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Mojácar Flamenco perfoming the Tientos y Tangos Puerto Abierto from their DVD Mojácar at the Madrid.

About Tientos

Tientos, a slow cante jondo music and dance in a four-count rhythm, was first developed by the singer Enrique el Mellizo (1848 -1906) as an expressive variation of the Tangos. Poet Federico García Lorca considered the Tientos to be almost liturgical in its solemnity. Traditional Tientos lyrics - letras - set a dark mood, and have to do with loss, unrequited love, imprisionment, longing for freedom and other serious messages. Dancers strive to capture this mood in their solos.

The most notable aspect of the slow Tientos tempo is the beat structure. Where the first beat in Tangos is subdued, it is strongly emphasized in the Tientos, as is the "and" of the second beat.

Form

Compás

Palmas

Video Samples

HOME DANCE LESSONS GUITAR LESSONS CANTE LESSONS CDS VIDEOS GUIDES FLAMENCO FORMS
About Tientos

Form

Although many variations are possible, the most basic form of the Tientos is as follows (including a full performance of guitarist, singer and dancer):

1. Guitar introduction: The guitarist sets the basic tempo and key

2. Temple: the singer sings fragments – estribillos – (le le, la, etc.) to establish the
key, pulse and mood of the piece.

3. The dancer’s llamada – call/cue – the guitarist performs double time here. The dancer generally performs footwork.

4. Letra - 1st verse – the singer sings the first verse, and the dancer interprets this
impressionistically and rhythmically. After the 1st line of the song, the singer may take a 1 or 2 compás break – the respira – and the dancer usually inserts footwork here.

5. Guitar falseta – a short melodic phrase that the dancer interprets lyrically.

6. Escobilla – the dancer’s 1st prolonged footwork section. This ends with a
llamada to call in the 2nd verse.

7. Letra - 2nd verse – Similar or identical to the 1st verse.

8. 2nd escobilla – the dancer’s final long footwork section.

9. The macho – it is common for a flamenco song to end in a faster song/rhythm, and it is usually the Tangos for Tientos. The most traditional Tangos lyrics performed here are the song, "Triana."


Compás

Depending on how you choose to think about it, the compás of Tientos can seem deceptively simple or deceptively complex. Both views are correct.

Viewed simply, tientos is a simple four-count rhythm with an added beat on the 'and' count of the second beat.

V V V V
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +

Viewed slightly less simply, each beat is broken into triplets, and that added beat after beat two is on the "a" of the triplet .

V
V V V V
1 + a 2 + a 3 + a 4 + a

Viewed with more complexity, the "a" of beat one is added and beat three is left silent, but the "a" after beat three is added.


Palmas

The standard palmas for both Tientos and Tangos are:

V
V V V
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +
or
V V V V V
1 2 + 3 4


For Dancers

As with most flameno forms, the dancer's role is to interpret the underlying feel and rhythm of the Tientos as expressed by the singer and the guitarist. However, the presence of a dancer brings some important additions to the overall structure and pulse of the Tientos.

The first of these is in the dancer's llamada, which the dancer, guitarist and palmista perform at double time in relation to the slow introduction and letras. This moment is marked by fast footwork that ends abruptly on the first beat of a bar (on count 1). The guitarist resumes at the original tempo before the singer begins the first letra. Listen to the example below:

EX

During the first letra, the singer will take a break - a respira - between the first and second lines of the letra. The dancer will often insert double time footwork here. This is referred to as a remate for the dancer (thus, a one or two compás respite from singing where a short, quick burst of footwork is added before the singer resumes). Listen to the example below:

Please see the FORM description above for a break down of the traditional dance structure.


For Guitarists
The basic compás for Tientos on the guitar can be performed with the same basic chords associated with the Tangos:

|Bb |A |Bb |A |
|Dm |C |Bb |A |

Passing chords are added to this basic pattern to create the harmony for the Letra:

|Bb |A |Bb |A |
double time
|Bb |Bb |A A
a tempo
|Dm |Dm |Dm | G7 |C |
|F |Bb |Bb |A |
|C |F |Bb |A |Bb |A |


Sample Cante Below is a sample of a tradtional Letra por Tientos.

Ay que me párace mentira
Lo que tu hace conmigo
Y entre las parede escribe
Yo hable con el Presidente
Ay si el querer es un delito
Que Dios me mande la muerte
How it seemed a lie
How you had treated me
It’s written on the walls

I spoke with the President
If love is a crime
then God should condemn me to death

Video Samples

Al Baile

Al Toque

Al Cante