Flamenco Guitar Repertoire

Essential Palos For Guitarists

As a flamenco guitarist, there are certain forms you'll be expected to play, depending on the situation. Although you'll eventually want to be familiar with every form, certain forms show up all the time, some almost never show up, and others come in and out of fashion.

Rather than worrying about knowing everything before doing anything, I prefer to have my students start accompanying dance classes and performing as soon as possible.

Below, I've created a list of twelve essential flamenco forms, grouped by performance situation. This list is by no means exhaustive and there are no hard and fast rules, but it will give you a general idea of what to expect and what will be expected of you once you start working with dancers and singers.

Beginning-level flamenco dance class

At the beginning level, you shoud know how to play these forms por arriba or por medio. You should know their llamadas and be able to recognize the dancer's cues.

Tangos

A foundational form, this is the parent form for all the 4-count forms.

Soleares

A foundational form, this is the parent form for all of the 12-count forms.

Bulerías

This exciting, high-energy 12-count form is closely assoiciated with the city of Jerez.

Intermediate/advanced flamenco dance class

Each of these forms involves changes in tempo and changes from section to section. You should know what these changes are and be able to recognize their cues.

Tientos

A slow, 4-count form.

Alegrías

An upbeat, 12-count form in a major key closely associated with Cádiz.

Guajíras

A 12-count Ida y Vuelta form based on Cuban rhythms. 

Soleá Por Bulerias

The hybrid form combining the music of the soleares and the tempo and beat structure of the bulerías.

Siguiriyas

A 12-count form with an unusual beat structure.

Group pieces in a tablao

These forms aren't difficult, but they are standards and you should be able to play any of them at a drop of a sombrero cordobés.

Rumba

This quick 4-count festero form is closely associated with the Gypsy Kings.

Fandangos de Huelva

A 6-count song and dance from the province of Huelva; performed frequently in tablaos.

Sevillanas

This 6-count folk and classical dance from Sevilla is an instrinsic part of the Feria de Sevilla.           

Flamenco solos performed in tablao or concert

These forms are dramatic and change tempo and section quickly. To play these forms successfully, the guitarists must work closely, almost telepathically, with the dancer and singer.

La Caña

A 12-count form thought to be the ancient prototype for the soleares.

Tarantas

An arythmic form associated with a companion 4-count dance form, the tarantos.

Farruca

A four count, primarily dance form.

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