I was reading some questions here on the website and that made me a bit confused ! about moving from flamenco to classical playing, how easy/hard would it be.

The point is the used techniques difference, are really there new techniques may a flamenco player face difficulty with or may not know when he's moving to classical ?
I suppose that much of if not all of classical techniques are derived from flamenco's, aren't they ?

Actually I don't see that classical guitar has its own techniques !
(Picado, Tremolo, Arpeggio, Legato) are all flamenco techniques and they are mainly used in classical playing !

So can somebody enlighten me with the techniques that classical playing has as its own ? because really I don't see any !

Please point me if I'm wrong.


2 Answers 2


Pi or pmi scales, artificial harmonics, open arpeggios (i.e. when ami aren't plucking adjacent strings), muting strings with finger planting. That's a few examples of techniques that hardly ever occur in flamenco but are common in the classical repertoire.

Bear in mind that some of the techniques may be shared by both but aren't exactly the same. The clearest example of that is tremolo. Whereas flamenco players prefer the quintuplet piami, classical players will often prefer 16-notes (pami for example).

The biggest hurdle for a flamenco guitarist moving to classical is probably the esthetics of tone, which are completely different in each style, and this does have an influence on the techniques you develop. Altering the tone by changing the angle of attack or by moving the right hand closer or further away from the sound-hole is pretty uncommon in flamenco. Or being able to single out a lead tone while playing other simultaneous notes. That hardly ever occurs in flamenco but it is very important in classical guitar (for instance, playing ami at the same time but having one note sound out clearer than the others. Very important for classical. Irrelevant for flamenco).

edit: however, the difference between the two has absolutely nothing to do with flamenco being "dance music" as was suggested in another reply. The fundamental basis of flamenco is cante (song) not baile (dance). Forms like seguiriyas are very flexible in their relationship to the pulse. Not to mention the cantes de levante that are usually played without any real pulse at all.

There is a common misconception today that "in compas" means "cuadrado" (steady beat) but these are too very different concepts. Accompanying dance does usually require more of a steady beat. And perhaps the fact that most flamenco shows outside of Spain are dance-centric has created this misconception that flamenco always needs a steady pulse, needs to be "cuadrado". But nothing could be further from the truth.

  • 1
    Great answer! — I suppose by pinch harmonics you mean normal artificial harmonics: i.e. the left hand fingers a note, the right hand uses one finger to enforce a particular flageolett node, and one finger plucks the string? What I'd understand by the term “pinch” would rather be the electric guitar technique where you partially damp the string at some not exactly specified spot, then agressively pick the string with a plectrum to generate a sharp, thin/screaming spectrum but with a pitch that's still recognised as the fundamental. Nov 12, 2017 at 11:01

There are some techniques that are exclusive to each. Flamenco has rasgueado and tambura, and a snappy pizzicato that don't really happen in classical repertoire. And in classical you have ... well, I'm sure there's something.

Within the broad overlap, there's still a great difference in style, particularly in the sense of time and tempo. Flamenco is dance music. Even if there isn't a dancer, the idea of dancing should still be conveyed. And this requires a consistent pulse that you can tap your foot to. This is very unlike a more classical application of borrowing time and padding measures and pushing the strong beats, where the music may more-or-less define its own axioms of phrasing.

  • Yeah I totally agree about the difference in tempo and rhythm, but the question is what techniques does really the classical playing have? the flamenco seems to me the origin while as you mentioned of course it has some more techniques that I didn't mention as they're not used in classical.
    – wisdom
    Oct 5, 2016 at 22:09

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