Baile Español

String Quartet
2 min.


Unpitched Percussion



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Program Notes
“Baile Español” (Spanish Dance) is a reflection on the musical influence of Arabic and Jewish cultures in the early history of the Iberian Peninsula. Arabic and Jewish populations have had a major cultural presence within the Iberian Peninsula especially within the southernmost region of Andalusia, their presence in this region would be influential on the local music of Spain such as adding new sounds, colors, rhythms, and scales that would ultimately blend and become the musical style of Flamenco. The harmonic language of the piece includes extensive use of the Phrygian Dominant scale, as well as the Double Harmonic Major scale, two scales often associated with Arabic and Jewish music. Both scales represent approximations of scales used within these cultures within the confines of 12-Tone Equal Temperament. Another focus of this piece is the rhythmic development with a constantly changing groove that builds in energy; This element of the piece includes many symmetric meters such as 4/4, 2/2, and 9/8 but includes 7/8 (felt as 3+3+1) as well as the iconic tresillo rhythm or 3+3+2 groove found within nearly all music of Spanish roots. The inclusion of (although optional) Castanets is an element that harkens back to Spain, with these instruments being the foundations of the rhythm of Flamenco music.
Recording Notes
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