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Sevillana in C Maj (1)

difficulty ★★★☆☆

Another arrangement of a Sabicas sevillanas, but this time I’ve paid closer attention to Sabicas’s rhythmic nuance. Whereas the other sevillanas transcriptions listed so far are focus on the melodic content of the falsetas being played, this study looks at the rasgueado and chording between falsetas – which is part of what makes Sabicas so interesting to listen to.

This particular sevillanas (you may notice) begins with a nine bar rhythmic introduction (as opposed to the seven bar introduction I discuss in the sevillanas dance accompaniment article). Either of these introductions will work for an accompanying guitarist. The longer one gives you more time to move around in the opening chords – and the dancer more time to get on stage; the shorter version, well, leaves less time for both of these.

When you decide to take more time, however, you need to be sure to do something with it. Hence the reason I’ve singled out this piece for special attention. Pay close attention to the fingering of the G7 chord in bar two: in order to play the second G7 form in the second half of beat one, you need to leave off the root (i.e. the low G) and leave your ring and pinky fingers free to grab the D and B strings. These are both just G7 chords, but the different voicings – even though they’re both in the first position – gives the music a lot more movement, makes it more interesting.

Next, just following the salida, at bar 13, you’re going to grab a Cmaj chord. But if you grab the standard Cmaj form, there’s no way you’ll be able to cleanly pull off the E-F-E trill that happens in the second beat of that bar (or at least I can’t – if someone out there can, do let me know: I’d love to see it). The solution? Use your pinky, ring and middle fingers to grab the Cmaj – which leaves your index open to go for that F as you see fit. This is an uncommon way to finger a Cmaj and may give you some hassles at first. Just like learning any chord, though, give it a bit of time and eventually it will feel natural.

These two chording techniques are simple and easy to master – and can do a lot to "spice up" what is an otherwise abysmally pedestrian chord progression. I haven’t done so here, but one can easily vary and build on these techniques to make this sevillana – or any sevillana – more rhythmically interesting. As always – and whatever you do! – be sure to watch your compás: remember, your count is 1 2 3 1 2 3.

tags: sabicas, traditional
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