C - flamenco glossary

compilation: © Flamenco.ru
translation: Ana Ruiz
updated: 01.06.2010


CABAL: When the flamenco aficionado is very knowledgeable of the songs, recognizes and clarifies the different styles, easily perceives the successes and failures of the singer, and listens to the song without any other purpose than to enjoy its aesthetic and emotional values.

CABEZA: Upper part or ‘head’ of the guitar that contains the peg box. It has a slight inclination towards the back that maintains the strings in a manner that does not produce unnecessary vibrations.

CAFÉ CANTANTE: Premises where drinks were served and recitals of song, dance and guitar were offered. It lead to the rise of the practice of flamenco art between professionals and reached its heights during the second half of XIX century until is decline during the first 20 years of the present century.

CAÍDA: In the language of the art of flamenco, this is the closing, the lowering of the voice, in a song or in a third of the song. Translating to the ‘fall’ or ‘descent’.

CAJÓN: The instrument that consists of a wooden parallelepiped, used to accompany most of the musical forms of the Peruvian coast. It was in the mid eighties when it was introduced to flamenco thanks to the will of Paco de Lucía and his percussionist Rubem Dantas, whom he encountered in Peru. This instrument perfectly compliments the different palos. In respect to the Peruvian cajón, the flamenco cajón sounds more broken or cracked, therefore having its own character, binding perfectly with the guitar, palmas and taconeos. The cajón is actually one of the percussion instruments most characeristical of flamenco.

CALÓ: Gypsy, language of the Spanish gypsies.

CAMBIO: A verse that ends a series of songs of the same style, but with a changed intonation to break the tone. Translating to ‘change’.

CANTAOR: Interpreter of flamenco song, the singer. The figure of the cantaor is basic in its configuration, context and use of flamenco song.

CANTAOR A PALO SECO: This refers to the moments that an interpreter sings without musical accompaniment of any sort.

CANTAR POR TO LO JONDO: To sing in the most oldest and basic styles.

CANTE: Short form of “cante flamenco”. In the flamenco lexicon, the word ‘sing’, flamenco song, and flamenco are synonymous. It also refers to the style of a flamenco song, and in Andalusia, any type of popular song. It is also generic voice that in Andalusia is frequently used in song; that is to say by everything that is sung.

CANTE A COMPÁS: That which is realized with the measurement, rhythm and cadence that the actual song requires and is in perfect conjunction between the interpreter and accompaniment of the guitar.

CANTE AD LIBITUM: A form of free-style singing that is not adjusted to a rhythm.

CANTE AFLAMENCADO: Song that is not born of flamenco, but that comes from a song pertaining to folklore that has been experimented, and throughout time, has acquired the features and characteristics of flamenco. Generally, coming from Andalusian folklore, as in la trillera; or del gallego, like la farruca, or del iberoamericano, such as la guajira.

CANTE ALANTE: Song for listening. Called as such because the singer is placed in the front part of the tablao or stage.

CANTE ANDALUZ: In a subjective evaluation, it refers to the styles clearly originating from folkloric intonations, as the derivatives or creations based on local fandangos. Also subjectively, the adjective andaluz is used to designate the most cheerful songs of the flamenco family.

CANTE ATRÁS: A song destined for dance. Called as such because the singer is positioned at the rear of the tablao or stage in order that the dancers can perform in front.

CANTE BONITO: That which is profusely interpreted with embellishments and floreos, mixing the motives of the diverse songs, with the intention of the singer’s personal brilliance and delight of a non- demanding audience.

CANTE CAMPERO: Generic expression which includes the styles of flamenco song that had their origins in the fields, as in las trilleras and the regional fandangos.

CANTE CARO: Expression that is used to designate good singing; the well interpreted.

CANTE CORTO: Song that has few verses or that when interpreted, the singer does not prolong the thirds of the song.

CANTE CHICO: An expression that is subjectively used to describe the festive songs and the most appropriate for dance. Nevertheless, the aficionados and the theoreticians have concluded that no song is chico if it is well interpreted.

CANTE DE CAMBIO: That which is interpreted in changing the intonation of a certain style; lightening the rhythm.

