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How to Play Flamenco Chords

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


Hi, so we're going to talk now about Flamenco chords. There's really no such thing as a flamenco chord, but there are flamenco harmonies and groups of chords that kind of go together in a consistent way in flamenco.

A couple of things you might want to know is flamenco when you transpose a song in flamenco, you don't really talk about keys in flamenco. You talk about positions, A major or E, okay? If you need to move the key for whatever reason, because you're playing with a singer you usually do this.

The capo is an artifact that creates a permanent bar wherever you place it, and then you keep the same position. The capo can look like this. They come in all shapes and sizes, but you always want to keep the same voices when you play traditional flamenco.

So if I need to raise this key, I put my capo wherever the singer, wherever I decide to play, and I put my capo on a different fret, but I keep my same positions. Then this is how you work your keys around flamenco. You also don't really talk much about C and A flat keys. You just talk about where you put the capo in traditional flamenco.

Now one thing you might want to know about flamenco chords is for example, how you finger an A major chord. A major is one of the most popular tonalities in flamenco. So this is how we play an A major chord, not with the three fingers, like it says on the books, but you're going to do a little bar. the finger one is going to cover strings four and three, and then you're going to add finger two on the second string, on the C-sharp.

This way we have two fingers that are free to do other work around the chord. For example, now I can play. I can add my sharp nine. I can also add my seventh here, and turn this into a diminished chord and back to A, okay? So always get used to playing your A chord like this, so we have two fingers that are free.

Another very popular chord that goes along with the A chord, especially when you play in palos to work in the Phrygian mode is a B flat chord. So I'm going to show you a couple of voices you can do with this B flat chord. You have your regular everyday B flat, but you can also do a B flat with the open B string and then you can add the open E, which is the sharp eleven of the chord, and you get a beautiful flamenco sound.

You can also choose to move your finger three up to the fourth string and you get the fifth, but you leave an open G string which is a sixth of the chord and you get this other sound. You can also play this other voicing with your B flat, and this is a B flat nine, but with a fifth on the bass here and it sounds really nice, you go...

Another substitute for the B flat chord is always the G minor. G minor sounds beautiful. This is a particular voicing you hear a lot. So from A to G minor, G minor six. So these are some voices you can do for your flat two chord when you play in Phrygian mode.

Also, another very popular flamenco chord is the flat nine. Major chord with a flat nine, such as this. This is A or you can move this chord many different places. Not to confuse this chord with the dominant seven with a flat nine you play in jazz, like this.

In flamenco, when you play this chord, you keep a fifth of the chord which in jazz usually you omit, but in flamenco you keep it there, because there's a contrast. You create a tri-tone interval between the flat nine and the fifth and you get that flamenco sound. And you also don't have to put the seventh of the chord really.

Right now, I'm just playing an E major triad with the flat nine, which is the F. And there are some interesting voices for this chord, too. You can play it here. I can play two roots, my flat nine here and this interesting voicing with this chord. You can reach, usually if you have a capo, that's a little easier to move around.

But just explore these chords. Flat nine is very popular, A with all the substitutions, and then all your regular chords; minor sevens, and majors and minors, dominance. So have fun playing flamenco chords.

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