Alegrias (1 of 4) by Jose Luis (SB Sessions)

Alegrias no.4 (Difficulty level 7)

This is a challenging yet beautiful falseta that exemplifies Jose Luis's lyrical style and his use of the great harmonies in and around the key of E major. You also get an idea of what practicing scales as a kid can do for you here! Importantly, if you listen closely, you can hear his foot tapping out the rhythm with the emphasis being on the 7 and 8 beats which is what gives Alegrias it's own unique flamenco flavor. Harmonically, It stays pretty close to E with only a few outside chords.

Here's a bit of analysis on these outside harmonic devices:

Measure 4: The first outside chord is the D#(b9) that he goes to directly from the E tonic chord. Resolving to this chord from the EMaj7 harmony gives the impression that you are playing in D#, with the E Maj being the II chord. This is essentially what is called a deceptive cadence. The D#(b9) chord is found in the key of B major as the Altered Phrygian III chord. This could also be considered a bV substitution chord since it is resolving to AMaj9.

Measure 5-6: Here we essentially modulate back to the key of E major with the Amaj9 chord. Its a refreshing sound that brings back the tonal center to E major. At the end of measure 6 he plays a B9 resolving back to E major (measure 7) which of course is the IV - V7 - I progression.

Measure 16-17: The next semi outside harmony of G#7(#5) is used as a borrowed dominant in the relative minor key, the key of C# minor.- Here, the G#7(#5) momentarily tonicizes the key of C# minor. (FYI, Making the vi chord a momentary tonic is a very common device used in popular music to give us that refreshing sound, its new again kind of thing!!)

Measure 19-20: Here he goes from the momentarily tonicized C# minor harmony back to the key of E major. This is because he plays G# minor which is firmly rooted in E Major being the III chord.

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Recorded in Santa Barbara, CA by Berto Boyd for more info visit: