a palo seco – without guitar accompaniment.
afición – a strong enthusiasm for something (in this case, for flamenco).
aficionados – enthusiasts.
afillá – refers to a type of singing voice.
agitanao – gypsified.
aire – literally “air”; in flamenco an approving reference to the general character of, or manner of performing, a flamenco form. Examples: “he has a lot of aire when he plays that form”, or such and such a form “has so much aire that it sets it apart”.
alto – up, high.
Andaluces – Andalusians.
arpegio – a guitar playing technique.
bailaor – male flamenco dancer.
bailaora – female flamenco dancer.
bajo – down, low.
bata – dress; a bata de cola is a dress with a train or tail.
braceo – arm movement.
brazos – arms.
cabales – the faithful; style of siguiriyas.
caló – an impure form of Romaní, the gypsy language; a mixture of Romaní and Spanish.
cambio – change; a change in a cante.
cante – flamenco singing.
cantaor – male flamenco singer.
cantaora – female flamenco singer.
cantes camperos – country cantes.
careo – a passing movement, usually made facing partner, such as the careos in sevillanas.
caseta – a small dwelling; during provincial fairs casetas are constructed as temporary party quarters for individual families or groups.
cejilla – the capo or instrument used on the guitar to change the tones and keys in which a singer sings, or sets the specific tone of a compás.
chico – small; used in cante chico, baile chico and toque chico to depict the lighter emotions and feelings of flamenco.
cierre – a closing compás which ends a series of movements or a phrase or copla or sections of dance.
compás – rhythm; beat; also a unit of rhythm. Being in a compás is more than just staying on the beat. It is the knowledge of the various accents of the particular compás and its interpretation.
contra-tiempo – counter-rhythm.
copla – a verse relating to the song, or the song’s relation to the dance. It is often used to describe the various sections of sevillanas, fandangos, and other forms with definite set song patterns.
corto – short.
cuadro flamenco – a group of guitarists, singers, dancers, and jaleadores who comprise the performers of flamenco.
desplante – a climactic point or break in the dance, consisting of two or more compases. The desplante is usually introduced by a llamada.
duende – soul, spirit, being possessed by feelings of the baile, cante or toque.
eco gitano – literally “gypsy echo”; another term for “voz afillá”.
entrada – entrante, beginning.
escobilla – brushing steps. Also a section of footwork in dance.
estampa – a strong flamenco presence, a personal stamp.
falseta – a melody placed on the flamenco guitar.
feria – fair.
fiesta – party.
flores y filigrana – flowers; these words are often used to describe the hand movements of flamenco.
gitana (o) – gipsy female, male.
gitanerías – gypsy doings.
gracia – the personality, charm, wit, flavour, nuance and dynamics of the dance and dancer, a joy and pride. Aire and gracia are used together to capture in words the “total feeling”.
grande – large, exceptional.
guitarra – guitar.
guitarrero – guitar-maker.
guitarrista – guitarist.
hondo/jondo – serious, deep or profound. Cante hondo and baile hondo are song and dance that depict the more serious feelings and emotions of flamenco.
ida – a transitional step or movement, as between an alegrías and a bulerías.
intermedio – intermediate.
jaleo – clapping of hands and verbal encouragement for dancers, singers and musicians – for instance : “¡Así se baila!”.
jaleador – one who encourages dancers by clapping hands and living jaleo.
juerga – a flamenco happening. A fiesta, usually with the elements of music, song, dance, jaleo and many aficionados.
ligado (el) – slur or tied note; notes that are played with the fretting hand alone, that is, without
plucking the string with the right hand.
llamada (la) – a call; a signal used by dancers to communicate a forthcoming change in the dance; llamadas are commonly used to signal a dancer’s entrance or salida, the closing of a section of dance (cierre), a major change of tempo or rhythm as in castellana or the change to bulerías in the alegrías, or the beginning of a desplante.
llanto – mourning, lament.
lunares (los) – polka dots.
macho (el) – a personal ending or “remate” which is tacked on the end of the cante.
Madrid (el) – outside of Andalucía, the most active site of commercial flamenco and home of many top flamenco artists; there is plentiful instruction in all areas of flamenco, but not much atmosphere, inhabitant = madrileño (a).
maestro – master.
Málaga – a city on the Mediterranean “Costa del Sol.” Not a lot of gipsy flamenco, but here were developed the malagueña, jaberas, verdiales and a style of tangos; inhabitant = malagueño (a).
mano (la) – hand; right hand = derecha; left hand = izquierda.
mantilla (la) – Spanish veil made of lace; worn on the head, often with the peineta.
mantón (el) – Spanish shawl used in dancing.
mástil (el) – the neck of the guitar, also called el mango.
matíz – shading, example: soft to loud footwork, fast to slow, etc.
mayor (el) – the major mode, as in A major.
media planta (la) – half-sole; the striking of the ball of the foot against the floor; also called planta.
menor (el) – the minor mode, as in A minor.
mesón (el) – a bar-restaurant where people can gather to sing and dance such things as sevillanas, fandangos, and rumbas; occasionally the site of more serious flamenco.
