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Flamenco Guitar Transcriptions
Basic soleares falsetas por arriba
14 December 2015

Here are some very basic examples of flamenco guitar falsetas (phrases) in the soleares style. In these samples, you'll find some well-known falsetas heard from many different players throughout history. Some basic techniques in flamenco guitar are represented here, like thumbed lines, rasgueados and arpeggios. These falsetas are a good way to start to learn about flamenco, but in order to play them with the right phrasing, you'll need to be familiar with the asymmetrical rhythm used in flamenco.

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

This is another very old falseta heard in one form or another from almost all old-time players. The thick bar line falls between beat 12 and beat 1. You can rearrange this falseta by changing the places of measures 1 and 3, but the accented beats of the compás will fall on different notes. Hold the sixth-string F over beats 7-9.

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

Continues with the same idea and may be used a bit more freely since 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 appropriate 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 the ring finger to be used consecutively.

soleá por arriba 7

Falseta 8

For a more basic version of this falseta that makes a nice introduction to the idea seen below, 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, with a variation seen in the third measure. 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. 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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