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This is a traditional sevillana adapted from a Sabicas recording that offers insight into how this palo can be embellished with personal touches, while still being true to form. This arrangement features a longer than typical introduction, and stylistic nuance to the rasgueado passages between copla melodies.

Extended Introduction

This sevillana begins with a nine bar salida (rhythmic introduction), as opposed to the seven bar introduction most common in sevillana. Either of these introductions will work when accompanying dancers. 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 interesting with it. This arrangement creates that interest by embellishing the chords that make up the salida. Pay close attention to the fingering of the G7 chord in bar two (0:02): in order to play the second G7 form in the second half of beat one, you need to leave off the root (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, give the music a sense of movement and additional interest.

More Chord Embellishments

Just following the salida at bar 13, you’ll grab a Cmaj chord. But if you use 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 (0:15). The solution? Use your pinky, ring, and middle fingers to voice 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 may otherwise be an abysmally pedestrian chord progression. You can easily vary and build on these techniques to make this sevillana—or any sevillana—more rhythmically interesting. As always, be sure to watch your compas: remember, your count is 1 2 3 1 2 3.

For a detailed analysis of the sevillana form, be sure to check out the Sevillana Accompaniment article here on Ravenna Flamenco.