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An Essential Guide To Spanish Guitar Progressions

Spanish guitar progressions are a lot of fun to play and improvise with especially when you combine them with the all-time classic flamenco chords.

Once you understand how the music typically works at its most basic level you'll be able to create a solid platform upon which to base all your future studies. This in turn will help you to understand what you are playing and more able to perform it with authority.

The Basic Form

Let's begin by learning chord progressions when presented at their most basic and simple forms. You'll come to find that practically any musical form, no matter how complex, can be broken down into very simply elements, even an opera by Mozart!

Flamenco guitar progressions they will typically work in this way…

I - VII - VI - V

Let us imagine that we are in the key of A minor which, when applied to that formula, would make the chords…

Am - G - F - E

This descending movement of chords is at the heart of Spanish guitar progressions. You can apply it to any key however the most used keys in flamenco music are Am, Dm, Em, C#m and Bm. If we applied the formula to the key of D minor the chords would be…

Dm - C - Bb - A

Adding A Strong Flamenco Flavor To The Chords

Firstly it should be noted that unlike most other music we are used to hearing, flamenco progressions do not have a main cadence of V - I but rather of VI - V. This is at the very heart of Spanish musical progressions and where it gets a big part of its distinctive sound.

The second thing to notice is that when the chords in the progression are harmonized only the I chord is minor, all the others are actually major chords. This can seem surprising especially as Spanish guitar music and flamenco appear to sound so minor in their tonality!

If we take our first progression again, the chords would typically be…

Am - G7 - F7 - E7b9 (There is a specific piece in our Spanish guitar lessons using this exact progression)

From this we see another important foundation of the music is revealed - that dominant seven chords or dominant chords in general are super important to getting the sound of flamenco guitar right.

The 7b9 chord in particular is about as flamenco as it gets and it's a lot of fun to create instant flamenco chord progressions simply through following these basic rules. Have fun!