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Flamenco Compas

About flamenco

Flamenco has its roots in the south of Spain, in the province Andalucia. Flamenco is expressed in music and dance, although the real flamencos probably also see it as a way of life. Flamenco has influences from traditional spanish folk music, jewish (sefardic) music, arab music, indian music and probably much more.

Flamenco compas

The compas defines the rhythm of the music. Although not all flamenco is rhythmic, a great number of styles or palos are defined by their rhythm. Even without hearing a guitar or a singer, a knowledgeable person can determine a palo by hearing the compas being clapped by a musician or dancer. A compas is revolves like a wheel. The same rhythm is repeated over and over and is the base on which a dancer or musician can make rhytmic variations.


This website has examples of a number of flamenco palos. You can hear the music and see directly the relation with the flamenco compas.

Information source: Wikipedia


Soleares is one of the most basic forms or "palos" of Flamenco music, probably originating around Cádiz or Seville in Andalusia, the most southern region of Spain. It is normally accompanied by one guitar only, in the key of E phrygian, although it is also heard in A phrygian, relatively often.


Cantes de ida y vuelta is a Spanish expression literally meaning roundtrip songs. It refers to a group of flamenco musical forms or palos with diverse musical features, which share their origin in Latin America (mainly in Cuba). The styles of this group originated in the interplay between Spanish musical traditions and those of the African slaves and Native Americans. Usually they have a more mellow character than the more traditional flamenco songs.


During the 19th century, originally as a fast, upbeat ending to soleares or alegrias (which share the same rhythm and are still often ended this way) . It is among the most popular and dramatic of the flamenco forms and often ends any flamenco gathering. The name bulerías comes from the Spanish word burlar, meaning "to mock" or bullería, "racket, shouting, din". It is the style which permits the greatest freedom for improvisation, the metre playing a crucial role in this. Speed and agility are required and total control of rhythm as well as strength in the feet which are used in intricate tapping with toe, heel and the ball of the foot.

solea por bulerias

This is soleares played on the compas of bulerias. Its tempo is within that of soleares and bulerias.


Alegrías is a flamenco palo or musical form, which has a rhythm consisting of 12 beats. It is similar to Soleares. Its beat emphasis is as follows: 1 2 [3] 4 5 [6] 7 [8] 9 [10] 11 [12]. Alegrías originated in Cádiz. Alegrías belongs to the group of palos called Cantiñas and it is usually played in a lively rhythm (120-170 beats per minute). The livelier speeds are chosen for dancing, while quieter rhythms are preferred for the song alone.


Siguiriyas (also seguiriyas, seguidilla gitana) is a form of flamenco music belonging to the cante jondo category. Its deep, expressive style is among the most important in flamenco. The siguiriyas are normally played in the key of A Phrygian with each measure (or compás) consisting of 12 counts with emphasis on the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 8th and 11th beats as shown here:


Fandango is a style of folk and flamenco music and dance. As a result of the metric of its lyrics and their rhythmic scansion, most scholars consider it a derivation from the jota. Some philologists have tried to link it to the ancient Roman erotic dance known as the cordax (called iconici motus by the poet Horace and the playwright Plautus). The satires of Juvenal make specific mention of the testarum crepitus (clicking of castanets). In its earlier Greek expression, finger cymbals were used. Though these hypothetical links enjoy little evidence, they suggest a rich, ancient background. The current 3/4 pattern, its distinct descending chord progression (A minor/G major/F major/E major), lyrics with octosyllabic verses and the use of castanets are well-documented from the Baroque period. During their appointment to the Madrid court, Italian composers such as Luigi Boccherini introduced an idealized, slow fandango in the Classical European tradition. Fandango display dances spread along the Iberian peninsula during the 18th century. Most outstandingly, they became a major flamenco variety.


Sevillanas is a type of folk music, sung and written in Seville (Andalusia) in Spain. Historically, they are a derivative of Castilian folk music. Technically, they are an evolution from Castilian seguidillas, they have a relatively limited musical pattern, but rich lyrics, based on country side life, virgins, towns, neighbourhoods, pilgrimage and, of course, love themes. They are sung by a plethora of local groups, like Los Romeros de la Puebla, Los de Gines, Las corraleras de Utrera, Cantores de Hispalis, and Los del Rio. Every year, dozens of new sevillana discs are published.


This style of Afro-Cuban origin has a lively 4/4 rhythm still very reminiscent of its Cuban origin. The style had been more or less marginal in the flamenco artists' repertoires, although it was recorded by some singers like La Niña de los Peines or Manuel Vallejo, among others. However, it reached enormous popularity after the decades of the 60s and 70s, when it was adopted by Catalan Gypsies like Antonio González El Pescaílla and Peret. Since then, it has become the regular "hit track" in the recordings of many singers and guitarists, including specialists like Bambino or Maruja Garrido, Gypsy groups like Los Chunguitos, Los Amaya, and practically all modern flamenco guitarists like Paco de Lucía, Tomatito or Vicente Amigo. It is rarely sung by more traditional flamenco singers (with great exceptions like Chano Lobato, an excellent performer of all rhythmic styles), and flamencologists have tended to regard this genre as "not flamenco".

The flamenco artists

The following artists have contributed music to this website.

Primos del Norte

Primos del norte is a flamenco group founded in 2000. This trio centres around the vocals of Erminia Fernandez Cordoba who treats us to a broad scale of her voice's potential. And with their accompaniment, which balances between subdued and exuberant, Arturo Ramon (guitar) and Udo Demandt (percussion) take the listener to a world of mesmerising timbres.

Arthuro Ramon

Arturo Ramón (01-09-1981) started to play the guitar at the age of eleven. He graduated in May 2003 at the Rotterdam Conservatory and since then he performs with different groups such as: “primos del norte, la primavera, nl mundo and trio cruzado. He gave concerts in The Netherlands and abroad (Spain, Belgium, Germany, France, Turkey and Argentina). In addition to playing the guitar, he has also been getting to grips with studio technique and participated on different albums. Over the past few years he has featured in various national and international radio and television programmes.

Tino van der Sman

Tino van der Sman was born in 1974 in The Hague (The Netherlands). He started his career at the age of 12 and it’s only after two years of guitar studies, when he travelled to Spain to participate in master classes from Paco Peña at the Cordoba’s festival. It was then that he wholeheartedly discovers the flamenco. His increased interest and passion for the flamenco art, eventually made him return to Spain to settle. Ever since, he has developed himself as a flamenco artist, taking classes with great masters as Gerardo Núñez, Paco Jarana, Manolo Franco or Miguel Ángel Cortés.After graduating at the Rotterdam conservatory in 1999, he leaves for his permanent stay in Seville, where he obtains a scholarship at the Cristina Heeren foundation. It is only one year later when he himself is teaching at the very same foundation. From this moment onwards, his professional career develops quickly and he starts collaborating with Gerardo Núñez’ as first assistant during the summer courses in Sanlucar. Apart from that, Tino participates in Israel and Pastora Galván’s company, performing ‘Metamorfosis’ at the XIth Biennal in Seville, next to flamenco icons as Chicuelo, Manolo Soler, El Extremeño and Encarnita Anillo.


I have made this website after planning it for about two years. I originally planned to make metronome with hand clapping and percussion. However, I didn't manage to make a stable metronome in Flash. So I decided to take music fragments and link that to a visual presentation of the compas.

I have studied flamenco guitar in Rotterdam, The Netherlands with Paco Pena. I have also a masters degree in electronics. Hence the combination of both interests. I currently work for my own webdesign company called Tjoa Design and I give guitar lessons in Eindhoven.