Flamenco Improvisation: Vol. 1
Modal Improvisation and Melodic Construction in the Flamenco Environment
by Enrique Vargas
Nobody knows more about flamenco's modal and harmonic language than Enrique Vargas. These manuals are a must for those who want to learn to compose or improvise modern flamenco.”
— Jose Jiménez el Viejín
Now in English! The definitive, comprehensive explanation of both the harmonic and melodic aspects of flamenco! - FLAMENCO IMPROVISATION - Modal Improvisation and Melodic Construction in the Flamenco Environment by famed guitarist Enrique Vargas.
- Published in three Volumes, over 1000 pages total - a monumental musical achievement!
- Flamenco is based on a combination of an Eastern modal system (known in Arabic as Maqam) and Western harmony. These volumes give you an understanding of the intricacies of Maqam and the harmony its complex tetrachordal combinations generate.
- Every scale, arpeggio and melodic pattern in these books comes with a corresponding guitar fingering, since the guitar is the primary instrument of flamenco. However, the material can be applied to any instrument.
- In addition, this series is a theoretical and practical manual for composers, improvisers, performers, arrangers and musicologists interested in modal music in general, and/or flamenco modalities in particular.
VOLUME 1 - Melodic and Harmonic Aspects of the Seven Basic Modes
- Before delving into the more complex, polytonal, tetrachordal modal structures of flamenco, Volume 1 explores the melodic and harmonic aspects of the seven basic Greek modes (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian), even if they arent bona fide flamenco modalities.
- In addition, the general rules of left-hand guitar fingerings are established here, to avoid possible confusion when interpreting the wealth of material offered in the second and third volumes. The fingering rules are much easier to understand when using the seven basic Greek modes as an example.
- In this first volume, the concept of symmetrical permutations is analyzed and explained and three types of symmetrical permutations, with their corresponding guitar fingerings, are presented for the basic modes. These permutations are perfectly valid for musical instruments other than the guitar — one can play them and just ignore the guitar fingering symbols.
- Every harmonic aspect of the seven basic modes are explained — triads, seventh, ninth and add chords, etc. Arpeggios and various guitar fingerings are given.
- One appendix gives a compendium of 72 licks, or melodic examples/ideas for improvisation, written in each of the basic modes. These licks are harmonized and each come with complete guitar fingerings. In another appendix, phrases are created by inserting various chromatic embellishments into the basic modes, as well as into different types of arpeggios.
- Spiral-bound, 387 pages!
Also by Enrique Vargas
Endorsements from renowned Flamenco guitarists
Nobody knows more about flamencos modal and harmonic language than Enrique Vargas. These manuals are a must for those who want to learn to compose or improvise modern flamenco.”
— Jose Jiménez el Viejín
Enrique Vargas is a real expert when it comes to all these complex scales we use in flamenco today.”
— José Fernandez Torres Tomatito
Great books from a great musician.”
— Juán José Suarez Paquete
A true treasure; you need years and years to process all this incredible information.”
— Antón Jiménez
Enrique Vargas is a Madrid-based educator with a PhD in music, specializing in flamenco. He is known for his transcriptions in the Great Guitars of Flamenco Library and for transcribing Paco de Lucia's "Almoraima" CD. Committed to preserving flamenco through quality sheet music, he's in the process of founding the Caño Roto school of flamenco guitar with José Jimenez "El Viejín" and is also preparing a comprehensive flamenco guitar method.