- Tango music
Infobox Music genre
stylistic_origins=European styles, including
polka, milonga, habanera, flamenco, mazurka, contradanse
cultural_origins=Late 19th century
Buenos AiresARG MontevideoURU
Violin, piano, guitar, fluteand bandoneon
popularity=Major, became a craze in Europe and North America in 1930s and 40s
subgenrelist=List of tango genres
Neotango- Tango-canción- Tango nuevo
regional_scenes=Dodompa (Japanese tango) - Easter Island
other_topics=Dance - Maxixe (Brazilian tango) - Record labels
Tango is a style of music that originated among European immigrant populations of
Argentinaand Uruguay. It is traditionally played by a sextet, known as the " orquesta típica", which includes two violins, piano, doublebass, and two bandoneons. Earlier forms of this ensemble sometimes included flute, clarinetand guitar. Tango music may be purely instrumental or may include a vocalist. Tango music is well-known across much of the world, along with the associated tango dance.
The first Tango ever recorded was made by
Angel Villoldoand played by the French national guard in Paris. Villoldo had to record in Paris because in Argentina at the time there was no recording studio.
Early tango was played by immigrants in Buenos Aires. The first generation of tango players was called "Guardia Vieja" (the Old Guard). By the end of the 19th century, this blend of salon, European was heard throughout metropolitan
Buenos Aires. It took time to move into wider circles: in the early 20th century it was the favorite music of thugs and gangsters who visited the brothels, in a city with 100,000 more men than women (in 1914). The complex dances that arose from this rich music reflects the habit of men to practice tango together in groups, expressing both machismo and sexual desire, leading to the distinct mix of sensitivity and aggressiveness of the form. The music was played on portable instruments: flute, guitarand violintrios, with bandoneónarriving at the end of the 19th century. The organito, a portable player-organ, broadened the popularity of certain songs. Eduardo Arolaswas the major instrument of the bandoneón's popularization, with Vicente Grecosoon standardizing the tango sextet as consisting of piano, double bass, two violins and two bandoneóns. Like many forms of popular music, the tango was associated with the underclass, and the better-off Argentines tried to restrict its influence. In spite of the scorn, some, like writer Ricardo Güiraldes, were fans. Güiraldes played a part in the international popularization of the tango, which had conquered the world by the end of World War I, and wrote a poem ("Tango") which describes the music as the "all-absorbing love of a tyrant, jealously guarding his dominion, over women who have surrendered submissively, like obedient beasts". [ [http://www.history-of-tango.com/couple-dancing.html History-of-tango. Christine Denniston. "Couple Dancing and the Beginning of Tango" (2003)] ]
One song that would become arguably the most widely known of all tango melodies also dates from this time. The first two sections of "
La Cumparsita" were composed as a march instrumental in 1917 by then 17-year-old Uruguayan Gerardo Matos Rodríguez. [ [http://totango.net/cumpar.html ToTANGO. "LA CUMPARSITA - Tango's Most Famous Song"] ] [ [http://www.todotango.com/english/biblioteca/CRONICAS/la_cumparsita.asp TodoTango. Ricardo García Blaya. "Tangos and Legends: La Cumparsita"] ]
1920s and 1930s, Carlos Gardel
Tango soon began to gain popularity in Europe, beginning in France. Superstar
Rudolph Valentinosoon became a sex symbolwho brought the tango to new audiences, especially in the United States, due to his sensual depictions of the dance on film. In the 1920s, tango moved out of the lower-class brothels and became a more respectable form of music and dance. Bandleaders like Roberto Firpoand Francisco Canarodropped the flute and added a double bassin its place. Lyrics were still typically macho, blaming women for countless heartaches, and the dance moves were still sexual and aggressive. Carlos Gardelbecame especially associated with the transition from a lower-class "gangster" music to a respectable middle-class dance. He helped develop tango-canciónin the 1920s and became one of the most popular tango artists of all time. He was also one of the precursors of the Golden Age of tango.
Gardel's death was followed by a division into movements within tango. Evolutionists like
Aníbal Troiloand Carlos di Sarliwere opposed to traditionalists like Rodolfo Biagiand Juan D'Arienzo.
The "Golden Age" of tango music and dance is generally agreed to have been the period from about 1935 to 1952, roughly contemporaneous with the
big bandera in the United States.
Some of the many popular and influential orchestras included the orchestras of
Juan D'Arienzo, Francisco Canaro, and Aníbal Troilo. D'Arienzo was called the "Rey del compás" or "King of the beat" for the insistent, driving rhythm which can be heard on many of his recordings. "El flete" is an excellent example of D'Arienzo's approach. Canaro's early milongas are generally the slowest and easiest to dance to; and for that reason, they are the most frequently played at tango dances (milongas); "Milonga Sentimental" is a classic example.
Beginning in the Golden Age and continuing afterwards, the orchestras of
Osvaldo Puglieseand Carlos di Sarlimade many recordings. Di Sarli had a lush, grandiose sound, and emphasized strings and piano over the bandoneon, which is heard in "A la gran muñeca" and " Bahía Blanca" (the name of his home town).
