'El Toque' refers to all things flamenco that are played on the guitar. (Pohren 2005)
The music of the flamenco guitar is well known throughout the world and is often the first contact many non-spanish people have with flamenco.
Thanks to the guitarist Paco de Lucía the virtuosity of the flamenco guitar is loved and appreciated by millions around the world.
The flamenco guitarist utilises a mixture of techniques to create their unique sound. The rasgueado is a basic playing technique of flamenco, it is involves moving each finger over all of the strings in a continuous circular motion.
The video below is of the guitarist Moraito Chico playing for bulerías. I have set the video to start playing just before he performs a regueado and you can see very clearly the circular motion of the fingers.
There are different variations of the rasgueado technique as well as many different playing techniques that are utilised such as picado, arpeggio, alzapúa and tremelo.
A flamenco guitarist must be well versed in all of these techniques along with the musical differences between all the the different palos. The guitarist must also study all aspects of cante and baile in order to be able to accompany both.
A good accompanist elevates the performance of all the other performers he accompanies. The guitarist instinctually understands how to play to support the cante and carry the dancer to the peak of their performance. It is an art form greatly under appreciated outside of the circles that understand it well.
The guitarist instinctually understands how to play to support the cante and carry the dancer to the peak of their performance
From the point of view of the flamenco dance student, it is necessary to study firstly the compás of various palos so that when you dance you have a clear rhythm that a guitarist may follow in order to accompany you. Secondly you should study the melodies of the basic compás played by the guitar and the phrasing of the music, this will guide the phrasing of your choreography.
As you study, each day your ears and mind will start opening up to hear the many different possibilities that flamenco affords you. As well as learning how to dance you need to listen to a lot of flamenco. A LOT. Listen to flamenco every day. Your ears are the most important part of your body in terms of what you need to train.
As well as learning how to dance you need to listen to a lot of flamenco. A LOT. Listen to flamenco every day.
Let's take a look at the compás of tangos on the guitar. Manuel is playing the basic compás of tangos. What do you hear when you listen to the guitar? Could you hum the melody that Manuel plays to yourself? Can you hear the beats of the rhythm?
To help you practice at home we have a recording of the basic compás of tangos for you to download and keep.
To get your hand on the downloads enter your details below.
Speaking of listening practice here is some homework for you...
This is Paco de Lucía in concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival. It is an hour long video but the hour will fly by. Watch, enjoy and learn.
Moraito Chico por seguiriya
Tomatito por bulerías
Manolo Sanlucar por soleá