Good Afternoon and Welcome to a video you asked me a lot about the Harmony in Flamenco Music Well, I wanted to start from the origins the origins come from Ancient Greece Greeks used descendent scales based in tetrachords set of 4 notes mixed together 4 in 4 and they got a scale they were descendent. This is very important because when it is descendent it generates a tension between half tones which makes this relation from leading tone to tonic which we also find in Flamenco music we’ll see it now the main modes were Doric, Phrygian, Lydian and Myxolide the Greek Doric is the origin of Flamenco why is it like this? well, between notes there are tones and half tones these are distances if tone is like this semitone is the half although as other theories say, it isn’t in the middle exactly, but ok more or less, to understand it from C to D there is always a tone D to E, tone but naturally we find half tones from E to F and from B to C without altering any note with flat or sharp so REMEMBER from E to F and from B to C there is a half tone what happens with Doric mode? It is built from E E, D, C, B, A, G, F, E Then, we find half tones at the same places as Flamenco scales why today we know it as Phrygian mode? well, it is a long story Music changed, evolved, and at the Middle Age we found Gregorian chant this was the evolution of the flat song with the intention of telling the Bible to the to Christian believers in the Middle Age, they took those Greek modes and they changed them starting from the names they called them Protus, Deuterus, Tritus and Tetrardus And we also had Plagal modes and Authentic Modes and a very important thing is that they changed descendent scales for ASCENDENT SCALES because they understood scales in a different way we have to consider that music in that period Greek music or Medieval music don’t seem in almost anything to the music we have now why? because music nowadays has vertical chords and before music was totally horizontal I mean, there were voices singing the same melody monodically if they sang a Kyrie which is a part of the mass which is sung I just made it up if someone else joins they’re gonna sing the same and they sang it following one of their scales they took Protus ok, so we sing inside Protus scale and they just sang with Protus notes Greeks did the same if they took Mixolidian, they only sang with Mixolidian notes that’s the purpose of scales, to organize the music and each one sounds different this horizontal line just a line going ahead Dorian Greek mode, they could play for example improvising horizontally over the Phrygian mode, which is actually the Doric Greek mode This evolved and at the end of Middle Age, they called these modes or scales which had changed from Doric etc. from Greeks to Protus, Deuterus… and they recalled them with Greek names but wrong I mean, now Doric mode is called Phrygian mode by the medievals and the rest, reorganized That’s why today we know Phrygian mode as a Flamenco mode or scale but this Phrygian mode isn’t really the origin but the Doric Greek one Because the Doric Greek mode was descendent when we play it ascendent, it’s not the same as playing it sounds pretty much flamenco why? if you put it descendent what happens? it isn’t D-E but F-E Remember: between F and E there was a half tone!! not between D and E but between F and E and between B and C that’s why before I played it in C major between B and C exists that tension that attraction music attracts, there are poles that attract like magnets in ascendent scale from E it doesn’t happen because there wasn’t a half tone at the end but if you put it upside down, descendent, it generates the needed tension to be able to relax there before there was the modality we moved in these scales and none of them had an attraction of leading tone-tonic that hard nor there weren’t grades as tonic, subdominant and dominant but that started to play for example, when we’re at C major we have tonic, subdominant and the dominant, with more tension than others if you let it like this, it isn’t conclusive it has to solve in tonic again to relax, to let music solved it’s like talking for example, if I say where are you going? this is not conclusive but if you answer to me: I’m going to the cinema you solved the phrase it’s like an arc with a point in the highest part with the most tension and down points are relaxed ones where are you going? I’m going to the cinema isn’t it? and inside of each semi phrase there is also a tension and distension where are you going? at the intonation of the phrase cause music is a language, it’s like talking so if we do it’s like saying where are you going? and you answer I’m going to the cinema it’s a very basic reason to explain how musical language works in tonality terms what happens today? well, that horizontal line was completed with chords I mean, more than one note over each note of the scale they formed vertical blocks of sound for example, over D they put D minor over C, C major over A, A minor over each note there is a chord but what happens? because Flamenco sounds very special as logic evolution of Greek Doric mode nowadays known as Phrygian mode, it should be: for example we take it in A, descending: A, G, F, E it should be minor but this doesn’t sound Flamenco because Flamenco put G # sharp to make the tonic major Although in the scale we don’t find any alteration which tells us G should be sharp so, how does it sound in Flamenco music? besides, they added other tensions which weren’t as Classical harmony but 7th, 9th… they weren’t added to chords before in that way and it’s still conclusive why? it’s curious, because from Classical music, it’s always seen from an ethnocentric point of view what’s ethnocentrism? it is when you try to analize the situation of others from your point of view just looking at your belly button I mean if you analize flamenco from classical point of view, you’ll never understand it it’s like trying to understand African irregular rhythms for example, or from Venezuela they contain 5 by 8 bars and you try to put them on shoes in a 3 by 4 it doesn’t fit in a 3 by 4, it is not its size because it is a 5 irregular rhythm because it comes from popular music which has been