* What was the first thing that made you interested in music?
Music has always represented a fundamental factor in my personal training since I was little. The search for new albums and artists meant broadening my horizons as a person and as an artist. Learning how to play was a natural consequence of my interests.
* Who inspired you to make music? Any famous musician or idol that you admire?
I started with English rock and my first reference artists were Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and I soon discovered Jazz with artists like Miles Davis, Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Always in search of something new, I discovered through a friend some songs by Paco de Lucía and since then I have always devoted myself more intensely to Flamenco that fascinated me so much.
* Where does your passion for flamenco come from?
As one of my teachers said: Flamenco “has land”. It is a music that has its history and its geography, its sounds so peculiar and unique. Its harmonies and rhythms are not only the expression of a culture, but they are almost unique within the western music scene. For a guitarist it is a visceral challenge.
* Who did you study with?
I started studying flamenco in Lisbon and Paris with private teachers, and after a few years I traveled to Jerez de la Frontera and Seville where I was able to study with great names in flamenco such as Manuel Valencia, Augustin De la Fuente, Antonio Rey, Niño de Pura , Eduardo Rebollar, Pedro Sierra, Rafael Riqueni and many more.
I studied at the Christina Heeren Flamenco Foundation in Seville, and did the Master in flamenco guitar interpretation at the Esmuc in Barcelona with Rafael Cañizares.
* What is your favorite flamenco guitar piece?
I don’t usually have favorite pieces, nevertheless “Orate” by Diego del Morao and “Tauromagia” by Manolo Sanlúcar are among the records that have fascinated me the most.
* Where to see the best flamenco in Barcelona and (Spain)?
Here in Barcelona there are many quality tablaos but also a more “underground” world, highly developed.
* How would you describe the music you usually do?
I work especially with traditional flamenco and Argentine tango. Lately I am dedicating myself a lot to popular music, thanks to another band that I have in Italy and I also do some “experimental research”.
* How is your creative process?
I work a lot analyzing topics that I like to understand and be able to reproduce the elements that are most interesting to me to feed and structure what comes from inspiration.
* How has been your experience as a guitar teacher at Shine?
Since I started working at Shine I have grown a lot as an artist and as a person. Students give me an opportunity to see the many faces of music and how it moves each one. The environment in the School is also very pleasant and favorable to the exchange of knowledge between students and teachers.
* What do you think has been the greatest contribution you have made to the students you have worked with over the years?
It is very difficult to answer this question, it would be interesting to know the response of the students … I would say that my classes have the purpose of getting students closer to the music that they like the most through the guitar, and of course of working to be autonomous in understanding their favourite themes and be able to interpret them.
*Photography: Fabio Toschi
* How do you think the Internet has impacted the music industry?
It has made it possible for many to come into contact with new music and meet distant artists with relative ease.
On the other hand, music streaming platforms have made it more complex for an artist to earn their salary from recordings. It is a complex problem where costs and benefits must be considered. Something that I really do not share in the contemporary situation is the excessive attention of the public and of the musicians to the social networks that turn the love for music into a phenomenon of Voyeurism (for the public) and of exhibitionism (for the artist). Many times musical success no longer depends on the quality of the content but on the way in which one manages to teach it.
* If you could change something about the music industry, what would it be?
In general, I think the most urgent thing is to resolve the artist’s constant precarious situation. I think it is a priority to reconsider the salaries for artistic services (classes, concerts and bowling) and also that the value of an artist is measured in its real production and musical quality and not so much in the number of followers.
* What upcoming musical projects do you have in mind?
I’m in a new stage of composition with my Italian band “Rayuela” with which we create “new popular music” and I’m also gathering ideas for a more Jazz-Rock project without any rules, we’ll see …
* Any advice or tips for those who want to study the guitar and enter the world of music?
I would say that it is important to lose your fear of studying music, students who do not doubt their possibilities are those who tend to advance more and with more serenity. Do not think that it is something unattainable at any age. Knowing that time spent on music is quality time that you spend on yourself.
