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Flamenco glossary

 

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Vallancicos
A genre of Spanish song, dating from the 15th century. It is a poetic and musical form and was sung with or without accompanying instruments. Originally a folk song, frequently with a devotional song or love poem as text, it developed into an art music genre. The Villancico of the 17th century has a sacred text, often for Christmas. In the 18th century this form expanded into a dramatic cantata with arias and choruses. In the 20th century the use of the term is restricted to the Spanish Christmas carol. Although not real flamenco, it would not be unusual to see this song form on a flamenco recording.

Verdiales
(Song and dance form) A lighthearted style of Fandangos from Málaga which takes its name from a village called Los Verdiales. It is Málaga's equivalent to Fandangos de Huelva , performed at a slower pace with the accent on the first beat of every bar. Verdiales is considered to be folklore and thought to be the oldest existing Fandangos in Andalucia.There are two types of Verdiales. The 'regional' Verdiales is the folkloric style accompanied by tambourines, violins and other instruments as well as the guitar. The 'flamenco' Verdiales is accompanied only by the guitar.

Vito
(Song and dance form) An old Andalucian folk song in 3/4 time which seems to have sneaked it's way into the flamenco repertoire. The distinctive melody line is preserved by the few artists who have recorded it. Paco de Lucia for one, has recorded a couple of different versions. It also frequently appears in sheet music published in the 1950's. Like the modern recordings, the interpretations are different but the melody line remains unaltered.

Zambra
(Song and dance form) A festive dance of the gypsies of Granada. This is one of the most typically gypsy flamenco dances. It is notated in 4/4, with accents on the first and third beats. Zambra is Arabic for 'flute'. It was originally a lively Moorish dance and dates back to the 15th century. It is closely related to both the Tientos and the Tangos, with a speed somewhere in the middle. Juan Serrano prefers to call the Zambra Tientos por Tangos because it is, in effect, a combination of the two styles.The distinction should be made between the Zambra and the very Arabic sounding Danza Mora. To be sure, they are both Moorish dances by definition, but the distinction is very clear. The Zambra, although developed from a style of Moorish dance, is pure gypsy flamenco. The Danza Mora on the other hand, bends over backwards to sound Arabic. The confusion arises when an recording artist labels an Arabic sounding composition 'Zambra' or 'Zambra Mora'. This would sound nothing like the gypsy Zambra one might be expecting. Strangely, the same does not seem to occur in reverse. A Zambra is apparently always a Zambra, and can never be confused with anything else.

Zapateado
1. (DANCE FORM) An ancient virtuoso dance for both men and women involving a lot of fancy heel work, as well as many sudden stops and starts and accelerating passages. At times, the melody matches the footsteps. The dancer and guitarist must be perfectly synchronized at all times and great skill is required from both. 2. Footwork. An interplay of heel, toe and sole to produce elaborate sounding rhythms.

Zapato
Shoe

Zorongo
This is an old folk song resurrected by Garcia Lorca. In recent years it has quietly made it's way into the flamenco repertoire. It has a 12 beat compás and sounds almost like a sensual, more lyrical version of Peteneras. Near the end it takes on the compás of Bulerias. This sequence of slow and fast may also be alternated. Paco Peña plays a Zorongo on his album Fabulous Flamenco.

 

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