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Flamenco Guitar Techniques: How to Put Together a Tremolo Piece

Learn how to put together a tremolo piece in this flamenco guitar lesson video from Howcast.


I'm Dan Garcia and I'm going to show you now how to put a tremolo piece together. Okay, like I said tremolo is a technique that's meant to keep a melody afloat. In this way, we can manage the melody. We can do crescendos. We can breathe. We can do certain things. Without the tremolo, when we play a note, we can still hear it in our memory, but it's pretty much gone. There's not much we can do with it. Okay, so I'm going to create melodic line and then we're going to turn it into tremolo, and maybe you can do the same thing at home, with any kind of melodic line you have.

Melodies that work well with tremolo are usually melodies that move in a slow rhythm. If your melody moves faster than a quarter note, it's probably not a good idea to put tremolo on it. But if you have like half notes and quarter notes, tremolo might be a good option. So let me just play a little melody and then we'll turn it into a tremolo piece. It's going to be in three, so one, two, three; one, two, three; one, two, three; one, two, three; one, two three, okay? So let's imagine I came up with this nice melody and now I want to turn it into a tremolo piece.

As you can see, when I went up here and I was holding this note for six beats, by the time I got to beat four that note is completely gone and there's is nothing I can do about it, other than play it again, of course. Okay, the first thing we need to do is find a harmony for this melody. I'm just going to do a simple one, four, five chord progression in A Minor. So I'm going to do A Minor and when I get up here I'm going to play a D Minor chord and then an E 7; E 7 and back to A minor.

So the next step to get our tremolo going is to figure out the bass line when we're playing. Okay, we have our melody. We have our harmony. Now let's figure out our bass line. The bass is going to outline the harmony we just did, so A minor. Okay, that's what my bass is going to do. I'm playing the low A, A an octave higher and my minor third, which is C. I'm going to move up here to D minor, we'll play a root, third and fifth twice, because I'm holding on there for six beats. Then E 7, I'm playing my root, my fifth here, my B for the fourth string, flat 9. So one, two, three. Then do it again. Fifth again, our seventh and then back to A minor.

Okay, so let's put everything together now. We have our melody over our harmony, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two. So now for every bass note I'm going to put four notes on the melody, so very slow. So now we have this melody turned into a tremolo and let me play it a little faster now. Now I'm going to play it three different ways. First, I'm going to play slow, so you can see it. Then I'm going to play a little faster.

Then I'm going to play it faster, and then I'm going to play it, as I would play it in a performance. Meaning I'm going to breathe here and there. I'm going to maybe do a little crescendo. You know I'm going to make it very lyrical and very beautiful, because that's really the purpose of tremolo. We don't want it to sound too robotic. So here we go, slow. Okay, a little faster. So have fun playing tremolo.

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