The guitar is a very versatile instrument, with which you can play songs from different musical genres. Flamenco, which is very popular in Spain and throughout the world, is one of them and flamenco guitar is one of the most popular varieties of Spanish guitar.
The origin of the word “flamenco” is inexact. It is believed to come from the cultural tradition that gypsies introduced to Spain during Arab domination since before the 15th century. However, it was during the 18th century when flamenco was recognized as a musical genre and elevated its artistic expression from the cultural fusion of Muslims, Gypsies, Spaniards, Africans and Caribbean that at that time coexisted in Andalusia.
The first historically documented flamenco guitarist dates from the year 1850 known as Francisco Rodríguez “El Murciano”. However, the oldest record of flamenco music dates from 1774 in the book Las Cartas Marruecas by José Cadalso.
In general, when we talk about flamenco we refer to the result of a harmonic mix of different cultures and musical styles that has an artistic expression of deep feeling through cante (singing), dancing and toque (the way the guitarist plays the flamenco guitar). Over time, other instruments such as the flute, cajon, and violin have enriched this music, which has allowed it to renew melodies and shape the flamenco that we know today.
The flamenco guitar is similar to a classical guitar but with thinner parts and less internal reinforcements. It usually has nylon strings and is used in toque.
This instrument is often equipped with a kick plate (pickguard), commonly made of plastic, whose function is to protect the guitar body from rhythmic beats.
Flamenco guitars are normally made of cypress wood, a material that brightens the sound and adapts very well to the characteristics of this musical style. In addition, it has a narrower box so that the sound is smaller and does not overshadow the singer’s voice.
Perhaps the main difference between a classical guitar and a flamenco guitar is that in the last one, the harmonic bars are located in a different way, which generates a more percussive and brilliant sound.
Regarding posture, the flamenco guitarist often crosses his legs and supports the guitar he is highest on, while the neck keeps it almost horizontal with respect to the ground.
Since 2010, flamenco has been considered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as a masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity.
Some of our teachers offer recommendations for those who are interested in studying flamenco guitar:
César Munuera, graduated in flamenco guitar from the Conservatori del Liceu, assures:
“Paco de Lucía is the benchmark for any flamenco, but then there are Vicente Amigo, Gerardo Núñez, Tomatito, etc., who are from a later generation but equally great.
In my opinion, in flamenco there are no specific works that are essential … the most important thing, beyond listening to guitarists, is listening to cante and the more traditional flamenco to understand the rhythm and singularities of each palo. You have to listen to a lot and, above all, study a lot of technique in the most meticulous way possible … Since this genre develops specific guitar techniques that do not exist in any other style. “
The director of the Shine School of Music and expert in classical guitar, Milos Sajin, mentions some important works:
Our music school is located in Barcelona, a place historically recognized for being one of the first spaces where flamenco flourished in Spain between the 19th and 20th centuries.
Have fun studying music with us! The classes we offer are personalized and for all ages. Although you are a beginner or already have a more advanced level, do not worry, our music courses will always be adapted to your needs and interests.
Study holidays have long been popular in Barcelona, where many people visit the city for longer periods of time on student visas. Barcelona boasts some of the top business schools, a respected Erasmus program and plenty of choices for studying Spanish. Study abroad is both a daunting and exciting prospect for young people, and often a right of passage.
Immersive study is a valuable way to learn and a good way to get to know the history, culture and people of Catalunya and Spain.
Shine school of music offers both extracurricular music lessons in Barcelona to students already in the city looking to expand their knowledge base and students wanting to do intensive courses on flamenco or classical Spanish guitar. Our guitar courses can be taught in Spanish, Catalan or English offering an alternative approach to learning the language. And we offer a host of other instrument courses from piano lessons to singing.
Barcelona is well suited as city for students. It’s generally safe with a large international community. The city is small enough to navigate easily and there are plenty of affordable accommodation options for students from home stays to shared apartments. Students can become involved in the vibrant meetup groups, and there are plenty of free, cheap and fun activities that won’t break the bank. Yoga in the park, jam sessions, exercise on the beach, the list goes on. Besides this, Barcelona has an action packed cultural calendar with festivals and fiestas planned throughout the year.
