Palmas Por Bulerias

I think all of you know that 1 compas of bulerias is 12 counts. The basic accent of bulerias is or occasionally, I say that because even though many people first learn, realistically, when we perform, we use more often. This is what I consider the base. Occasionally, we use accent for baile (dance) only. For music, we almost never use this accent.

Let's take a look at pattern 1 on diagram 1. You play the palmas on every beat on tiempo (on time) and give accents with pies (feet). You notice there are circles above the counts with different sizes. These are the accents for hands. Sizes represent how strongly you play the accents. They vary depending on where you are in the musical or dance structure . Of course, you can give all the accents strongly, but only if part of the dance requires it (never for music solo).

Pattern 2. You notice the count 12 on pattern 2 is in parentheses() which means optional. You can do with or without. But again it all depends on what your partner(s) is playing and what part of the music or dance you are accompanying. There are palmas in between count 7 & 8. That's contra (counter time).

Pattern 3. This is just a variation for pattern 2. You play the contra on count 2.

Pattern 2 & 3. Even though there are no accent for hands, all the accents including count 7 & 8 are already given by feet.

Medio Compas

I would like to talk about Medio Compas (at workshops we didn't get the theory of this). What is Medio Compas? Medio Compas means half compas, which is 6 counts in bulerias. How do we count this? In Spain, they don't even count. I know some people count them This is O.K if you only stay in medio compas and never come back to 12 count.You really don't count them in 12 either. But this time in diagram 2 on the left, I put medio compas in 12, not to count them in 12, but to use this partially so we can figure out added 6 or medio compas. (See Example 1.) So you can see how they work in bulerias. because some of you might not be used to counting bulerĂ­as in 6's. Why not count them in 12? Of course you can count them in 12, but if you do, they don't always work well. Here is why:

In Bulerias, many places have extra 6 or added 6. There are 3 types of extra 6 in Bulerias. For example,

  1. extra 6 for remate
  2. extra 6 before letra or falseta starts.
  3. letra with extra 6

No.1 You can do remate with 12 count then immediately medio compas remate. In this case, you can count 12. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. It is more common for Baile. I will talk about this in remate. Example 1.

No.2 more commonly used by guitarists. When the guitarist, is accompanying a singer. Let's say he sang a few letras and you are ready to play a falseta. Actually, you don't have to complete 12 count compas. Instead, you can play medio compas before falseta.

No. 3 Many letras are medio compas feel and have added 6s (extra 6). For example, one of bulerias in this page starts with "Mi amante pajarero", which has medio compas feel and 3rd passage ending "el pico de oro", which has an extra 6 count. In this case, you should already be playing medio compas (if you are accompanying) before the phrase closes. However, it should not feel like an extra 6 (even though there is one), and you just repeat medio compas until the phrase closes. This is very common for many letras in bulerias, especialy in Jerez. In this type of the letra, you should not count in 12, because if you count or accompany in 12 count phrases, you will kill the soniquete (groove) and aire (feel) of the letra. (I will post audio and video example soon, so you can get a clear idea.)

Wow, it seems more complicated when I write these theories down, but it is much simpler than it seems. You just need to feel them! I hope this information is helpful to you.

by Jose Tanaka 3/13/2006
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