Flamenco: Cultural Expression of Andalusia

Universidad de Sevilla

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Flamenco: Cultural Expression of Andalusia

  • Host University

    Universidad de Sevilla

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    European Studies

  • Language Level


    Hours & Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Flamenco will be broached as a cultural phenomenon in its widest sense; i.e., taking into account the dimensions that link it with music, social interaction, and communication, as well as its displaying of itself as lyricism, while not forgetting its links with contexts related to work, ritual, and festive occasions. As a result of this approach, Flamenco is viewed as a manifestation which goes beyond the strictly artistic, while possessing the capacity to generate social identity, in the case of Andalucía, on the basis of ethnic factors, but not exclusively so. In order to illustrate this plan of action, use will be made of a historically based analysis so as to be able to carry out a reconstruction of the major processes by means of which, up until the present day, Flamenco has emerged as a cultural manifestation in the southern part of Peninsular Spain. The objective of the first part of the Course is to provide students who are not familiar with Flamenco music into contact with its key features, thus enabling them to appreciate Flamenco as a musical language and as a communicative model with its own specific characteristics. Thereafter, the same will be done with regard to Flamenco as dance. In a second section, students will learn about the different phases that have gone into the making of the history of Flamenco, while they will also become familiar with the debates concerning its interaction with a range of different cultural traditions, some of which remain distanced in time and
    space. This process will allow for an acquaintance with the historical roots of the beginnings of Flamenco in Andalucía, together with awareness, although cursory, of the issues that enliven existing specialized bibliography with regard to how to locate Flamenco both historically and culturally. Finally, in a third section, an exploration will be made of the characteristics of Flamenco as an expression of social interaction and as a communicative model, while its current validity in contemporary society within diverse social and festive contexts is scrutinized, together with the key characteristics of its lyrics as a manifestation of poetic art.

    The Course will take into account regular attendance at the theoretical-practical classroom sessions in which lecturers’ explanations will be backed up with a range of audiovisual material which will make for practical learning. Likewise, texts, outlines and different kinds of illustrative material will be provided as a way of reinforcing the explanations concerned. In general, the two-hour sessions will be divided into sub-units, each respectively dedicated to both theoretical content and to practical exercises so as to ensure an applied learning process in which students will be able participate actively as protagonists. By way of a complementary, extramural activity, students will be expected to undertake two brief practical assignments involving the analysis of two public performances, or events, in which Flamenco is on show, either commercially, or socially.



    1. Introduction: Flamenco as the expression of what is musical, of ritual, and of social interaction. Its
    relation to cultural identity within Andalucía and to the cultural traditions that go into that same
    identity’s making.
    2. Key characteristics of Flamenco as musical expression: components of the musical discourse
    concerned, rhythm, styles, or handles on style. Approaches to the learning and performance of
    Flamenco music: micro-composition, resources of expression, instrumentalization. Sounding Flamencolike.
    3. Expressive characteristics of Flamenco as dance: counterpointing as the structural basis of Flamenco
    dance, the structure of dance set-ups, the recent evolution of dance forms.
    4. The origins of Flamenco as a junction of viewpoints. Historical/cultural context, from the
    Enlightenment to Romanticism. The issue of the term Flamenco.
    5. Historical reconstruction of commercial Flamenco. Phases: the café-singer, Flamenco opera,
    Neoclassicism, Present-day Flamenco. Issues concerning the identity of Flamenco as Music: Flamenco
    and Andalusí culture, gipsy style, purists and ‘cante-jondo flamencans’, Flamenco and Heritage.
    6. Flamenco and its social dimension: the practice of ‘using’ Flamenco. Everyday contexts for Flamenco:
    the family circle, neighborhoods, festive occasions.
    7. Flamenco as literary expression. Key characteristics of its language and of the structure of the ‘copla’


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Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.


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