refined and made itself cultured cause it evolved a lot but we should try to understand it from their parameters so a lot of classical musicians understood it wrong they thought that E major was the dominant of A minor and we weren’t inside a mode Greek or medieval for them, we were at tonality in A minor for them, it should solve in Am but Flamenco never solves in Am excepting tonal palos (flamenco styles) but palos as soleá, seguiriya, bulerías… no, they don’t solve in Am this was studied by classical good musicians there are a lot of classical musicians that did they were successful in their studies and they talked about those characteristics from Flamenco music forming a unique system, as for example Turina, Falla, or García Matos among other authors as Felipe Pedrell and they have methods or books where they explain all Flamenco harmony Turina was one of the first who defended Andalusian scale didn’t work as a tonality No! it remained in E and there it relaxed this was Andalusian scale Flamenco was born from it from that popular music which goes evolving taking an own language thanks to gypsies who gave a unique touch to the music a very special way of playing it thank to Andalusian people too, who sang it in a very special way too, both mixed and to that mix with classical elements which already existed in that period in that period they did those cadences but Andalusian and Andalusian gypsies refined and adapted and did this understanding it as the tonic that’s the special thing of Flamenco music it combined on the one hand, modality which comes from Greeks on the other hand, tonality adding to each note of this horizontality verticality it has the tonality it majorized a minor chord but inside the mode E doesn’t work as the dominant we have to remember that always and it also has what Andalusian gypsies added with those tensions of 7th and 9th in Romanticism period with strumming techniques before, cultured guitar was the one picked also mixed with strumming guitar but in popular music people didn’t have access to the culture so they developed a lot the strumming technique and thumb techniques as Alzapúa which you can listen to in one of my videos playing a Soleá I let you the link in cards or in the description below well, the evolution of strumming techniques also added a unique characteristic to Flamenco and it also has the influence Jewish culture and all cultures that passed through Andalusia which is unique and besides, Arab influence too the one that came to Andalusia and stayed a lot of time of which we are reminiscent through scales as, for example, the Hispanic-Arabic which was mixed with the scale we had here as the “Phrygian” scale which was actually the Greek Doric scale it sounds like this (Hispanic-Arabic scale) it sounds pretty much Arabic So when Flamenco guitarists improvise, they use all these tools to contribute with all these influences that’s why when something doesn’t sound Flamenco it is because it doesn’t have or it isn’t capturing all the essence af all these influences you can capture and these Hispanic-Arabic scales come from Arabic scales as for example, the Hijaz scale also formed by tetrachords instead of doing A, G, F, E Andalusian cadence, they do A, G#, F, E and it gets that point much more Arabic so you can play both, combine them and we find it at a lot of Flamenco palos (styles) so Harmonic Flamenco System is a unique system because it isn’t either modal neither tonal but it combines the best of both with Arabic influences Jewish influences too the influence of chant and all these things cause Arabs use a lot 1/4 tones I mean, before we talked about tone half-tone but there is also a more little thing the 1/4 tone there is something in between, for example E, F, E between E and F there is a half tone but there’s something in between too it’s a 1/4 tone too E, F, E E (1/4tone) F there’s something between and we don’t have it for example in the guitar cause we have frets but in instruments as oud, for example Arabic oud, it doesn’t have frets or a violin, a cello… instruments which don’t have notes limited by frets in tones or half tones so why there are things which have cadences similar to Andalusian cadence but it doesn’t sound Flamenco? why? it’s the key for example, we can see it through a Beatles song Michelle the beginning of Michelle goes like playing “por medio” (in A chord positions) it goes in D minor Andalusian cadence what does it have although it have this cadence, it doesn’t sound Flamenco is it that the singer doesn’t sing in English? well, apart from he doesn’t sing in Spanish or with Andalusian accent, which is important too in Flamenco, here, A works as a dominant of D it isn’t going to stay there the song follows the song should follow and finish in A but Michelle finishes in D in D major it’s playing with major mode, minor mode… but it doesn’t use Phrygian mode in a Flamenco way Neither has characteristic melismas nor 1/4 tones in voices which Andalusian people or Andalusian gypsies do so hope you loved this video I tried to analize Flamenco as I see it I am a classical guitarist I have to learn a lot from Flamenco but I always try to understand it not from a classical ethnocentric point of view as I said before, but staying inside of the parameters that Flamenco has listening to it and understanding it not seeing it from outside from a far position or superior position because it shouldn’t be like this Sometimes in Flamenco people don’t name things cause they have an oral tradition you learn it from me to you, from you to me the tradition gets transmited through people it’s not something with written tradition as classical music my purpose isn’t naming everything or classifying everything, because we can’t classify everything but we try to understand the magic of Flamenco which makes it unique and being able to give importance to it through these things hope you love it you can comment, ask me for new videos about this topic, I can make another if you want about Flamenco palos (styles) about the rhythms, because this video went about the harmony trying to explain why something sounds Flamenco you can subscribe, like and share with friends if you liked it thank you so much for watching!