Seguiriya (8 of 11) by Jose Luis (SB Sessions)

Seguiriya no. 8

This is an amazing falseta that showcases one of the newer keys that is being used in modern Flamenco as well as the use of heavily altered chords and different temporary modulations. The key signature reads 5 sharps which means B major. I think of this as mainly the key of E Lydian which is the 4th mode found in B major. Many people though say it is the key of Eb Phrygian. There are many ways to interpret this key center and Eb is one. However as a guitarist, I like my sharp keys so I would rather say D# Phrygian if we are going to name the tonal center by it’s Altered Phrygian name.

Let’s begin looking at the harmonic devices used:

Measure 1-3: Here we have a augmented type of triad that is being being moved down in a whole step fashion with an open D pedal tone. Let’s analyze each one: D7(#5), D9(#11,#5), D(#5), D#(b9).

Measure 3-6: At the end of measure 6 you’ll notice the open E and D used right before the repeat of the same theme. So you might ask why?… Well, what is going on here is a couple of things. In Altered Phrygian, we have two chord that typically are the resolving chords back to the tonic. The first one we see is essentially a D chord with altered tones which really outlines C#m7/D (In “por medio” or A Phrygian you would think of this chord as a Gmin/G#). The other possibility would be the II chord – E9. So you could also think of it as an E9 with the 7th in the bass with all the altered notes which would be A#-#11, C natural – b13, even the G natural in measure 5 would be the #9! Crunchy good stuff. Ok, let’s move on…

Measure 7-9: So like with many Flamenco falsetas we will start the main section with the minor iv chord – G#min9 which then goes to C# minor 7th which we would think of as either the vii chord of D# phrygian or the Dorian ii chord in B major. I’m thinking more B major here modally speaking. The G#min9 gives us that refreshing sound that you get when using the relative minor then going to the C#min7.

Measure 10-12: In measure 11 we see the chord change in the second half. Instead of going to the G#min here he goes to the 1st inversion chord of F#7 by putting A# in the bass F#7/A# which then resolves back to G#min as with the original idea.

Measure 13-15: Here we have a very interesting change of harmony. It starts with a E Lydian based chord E(#11), then to an F#7 which leads to B major in the 6/8. And then here is where we have this cool twist. The B major 7th chord then becomes the II of A#(b9)/E# which is a temporary modulation to the Phrygian key of A# (The V of D#). Jose is the master of making almost any chord in the key – a “temporary Altered Phrygian” tonal center. Measure 16-18: Here he focuses on the very hip harmony of E7(#9#11). The #9 note is the G natural that is getting some play time. Also notice the other altered tones in the scale over E: D#- major 7th, D natural – minor or dominant 7th, and the A# – (#11). So this is essentially an E Lydian dominant scale which was first introduced into Flamenco by the late Maestro Paco de Lucia.

Measure 19-24: Here we have a chord vamp that outline the first three chords in the “Spanish Cadence” vi – G#min, III – F#7, II – E(#11#9). Measure 25-27: Here we have a very rock type of idea using only the perfect intervals of the chords (root and fifth minus the thirds). When using only power chords like this you are able to get much more melodic use out of them simply leaving the third out the equation. Thats why so many rock and punk songs can kind of modulate all over. The technique he using here in the second half of the 6/8 is interesting with a double bass and treble notes which goes into the F#7.

Measure 28-30: Here Jose jumps to an upper “C shape” inversion from the “E shape” F#7 pretty quickly, followed by a E9/B which then runs right into the tonic chord of D#(b9) in the middle of the rasgueado.

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