Alegrias del Barrio Santa María (Cadiz)

Alegrias del Barrio Santa María (Cadiz)

A clip of music (alegrias) with images of Cádiz from the film Rito y Geografía del Cante.


Flamenco as we know it today surfaced in the 19th century. You can hear the original strands of its multi-cultural blending in, for instance, the rhythms of the tabla that show up in the palos (styles) of bulería, siguiryia and soleá.

Flamenco is counted in 12-count phrases, which is very different from the predominant 4/4 time signature used in most Western musical compositions (or the waltz, set in ¾ time). Varying accent patterns within the 12-count phrase determine the particular form. The bulería compás (meter or time signature) is counted with stresses marked below as / or in bolded numbers. Try tapping your desk with emphasis on counts 3, 6, 8, 10 and 12.

../.././././ 123 456 78 910 1112

The variations are endless when accompanied by palmas (clapping), if every count is given equal emphasis or if the unaccented counts are syncopated by pitos (finger snapping) or the dancer’s zapateados (footwork.) Trying to keep tabs of the counts is like counting Stravinsky when every measure might change its time signature.


More in Stamp Your Feet. Hard. by Randolyn Zinn


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