The Musical Interlude

About 15 years ago, I experimented with some flamenco chords on the piano out of interest in the compás of the various “palos”.   I attempted first the rhythm of the Solea and succeeded in composing a set of figures which was the basis of the dance and song. Along with this I also tried a few passages based on the alternating bars of ¾ and 6/8 time which governs  Serranas and Seguiriyas along with its related forms of Martinete, Toná, Cabales and the Seguiriya itself. This last was the most difficult to put together. The rhythm  was fairly easy, but the harmonies more complex.

One day, Stamen was here while an old friend and fellow artist, Dolores Fernandez was visiting. When I played some of my Serranas, Stamen became excited and identified the tonal structure as Por Arriba  in  E which takes some  of the material as opposed to Por Medio which comes under the heading of Soleares and Alegrias and the 12 beat structure present in much of the cante and baile of flamenco. Serranas is a variant of the Seguiriyas group having the same compás in alternating bars of 3/4 and 6/8. ( Flamenco rhythmic structure is complicated. It is Eastern in character and  needs a very different approach in learning both from a dance aspect and an instrumental one.}

Subsequently, with the collaboration of Stamen I developed more intricate passages and decided to use it in our dance performances where we had a piano available..

We set up a section in the program in which I  play some written music such as Zapateado Illustrado and the Panaderos de las Flamenca or some Sevillanas.

It continues to make an impression on the audience because of my functioning as pianist surprises them. So far, I have not seen or heard any other Spanish dancers do this.. The music selected, is of course, far less complicated than the classical repertoire  I studied all my life. In this way I employed the collaboration of the two guitarists and lately the castanet playing of Clarita  in the Panaderos. This appears as a novelty for the public and is a refreshing departure from the dance and song of the main program.