Tarifa Madness

November 5, 2010 12:16 PM

Another bite sized morsel of crispy guitar-driven instro-surf for you.

Tarifa -- named after the Berber warrior Tarif ibn Malik -- is the southernmost point in continental Europe. Over the years, it's been occupied by the Romans, the Moors, the taifas of Algeciras and subsequently Seville, then the Almoravid dynasty, then the Algeciras, then the Kingdom of Granada. Then it was conquered by Sancho IV of Castile, and repeatedly besieged by Islamic troops, and twice by the French during the Peninsular war.

It's a good place to write a tune about.

(This was originally written for Dead Man's Curve and was a track on our second studio album, but I was never really happy with what we did with it, so I rescued it and redid it).

posted by unSane (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

This sounds great man, I can definitely jam out with this in the VW bus at 5am on the way to go surf. It's funny though, for me anyway, that you composed a SURF song about this particular place. It's always sounded to me that most surf guitar has a bit of Moorish/Spanish/Arabic sound. I've never figured out what the scale is called and I doubt that Dick Dale or anyone else ever gave it a thought, but it's certainly a part of the Surf Sound signature.

Thanks for posting this!
posted by snsranch at 4:07 PM on November 5, 2010

Yeah, it's the Phrygian dominant, baby! Lots of surf songs feature the classic Flamenco changes, including this one, which is why it always wants to have that scale in it, plus some of the classic arabic tones as well. And like I said in another thread, the surfbeat boom-ta-ta boom-ta is basically the pasa doble. I think it must come from the Spanish influence in California (plus the fact that Dick Dale is Lebanese/Russian/Polish and Miserlou was a greek folk song...
posted by unSane at 4:31 PM on November 5, 2010

(Tarifa is also one of the wind- and kite-surfing capitals of Europe, which is why I first thought of it!)
posted by unSane at 5:25 PM on November 5, 2010

Ah, thanks for solving a little puzzle that's been bugging me for years! As much as I've googled to find out what it's called (the Phrygian), it's been a mystery until now. Thank you!

(FWIW, I LOVE Flamenco guitar and especially Carlos Montoya.)
posted by snsranch at 6:37 PM on November 5, 2010

The nice thing about the Phrygian is how easily so many cool little patterns fall under your fingers. It's a really easy mode to learn and use. Just loop Bm-A-G-F# and have at it.
posted by unSane at 6:51 PM on November 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

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