Pugliese's first recordings were not too different from those of other dance orchestras, but he developed a complex, rich, and sometimes discordant sound, which is heard in his signature pieces, "Gallo ciego", "Emancipación", and "La yumba". Pugliese's later music was played for an audience and not intended for dancing, although it is often used for stage choreography for its dramatic potential, and sometimes played late at night at milongas.
The later age of tango has been dominated by
Ástor Piazzolla, whose "Adiós nonino" became the most influential work of tango since Carlos Gardel's " El día que me quieras" was released. During the 1950s, Piazzolla consciously tried to create a more academic form with new sounds breaking the classic forms of tango, earning the derision of purists and old-time performers. The 1970s saw Buenos Aires developing a fusion of jazzand tango. Litto Nebbiaand Siglo XX were especially popular within this movement. An important work of recent years is that of Argentine band 020 ( zero2zero), whose epic album "End of Illusions" mixed British style pop-rock with nuevo tango.
The so-called post-Piazzolla generation (1980-) includes musicians such as
Dino Saluzzi, Rodolfo Mederos, Enrique Martin Entenza and Juan María Solare. Piazzolla and his followers developed "Nuevo Tango", which incorporated jazz and classical influences into a more experimental style.
Tango development has not stopped here. The following examples are not filed under "Tango Nuevo" since such classification is usually done with hindsight rather than when still undergoing development...These recent trends can be described as "electro tango" or "tango fusion", where the electronic influences are available in multiple ranges: from very subtle to rather dominant.
Tanghettoand Carlos Libedinskyare good examples of the subtle use of electronic elements. The music still has its tango feeling, the complex rhythmic and melodious entanglement that makes tango so unique. Gotan Projectis a group based in Paris, consisting of musicians Philippe Cohen Solal, Eduardo Makaroff and Christoph H Muller. They formed in 1999. Their releases include " Vuelvo al Sur/El capitalismo foráneo" (2000), " La Revancha del Tango" (2001), " Inspiración Espiración" (2004), and " Lunático" (2006). Their sound features electronic elements like samples, beats and sounds on top of a tango groove. Tango dancers around the world enjoy dancing to this music, although many more traditional dancers regard it as a definite break in style and tradition. Still, the rhythmic elements in Gotan Project's music are more complex than in some of the other "electro tango" songs that were created afterwards." Bajofondo Tango Club" (Underground tango club) and its follow-on album "Supervielle" are examples with a stronger "electro" feeling than Gotan Project. "Bajofondo Tango Club's" beats are more regular, more dominant. The rhythms are less complex but the tango feeling is still there.Other examples can be found on the CDs "Tango?", Hybrid Tango, Tangophobia Vol. 1, "Tango Crash" (with a major jazzinfluence), "NuTango". "Tango Fusion Club Vol. 1" by the creator of the milongacalled " [http://www.tangofusionclub.de Tango Fusion Club] " in Munich, Germany, "Felino" by the Norwegian group Electrocutangoand "Electronic Tango", a various artists' CD. In 2004, the leading world music label, World Music Network, also released an authoritative collection under the title The Rough Guide to Tango Nuevo. Kevin Johansenis another new tango artist who has a number of songs that combine folkloric and pop music with a milongarhythm in such a way that it is barely recognizable until trying to dance tango to the music.
The tango has become part of the repertoire for great classical musicians. One of the first classical interpreters to do this "cross over" was the baritone
Jorge Chaminéwith his " Tangos" recording with bandoneonist Olivier Manoury. Since then, al Tango, Yo-Yo Ma, Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Gidon Kremer, Plácido Domingoand Marcelo Alvarezhave performed and recorded Tangos.
Some classical composers have written tangos, such as
Isaac Albénizin "España" (1890), Erik Satiein "Le Tango perpétuel" (1914), Igor Stravinskyin " Histoire du Soldat" (1918), and John Cagein "Perpetual Tango" (1984).
Many popular songs in the
United Stateshave borrowed melodies from tango: the earliest published tango, "El Choclo", lent its melody to the fifties hit " Kiss of Fire". Similarly "Adiós Muchachos" became " I Get Ideas", and "Strange Sensation" was based on " La Cumparsita".
Music of Argentina
Music of Uruguay
List of tango music labels
History of Tango
* [http://www.clarin.com/diario/2005/05/07/espectaculos/c-00901.htm Clarin:The new Generation of Tango] es
* [http://www.tejastango.com/tango_music.html Extensive information about Golden Age tango recordings]
* [http://www.geocities.com/wanderingleopard/tango.html History of the early years of tango music citing key examples]
* [http://www.neotango.info/ Neotango.info]
* [http://www.todotango.com/english/main.html Todo Tango site]
* [http://totango.net/ttindex.html Totango]
* [http://www.ubu.com/sound/tellus_16.html A selection of Tango] web published on the
Tellus Audio Cassette Magazineproject archive at Ubuweb
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.