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How to Play Flamenco Scales

Learn how to play flamenco scales in this flamenco guitar lesson video from Howcast.


Hi, I'm Dan Garcia. We're going to talk about flamenco scales. There's some scales you can use when you're playing flamenco. There is such a thing as a flamenco scale and I'm going to show you what it is. Flamenco is very commonly played in what we call Phrygian mode. Phrygian scale is the scale that rises from the third degree of your major scale.

That means, if you take,for example, the white keys on a piano and you go from a C to a C, without touching any of the black keys, that's a major scale. Now if we start that same scale, instead of from C to C, we go from E, which is a third note, so C-D-E. We're going to start from E, and we would go up all the white notes to the next E. That's called an E-Phrygian scale.

One of the features of the scale is the half step between the first note and the second, that will be between the E and the F, okay? And that's one of the main harmonic features of flamenco, is that Phrygian sound that we hear all of the time. Kind of like...

So basically a flamenco scale is a Phrygian scale, but we're going to include one more note there.
The flamenco scale also accommodates the major and the minor key. Whether we're playing in A major or A minor, we would use the same scale, and that means that Phrygian scale is going to include an extra note to make that accommodation. Let me play you just a Phrygian scale.
If I was in the key of A, I'm going to play A-Phrygian. The flamenco scale's an eight note scale. A Phrygian scale, with an added major third.

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