Synthesising the cultures of the Gypsies, Moors (Arabs), Jews, and Indigenous Andalusians, in the background of Spain folk art and culture originated the flamenco in the 16th century.
Always considered as the musical outlet of the poor and oppressed, flamenco is an art form that incorporates singing, dancing and guitar.
Flamenco is defined by melody, rhythm and harmony.
The singing accompanied with the guitar soon became a performing art in public and added onto the music history of Spain.
There are many views regarding the etymology of flamenco.
Some believe that the word is synonymous with the gypsies and some others believe that flamenco derived from Andalusian Arabic, "escapee peasant". It was also observed by the historians that the term has connection with Fleming, native of Flanders and flamingo.
The flamenco music styles are known as palos. The classification of songs is done on the basis of rhythm, mode, chord progression, stanza and geography. Palo in Spanish is interpreted as stick, bar, pole and rod, but when it comes to music it means suit of cards.
Palos are divided into cantes a palo seco, cantes related to solea, cantes to seguiriya, cantes derived from fandangos, cantes related to tangos and one related to Ibero - america known as Cantes de ida y vuelta.
When one flips through the pages of history, he will notice that the first time when Flamenco is recorded in literature was in the year 1774. It was mentioned in the book titled Cartas Marruecas written by Jose Cadalso.
One of the Spanish writers organised the Fiesta del Cante Jondo in 1922. It was a folk music festival dedicated to cante jondo which stimulated the growth of flamenco music. Truly literature has contributed in a large manner for promoting flamenco music.
The Flamenco guitar, the classical guitar, palillos, palmas and caion are the typical flamenco musical instruments. In Andalusia there was a large variety of guitar varying in their prices, materials used and the amount of decoration.
The cheapest instruments were made from the local wood cypress and the expensive ones were made out of rosewood. The difference between the guitars was mainly noted by Segovia.
Years have passed and flamenco today deserves a special mention in the history of music. In the year 2010, on November 16th, UNESCO declared Flamenco as one of the Masterpieces of the oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
This indicates that the flamenco music born during the strengthening of Christianity in 1492 has indeed travelled a long way.