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Flamenco, traditional song and dance of the gitanos (Gypsies) of Andalucia;a in southern Spain.
Developing over several centuries from Gypsy, Moorish, Andalusian, and other roots, flamenco music and dance entered polite society in the early 19th century as cafe entertainment. Cante (song) is the core of flamenco, and like baile (dance), it has three forms: grande or hondo (grand or deep), intense, profound songs, tragic in tone, and imbued with duende, the transformation of the musician by the depth of the emotion; intermedio (intermediate), moderately serious, the music sometimes Oriental-sounding; and chico (small), light songs of exuberance, love, and nature. Individual genres include the light bulerias; the more serious soleares and its lighter descendant, the alegrias; the fandangos grandes, a serious adaptation of a lighter non-Romani genre; the malaguenas, an offshoot of the fandangos; and cantos grandes such as the siguiriyas gitanas and saetas.

Both text and melody of these songs, like the flamenco dance, are improvised within traditional structures such as characteristic rhythms and chords. Zapateado, intricate toe- and heel-clicking steps, characterizes the men''s dance; the traditional women''s dance is based more on grace of body and hand movement. Castanets, found in Andalusian dance, are not traditional to flamenco. Song and dance may be accompanied by jaleo, rhythmic finger snapping, hand clapping, and shouting. In the 19th century, guitar accompaniment became common for many genres, and guitar solos also developed. In the 20th century, commercial pressure distorted much traditional flamenco dance.

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