Spanish And Flamenco Guitar Chords
Rhythmically, flamenco music is very refined and it's rhythm measures or "compas" play a big part in giving the music is characteristic sound.
The harmonic engine powering flamenco is of course the chords (and very specific ones at that) along with the progressions and cadences.
As a student of flamenco it's important to have some grasp of how Spanish guitar chords are constructed as this will go a long way to removing some of the mystery around how exactly this distinctive sound is being achieved. It will also give you more creative power should you ever wish to compose some simple Spanish guitar music of your own.
The Dominance Of Dominant 7 Chords In Flamenco
Even though flamenco music sounds minor or dark in its overall tonality, most of the chords used are actually MAJOR.
Dominant 7 chords are of extreme importance and are often embellished meaning that extra notes are added. This is where flamenco becomes very interesting as it's through the addition of extra notes to create deep dissonances that the music achieves much of its unsettling and fiery nature.
A classic example of a flamenco guitar chord would be E7b9. This is a dominant seven chord and one which, in the correct key, would actually act as a chord of rest in a typical flamenco cadence. The addition of the b9 however to the dominant seven creates a wonderfully exciting dissonance full of darkness and unease.
It's through a constant suspension of consonance that Spanish guitar chords succeed so well in creating the typical flamenco sound we all know so well.
Dominant seven chords are already posses inherent tension in their soul due to the presence of a tritone interval. Hundreds of years ago in classical music this was already enough tension to create a sense of dissonance to the ears of listeners in those days however as time and musical innovation have developed over the centuries our ears have gradually become more and more tolerant of dissonance to the point where a dominant seven chord no longer sounds very dissonant at all.
Minor Flamenco Chords And Harmonic Interest
Minor flamenco guitar chords are another interesting point of harmonic interest.
They benefit greatly from the addition of the 9th to the minor triad and immediately help establish a brooding and dark tonality from which the 7b9 chords will only feed from and enhance. As you progress in your technical facility to play Spanish guitar you're sure to discover that the use of chords in flamenco is an entire universe in itself and in fact you will never stop learning from the limitless possibilities of inversions and different voicing's available.
So why are chords so important when it comes to understanding flamenco music?
Well essentially you should see them as the birth place of not only how the music sounds but also from where much of the melodic lines originate.
Everything melodically is being based out of the chords and their harmonic possibilities. You'll find that some chords in standard progressions don't get as altered as others.
Generally speaking the chords of C and Dm are left as they are a lot while E, Am, F and Bb are often transformed into ambiguous and mysterious chord voicings with the addition of many extra tones taken from both inside and outside of the home key.