use i II IV & vi to try to exemplify the phrygian mode or does that even matter in flamenco? and what bout improving with individual notes. Is that done? Keep posting more
Posted: Mar 19, 2010 11:28 PM - Quote - Report!

FretboardToAsh

We have a couple of rules, Compass, layout of the style, scale, at least that's what I can think of at the moment. In that order, with bulerias it's easy because you are allowed to pick any scale you like. When it comes to chords I don't tend to play the ones I posted above, I prefer 7th chords mostly, and adding a 6th note to them is something I really like as well.

12 1 2 3 4 5
P P^ P^ P^ P P^ P^ P^
E-0---0~~~--0~~~--0-----------------------
B-2---2~~~--2~~~--2---3---3~~~--3~~~--3---
G-0---0~~~--0~~~--0---0---0~~~--0~~~--0---
D-2---2~~~--2~~~--2---3---3~~~--3~~~--3---
A-0---0~~~--0~~~--0---1---1~~~--1~~~--1---
E-----------------------------------------

6 7 8 9 10 11
P P^ P^ P P^ P^ P
E-----------------------------0~~~----|
B-3---3~~~--3---3---3~~~--3---2~~~----|
G-2---2~~~--2---0---3~~~--0---0~~~----|
D-3---3~~~--3---3---0~~~--3---2~~~----|
A-3---3~~~--3---1---1~~~--1---0~~~----|
E-------------------------------------|

I suggest you start searching for chords you prefer over the standard 3 or 4 that basically make up the song. A couple of chords in Modo Dorico, Por Medio.

E-0--1--3--5--6--8--10-|----------------------|
B-2--3--5--6--8--10-11-|----------------------|
G-0--2--3--6--6--9--10-|-2--3--5--7--9-10--12-|
D-2--3--5--7--8--10-12-|-0--2--3--5--7-8---11-|
A-0--1--4--5--7--8--10-|-1--4--5--7--8-10--12-|
E----------------------|----------------------|

As for single notes, sure why not? You can hear them everywhere, try this one out for example.

We have a couple of rules, Compass, layout of the style, scale, at least that's what I can think of at the moment. In that order, with bulerias it's easy because you are allowed to pick any scale you like. When it comes to chords I don't tend to play the ones I posted above, I prefer 7th chords mostly, and adding a 6th note to them is something I really like as well.

  12     1     2      3      4     5         
  P   P^    P^    P^  P   P^    P^    P^  
E-0---0~~~--0~~~--0-----------------------
B-2---2~~~--2~~~--2---3---3~~~--3~~~--3---
G-0---0~~~--0~~~--0---0---0~~~--0~~~--0---
D-2---2~~~--2~~~--2---3---3~~~--3~~~--3---
A-0---0~~~--0~~~--0---1---1~~~--1~~~--1---
E-----------------------------------------

  6      7           9      10     11   
  P   P^    P^  P   P^    P^  P   
E-----------------------------0~~~----|
B-3---3~~~--3---3---3~~~--3---2~~~----|
G-2---2~~~--2---0---3~~~--0---0~~~----|
D-3---3~~~--3---3---0~~~--3---2~~~----|
A-3---3~~~--3---1---1~~~--1---0~~~----|
E-------------------------------------|

I suggest you start searching for chords you prefer over the standard 3 or 4 that basically make up the song. A couple of chords in Modo Dorico, Por Medio.

E-0--1--3--5--6--8--10-|----------------------|
B-2--3--5--6--8--10-11-|----------------------|
G-0--2--3--6--6--9--10-|-2--3--5--7--9-10--12-|
D-2--3--5--7--8--10-12-|-0--2--3--5--7-8---11-|
A-0--1--4--5--7--8--10-|-1--4--5--7--8-10--12-|
E----------------------|----------------------|

As for single notes, sure why not? You can hear them everywhere, try this one out for example. 

Posted: Mar 20, 2010 11:30 AM - Quote - Report!
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