It is not that easy! The cross-meter genres in Flamenco

Bernat Jiménez de Cisneros Puig


It is often said in Spain that Sevillana and Fandango de Huelva are music genres in
triple time (3/4), but this is, at least, a half truth, such as describing a period of a year as a
mere succession of days, without mentioning weeks or months. In 1966, the musicologist
Hipólito Rossy put us on the trail of the real metric structure of Sevillana: "The most particular
of sevillanas is the rhythmic combination. The singing is clearly in binary meter, while dancing
is in ternary" (1998: 265). After Rossy, this combination has also been identified in Fandango
de Huelva by Fernández (2004) and Hurtado (2009), as well as relating to Jota by Manzano
(2007) and Castro (2014). At the same time, it has been one of the main issues of my
musicological research on Flamenco, recently published as a digital audiobook (Jiménez de
Cisneros 2015).
In this article (originally presented as a lecture-recital), we will identify through embedded
audio clips and graphic examples the binary and ternary elements displayed in Sevillana and
Fandango de Huelva, the cross-meter genres of Flamenco, focusing on the guitar
accompaniment and the melodic design. Through a pulse-level analysis, we will also look at
the metric hierarchy between these elements, leading us to the cross-meter formula, which
involves an alternative interpretation of compound meter. Finally, some characteristic hand
clapping patterns will be included, so as the reader can approach these puzzling genres from
the same point of view of the performer.


Flamenco; cross-meter genres; pulse-level; hypermeter; hand clapping

Texto Completo:



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