How to play Remate, Llamada, Subida, Cierre and Ida

Spanish version

I have a very detailed YouTube video which looks at how to play Remate, Llamada, Subida, Cierre etc with special reference to Tientos and Tangos, Bulerias, Soleares (Solea) and Alegrias.

These terms refer primarily to moments or sections in the flamenco dance yet they are always of interest to guitar soloists as well because we use these rhythmical structures in our solo playing. And this does not apply only to traditional or old school style flamenco guitarists; we can hear the modern or “flamenco nuevo” players use these elements as well.

Here I explain what each term means.

Remate

This word derives from the word “matar” or to kill, so remate actually means to finish something off but nothing negative is implied.

If we are playing a Malagueña for example we may want to “rematar” or finish off with Verdiales which is a faster more celebratory flamenco form that is, shall we say, a cousin of Malagueña.

If we are playing Soleares, especially when accompanying a flamenco dancer we may typically find that he or she moves to Bulerias at the end as a way of finishing off.

Llamada

This term means a call. Effectively it is used at the end of a section to bring that section to a close. As you will hear on the YouTube video the llamada usually involves playing the compas in a particularly strong and emphatic manner.

Subida

This means to go up and in flamenco it refers to the situation in which the performance gets faster and faster and more exciting. So for example an Alegrias may have a subida which is still in the compás of Alegrias  and which leads naturally into Bulerias for the remate.

Cierre

This means to close. It is quite typical to dance a cierre after a llamada. The cierre can be described as having a different rhythmical pattern and the aim is that it feels more final. In this case the dancer will finish the dance on stage.

Ida

Ida means to leave or to go away. In flamenco performances we sometimes see the dancer leave the stage dancing or put another way they dance off stage. The guitar, palmas and singing with palmas (flamenco hand clapping)  all continue until the dancer has left and only then perform a llamada and cierre.

As I mention above my YouTube video goes into this in some detail with practical applications.