Get the most out of Flamenco Explained
We strongly recommend you read through this page to get an idea of how to best use the site for your own playing/experience level.
Are You New to Flamenco?
If you’re new to flamenco it won’t make much difference (at first) how good a guitar player you are. You’ll want to start at the beginning to get a good idea of compás (those crazy flamenco rhythms) and of the underlying structure of everything. If this is you, then head over here. You’ll get an introduction to how everything works and some of the new techniques you’ll want to work on. This will give you a foundation to keep working at your pace and with the material that appeals to you. If you like the pace, then you can continue on to your first flamenco guitar solo.
Check out our How Flamenco Works video (we have to shoot this!!) for an example of what we’re talking about, but basically flamenco is modular. This means that you can plug any individual compás or falseta into whatever you happen to be playing. This gives you an amazing amount of freedom in playing flamenco, though it also means you have to learn to make sure you’re staying in compás.
In practical terms this means if you learn, for example, the Soleá Guitar Solo 1, you don’t have to play exactly this. You can replace one falseta with another, or play the compás between falsetas differently. Traditionally, flamenco guitarists aren’t even taught entire solos, but rather a collection of compás and falsetas that the guitarists then arranges in a way that feels musical.
Once you get the hang of this it makes much more sense, we promise!
This means that you don’t technically have to learn the solo in Soleá Guitar Solo 1 to play a solo guitar Soleá. Once you understand how it works, you can string together your own choice of falsetas and compás to make a solo all your own. And then you can use that material (although in a slightly different way) when accompanying dancers or singers.
If you Already Play Flamenco
If you’ve been playing for a while, feel like you know what you’re doing, and just want a better understanding or more material, then you’ll find the Flamenco Explained site is easily searchable. If, for example, you want to work on your Tangos, then you can simply search Tangos here and choose from falsetas, compás or in many cases the Survival Guide or a solo you can grab falsetas from.
A lot of our subscribers are neither complete beginners nor completely comfortable with their understanding of all things flamenco. For them we strongly recommend the Intro To Compás video (good review for just about anyone!) to see how well they feel they understand things. From here they can either continue with the start here page or jump over to whatever palo they want to work on. If technique is the main issue you can jump over to our Technique Bootcamp or review individual techniques at our Techniques Playlist.
Ready to Accompany?
One of the most exciting moments for a flamenco guitarists is when they first play for dancers and singers, whether it’s in a class or for a performance. This is also really daunting, though, so we’re here to help! We have Survival Guides for many palos, and we also have our Alegrías Explained course and will soon be launching our Cante Explained course. Nothing beats real-life experience, but we offer you way more advice than anyone gave us before we started, and after more than 25 years of teaching we feel pretty good about our ability to help you!
What About TABS?
Everyone seems to want notation or TABs these days, and for many of our videos we provide them over on our (free?) TABs page. However you’ll notice that we don’t always provide TABs. There’s a reason for that! The way flamenco works, it can actually be a hindrance to think in terms of the exact notes played. The idea is to understand the concepts of when the harmony changes, how to stay in compás, and how to make all of this interesting and varied. For this reason, videos that address accompaniment or the basic compás of a given palo will sometimes provide on-screen chord diagrams but no TABs. And for the record, those chord diagrams are just what is being played at the moment on-screen. In fact, there is always a multitude of possible chord voicing you could be using instead of what happens to be playing at the moment. It may be uncomfortable for you at first, but we promise it’ll make you a better flamenco player!