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Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions
Cierres and remates for siguiriyas
18 December 2020

Here are 49 examples of what guitarists from the past recorded toward the end of their siguiriyas falsetas. You can use these ideas as segments to create endings for your falsetas. The segments are presented in two sections:

19 cierres to resolve to the tonic on beat four.
30 remates to finish on beat five.

Cierres (beats three and four)

The examples were taken from historical recordings and are arranged according to the number of notes in each idea. Just for reference, let's start by looking at a typical siguiriyas falseta spread over two complete compases (the falseta is written in a three-part time signature of 2/4, 6/8 and 1/4):

(click on the image to listen)
falseta básic de siguiriya

All of the ideas presented here come from the longer third and fourth beats of the five-beat rhythm. In the falseta above, you can see that there are patterns of six notes at three of these points. The samples below are patterns of three, four, five, six and seven notes in different combinations of time values for resolution to the tonic on the fourth beat. You can see this idea above in the last measure of the falseta, where B flat resolves to A (several ideas here use the "por arriba" position, in which F resolves to E).

Three-note patterns

Examples 3a and 3b are from Juan Gandulla "Habichuela" in 1909. Example 3c is from the great Melchor de Marchena in 1950 with Tomás Pavón and is typical of the vigor that characterized his brilliant acccompaniment.

(click on the images to listen)
cierre 3acierre 3bcierre 3c
Four-note patterns

Sample 4a is from Antonio Pérez in 1932 with Vallejo, and 4b is from Ricardo in 1928 with Pastora. Both ideas are still very commonly used. Sample 4c is from Andrés Heredia in 1972 with Manolo Vargas. The harmony adds a stinging quality to the lashing half-sextuplet figure. Sample 4d, from Ramón Montoya in 1928 with Aurelio, is in the key of E and uses the same rhythmic figure as 4c.

(click on the images to listen)
cierre 4acierre 4bcierre 4ccierre 4d
Five-note patterns

Sample 5a is from Juan Moreno in 1958 and Andrés Heredia in 1962. Sample 5b is from Manolo de Badajoz in 1930, but can be found a year earlier on a recording by Ramón Montoya. Sample 5c is from Manolo de Brenes with el Chocolate. Sample 5d, in the key of E, is from Melchor in 1966, and 5e is from Niño Ricardo a year later with Mairena. Sample 5f is also by Ricardo, from 1966 with Talega. Notice the beautiful remate that follows.

(click on the images to listen)
cierre 5acierre 5bcierre 5c
cierre 5dcierre 5ecierre 5f
Six-note patterns

Sample 6a is Niño Ricardo in 1933, 6b is Melchor in 1972, 6c is Ricardo in 1933 and 6d is Andrés Heredia in 1962. It takes a fast thumb to play this last cierre.

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cierre 6acierre 6bcierre 6ccierre 6d
Seven-note patterns

Sample 7a, in the key of E, is Ricardo in 1966 with Talega. Sample 7b is Melchor in 1972 with Mairena. The track, titled "Al moro me voy," is a good example of the outstanding musicianship of Melchor Jiménez Torres. He precedes this part with arpeggios and slurred notes played with his thumb and index in quintuplets, sixteenths and double triplets. The result is an intricate tapestry of music, astounding in its dynamic phrasing and mathematical precision.

(click on the images to listen)
cierre 7acierre 7b

Remates (beats four and five)

These ideas are played at the end of falsetas and normally start after resolution to the tonic. You can combine the remates with the cierres to finish your falsetas in different ways. The ideas here are arranged according to complexity, and it is interesting to observe their evolution over the years.

To some extent, I have simplified the notation of beat five to better represent the ideas as found in the majority of the recordings studied.

These four remates are very basic. Remate 1 can be found throughout the earliest recordings of flamenco guitarists such as Juan Gandulla, Ramón Montoya, and Javier Molina (as well as in Rafael Marín's guitar method published in 1902). However, by the mid-1930s, this idea had disappeared, giving way to Remate 2, which remains common today. Remates 3 and 4 are variations on this basic idea.

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remate 1remate 2remate 3remate 4

Remate 5 is from Perico del Lunar viejo in 1958 with Pepe el Culata. Remate 6 is from Andrés Heredia in 1962 with Aurelio. Remate 7 is from Morao with Terremoto (compare this to Remate 8).

(click on the images to listen)
remate 5remate 6remate 7

Remate 8 is from Melchor in 1959 with Pepe el Culata. Notice how the remates start to incorporate the slurred C sharp. Remate 9 is from Melchor in 1950 with Pastora, Remate 10 is from Parrilla in 1962 with la Piriñaca and Remate 11 is from Ricardo in 1928 with Pastora.

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remate 8remate 9remate 10remate 11

Remates 12 and 13 are very common and were often used by Melchor. Remate 14, from Juan Carmona in 1968, uses a similar rhythmic pattern (compare it to Remate 21, also from Juan, recorded 21 years later). Remate 15 is from Manolo de Badajoz with el Gloria. He seems to be the only guitarist that recorded this simple yet highy effective idea and was perhaps its creator.

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remate 12remate 13remate 14remate 15

Remate 16 is from Ricardo in 1933 with Vallejo (compare this to Remate 12). Remate 17 is from Manolo de Brenes and Antonio Arenas. Remate 18 is from Ricardo in 1967 with Mairena. Notice the two-finger arpeggio that he would frequently squeeze in between the beats, also present in Remate 26.

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remate 16remate 17remate 18

Remates 19 and 20 are from Morao with Terremoto. Remate 21 is from Juan Carmona in 1989 with José el de la Tomasa (compare this to Remate 14, recorded 21 years earlier).

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remate 19remate 20remate 21

Remate 22 is a highly rhythmic device recorded by Antonio Arenas in 1965 with Pepe el Culata. Remates 23, 24, 25 and 27 use the thumb in a driving upward arpeggio across the strings, with the index playing the second note. These ideas are very common today, and may have their origin in remate 15, from Manolo de Badajoz. Remate 23 is from Andrés Heredia in 1962 with Aurelio. Remates 24 and 27 are from el Poeta with el Chocolate and are nearly identical. Remate 25 is from Manolo de Brenes with el Chocolate. Remate 26, from Ricardo in 1967 with Mairena, makes use of a two-finger arpeggio between the beats, as in Remate 18. Obviously, a variation on this would involve the second string instead of the repetition of the third string.

(click on the images to listen)
remate 22remate 23remate 24
remate 25remate 26remate 27

The last three remates are rasgueados. Remate 28 is from Félix de Utrera with Enrique Morente. Tuck your fingernails into your palm or your thumb, flicking them across the strings for an explosive sound. Notice that the rasgueo starts after the third of the three subdivisions of beat four. Remate 29 is the end to one of Ricardo's best known siguiriyas falsetas and involves free and relaxed strumming of the fingers (don't flick). Remate 30, from el Poeta, uses a rotating motion of the wrist and forearm, with thumb upstrokes represented by "q." The last two remates are rhythmically identical, but the different fingerings produce different textures.

(click on the images to listen)
remate 28remate 29remate 30
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