How to Play Fandangos

I have a YouTube video that looks at how we can play two different kinds of arpeggio for the introduction to Fandangos.

The first arpeggio system is not so frequently known when we first start to play flamenco guitar.

Usually we expect an arpeggio to start with a bass string plucked by the thumb and then for the fingers to play over the treble strings, back, forward or both to produce the arpeggio as such.

In my first arpeggio exactly the opposite happens. The fingers first play an arpeggio pattern both ways down and up across the treble strings and then the bass note is heard last. Effectively the treble notes are embellishing the bass melody throughout this ‘falseta’.

There  is one point I really do want to clarify. When we guitarists play techniques such  as arpeggio or tremolo we have a tendency to think of that technique as being played by the fingers and that the thumb in just a separate accompanying note.

I think this thinking leads to problems in the timing of the falseta and in the execution of the technique and is finally detrimental to the music.

We must understand that the note played by the thumb is an essential integral part of the faleseta. When we count the number of notes in an arpeggio we must include the thumb or we lose the rhythm.

Likewise I think it is wrong to say that the flamenco tremolo is a four note tremolo; it is in fact a five note tremolo played as: thumb, first , third, second, first giving a total of five notes.

Returning to my video on Fandangos the second arpeggio falseta does indeed start with the thumb first and then follow through with the fingers.

Except that it is a little more complex than that. The thumb plays a ligado falseta over the bass stings while the fingers keep the arpeggio going in the treble strings. I find it a little difficult to explain here but I hope that the video is clear enough to provide some help with this technique.

General Comments on Fandangos

In my video I am playing Fandangos in  a very typical key which uses the sequence E Major, A minor, G7th, F Major and E Major to play the part that is not sung and then to accompany the flamenco singing the sequence G7th, C Major: C Major, F Major: G7th ,C Major: C Major, G7th: G7th, C Major: F Major, E Major.

Even using this same sequence there are countless variations of Fandangos and different moods. For example the light hearted Fandanguillos and Fandangos de Huelva or the serious Fandango Cante Grande. Then Fandango can also be played and sung in the por medio key as a cante grande or as a Fandango de Alosno.

Furthermore Malagueñas and Verdiales are derivations or cousins of Fandangos and Granaína and the mining laments such as Tarantas and Mineras, Taranto, Fandango Minero, Cartagenera and Levantica are all forms of Fandango.