Flamenco Ukulele Malagueña Lessons
This lesson will introduce you to an important aspect of flamenco ukulele playing.
The simple tune uses the chords of A and Dm and the first 6 note sequence is played with the fingers in the A chord position, the next 3 notes can be played by moving both fingers up a string but in flamenco playing the fingers would adopt the Dm chord position.
Study the chord shapes and you will soon realize that it is possible to keep the bottom string stopped with your second finger and only move the index finger and add the middle finger to make the Dm shape. Keeping some fingers on the string and only moving the one’s needed will keep the music flowing and will allow the stopped strings to sustain the notes a little longer - this will give a full rich sound to your music. In this particular tune keeping your second finger in place will speed up the transition from the end of one sequence to the next.
The lesson starts with a simple three note sequence with 4 bars and played twice, this will establish the timing before it moves onto the second sequence.
A half note is introduced to the first sequence to add variation and a feeling of speed, the timing is exactly the same as the first sequence.
To finish there is an arpeggio where each note is sounded individually in quick succession.
The next lesson will introduce a variation on the second sequence and a simple melody section.
Lesson 2 builds on the first lesson -starting with the half note sequence then into a short melody sequence followed by a variation on the opening sequence and ends with the arpeggio from lesson 1.
Pay particular attention to the timing of the sequence before the final arpeggio.
Listen the sound clip titled 'Lesson 2' or listen to the sound clip embedded in the .pdf document and follow the music in the tabs sheet.
The next lesson will expand on the melody sequence and introduce new melody sequences.
This lesson will provide a longer tune which can be used as short solo.
It starts with an introduction followed by the first sequence from Lesson 2 and then the variation on that sequence again from Lesson 2.
The tune then goes into a variation of the melody sequence from Lesson 2, which moves into a percussive sequence based on the melody sequence just played.
It is followed by a melody sequence which is a very traditional Malagueña melody. This sequence speeds up towards the end and just how fast it ends is up to you - the music supplied is open to interpretation.
A one finger rasgueo is used and the technique is explained in the next Section on this page.
Rasgueo thumb position and technique
This position will give you the best striking attack for the rasgueo, the finger strikes the strings rather than just brushing the surface of them.
Curl your fingers as if you are making a fist but stop halfway then bend your thumb in and cover the finger tips. The thumb is then tucked in behind the fourth string, note that it should not be putting and tension on the string it is merely tucked in, as shown in the photo Thumb 1. The C, E and A strings will all be struck and the G string will be slightly deadened giving a percussive effect to the rasgueo.
Using the thumb to build up kinetic energy, the index finger is flicked out. The movement is a definite flick not just a straightening of the fingers.
The finger follows through and should finish parallel to the body of the ukulele, as shown in the photo.
After the flick the finger curls back up striking the strings as it travels towards the thumb. Don't worry about how many strings you strike on the way back, it adds variety to your playing.
These extra positions will give you more control over the sound.
The photo Thumb 2, shows the knuckle of the thumb moved forward (pivot it on the nail of the thumb) away from the body of the ukulele. From this modified position the emphasis of the flick will be on the E and A strings, the C string will be sounded but with not as much emphasis - the sound will be brighter.
The photo Thumb 3, shows the thumb higher up the ukulele and from this modified position the emphasis will be on the G and C strings being struck with the force of the flick while the E and A strings will receive less of the power.
Experiment with the different positions and you will soon learn what is the best position for you. Play the same chord in the different positions and hear the difference.
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