We have already talked about the origins and the dresses of flamenco in Madrid, but there are many other things that will impress you. Some of them are the instruments that make this music possible, especially the flamenco guitar, the cajón and the castanets. In this article you will discover all you need to know to appreciate these instruments and truly feel the magic of this Madrid attraction.
The flamenco guitar, the most passionate of all
The flamenco guitar is considered to be the most passionate of its kind. It looks like a classic guitar, as it is made of wood and it is not amplified by any machine or speaker, but there are some important differences. The box of this guitar is more narrow and consequently it doesn’t project the sound as loud as the classic one.
As the flamenco demands, its sound is much more percussive. By its make, it is much easier to play because the strings are nearer the fingerboard, so the player doesn’t have to press as strongly as usual with the left hand and he can change chords more quickly, another aspect that is commanded by the flamenco. Another important difference has to do with the external part of the box, as these guitars show a protector under the strings because the movements of the right hand are very intense and the nails could damage the wood.
When one listens carefully to how all these elements come together you can recognize the sounds of the whole guitar in a more acute way. Combining the percussive character, along with the speed of the players, the results is a very passionate guitar capable of transmitting joy as well as sadness.
The cajón, the drums of flamenco Madrid
The cajón, which is also called crate or drawer, is a kind of drum that provides a very colourful and resonant sound, thanks to its cedar wood and its internal strings. The internal strings are only present in the so-called ‘cajon’ flamenco. Even if the origins of this instrument come from Peru, flamenco musicians introduced it in this genre because they share the same character.
The most traditional way to provide percussion in a flamenco concert was clapping hands, but this cajón gives the show much more passion and intensity. The players sit directly on the cajón and hit with both hands the front side of this box, and follow the same rhythm as the guitar.
The castanets, dancing and playing at the same time
One of the instruments that impress tourists the most is the castanet. This small object is made of wood (usually chestnut tree) and it is composed by two concave shells. The dancers in flamenco hold the castanets in their hands and play them while they dance, making an amazing rhythm along with the heels that hit the floor.
Women use this instrument more often while they move their arms, the body, and the ruffles of the dress, impressing the public and transmitting the passion of flamenco. Castanets are not an exclusive instrument of Spanish folklore (they are also present in Portuguese, Sephardic, Italian or Moorish cultures), but they have become so popular that they are a souvenir that many tourists take back home.
If you want to feel how this guitar, this cajón and these castanets sound live, just buy one of our tickets to visit a show of flamenco in Madrid. You will be impressed!