About instruments used in Flamenco Music

By | April 4, 2021

Classical (Spanish) guitar

Before the advent of the modified flamenco guitar (see section 2), the classical guitar (a six-string acoustic instrument) or in Flamenco’s case, the Spanish guitar, classical guitars were usually made of spruce or cedar. Due to the use of low voltage tops and nylon strings, unlike the metal bands used on many modern acoustic guitars, the classical guitar Finger Picking is commonly used to play classical guitar, but in Flamenco, strumming patterns or ‘rasgueado’ in Spanish are common. In modern Flamenco music, the classical guitar is often played with the Flamenco guitar to play either the underlying chords or melody of a song.

Flamenco Guitar

Flamenco guitar is similar to the classical guitar but different in material, construction and therefore sound. classical guitar from which the des cended, flamenco guitar is a six-string acoustic instrument. The front and sides of the guitar as well as the neck and main body are made of different types of woods. Spruce, cedar and mahogany are all common woods used to build Flamenco guitar. This, combined with the lightness and smaller size compared to the classical guitar, makes the Flamenco guitar quite a bit taller and more percussive than its classical sibling. It is the more rhythmic of the two, and the Flamenco player will strum the chords that form the basis of the classical guitar ‘rasgueado’ (strumming patterns), or both chords and melody on Flamenco guitar.


Introduced to Flamenco music in the 1970s, a cajon, which literally means box or drawer in Spanish, is a specially designed drawer in which the player sits while tapping the front and front edge to produce percussive sounds. The back of the cajon has a hole cut to drop lower notes, which are played either with the side of the fist or the palm. The upper inside of the cajon is lined with snare, like a snare drum that makes a sharp sound when the top is struck (usually with the palm or fingers). Many cajon players also use their feet to adjust the cajon while playing to produce different toned tones to better suit the music. Cajon is made of thick wood on all sides but the front, which is made of plywood to enable more resonant attacks.


Palillos or castanets as they are better known are a handicraft instrument made of two concave ‘shells’ attached to a string. The shells are made of stone, wood or, more commonly, fiberglass. As with the piano of other Spanish music, the player hits the two shells of the palace, together in a repetitive pattern, to create a loud and strongly contrasting sound. Usually two pairs of palillos are used at the same time, with one size and rising different from the other.


In Spanish, palmas means palms or hands. Palmas in Flamenco music refers to clapping, which is an important rhythmic element of the genre for both musicians and dancers. The blades are used to accentuate the important beats of the song or to keep the fast tempo, just like drummers in modern popular music. There are many forms of flamenco music (‘palos’ in Spanish), and hard (‘fuertes’) and soft (‘sordas’) claps are used to denote some nuances among the forms. Soft claps are used during guitar or vocal solos, and harder claps are used during the more intense parts of songs, such as when dancers stomp their feet or when the music becomes particularly loud and feverishly fast. Flamenco is a regional and therefore very specialized form of music that is closely associated with the dance style of the same name and genre. Although it comes in many ‘palos’ (forms), it is known for its intensely fast rhythms and melodies. Instruments involved in making Flamenco music are very specially designed for the genre. The guitars, like the percussion instrument, are a unique mix of more common Spanish instruments and specially designed ones.