CANTE DE FAENA: Generic expression that include songs that serve as accompaniment while working.

CANTE DE JABEGOTES: Fandango that had its origins in Malaga that the jabegotes sing to accompany themselves while mending and repairing their nets.

CANTE DE JALEO: Festive song.

CANTE DE LAS MINAS: Describes the songs that are distinguished from Levante, to those of the mining regions of Almería, Jaén y Murcia; cartagenera, minera, taranta and taranto.

CANTE DE MADRUGA: Song of the old miners. It was sung at daybreak when they began their work in the mines.

CANTE FESTERO: This refers to the styles of lively and boisterous dance, as in las alegrías, bulerías, rumbas, tanguillos and tangos for dance.

CANTE FLAMENCO: A folkloric musical manifestation that originated in Andalusia, a genre of musical compositions or styles that resulted towards the first half of the XIX century and according to popular opinion, arose from the juxtaposition of existing musical styles and distinct Andalusian folk songs.

CANTE FRAGÜERO: Generic expression that conforms the conjunction of the songs that, in the old days, was sung by the blacksmiths in the forge. It fundamentally includes tunes such as el martinete and la debla.

CANTE GITANO: Expression that is subjectively used to describe the flamenco song interpreted by singers of the gypsy race.

CANTE GRANDE: Expression that is subjectively used to describe the flamenco styles most solemn, of extensive and prolonged tone, and also applies to any song well interpreted.

CANTE JONDO: Expression that is used to refer to the styles of flamenco songs which are praised for solemnity, rawness, depth and expressive force through the feelings and qualities of the interpreter, being considered as a maximum exponent of what is most original and basic of this art.

CANTE LARGO: That which is a popular song with many verses or when interpreter repeats certain thirds or prolongs with melisma, quejios, repetition of words and rolls of the thirds. Translating to ‘long’ song.

CANTE LIVIANO: Cante chico, in the depreciatory sense of this expression. The songs of preparation are also called as such.

CANTE PARA BAILAR: That which is executed to accompany the dance of the same name as the song. Translating to ‘song for dancing’.

CANTE PARA ESCUCHAR: That which is interpreted solely to be listened. Translates to ‘song for listening’.

CANTE SIN GUITARRA: Expression that is used to refer to the songs that are interpreted without guitar accompaniment, specifically any type of toná.

CANTES DE ALCALÁ: Name that is used by interpreters and aficionados to indicate on certain occasions, the actual soleares of Alcalá de Guadaira, expanded by Joaqu?n el de La Paula.

CANTES DE CÁDIZ Y LOS PUERTOS: Generic expression that includes the native and characteristical songs of the gaditana province (of Cadiz) that include the localities and environs of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, the Port of Santa María, Santa María, Cádiz, Puerto Real, San Fernando and Chiclana de la Frontera. These songs are, as well as certain styles of siguiriyas and soleáres, las cantiñas, alegrías, mirabrás, romeras, caracoles, tangos and tanguillos.

CANTES DE CÓRDOBA: Name used by interpreters and aficionados to describe in groups las soleares, alegrías, fandangos – mainly of Lucena – and saetas cuarterleras, which in the province of Cordoba has certain specific stylized characteristics.

CANTES DE IDA Y VUELTA: Expression that is used to describe and relate to the aflamencado styles originating from Hispano-American folklore.

CANTES DE JEREZ: Name used by interpreters and aficionados to distinguish the native styles of Jerez de La Frontera or those of the personal creation throughout history of jerezano singers, principally summarized in siguiriyas, soleares, saetas, and some tangos and the genuine bulerías, fundamentally characterized by the brevity of its thirds and its singular rhythm.

CANTES DE LEVANTE: Name used by interpreters and aficionados to jointly describe the actual styles of Granada – granaína, media granaína and fandangos; of Malaga – malagueñas varias, verdiales and fandangos; of Almería – tarantas, tarantos and fandangos; of Jaén – tarantas; and of Murcia – cartageneras, tarantas, fandango minero, mineras, murcianas and levantina.

