Learning about Flamenco has been for me the most successful way to “become a musician”
Here is the artistic research I wrote in Codarts in 2011, where I explore the way to play the piece DEBLA (Cristobal Halffter) through the knowledge of flamenco and taking as a reference the interpretation of a "taranta" sung by Camarón and played by Jorge Pardo.
You can find more detailed information about what you will find in this document (analysis, special fingerings or transcriptions) in the index below.
This is a part from an interview I was lucky to made to him, where he explains where he got his inspiration for the composition of this piece.
And this the version I played in my Master final exam (10/06/11)
In order to interpret a piece well, it is necessary to understand it as much as possible: to know its background, to get the character of the music, the intention of the composer... in short, to internalize it in a way that you could almost feel it as yours. Of course this is much easier if you play music that comes from your own cultural heritage.
Thinking of that matter, I realised that a good way for me to feel as a “real musician” would be, in the first place, to play music of my background: Spanish Music and, further than that, Flamenco.
I am from the South of Spain and that is why I had heard flamenco before, but it was not until I left my own country to live in Rotterdam, where I met some people who transmitted me their passion for this style, that I got fascinated by it. I began, then, to know the flamenco in a deeper way and it was surprising to discover how close I feel this style and how much I would like to understand it and be part of it as well. Playing flamenco I feel a kind of freedom and spontaneity as I had never felt before, this fact gives me the sensation that I can finally contribute to the world of music.
With a classical formation, once I had decided that I wanted to experiment with flamenco for my research, I needed something to connect both styles and to apply there my experience.
I knew about a piece that was based in flamenco: Debla [Solo VI], by Cristobal Halffter, for Flute alone (1980). Debla is the name of one of the palos1 of the flamenco. It is a very expressive song for solo voice that is sometimes accompanied with a stick or with the hand in the thigh. It is supposed that this palo inspired Halftter to compose this piece and you can perceive its influence on it.
Taking into account that the piece is based on a solo voice song I realised that I had to learn much more about Flamenco in general but I had to focus on one of its parts: the flute playing imitating the voice in the cante. There is almost nothing written about this specific topic so, to get the proper material, I used a Jorge Pardo’s song in which he imitates the singing of Camaron: Se me partio la barrena3. I think this song, which includes the most important flamenco singer nowadays and the flamenco flute was perfect for this purpose.
I have done the transcription and the analysis of the piece in order to discover the tools and the effects that Jorge Pardo uses to imitate the voice and then I intend to use these characteristics in my playing of the Halffter’s piece to create a closer flamenco interpretation of it. I have also analysed and played the Halffter’s Debla trying to put into practice everything I have learnt from my study of flamenco, my conclusions of Jorge Pardo’s song analysis and the advice that I luckily received from the composer himself in an interview I got from him.
In the next pages I will tell my personal experiences in my study of Flamenco and I will also speak briefly about the flamenco history and the introduction of the flute in this style. In addition, everything about the analysis of the pieces of both styles as well as my final conclusions about their interpretation are included.
Exploring my roots has changed my concept of the music helping me enormously to understand other styles too, improving my interpretation, and I have also increased my professional options, so I assume I have achieved the aims that I wanted to reach with my research.
1. My experience in the development of the research
1.1 Data Collection
1.5 Cristobal Halffter Interview.
2. Flamenco History
2.2 The Rise of Flamenco 2.3 The Golden Age
2.4 The "Theatrical" period 2.5 Flamenco Renaissance
3. Taranta analysis
3.1 “Se me partió la barrena”. Camaron and Paco de Lucía.
3.2. “Se me partió la barrena”. Jorge Pardo Version.
3.3 Transcription of the song.
3.4 Analysis and conclusions: Characteristics of the flute imitating the voice in the flamenco style.
3.5 Creating an own version
4. “Debla” by Cristobal Halffter
4.1 About the origin of Debla
4.2 About Cristobal Halffter’s piece “Debla”
4.3 Formal and Harmonic Analysis of Halffter’s Debla
4.4 About the interpretation of the piece.
4.4.1. General remarks
4.4.2. Application of the characteristics of the flute imitating the voice in the flamenco style to the interpretation of Halffter’s Debla
4.4.3. Specific parts linked with the score.
- Appendix A: Transcriptions
- Appendix B: Debla - Score with the links of 4.4.3, 4.4.4 and 4.4.5
- Appendix C: Debla - Dynamics diagram