Cante jondo: According to the dictionary published by the Real Academia Española (Spanish Royal Academy), the cante jondo is “the most genuine form of Andalucian song, expressing deep feelings.” The dictionary notes as equivalent terms both cante jondo and cante hondo, which supports the premise that the term jondo is a form of the word hondo (deep). The Andalucian dialect characteristically aspirates the h, which derives from the root of words beginning with an initial f.
However, Máximo José Kahn alleges that the term jondo comes from the Hebrew term jom-tob or yom-tob, and is rooted in synagogue chanting. According to García Matos and Hipólito Rossy, not all flamenco cante is cante jondo. Manuel de Falla believed cante jondo to be the older form of chanting, whereas cante flamenco was the modern version.
The term cante refers to the “action or effect of singing any Andalucian song,” defining cante flamenco as Gypsy-like Andalucian singing” and cante jondo as “the most genuine Andalucian singing, expressing profound feelings.” The singer of cante flamenco is called cantaor (flamenco singer) as opposed to cantante (singer), the intervocalic sound being dropped, as is characteristic of the Andalusian dialect.
Fandango, which in the XVII century was the most popular form of singing and dancing all over Spain, generated local and regional variants, particularly in the province of Huelva.
In High Andalucia and its adjacent regions, fandangos were accompanied by the mandolin, which followed a regular beat for dancers. Its name gave rise to a style referred to as abandolao. The same process gave rise to fandangos de Lucena, zánganos de Puente Genil, malagueñas primitivas, rondeñas, jaberas, jabegotes, verdiales, chacarrá, granaína, taranto and taranta. Due to the spread of sevillanas in Low Andalucia, the fandango slowly lost its distinct character as dance music, which allowed cantaores to exhibit their skills more freely. This, in turn, resulted in numerous fandangos with personal touches in the XX century.
Likewise, thousands of Andalucian farmers emigrated to mining towns in Murcia, especially those from the eastern part of the region. This is where tarantos and tarantas evolved. The Linares Taranta evolved into the minera de la Unión, cartagenera and levantica. In the period of the café cantante, a venue where these forms were performed, some of the songs separated from the dances and took on a freer beat, allowing the singers to display their art. A driving force behind this process was Antonio Chacón, who developed refined forms of malagueñas, granaínas and cantes mineros.
Stylizing of the romance (a combination of different flamenco lyrics and styles) and string sheets gave rise to the corrido (ballad). The 4 or 3 verse romances lead to the primitive tonás, the caña and polo, which share the same meter and melody, but have different renditions. The guitar accompaniment lent them a beat or rhythm that made them danceable. Their origin is believed to be in Ronda, a town in High Andalucia but close to Low Andalucia and very interrelated with it. From there, it was easy to reach Triana, a neighborhood in Seville with a long tradition of corridos, where the form was transformed into soleá. The jaleos emerged in Triana from the festive interpretation of corridos and soleares, transported to Extremadura. In Jerez and Utrera they evolved into bulerías, and these spread all over Low Andalucia, generating local varieties.
Tangos and tientos sprang up in the great Andalucian ports of Cádiz, Málaga and Sevilla, and were to have a wide-ranging impact on Afroamerican music. Cádiz also gave rise to cantinas, the principal form of which was the alegría.
Some of the popular Andalucian tunes, such as the pregones, nanas and campesinos cantos de trilla, follow the same meter as the flamenco seguidillas. They, in turn, gave birth to the liviana and the serrana, which is a melodramatic, virtuoso form of the liviana: in fact, they are generally performed together. This group of rhythms also includes the alboreá and the antigua playera, imbued with the melody of the tonás and leading to the siguiriya, which incorporated guitar accompaniment.
Palos are “each of the traditional varieties of flamenco cante.” The basic flamenco palos are:
- Alegrías: These constitute the flamenco style that most exactly expresses the sentiments of the environment around Cádiz.
- Bulerías: They are celebratory styles, with a rapid and double rhythm, which is more suited than other forms to cheering and clapping. It is the dance that usually rounds off a flamenco celebration, and in which the dancers, usually one by one, go to the center of a semicircle and dance part of the musical piece.
- Fandangos: From the beginning of the XIX century, flamenco adopted features of the Andalusian fandangos, thus giving rise to the so-clalled “flamenco-style fandangos,” which today are considered one of the fundamental flamenco forms.
- Tangos: Tangos are considered one of the basic flamenco styles, and there are several different kinds.
- Sevillanas: This form of dance and song is typical of Seville. The dance is one of the most popular and well-known in Spain. It is usually danced by couples, to the sound of the four verses into which it is divided.