Oscar Nieto’s Flamenco Glossary

PDF printer-friendly version (Adobe Acrobat document, 357 kb) Get Adobe Acrobat

A B C D E F G J L M P Q R S T V Z

A

Aficionado/a

connoisseur, fan, non-professional performer

Alegrías

joy or happiness, a popular song/dance form in 12/8 time. Usually played in the key of A or E major.

Andalucía

the region that occupies the south of Spain; made up of eight provinces. Flamenco is primarily an Andalucian phenomenon

B

Bailaor/a

male/female flamenco dancer

Bailarín/a

male/female Spanish classical dancer

Baile

dance

Braceo

the arm movements of a Spanish/flamenco dancer

Brazos

arms

Bulerías

song and dance form in 6/8 time, most difficult and improvisational of the flamenco styles

C

Cadenas

footwork combination in triplets, starting with the golpe of one foot followed by the heel of the opposite foot (which can be a martillo, tacon or talon), and returning to the starting foot using a talon

Café Cantante

coffee house with flamenco shows (originally starting with flamenco cante but eventually covering all flamenco forms). The ‘golden age’ of the Café Cantante was in the late 1800s.

Cajon

percussive instrument similar to an empty wooden box

Caló

language of the Spanish Gypsies

Cambio

change – refers to a change in footwork or braceo exercises; can also refer to a change in a musical melodic pattern

Cantaor/a

flamenco singer

Cante
   ”    Chico
   ”    Jondo

song – song form
light style of flamenco song
deep and solemn style of flamenco song

Cantiñas

the family of songs to which the alegrias belong: also includes romeras, mirabras, caracoles, and modern inventions “por alegrias”

Careo

meeting face to face. Although this step is used in other Spanish dances, it is traditionally performed four times at the end of fourth copla of Sevillanas

Castañuelas

castanets

Ceasé

also spelled seasé, similar to a balletic glissade changée – used in the first section of the second copla of Sevillanas

Cejilla

capo on a guitar

Colombianas

flamenco style believed to have been influenced by South American rhythms

Compás

1. metre, the rhythmic feel of a song or dance form 2. time-signature. 3. tempo 4. rhythm 5. to be in sympathy with what is happening with the other members of a group.

Contra-tiempo

1. counter-rhythm, 2. in music, the eighth note. 3. the up-beat.

Copla

1. couplét 2. the set melodic pattern of a song. 3. verse

Cuadro Flamenco

a unit of flamenco singers, dancers and guitarists

D

Desplante

1. portion of a dance and the accompanying music marking the end of a phrase with heel-work, 2. display.

Duende

soul or spirit

E

Escobilla

1. a dance step which resembles the sweeping motion of a broom, 2. a long section of footwork

F

Falda

skirt

Falseta

a melodic variation on the flamenco guitar

Fandango

a popular song and dance form related to Sevillanas. Spanish folk dance of Andalucia, 3/4 time

Farruca

flamenco dance form in 4/4 time ­ from Galicia

Floreo

hand movements of dancers

Fuerte

strong, hard

G

Garrotín

a Gypsy song and dance in 4/4 time with a major tonality

Gitano/a

Gypsy

Glissade

glide

Glissade-changée

glissade, changing; in this glissade the feet alternate each time in the fifth position; that is, if R foot is in back in the fifth position and the glissade is done to the right, the R foot will finish in the fifth position front, and vice versa

Golpe

1. related to footwork ­ full sole of the foot striking the floor. 2. Rhythmic accentuation (guitar)

Guajiras

flamenco-influenced song from Cuba ­ danced in 6/8, 12/8 time

J

Jaleo

shouts of encouragement, olé! being the most common

Juerga

a flamenco jam session or private party

L

Letra

the lyrics of a song/verse

Llamada

a dance step to advise the guitarist of a change in a dancer’s variation. From the Spanish v. Llamar to call.

M

Malagueñas

a free-form flamenco style (no specific compás, interpretive, and not danced) from Malaga. Descendent of the Fandango family.

Manton

embroidered silk shawl with long fringes. First known as ‘Manton de Manila’ from its origins in Manila.

Marcaje

to mark time

Marcando

movements of the dancer during the letra

Marqueo

to mark time

Martillo

hammer - to strike the floor with the heel or toe of the shoe and quickly pick it up

Martinete

toná sung by the gypsies in a forge; refers to hammer

Melisma

tone-gliding

P

Palmas

rhythmic hand clapping. Sordas = muted. Claras, abiertas, altas = clear, open, high.

Palillos

castanets, not used in pure flamenco

Palmeros

men that clap while the musicians play

Pas de Bourrée

bourée step, sometimes referred to as grapevine – used in the second section of the first copla of Sevillanas

Pasada
   ”    de pecho
   ”    de espalda

1. to pass ­ passing a partner in a dance
2. passing chest to chest
3. passing back to back

Paseo

promenade, a dance step resembling walking; also the opening walk or entrance of bullfighters into the arena

Payo

Spaniard, non-Gypsy

Piano

quiet, soft

Picado

in flamenco dance – refers to the ball and heel as one picado

Pié

foot

Pitos

finger snapping

Planta

ball of foot (plantar)

Polo

flamenco song derived from the Soleares family

Punta

toe of shoe

Punteado

plucking technique

Q

Quejío

vocal style portraying a lament or cry

R

Rasgueado

strumming techniques on the guitar. From the Spanish v. Rascar to scratch

Redoble

to redouble a step or combination

Remate

the end of a phrase ­ from the Spanish (v) to finish something (rematar).

Roma

Romany Gypsy roots

Rond de Jambe

round of the leg, that is, a circular movement of the leg

Rumba

song, dance and guitar style in 4/4 time – originated in Cuba

S

Salida

an introductory portion of a song or dance – in song also referred to as temple or entrada.

Sephardim

the Spanish and Portuguese Jews or their descendants

Sevillanas

a lively and cheerful song and dance form in 3/4 time; from Sevilla, derived from the seguidillas manchegas.

Siguiriyas/ Seguidillas

profound cante jondo

Sincopado

syncopated, referring to the 16th note in music

Soleares

A form of cante jondo, from the word soledad solitude, privacy. It expresses deep sadness and loneliness, danced in 12/8 time.

T

Tablao

a stage or café where flamenco is performed (cabaret).

Tacón

heel of shoe

Taconeo

footwork

Talón

heel of foot

Tangos

flamenco song and dance in 2/4 and 4/4 time

Tanguillo

flamenco song and dance derived from the tango

Tarantas

free-form vocal style

Tarantos

related to the Tarantas in key, this form is danced, in 2/4 time

Temple

vocalization, warm-up

Tercio

a phrase of cante. Literally means thirds

Tientos

a slow form of tangos, done in 2/4, 4/4 time

Tocaor

flamenco guitarist

Tonás

The earliest-known of song forms

Toque

guitar playing

Toque a compás

guitar playing with fixed patterns of rhythmic beats

Toque libre

guitar playing with free form rhythm

Tremolo

a rapid fluttering of a guitar tone or alternating tones

V

Vuelta
   ”    por delante
   ”    por detras

1. turn
2. to the front.
3. to the back or behind

Z

Zambra

Moorish-influenced dance from the Sacromonte in Granada

Zapateado

footwork, also the name of a dance

Zapatos

shoes

Zarzuela

Spanish light opera

Printer-friendly version

Back to Top of Page

home