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Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions
Basic soleares falsetas por arriba
9 December 2020

Here are some very basic examples of flamenco guitar falsetas (phrases) in the soleares style and in the key of E (known as por arriba). Some basic techniques of flamenco guitar are used in the falsetas, such as thumbed lines, rasgueados and arpeggios. This is a good way to start to learn to play flamenco, but first you'll need to be familiar with flamenco's asymmetrical 12-beat rhythm, known as compás.

Falseta 1

This is heard in many old recordings from different guitarists. Keep your thumb in a curve, bent back so that the tip is facing up, and play rest strokes (thumb comes to rest on next string after striking a note).

soleá por arriba 1

Falseta 2

Another very old falseta heard in one form or another from almost all old-time players. The double bar line falls between beat 12 and beat 1. You can rearrange this falseta by changing the places of measures 1 and 3, but you should accent beat 8. Hold the sixth-string F over beats 7 to 9.

soleá por arriba 2

Falseta 3

Around the middle of the 20th centry, this falseta was played as a response to falseta 2. The triplets in the last measure add to the rhythmic drive.

soleá por arriba 3

Falseta 4

This falseta continues with the same idea and may be used a bit more freely, as it doesn't need another full compás as a "response," like falseta 2. The great Melchor de Marchena recorded this falseta.

soleá por arriba 4

Falseta 5

Another falseta that was popular in the past. At beats 3 and 6, you can include the F on the fourth string at the third fret.

falseta 5

Falseta 6

The strumming is called rasgueado. The indicated fingering is typical of old-school playing. Other forms have become popular, and, in general, fingerings will vary as guitarists adapt this technique to suit their hands and ability. You can include the corresponding notes on the fifth and sixth strings in the chording. Instead of quintuplets, you can strum in sixteenths (a-m-i-i).

soleá por arriba 6

Falseta 7

Sabicas often played arpeggios like these in his soleás. Measure 3 is a classic cierre (closing sequence) heard from just about everybody. You can add an F on the fourth string (third fret) at beat 8 and play a G sharp on the third string (first fret) in the slur that ends the falseta. Notice the right-hand fingering of the slur, which places ring, middle and index on the second, third and fourth strings. The idea can also be fingered p-p-i-m-a-a-m-i, as the slur on the first string allows for two consecutive ring-finger strokes.

soleá por arriba 7

Falseta 8

For a more basic version that makes a nice introduction to this falseta, play measures 3 and 4 back to back for a full 12 beats, accenting beats 3, 6, 8 and 10. Diego de Morón has recorded this falseta in a prime example of "call and response," adding variations to each unfolding measure.

soleá por arriba 8

Falseta 9

These kinds of arpeggios are an important part of the variety of techniques used in soleares. Observe the phrasing at beats 3 and 6.

soleá por arriba 9

Falseta 10

The sequence of "double-triplet arpeggio, eighth-note bass and quintuplet slur" is identical in the first two measures, and the third measure contains a variation. Repeating sequences like these are found in many falsetas.

soleá por arriba 10

Falseta 11

This is a nice way to finish a series of arpeggios. In the first measure, hold an A minor chord with your fretting hand. Notice how the striking-hand thumb and index share duties on the third string through beats 6 to 8. Some arpeggio patterns even place the thumb on a higher-pitched string than the index.

falseta 11

Falseta 12

Here the thumb outlines G7, C7 and F6 chords. This idea can also be played with arpeggios (see falseta 7) and rasgueados.

soleá por arriba 12

Remates 1-3

These one-measure figures are to be played at the end of the compás, over beats 10-12. They are called remates, and they form an important part of guitar playing in the soleares style. In the past, guitarists used only a few patterns for their remates, but today's players have developed this simple segment of the compás. The fingering for remate 3 sets up the final downstroke with the thumb. To end with a thumbed upstroke, use the thumb for all three notes of the triplet at beat 11. Make sure that your thumb is playing rest strokes in all of the examples.

remates 1-3

Remates 4-6

Here are three more remates that are a bit more modern sounding. It's a very good idea to memorize a series of moves for beats 7-9 and others for beats 10-12. Eventually, you can use this modular way of thinking to combine different beginnings, middles and ends of falsetas. Notice how the six examples increase in rhythmic intensity.

remates 4-6

Falseta 13

This is a combination of ideas from Ramón Montoya, Sabicas and others. You can change the triplet starting each measure to an eighth and two sixteenths.

soleá por arriba 13

Falseta 14

This falseta was inspired by old-time playing. Be sure to use rest strokes with your thumb. You can shorten the first four notes to three by omitting one of the A notes and starting on beat 1.

soleá por arriba 14
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