CANTES DE MÁLAGA: Generic name that is altogether used to describe the natural styles of the malagueña province, such as verdiales, rondeñas, jaberas and malague?as; the malagueñas personally created by Juan Breva, La Trini or El Perote, for example, and the original tangos of El Piyayo or La Rempompa.

CANTES DE TRIANA: Name that is used by interpreters and aficionados to describe the actual styles of the Sevillian quarter of Triana, that includes tonas, siguiriyas, soleares and tangos, many are due to the personal creation of certain flamenco singers.

CANTES DE UTRERA: Name that is used by interpreters and aficionados to describe the characteristical styles of Utrera, mainly las soleares pertaining to the stylistic school of La Serneta.

CANTIÑA: Generic name of a series of actual songs of Cádiz, of mixed rhythms, of cheerful and lively music such as the: caracoles, mirabrás, alegrías, romeras and actual cantiñas, all are generally short and are assumed to be related to the old jota de Cádiz.

CANTIÑEAR: To sing in a low voice.

CAPIROTE: Knocking – strumming the index finger on the cover of the guitar with deep chords at the same time.

CASTAÑETAZO: A dry knock produced by the dancer with the castañets, particularly with that of the left hand.

CASTAÑETEANDO: The sound made with the castañets, playing them to the dance.

CASTAÑUELAS: Percussion instruments essentially serving to accentuate the rhythm of the music, especially the danceable. In this sense, it is an accompaniment of great entertainment for joy, self-assurance and the loudness that lends to the dance and the dancer.

CEJILLA: A loose piece, typical of the flamenco guitar, that is applied cross-sectionally on the stringing of the guitar while holding the neck, it serves to equalize the intonation of the instrument while giving every singer its suitable tone to whatever style required. Its use dates back to the second half of the XIX century.

CLAVIJA: Revolving piece, solid and made of wood, metal or ivory, that allows the tension of the guitar strings to vary and therefore obtain precise tuning.

CLAVIJERO: Fundamental part of the head of the guitar, where the pegs are set. It can be hollow or solid, flat or round, but always clearly differentiated from the rest of the neck.

COLMAO: Drinking and eating establishment. Some of them, since the decline of los cafes cantantes, took place in reserved rooms or private quarters, traditional meetings of song, dance and flamenco guitar, popularly described as flamenco parties, which the best aficionados attended.

COMPÁS: In reference to flamenco, a measurement of a musical phrase with its corresponding accentuation, according to the guitar work (compass of tangos, compass of bulerías etc.)

CONTRAPUNTO: Simultaneous combination of voices or parts, each one independent, but all leading to a texture resulting in being coherent and uniform. The expression “voices or parts” refers to instruments as it does to voices. In flamenco singing, it is frequent that the rhythmical ‘counterpoint’ in the siguiriya, in la soleá, in el tango, etc., is not composed of a single rhythm but of two superimposed: the internal, binding to the actual song, and the external or basic, lead by the guitar.

CONTRATIEMPO: The duration of a note that extends to a double time measure, not including, but is actually part of the first note. Flamenco dance is divided into one slow and descending part followed by a fast part, accentuating the closing of the latter, comprised within the same rhythm.

CONVULSIÓN: Characteristical movement of flamenco dance, and significant within the action that displays the torso of the dancer. It can affect the entire body, consisting of a contraction and stretching of all the limbs, or only to the upper body, manifesting like rapid and violent movements of the thorax that extends to the shoulders, and an impulse of the head towards the back and forward with powerful tossing of the hair. According to the expressive point of view of flamenco, the convulsion symbolizes the breaking of man’s spiritual equilibrium, the wild and primitive aspect of this art.

COPLA: In flamenco song, it is the joining of the music and the lyrics. A fundamental part of the song.

CORTO: The flamenco singer that dominates but a few styles, as well as the dancer or guitar player that has a limited stylistic repertoire.

CUADRAR: Referring to a determined song, making of it totally harmonic, balanced and proper, and complimenting it with the convenient rhythm.

CUADRO FLAMENCO: An ensemble of interpreters of flamenco dance, song and guitar.

CHUFLA: Term that is subjectively applied to songs and dances of a festive character.