That’s Not Flamenco, THIS is Flamenco: The Modern Flamenco Guitar
By GERARD MAPSTONE (Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne)
Some of the greatest arguments surrounding flamenco over the past 100 years have been about describing what is really Flamenco? Does it belong to one group of people? Is it of the streets, the poor, the oppressed? Is it a state of being? Or is it a spectacular dance display seen in theatres? While there is still much debate to what is and isn’t flamenco the fact that we argue about it is important in keeping flamenco progressive.
Many of us that unfold the layers of flamenco discover that a sense of purity and tradition are common in conversation, that you must bide by tradition first then add a little something.. but I aim to ask what is that something.. and how much of it can we use before we are told it’s not flamenco.. and who is to judge?
Looking back is an important step forward for flamencos in forming their understanding of the integrity within tradition at an elemental level. To do so in todays presentation I aim to address the ‘modern’ flamenco guitar styles of the 1880s, and show that while some innovations may be unpopular, others can become standard, and that through discussing what is acceptable or not is in fact what strengthens our community and our art today.
The rise and international dissemination of the modern guitar can be dated to the decades around the turn of the 20th century, when the instrument took on a variety of forms and became associated with a range of playing styles and music genres. This conference will explore the contexts and trajectories of the guitar during this dynamic period, which pre-dated its global proliferation as a popular music icon in the second half of the 20th century.
The program will feature over forty papers from local and international speakers, a concert, and an exhibition at the Percy Grainger Museum.