Morón de la Frontera – a town in the Sevilla area that became famous in the 1960’s when it, and its resident genius guitarist Diego del Gastor, were exposed to the world by the writings of Donn Pohren. Many foreign guitarists made pilgrimages to the pueblo and the style of guitar playing has come to be known as “Morón style”.
mosaico (el) – the mosaic around the sound hole of the guitar; the whole design is called la embocadura.
muralla real – literally the “RoyalWall”; refers to the ancient wall around Cádiz and is frequently mentioned in verses of the alegrías.
mutis (el) – exit (hacer mutis = to make an exit); in flamenco, the ending of a dance off stage.
no decir ná – not saying anything, not getting through.
no dice ná – he (she) says nothing, doesn’t get through.
nota – a musical note.
olé – shout of approval.
palo – a flamenco rhythm or style of singing.
palillos (los) – the Andalusian or flamenco term for castanets.
palmas (las) – handclapping used to accompany flamenco singing and dancing.
palmas abiertas (las) – loud , sharp handclaps made by the fingers of one hand hitting the palm of the other, also called fuertes or secas.
palmas redoblás (las) – countertime palmas; also called palmas econtrás.
palmas sordas (las) – muted or soft palmas done by hitting the cupped palms together.
palmero (el) – one who does palmas.
pantalones (los) – pants.
pañuelo (el) – handkerchief or scarf.
pasada (la) – a pass; a step in the sevillanas in which the partners pass by each other.
paseo (el) – a walk; refers to parts of the dance where emphasis is on graceful. walking and movements of the upper body and arms; sometimes used to refer to the part of the alegrías which is now commonly called the Silencio.
paso (el) – step, as in taking a step, or a particular “step” in a dance.
payo (el) – gypsy term for a non-gypsy.
peineta (la) – a large ornamental comb, worn in the hair.
peleón – fighter; the creative section of a cante.
pellizco (el) – a colorful, unique or personal movement that reflects the personality of the dancer and adds life to the dance.
peña (la) – a club made up of aficionados of the cante.
pericón (el) – extra large fan (abanico) used in dancing.
picado – a guitar playing technique.
pie (el) – the foot.
pisar – to press or fret the strings.
pitos (los) – finger snaps.
planteo – the beginning section of a cante.
planta (la) – the sole of the foot; the movement of striking the flat of the foot against the floor, also called golpe or plano.
por arriba – E major, E minor, or E phrygian mode; used by flamencos who generally do not know music theory or terminology; to a singer the E chord looks “higher” than the other common chords.
por medio – a major, minor, or phrygian mode.
primo – cousin; a gypsy term expressing friendship.
puente (el) – the bridge of the guitar.
puertos (los) – the ports around Cádiz (El Puerto de Santa María, Puerto Real ) often reffered to in the cantes de Cádiz.
pulgar – thumb.
pulsación (la) – the action or “feel” of the guitar strings.
pulsar – to pluck the strings.
punta (la) – point; the striking of the tip or toe of the shoe against the floor.
quejío (el) – passages of “Ay”; can be used as a “temple” (salida), as part of the song, or as a remate.
rajo – raucous, hoarse.
rasgueado – strummed; from the verb “rasguear” (to strum) and may be used as an adjective or adverb as in the sentence, “This rhythm is to be played rasgueado”; it is also used as a noun to mean the same as “rasgueo”.
rasgueo (el) – a strum; any of the right hand techniques for brushing across the strings to play chords.
redoble (el) – used to label a number of different heelwork combinations that normally take up two beats and produce a closing sound; used to conclude a rhythmic phrase.
rematando – finishing.
remate (el) – finish off, complete; the closing of a cante by switching to a different, but related cante, such as closing a soleá with a change to the tones of alegrías or to a bulerías.
Río Guadalquivir – the “flamenco” river that crosses the most of Andalucía, passing through or near many flamenco centers, from the Cádiz area to Córdoba, with headwaters near Granada.
Rocío – located in “Las Marismas” (swamp-lands) between Cádiz and Huelva; the site of the annual Romería de Rocio (pilgrimage to Rocío) in May; a time of much merrymaking and a fair amount of flamenco; the occasion gave rise to the Sevillanas rocerías, the most popular style of sevillanas.
romance (el) – a story sung in flamenco song form.
Romaní – the gypsy language, a derivative of the Indian Sanskrit.
romería (la) – religious pilgrimage; occasion for much merrymaking and sometimes flamenco.
