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Vivencias Imaginadas & Habanera (Carmen)

Vivencias Imaginadas (zapateado). Composed and performed by Vicente Amigo.

The zapateado — a dance with percussive footwork — has its origins in the pre-flamenco Tanguillo de Cádiz which was originally a style of music with singing that was, and still is, a staple of Spain’s annual Carnaval festival. Traditionally speaking, the main difference between the two styles is that the tanguillo is written for voice and guitar (i.e., no dance) and the zapateado is written for dance and guitar (ie., no singing). That said, dancers no longer perform the zapateado as frequently anymore. Instead, it has become largely a staple of flamenco’s solo guitar repertoire.

Vicente Amigo’s zapateado rhythm is a modern variation of the original rhythm. Whereas the traditional zapateado used a constant 6/8 phrasing with accents on beats 1 & 5, the modern zapateado uses 2 measures of 6/8 with asymmetric phrasing. The first measure of 6/8 accents beats 4 & 6 and the 2nd measure only accents beat 4. You can listen to Vicente's studio version of Vivencias Imaginadas here.


Habanera. From the opera, Carmen, by Georges Biset (1838-1875, France). The melody of this piece was composed by Sebastián Iradier, arranged by Biset (for opera), and performed by Nemanja Bogunovic.

The original name for the aria, Habanera, in Carmen was L’amour est un oiseau rebelle (“Love is a rebellios bird”) and the melody for this piece was originally written by Sebastian Iradier in 1863. (If you remember from a previous post, Iradier (a.k.a., Yradier) also wrote La Paloma.). The title was changed to Habanera because Biset arranged it using the rhythm and bass line of the popular Cuban dance by the same name. This aria was originally written for voice and orchestra but has been transcribed for multiple instruments since its inception.


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