At shine music school we accept students of any age and welcome the chance to share our love and knowledge of music with the discerning learner. Why not study music in Barcelona with us. We offer tailored courses for individual study as well as group music lessons.
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Classes At Shine Music School Barcelonawith A5 Preset
Here at The Shine School of Music, we offer specialized guitar lessons of many different styles. One particular guitar is very important to us – the flamenco guitar. Learning the flamenco guitar and about its tradition is a whole world in itself. In order to truly understand and appreciate the depth of this art form, one has to know many different aspects of flamenco including the songs (cante) and dances (baile). Lucky for us, located in Spain, we are at the heart of flamenco culture. For our students here at Estudio Shine and our readers passing by our blog, we would like to introduce you to one of the most influential flamenco guitarist- the great Ramon Montoya.
Ramon Montoya Flamenco Guitar
Ramon Montoya made a huge impact on the world of flamenco guitar during the 1900´s. Many of the first commercial recordings ever of this type of music are under his name. He is responsible for many firsts with respect to the technique of the instrument, development of palos, and the solo flamenco guitar concert. He was born in Madrid in 1880 into a Romani family. Not much is said about his parents with regards to if they were musically involved, but the fact that they were Romani would imply that the gypsy roots of flamenco rhythm, song, and dance were deeply imbedded into his childhood. Montoya purchased his first guitar using money he had earned on his family farm in Madrid and developed so rapidly that he was playing in the old café cantantes by the time he was just a teenager.
When he was just fourteen years old, he started accompanying the famous flamenco singer, Antonio Chacón. One his biggest accomplishments was the development of the many palos (or traditional flamenco styles of songs) that we know today such as the Guajiras and Rondeña. Chacón was especially known for his interpretation of the cante jondo, or deep song which is a more profound and free style of flamenco. This style leaves a lot of space open for the accompanying guitarist to improvise and decorate the melodies in the background. One of Montoya´s signature sounds was introducing us to the world of altered tunings. For example, he started tuning his low 6th string down to the note D instead of E and would also occasionally change the pitch of his third string G to the note F#.
Up until the time of Montoya, the flamenco guitar was really only played in an accompanying role. That is to say that the flamenco guitarist would really only be involved to support a dancer, a singer, or both. This type of style (specialized by players such as Diego del Gastor) is characterized by prominent rhythmic playing in an effort to maintain the rhythm or compás, and energy. This style usually had minimal falsetas or melodic interludes. However, due to Montoya´s amazing facility on the instrument, he often got in the way of the cantaores with his technique when they were trying to sing. With that in mind, Montoya started to play solo concerts with his guitar. With these concerts he also brought with him a whole new range of techniques that had not previously been seen on the level of a concert guitarist. He introduced us to arpeggio falsetas which showed audiences facility across the strings with all of his finers of the right hand in combination with rasgueados. Another technique he introduced us to was the five note tremolo technique. Tremolo is a technique used by classical guitarists to imitate a note that is sustained by the bow on a stringed instrument such as a violin or cello. Classical guitarists use a tremolo with four notes in rapid succession to accomplish this and Ramon Montoya added a 5th note for a more elusive sound within the flamenco aire. To hear an example of tremolo you could listen to Francisco Tarrega´s famous piece, Recuerdos de la Ahlambra and a 5-note in Bronce Gitano by Sabicas (influenced by Montoya).
It was Ramon Montoya who brought the flamenco guitar to the concert stage. He was the Andrés Segovia of the flamenco guitar world. Many of his falsetas are still played by the best flamenco guitarists today. If you are interested in taking flamenco guitar lessons at Estudio Shine in Barcelona, César Munera and Miloš Šajin, our flamenco guitar teachers can get you started on your flamenco journey. If you are not based in Barcelona, we offer live online flamenco lessons via skype. Thanks for reading!