The Alegrias term means happy, or joy; it is derived from the Latin term alicer. This genre belongs to the same category as the cantinas. It started off as a song for dancing but thanks to the contribution of the flamenco greats there are now even solo alegrias pieces.
Often accompanied by a cajon or palmas, guitar-only pieces proved to be some of the most difficult flamenco pieces technique-wise. The famous “La Barrosa” by the great Paco De Lucia is known to be the toughest piece ever recorded. Paco also gives us a flawless example performance in Germany in the year1996, one of Paco’s best years.
The flamenco Alegrias is often played at parties, being an integral part of any flamenco get-together. It is because of the happy and festive atmosphere it creates, and because it is fitting to dancers, that it is so popular among parties.
The rhythm is a 12-beat meter, the guitar bringing the livelier character to it:
123 456 78 910 11 12
The guitar plays in a major key, as is the case for every cantinas. In the case of the alegrias, there is a scale change, during the introduction. The basic keys used are: in the middle: A – E 7th; and at the top: E – B. This doesn’t sound like it’s a big deal, however the fast rhythm and complex falsetas make this style a challenge for every guitarist.