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Flamenco Guitar Technique                             

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Rasgueado in Tangos (Advanced)                               

Playing a continuous rasgueado over a tangos rhythm may not at first seem like a difficult thing to do, but getting a smooth sound with clear articulation of each finger stroke - and the possibility of changing the accent from on the beat to offbeat - required a certain amount of thought as I'd never heard this sound used before in any tangos. I knew what sound I wanted to make - a semi-quaver strumming involving 4 chords ending with C9, followed by the same sequence only this time ending on Amaj. The whole sequence was to last 4 compas (4 X 8 beats). The question was: what rasgueado do I choose? A brushing rasgueado using the thumb as an upstroke and the fingers in a brushing movement downwards was not an option as it would not give the articulation I desired. Another rasgueado - p (up), a (down) & i (down) would be too difficult to manipulate when it came time to switch the accent to offbeat. Also, the usual semi-quaver rasgueado of a (down), m (down), i (down) & i (up) was also not good as the offbeat is not natural to manipulate. Eventually I decided to use what I now believe to be the most versatile rasgueado in flamenco - which believe it or not only requires the use of 2 fingers, ai. This rasgueado is commonly used as a continuous sequence of i (up), a (down) & i (down). However, for my purposes I had to manipulate the sequence with some extra use of the i finger. Therefore I worked out the following sequence to be played over 4 beats: (u = up; d = down)

Beat               1                        2                         3                          4

Finger            i    i    i    i         a    i    i    a          i    i    a    i           i    a    i    i     

Direction       d  u  d   u        d   d   u   d         d   u   d   d          u  d   d   u

This sequence I played over a Bb chord (index finger on top F note). I then repeated the sequence on C9, standard Bb chord & then a standard tangos remate on C9. Then the whole thing is repeated but finishing on Amaj. To switch the accent at the beginning of the sequence to offbeat, simply accent the third index finger stroke (easy as its a downstroke) of the first beat. NOTE: After the first 3 index finger strokes, the pattern is the aforementioned continuous sequence of i (up), a (down) & i (down). TIP: When studying i (up), a (down) & i (down) as a continuous sequence, bring the a finger back to its up position at the same time as you play the i finger down. This way the a finger is ready with plenty of time to react immediately after playing the i finger upstroke.

It always gets a bit complicated in writing so I thought the best way would be to give examples in MP3:

-Click here for MP3 of sequence played very slowly

-Click here for MP3 of sequence at medium speed

-Click here for MP3 of excerpt of my composition Tangos Groove


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