This composition, La Vidala bulerías is a traditional folk song from Spain that I perform in the style of bulerias. Please take notice of the sound and you will hear a non standard flamenco harmony. The harmony is not based on the flamenco modes but based upon the Aeolian mode.
Generally speaking, we tend to associate flamenco with a phrygian mode with a major tonic. However, a lot of flamenco music from Spain does not use the phrygian mode but simply creates extreme rhythmic and expressive variations of more simple major and minor mode.
Flamenco is a form of deep expression that can transform simple songs into complex art works. For such we use more complex 12 beat rhythms , more harmonic variations and complex melodic embellishments, but the mode of the harmony can be of different colors.
How I recorded it
I recorded this song live in my studio here in Melbourne using one Schoeps cardioid Mic placed in a position where I was able to capture a balance between the direct sound of the mic, and my nice studio room sound. In the recording I use minimum compression and a 2db boost in eq around 1200 khz.
In other words, you will hear exactly how I was performing it as if you were standing in the room with me.
How do I develop the improvisation in flamenco
I would like to point out to my guitar students that all my melodic and harmonic embellishments are based upon adding tension and release to the basic harmonic structures of the song and reharmonisation. I also play solely in two positions of the guitar.
This form of playing makes it really easy to concentrate on the melody I wish to perform and vary it on the go and not have to worry about changing positions as I can hear and see all I wish to play in one position.
The pulse of this composition is the buleria rhythm and the 12 bar phrase. All melodies I create have the sole purpose of defining this groove. I also base my improvisation on creating rhythm and melodies that help define the groove of the buleria. Most flamenco guitarists prepare their improvisations and reinterpret them live however as a jazz improvisation I need to create on the go and it takes me much longer to lay down solid pathways for my improvisation.
This form of improvisation takes me a long time to develop as not only am I defining melody but also bass lines and reharmonisation of the original song.
For those that wish to develop their creativity please list my online guitar lessons website.
Two years of live guitar performances
I have been performing this track live at my concerts around Australian and internationally for over two years. There I am at a stage where I feel that the interpretation of this song is very solid and most of the ideas I like to explore live are summarised with clarity on my execution. In other words the song is now ripe for picking and ready for you to enjoy in a recorded medium.
I am very happy with this recording as I have finally achieved my musical goals.