Flamenco Rhythms: Buleria

by Rodrigo Gonzalez

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  • Hello GMC and welcome to a new lesson based in another Flamenco rhythm.

    Bulería is a fast flamenco rhythm in 12 beats with emphasis in two general forms as follows:
    1 2 [3] 4 5 [6] 7 [8] 9 [10] 11 [12] or 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 [7] [8] 9 [10] 11 [12]

    It may also be broken down into a measure of 6/8 followed by a measure of 3/4 counted as such:
    [12] - - [3] - - [6] - [8] - [10] - [12] 1 2 [3] 4 5 [6] 7 [8] 9 [10] 11

    The bulería is a Flamenco sub style and it has generally 3 or 4 verses that have the characteristic of having 8 syllables. It is usually used as a chorus in other flamenco styles, like the soleá.
    The words bulla (noise) and burla (to mock) both apply to the character of Bulerias, but no one really knows how the name came about. It is believed to have evolved as a faster version of Alegrias in Jerez. Full of fun and frivolity, Bulerias is considered the ultimate expression for the skills of both dancer and guitarist.
    Although the measure is unvarying within its 12 beat structure, Bulerias is rhythmically very flexible, and open to sudden bursts of spontaneity and melodic variations. It occupies a central position in any dance or guitar repertoire and is usually reserved as the flashy final number in performances. Alegrias and Solea will often build up in speed and change into a Bulerias to finish off.

    A Phrygian Major:

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