How do you count compás?

How do you count compás? | www.flamencobites.com

Compás (the rhythmic cycle of each palo) is the most important element to understand if you want to dance flamenco.

Without control of the compás (rhythmic pattern) for each palo it just doesn't happen. 

If you've been studying for a while and trying to figure things out you might have noticed that different people have different ideas about how to count or describe the compás of a palo.

This has happened to me many times.

I started learning flamenco first in Perth, Western Australia and then in London before coming to Spain. Now I am studying with José at his studio and I've lost count of the number of times I've noticed the compás being counted in a different way to what I originally learnt. 

For my brain that likes things to be nice and tidy and exact this was very difficult to wrap my head around at first but eventually I came to realise that it really doesn't matter.

The rhythmic pattern is the rhythmic pattern, it isn't going to change, but the way different people will hear and then describe that pattern can vary. 

The important point is that the compás that people may describe in different ways, when you hear it, will sound the same.

Now, here is the caveat.

If you are are working with some other flamenco artists to create a show or choreography then it helps to have some agreement on how the compás is counted so you can communicate with each other. 

Generally speaking though, you don't need to worry so much. Trust your ears more than anything else and figure out what you need to do to understand the compás in your body.

Don't let the numbers that really don't mean anything get in the way of you studying and understanding what the compás feels like when you dance.