Sacromonte – the old gypsy quarter of Granada, made up of cave homes; now mostly deserted except for some of the large ones reserved for tourist flamenco shows.
sala de fiestas (la) – a room where entertainment such as flamenco is presented; a tablao.
salero – wit, charm, full of life.
salida (la) – singer’s entrance or “tune up” also called “temple” from the verb, “templar” (to tune); the dancer’s entrance.
Semana Santa (la) – Holy week, the week before Easter; in Andalucía, the traditional time for the singing of the saetas.
sentao – bending the knees and releasing the hips, lifting the upper body. This position is used to achieve smooth footwork without a bounce.
Sevilla – the famous flamenco city in the heart of flamenco country; there is much activity and flamenco is still a way of life in some of the surrounding pueblos like Alcalá de Guadaira, Utera, Dos Hermanas, Los Palacios, Mairena del Alcor, and Morón de la Frontera. Here were born the soleares and forms of the bulerías, tangos, and fandangos grandes, as well as the popular sevillanas; the inhabitants are called sevillanos (as).
silencio (el) – part of the alegrías where graceful arm and body movements are emphasized, with almost a complete absence of footwork; it is not sung and is commonly played in the minor mode on the guitar.
simpático – winning, charming.
sólo de pie (el) – a section of footwork done without guitar or cante – usually accompanied by palmas.
son (el) – literally “sound” or “tone”; used in flamenco to mean basic rhythm or beat, as when a singer
says to the guitarist, “Házme son” (give me some rhythm), so he can sing.
sordina (la) – anything placed under the strings to muffle the sound during practice.
sostenido – sharp, as in c# (Do sostenido).
tablao – modern version of the “café cantante”; flamenco night club; literally means “platform”.
tacón (el) – the heel; the striking of the heel against the floor, also the heel of the guitar.
taconeo (el) – heelwork; sometimes used to refer to any footwork.
tapa (la) – the top or sound board of the guitar; sometimes called la tapa harmónica.
temple (el) – the singer’s salida or warm-up.
tercio (el) – a section or passage of a cante.
tiempos (los) – beats.
tirando – free or unsupported plucking strokes.
tocaor (el) – a flamenco guitar plating.
tocar – to play a musical instrument.
tono (el) – pitch or key; “buscar el tono” – to look for the singer’s pitch on the guitar; the keys in Spanish are: La (A). Si (B), Do (C), Re (D), Mi (E), Fa (F), Sol (G).
toque (el) – flamenco guitar playing.
traje campero (el) – ranch clothes; these are work clothes and should not be confused with the more formal “traje corto”.
traje corto (el) – the formal Andalucian ranchwear of the past; now worn by both men and women on festive occasions and in dancing certain flamenco dances; the name comes from the short jacket.
traje flamenco (el) – flamenco costume; most often used to refer to the full-length dress worn by Andalusian women for dancing in the ferias and for flamenco.
trastes (los) – the frets of the guitar
trémolo (el) – a treble melody sustained with the fingers while the thumb plays a bass melody; the most common sequence of plucking in flamenco is thumb, index, ring, middle, index (repeat).
Triana – the old gipsy quarter located across the river from Sevilla; has now grown out and around Triana to such an extent that the barrio is no longer very distinct from the rest of the city.
varniz (el) – the finish on the guitar.
venta (la) – country inn; a bar along a highway where flamencos can sometimes be found and hired for juergas.
verso (el) – a literary term referring to a single line of poetry.
volantes (los) – the ruffles on the traje flamenco; sometimes the word “frunces” is used.
voz (la) – voice; there are certain terms commonly used in describing voice quality: “voz rajá” is the very hoarse and rough voice common to gypsy cantaores and considered ideal for the cante jondo; “voz afillá” is similar to “rajá” and was derived from Diego El Fillo, a singer who had this type of voice (the term “rajo” is also heard in this context); “voz natural” and “voz redonda” are more natural and clear singing voices and more suited to singing the non-gypsy cantes, although there are many excellent cantaores with this type of voice (usually they can call forth a little “rajo” when needed); “voz bonita” is a negative term among flamencos and refers to the very sweet, operatic type voices, more common among the popular pseudo-flamenco singers in Spain.
vuelta (la) – a turn; there are many different types of turns used in flamenco dance. Some basic turns in flamenco are “vuelta por delante” (front turn), “vuelta por detrás” (back turn), “vuelta de pecho” (upper arched chest turn) and “vuelta quebrada” (back bend turn).
zapateado (el) – footwork; more specifically, the striking of the different surfaces of the foot against the floor.
zapatos (los) – shoes.
There are many, many more words, sayings and terms that could be put into this glossary, however that
is not its purpose. The aficionado will want to search and learn, and this small list can be a beginning.