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Flamenco comps

Flamenco comps
By Sal Bonavita

This free Ebook is a product of

Sal's flamenco Soapbox


Copyright 2006 by Sal Bonavita herso.freeservers.com You are allowed to distribute this Ebook to others. But the actual content may NOT be re-published in electronic, print, website text or any other form without the express written permission of the author. Contact me if you have any questions sal565@hotmail.com More free ebooks can be downloaded from herso.freeservers.com/ebooks.html

Flamenco comps

Flamenco comps
Contents
What is a comps? The comps clock Soleares Alegras Bulerias Siguiriyas Other methods of counting comps Dream up your own method Use a metronome Flamenco metronomes

What is comps
This is the metered out rhythm, or beat cycle of a dance/song form. It is the basic element of flamenco rhythm. Specifically, comps is a recurring cycle of beats analogous to a bar of music. The beat cycle may be 2, 4, 6, 8 or 12 beats, depending on the rhythmic form. Although there are typical accents within the cycle that a beginner would learn, these accents may vary to accommodate the syncopated variations that artists introduce into the music. Rhythmic syncopations are inevitable as the music gets more complex, but the basic "feeling" and "heartbeat" must always be there for something to be called flamenco. After a brief flight of syncopated rhythm or melody, some of the typical accents are expected to return to the music and be clearly heard, like returning regularly to a home base. With 12 beat rhythms, it is especially important to know exactly where you are in the cycle. What you don't do is leave out a beat or add an extra one because you feel like it. There is enough scope to be creative in flamenco without being careless. If you like to wander off and do your own dreamy, musical thing when you get high on Marijuana, then I suggest you try calling your music Avante Garde, because flamenco does not tolerate experimental sloppiness.

So you want to learn flamenco guitar?


There are three rules of accompaniment: 1) Stay in comps. 2) Stay in comps. 3) Stay in comps.

The comps clock


The typical accents that are indicated on this page are the "home base" comps patterns that dictate the unique rhythmic structure of these song forms. My focus here is on rhythmic structures that have a cycle of 12 beats. Keep in mind that by definition a 2 beat (Tarantos), 4 beat (Farruca), 6 beat (Sevillanas) or 8 beat (Tangos) rhythmic structure is also referred to as comps. One of the best ways to learn the 12 beat comps is to visualise a clock face.

Flamenco Metronome Comps 3.0 graf-martinez.info from Gerhard Graf-Martinez Although there are other flamenco metronomes on the market, this is the only product I know of which uses a clock face to count comps beats.

Flamenco comps

It should be noted that using the 12 positions of a clock face to indicate the typical accents of 12 beat forms is NOT a universally accepted concept. Be aware that there are flamenco snobs who will laugh at the idea as being overly simplistic. However, I believe this method of visualising comps can be enlightening for beginners and helps to clear much of the fog surrounding flamenco rhythms. The point is that you should eventually aim to internalise the comps and "feel" the rhythm without reference to visual aids.

Soleares 1 2

10

11

12

Other forms with this comps structure are Caa, Polo, Policiana and Sole por Bulerias

Alegras 1 2

10

11

12

This is essentially the same as Soleares, except that the 12 count is subdued or softened. Other forms with this comps structure are Cantias, Mirabrs, Caracoles and Romeras

Bulerias - Variation 1 This is the usual way to count bulerias with extra accent on the 3:

12

10

11

Bulerias - Variation 2 The accents are placed on each count of 1, to correspond with the 12, 3, 6, 8 and 10 of the clock. This divides up the 12 into bite size chunks of 3-3-2-2-2

Bulerias - Variation 3 In the real world, the count of 7 is often accented instead of 6 like this:

12

7 8

10

11

Other forms with this comps structure are Guajiras, Peteneras, Zorongo and Albores

Siguiriyas - Variation 1

10

11

12

Siguiriyas - Variation 2 (12 equally spaced counts).

and

and

and

and

and

Other forms with this comps structure are Livianas and Serranas

Flamenco comps

This is what the linear comps relationships look like

This diagram is from flamenco-aqui.dk Other methods of counting comps Some people count a 12 beat cycle always starting on one. Buleras accents would therefore be interpreted as

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Siguiriyas would be interpreted as

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12.
I feel a headache coming on. Do you find that helpful? I don't. Starting everything on the count of one is as clear as mud to a beginner. I believe in keeping things simple to begin with. Then there are those who insist you should not be counting at all. That's fine for someone with lots of experience with flamenco, but if we examine the motives behind such a statement, I can't help but conclude that this attitude arises from a simple personal prejudice. To be so stubborn and pedantic is not helpful. One of the things to avoid all all costs, is to start thinking in terms of "my interpretation is right and yours is wrong". There is no wrong and right here. They are all simply that - interpretations - and in the end they all serve the same purpose. Once you have internalized the comps, I agree that is it best to stop relying on counting with numbers. See further comments and quotes on this issue at the bottom of this page. But in the meantime, visualizing the 12 positions of a clock face will certainly help. Dream up your own method There is no single concept formula that is better than another. And there is no rule book that says you MUST use someone else's method of keeping track of comps. If you dream up other methods that involve counting the carriages of an imaginary freight train, or counting pigs through a turnstile, that is entirely up to you. It may surprise you to know that some people don't count out the comps at all. They feel it, or beat it out with their foot or hands or simply verbalise it with rhythmic mutterings such as "TAKA taka taka TAKA taka taka"...., or whatever. In dance class you will naturally be exposed to the preference of the teacher you end up with. One thing is for sure. Flamenco is not a random art form. Understanding the 12 beat count is absolutely essential before you can astound your family and friends at parties with your skill as a dancer (or guitarist). "When one takes up flamenco dancing, one of the first things to learn is the structure of the different rhythms.....The more one listens and absorbs, the more you understand without counting.....it is best to try not to count once you know the comps, because it will inhibit the freedom of expression later on.....Counting is improtant to know, but once understood, best forgotton.....too many get caught up with the base elements of 3, 6, 8, 10, 12 and if anything deviates from that, they are thrown." Extracts from Teo Morca's book, Flamenco Spirit Use a metronome Using a metronome is highly recommended to keep your timing from wandering. After you have bought a good pair of shoes or a new guitar, consider investing in these 'comps metronomes' shown here.

Flamenco comps

Flamenco metronomes
Flamenco Metronome Comps 3.0 graf-martinez.info

This metronome comes packed with features including preset practice time structures including twelve beat. You will love the scrolling simple music sheets for the major flamenco rhythms, (buleria, sole Siguiriya etc). It also comes with a three, six and four count which for use as a standard metronome. With a giant clock used to tick away the beat count it would greatly benefit all those looking to polish their Flamenco rhythm understanding. The most striking thing about this metronome is it's sleek design which provides access to all its features at once. The clock keeping the count is very large and easy to read. Volume and Tempo are controlled using sliders with the tempo ranging from 0 to 270 beats per minute. If you are serious about your flamenco you really must check this one out. Mundobeat Plus ugcarray.com/vko/mundosoft.htm

Flamenco Master guitartechnique.com

Flamenco comps

This free Ebook is a product of

Sal's flamenco Soapbox


Copyright 2006 by Sal Bonavita http://herso.freeservers.com You are allowed to distribute this Ebook to others. But the actual content may NOT be re-published in electronic, print, website text or any other form without the express written permission of the author. Contact me if you have any questions sal565@hotmail.com More free ebooks can be downloaded from herso.freeservers.com/ebooks.html