“Petenera” is a “palo” flamenco based on a strophe composed by four eight-syllable verses. It may also be composed by six or more verses if one of them is repeated, or if another one is added which is usually “Madre de mi corazón.” This is formed by melancholy and sad lyrics, played in a slow and sentimental way, even though there are some older versions, whose rhythm is faster and lyrics are less unhappy.
“Petenera” existed musically before being adapted to flamenco. According to some scholars, “petenera” is related to “zarabanda” (17th century). This designation is due to a singer from Paterna de Rivera (Cádiz), which was called “la Petenera” (late 18th century).