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Flamenco Palmas

17 January 2010

Kristin tried (hopelessly) to teach me this in Barcelona as we were walking past some flamenco dancers. I’m trying again now…

Palmas is the style of clapping in flamenco, which is surprisingly difficult. There are two different ways of clapping: sordas (hands perpendicular, both cupped–used during singing or guitar intros) and fuertes (hands offset, but parallel–used during loud footwork and music). The accentuation of the beats is what makes it difficult. Flamenco is done in 12-beat groups. The accents fall on 3, 6, 8, 10, 12. Written out this is:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, …

There is a lot of variation on this, sometimes starting on 8 or 12, sometimes doing counter rhythms with clapping between the beats and syncopation, sometimes with the accent on 6 moved to 7.

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