Flamenco mode

In music theory, the flamenco mode (also Major-Phrygian) is a harmonized mode or scale abstracted from its use in flamenco music. In other words the collection of pitches in ascending order accompanied by chords represents the pitches and chords used together in flamenco songs and pieces. The key signature is the same as that of the Phrygian mode, with the raised third and seventh being written in as necessary with accidentals. Its modal/tonal characteristics are prominent in the Andalusian cadence.

The exact chords depend on the song form (palo) and guitar chord positions[1] since chord voicings in flamenco often include nontriadic pitches, especially open strings.[2] It is characteristic that III, II, and I appear as dissonant chords with a minimum of four tones[1] (for example seventh chords or mixed third chord). Since the tetrachord beginning on the tonic may ascend or descend with either G-sharp or natural (Phrygian tetrachord) the mixed-thirds clash between the major third degree (G) in the melody and the minor third degree (G) in the accompaniment occurs frequently and is characteristic of the flamenco esthetic, as with the blues scale on a major chord.[3]

This tetrachord may be copied in the second, producing a D and allowing an augmented sixth chord on the second degree: B75/F.[5]

See also


  1. Fernández, Lola (2005). Flamenco Music Theory: Rhythm, Harmony, Melody, Form, p.77. ISBN 84-609-3514-0.
  2. Tenzer, Michael (2006). Analytical Studies in World Music, p.97. ISBN 0-19-517789-4.
  3. Fernández (2005), p.78.
  4. Michale, Ulrich (1982). Atlas de Músical, p.87. cited in Fernández (2005), p.79.
  5. Fernández (2005), p.79.
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