Cultural Percussionist

World Music with Los Reyes – 1978 – Nicolas, Canut & Jose

World Music on Flamenco Fridays with The Gypsy Kings prior to fame. Performing Fandango.

Fandango is a lively couples dance from Spain, usually in triple metre, traditionally accompanied by guitars, castanets, or hand-clapping (“palmas” in Spanish). Fandango can both be sung and danced. Sung fandango is usually bipartite: it has an instrumental introduction followed by “variaciones”. Sung fandango usually follows the structure of “cante” that consist of four or five octosyllabic verses (coplas) or musical phrases (tercios). Occasionally, the first copla is repeated.

Eighteenth century Castilianfandango dancers (by Pierre Chasselat) (1753–1814)

Fandango rhythm.

The meter of fandango is similar to that of the bolero and seguidilla. It was originally notated in 6/8 time, but later in 3/8 or 3/4.

The earliest fandango melody is found in the anonymous “Libro de diferentes cifras de guitarra” from 1705, and the earliest description of the dance itself is found in a 1712 letter by Martín Martí, a Spanish priest. The fandango’s first sighting in a theatrical work was in Francisco de Leefadeal‘s entremés “El novio de la aldeana” staged in Seville, ca. 1720. By the late 18th century it had become fashionable among the aristocracy and was often included in tonadillas, zarzuelas, ballets and operas, not only in Spain, but also elsewhere in Europe.

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