Flamenco and the compás: "Fuera de compás" is actually the worst thing that can happen to a flamenco performer. Imagine a dance band playing a waltz and somewhere one or two beats are left out in 3/4 time - unimaginable for listeners and dancers. Now in flamenco it is a little more difficult not to get out of time, or compás, but roughly comparable to the waltz example. Dancers who don't dance in compás, singers who don't sing in compás, and guitarists who don't play in compás are shunned by other artists because no collaboration is possible. Even if you only play "flamenco" at home in your "little room", the compás should be respected, or the knowledge of the compás should be present, otherwise it is not flamenco. I hear again and again guitarists, especially here in German-speaking countries, who play difficult falsetas by well-known virtuosos, but where it is not possible to tap the beat with the foot, let alone determine a compás. This is not flamenco!
Flamenco rhythm: The problem is that outside of Spain, the "cow is put up by the tail" is often used. By this I mean that a guitarist who wants to learn flamenco will rarely reach his goal if he first starts to study compositions by e.g. PACO DE LUCÍA according to recordings or sheet music. This is totally contrary to the way of learning the toque in Spain, more precisely in Andalusia. All of them, from RAMÒN MONTOYA to VICENTE AMIGO, first accompanied cante and baile and worked as professional accompanists for a long time before they started playing solo guitar. A guitarist who does not play in compás and claims that being a "solo guitarist" is not so tragic "fuera de compás" demonstrates at best his ignorance - but flamenco is not!
*) Compás = measure; rhythmic unit
Already years ago I had the idea that there must be a device, a kind of metronome, which reproduces these compases visually and acoustically. This idea resulted in the flamenco metronome "Compás Flamenco" shown above. The production of the device was stopped at the end of the 1990s and replaced by a software - see Flamenco-Metronom and FlamencoReloj.
The purpose of this metronome is to have control over the compás during difficult falsetas, or dance passages. For the guitarist who practices with it from the beginning, the compás becomes a matter of course.
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