Besides the technical plate-spinning, the many techniques that have to be practiced and perfected, there is also the rhythm – the compás.
So, not only have you got to master all the individual elements of flamenco guitar, but you’ve also got to play them in time. And the timing is very complex. I’ll use this week’s video example of Alegrias as an example.
It is in 12! Not 4, or 3, or even 6, but 12. This is shared with a few other palos in flamenco, so it’s pretty important.
There is a strong beat on 3. Not 1, as you may be used to. Although sometimes the whole thing starts on 12, and that feels like 1. Confused?
The whole thing is traditionally counted 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
So the accents are on the 3, 6 8, 10 and 12! Fun huh?
You do get used to it, just expect to give it quite a few years.
So, as a practical demonstration, on the video there is the Dr. Compás app. It is doing the counting for you. It actually starts on 12, which I supposed doesn’t help, and also the 6 accent has moved to 7!
So here’s the count again 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
But don’t forget, the guitarist doesn’t just count, but plays hopefully meaningful phrases along with the rhythm.