A - flamenco glossary

compilation: © Flamenco.ru
translation: Ana Ruiz
updated: 05.06.2010

Flamenco is a very special world, which has not only its traditions but as well its language.


ABANICO: A right-handed flamenco guitar technique where nearly all the strings are pressed in a downward motion with the little, ring, middle and index finger, in this order. These fingers begin the motion leaning on the thumb similar to that of tossing dice. For certain effects, an abanico can be performed with the ring, middle and index finger only. Translates to ‘fan’ in English, as in the fan a flamenco dancer uses.

A COMPÁS: When the song or dance is faithfully interpreted following the beat or rhythm of the corresponding style.

A GUSTO: The pleased and content situation in which the flamenco singer finds him or herself when being heard by fine aficionados, and is perfectly accompanied by the guitarist.

ALZAPÚA: A flamenco guitar technique that consists of playing several chords simultaneously with the thumb alternating upwards and downwards, resulting in the contrast of a melody in the deeper chords with the rhythmical counterpoint in the higher chords.

A PALO SECO: When the song is interpreted without the accompaniment of the guitar, although it can be interpreted with a sound of a golpe (hit).

AFICIONADO: The individual who feels enthusiasm for flamenco art, although does not practice any of its facets. It is also applied to one who cultivates some of the facets of flamenco without being a professional.

AFILLÁ: A deep, raw and hoarse voice in which the song is interpreted.

AFLAMENCADO: When the songs and dances of diverse musical ambiance are interpreted in tune with a flamenco beat acquiring flamenco characteristics.

AFLAMENCAR: To interpret one’s own pitch and rhythmical characteristics of flamenco song or dance pertaining to its origin into another scheme and musical ambiance.

AGACHONAR: To reduce the interpretation of a song into a style properly characterized by gypsy-like diction.

AIRE: Native and characteristic song or dance of a particular region. For example: the fandangos – the aires of Huelva; aires of Cádiz, like the alegrís.

AJONDAR: Implementing ‘jondura’ (emotional intensity) to a song is when the flamenco singer uses his or her maximum knowledge and personal resources.

ALANTE: It is the type of song for listening.

ÁNGEL: Charm and natural grace one has for singing, dancing, playing or, simply being involved. It is usually pronounced without the ‘n’ or the last ‘l’, resulting in something like “áge.”

ANTIFLAMENQUISMO: Name given to the opposing attitude of one part of Spanish society resisting the practice and enjoyment of the art of flamenco. Although it actually persists to a certain extent, it reached great heights during the XIX Century and first half of the XX Century, for considering flamenco and its ambiance in los colmaos and los cafés cantantes, somewhat degrading and a custom belonging of those of ill repute.

APUNTAR: Singing low, as a signal and call to the singer or fine tuning a song in an informal manner, but with knowledge of its style.

APUNTE: The action of appointing the song.

ARABESCO: The melodic embellishment the flamenco singer executes with a great profusion of melismas, as in the granaína. In guitar playing, the accompaniment of the guitar with an abundance of markings; falseta. In flamenco dance, this is the name of the characteristical positioning of the separated fingers of the dancer, to be able to project them with flexibility in all directions.

ARPEGIADO: A right-handed technique used by the guitarist to interpret chords playing all the notes in a manner imitating the technique of the harp. Normally, the first note, the deepest, is interpreted with the thumb, and the rest, with the remaining fingers alternating each with the other strings.

ARPEGIAR: The act of performing arpeggios.

ARPEGIO: Succession more or less accelerated of the sounds of a chord.

ARRANCARSE: To commence singing. This term is related with the element of the unexpected, that is, to suddenly begin singing. It is utilized with specific songs, for example: “Arrancarse por bulerías.

ARREGLO: Transformation of a song, a dance or guitar work the interpreter performs in order to adapt it to his or her personality or qualities.

ARTISTA: Professional singer, dancer or guitarist.

ATRÁS: El cante atrás is the song used in flamenco dance.

AY: Embellishment that the flamenco singer adds during the interpretation of a song to give it character. The ayes can be pronounced at the beginning, middle or the end of the song.

AYEAR: When the singer pronounces various consecutive ayes during the interpretation of the song.

AYEO: Action and effect of ayear in the song.