Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Rhythm of the Streets

When we walk down the streets in America, the soundtrack in our mind runs on a 4/4 time signature: 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4...OR 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4...

In Spain, when we promenade, we have a totally different rhythm pattern running through our mind: 12 3 45 6 7 8 9 10 11 12... OR 12345 6, 12345 6...OR 12 3, 12 3, 12 3, 12 3...OR 12 3 456 78 9 10 11 12...OR "a sand wich" "a sand wich"

It's true...Travel and see!

About "A sand wich":
 This refers to the contratiempo beat, which is the syncopated clapping so often used in flamenco. You will need to clap on the "and" in-between two whole notes (for example: 1 and 2 and 3 and 4). One of the best methods to internalizing this feeling of the syncopation is to practice keeping time “on” the beat with your foot while making a clap precisely midway between the beats you are keeping with your foot, there by clapping on the off-beats. Once again, start slowly and build your speed up. A method I use when teaching (taught to me by the estimable La Meira is to use the phrase “sand-wich, A, sand-wich” while clapping and stamping. The word “Sand” refers to the foot stamp, followed by “wich”(clap), without pause clap on the “A” and repeat with foot stomp on “sand”...etc. Numerically that sequence corresponds to “sand=1” “wich=and” space for 2 “A=and. Once again, focus on the precision of timing and the quality and consistency of your tone. Once you feel secure, you are ready to add jaleo or a basic foot pattern with both the on- and off- beat palmas.

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