Usually flamenco is not written down, being passed by listening and memorization
from player to player. However, it is possible to learn some of the basics of flamenco
technique provided that this is backed up with much listening to good players and
Flamenco technique is broadly divided into two categories— rasgueado (literally,
scraped) and picado (picked). The rasgueado is used to establish rhythms with percussive
strokes and strums of the right hand. This is particularly important when accompanying
dancers, where the guitar needs to be audible above the sound of song and stamping
The picado (plucked) technique is similar to normal fingerstyle playing, and
is used for the falsetas. In flamenco, there is emphasis on the clean playing of
scales and arpeggios, and in fact a high level of right-hand skill is expected.
The tremolo (see Chapter 21) is also used, though purists tend to discourage excessive
use of this technique.
Flamenco players frequently use a capo, in fact it is rare to see the guitar
used without one. The most commonly used postion is at the second fret, but higher
postions are sometimes used. The raised pitch adds brightness to the sound, which
helps audibility when singers and dancers are involved.
The flamenco capo