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Flamenco glossary

 

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Paco de Lucía
Paco de Lucía was born Francisco Sanchez Gomez on December 21st, 1947 in Algeciras, a sea port in Cádiz. He was surrounded by flamenco song and dance since he was born. He was already familiar with compás when his father began teaching him to play the guitar at the age of seven. Between 1962 and 1964 he toured the United States, along with his brother Pepe, with the Jose Greco Dance Company. There he met the great virtuosos Sabicas and Mario Escudero. Sabicas encouraged him to develop his own ideas. His greatest influence however was Niño Ricardo whose style he imitated from an early age. Since his first recording in 1960 with his brother Pepe, he has gone on to record many ground-breaking albums. All of his solo albums (and those with his sextet and the singer Camaron) are full of musical innovations which others soon began imitating, spawning a whole new generation of young virtuosos. His collaborations with non-flamenco artists such as John Mclaughlin, Al Di Meola, Chick Corea and Bryan Adams allowed him to extend his musical horizons even further. His amazing virtuosity and unprecedented popularity as an international artist have elevated him to almost messiah-like status in the eyes of many of his peers.

Palillos
Little sticks.

Palmas
Hand clapping. Various terms are used to describe loud or soft clapping. FUERTES: (loud, strong) or SECO: (dry) or CLARO: (clear) SORDAS: (soft). From the word sordo meaning muted or muffled

Palo
Palo means stick. A Palo seco is unaccompanied singing, except for the rhythmic beating of a stick or walking cane on the ground. It also means a flamenco style. There are around 50 palos split roughly into 4 family groups. For example, Soleá, Alegrías, Bulerías are palos.

Paseo
Walk. A walking step that connects two sections in a dance. Walk. A walking step that connects two sections in a dance. The dancer may walk around striking arrogant poses without losing the timing in the steps. It is also the opening ceremony at a bullfight.

Payo
Non Gypsy

Peteneras (SONG AND DANCE FORM. CANTE JONDO) The general mood of this form is one of sadness. The slow measured rhythm is notated in alternating bars of 6/8 and 3/4 like Guajiras. Also like the Guajiras, its 12 beat compás is identical to the Bulerias, but very much slower.The name is taken from the village of Paterna de Rivera, near Jerez de la Frontera. The superstitious legend connected with its origin endows Peteneras with a certain mystique. According to this legend, a beautiful young prostitute called Dolores died a violent death at the hands of one of her lovers. For some authors, the word prostitute is a little severe and they prefer a more poetic description such as, a beautiful young temptress who stole men's hearts. After her death, songs were created around the story. The superstition surrounding Peteneras is directly connected with the misfortunes that followed later public performances.One account is of a dancer who played the part of Petenera and died a choreographed death on stage, following the story line from the legend. The four male dancers involved in the show carried her off stage on their shoulders singing, La Petenera has died and they are taking her to be buried... Backstage they discovered that the dancer really was dead, apparently from a heart attack. Every year in July, the people in the village of Paterna pay homage to this form of cante and to Dolores by hosting a national Peteneras song competition. There are some who believe that Peteneras was originally a song of the Sephardic Jews. The evidence comes from a verse which makes reference to a beautiful Jewess on her way to a synagogue. This would date the song back as far as 1492, which is when the Jews (and the synagogues) disappeared from Spain.

Peña
Flamenco club

Picado
A guitar playing technique. Playing scale passages by alternating the index and middle fingers. Normally executed apoyando (with rest strokes)..

Pitos
Finger snaps

Polo
(SONG AND DANCE FORM. CANTE JONDO) Exactly the same as Caña and Soleá, except for it's distinct melodic line. The ay ay ayes are also a different length.

Ponta
Toe of the shoe.

Por arriba
Arriba means up or above. Without actually naming a specific key, the term 'por arriba' is taken to mean a flamenco key based on the E chord. The word 'arriba' alludes to the physical position of the hand on the finger board. The hand reaches 'up' towards the bass strings to play an E chord.

Por medio
Medio means middle or half. The term 'por medio' is taken to mean a flamenco key based on the A chord. The hand position for this chord is 'around the middle' of the finger board.

Puenta
Bridge of the guitar.

Pulgar
Thumb. Right hand guitar notation symbol for both flamenco and classical music - indicated by a upper case 'P'.

 

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