Tango Argentino > Lyrics & Musicality

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by oldtangoguy, Nov 6, 2016.

  1. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    New thread, since I don't want to hijack the Amenabar / 3-3-2 thread.

    To what extent do lyrics influence your musicality? Tangos are often tragedies in the classical sense: Things are good, but someone's fatal flaw, or some such complication, gets in the way, and then things are bad. Midway through many tangos, they quit feeling like "Two hearts beating as one", and feel like "One sad and lonely heart". Even milongas, which dancers sometimes consider to be "happy" music, are often not. The first stanza of 'Negra Maria' celebrates the birth of a beautiful black girl on carnival. The second mourns her death, also on carnival. Etc.

    I have been trying to move these emotional arcs into my dance, but find it difficult to do effectively. Anyone else?
    Tango Distance likes this.
  2. Mladenac

    Mladenac Well-Known Member

    Please do not start killing women as some songs suggest ;)
  3. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    And if you get that urge, just listen to "a la Luz del Candil" non-stop for a few days ;-).
  4. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    The lyrics and the music are often at odds with each other with respect to the mood, BTW.

    Just listen to "Todo te Nombra" sung by Ernesto Famá (you'd be forgiven for thinking he just finds it curious that everything reminds him of 'her'), the frenetic Biagi version of "A la Luz del Candil", or the Troilo/Fiorentino version of "Toda mi Vida". It's really hard not to make the musical mood dominate your emotional response completely, lyrics be damned.

    On the other hand, by the end of Di Sarli/Podestá's "Junto a tu Corazón", it's hard not to transform into the little blob of black despair that is the narrator of the song.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
  5. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    Am I to assume that portenos simply adopted a "Cambalache" attitude? The world is so totally screwed up that we will just ignore the tragedy and dance?
  6. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Very true. For me, I go with the music.
    Angel HI likes this.
  7. First, I don't understand Spanish, so the lyrics if anything are distraction. It's particularly true when the singer is not in tune with the rhythm of the dance.
    I also believe that music is the language of the soul while lyrics - of the brain. When I dance I don't want to burden my mind with anything other the the dancing to the music and moving in tandem with my partner.
  8. oldtangoguy

    oldtangoguy Active Member

    Interesting. However it might be useful to understand the lyrics if only to understand better the culture that created the dance.
  9. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    It influences me to some extent. Like, if I dance on Skyfall OST and I know the "Put your hand in my hand" sentence is coming, I will drop the follower's hand, and retake it when the sentence is heard. Yet on Asi se baila el tango, I won't try to lead all the moves that Castillo is listing.
  10. This is exactly what I want to avoid: having someone indirectly communicating with my brain, influencing my actions. I want the music to speak to my soul!
  11. Yes, I think it's important to understand the culture. That's why read about it, watch video documentaries etc. - even at times read the lyrics on various sites. I don't want any cerebral interference on the dancing floor...
  12. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Since I don't speak Spanish, for me the vocal is another instrument. Sometimes it is an instrument that I wish wasn't playing and other times, it adds an element that enriches the overall piece. In either case, the actual lyrics are irrelevant because I don't know what is being said.
  13. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    [Gnashes teeth. Exit stage right.]
    oldtangoguy likes this.
  14. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Oh come on... you have to admit that some pieces that get played at milongas were meant as performance pieces for vocalists, not as music for social dancing.
  15. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member


    I sure don't play anything at a milonga that I do not consider dance music...yet I love sung tangos. Is the Laurenz/Podestá version of Nunca Tuvo Novio a showpiece for Alberto Podestá? You bet. Is it pure poetry, and something I love to dance? You bet.

    Some people don't play Troilo/Marino and claim that's not "music for dancing" and say something very similar to what you just claimed. I consider that utter hogwash, and I always frenetically search for a suitable dance partner when it's played. But of course, that's only my personal opinion. Feel free to think otherwise, but allow me to gnash my teeth ;-).

    I'd have to add that for most contemporary porteños (who usually don't dance), the lyrics are everything. To them (and in part to me), that is tango.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  16. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    It's interesting how different people like different things. For me the debate is rarely whether the music is for dancing (as it pretty much all is, IMO). For me it's more about does the song move me to want to dance to it.

    While I am a huge fan of Pedro Laurenz and Alberto Podesta, Nunca Tuvo Novio doesn't move me as much as some other songs do. I certainly don't have a problem dancing to it, though.

    Angel HI likes this.
  17. pascal

    pascal Active Member

    Why is it illustrated by a pic from Godard's A bout de souffle?
  18. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Because it conveys a tango feeling. Very often I run a ppt-presentation in the background when I'm djaying. And besides other stuff it has pics of A bout de souffle in it.
  19. sixela

    sixela Well-Known Member

    Yeah, she definitely did have a boyfriend in that movie ;-).
  20. pascal

    pascal Active Member

    Yes and he gets shot because of her.
    It ends badly, the guy is stalked, betrayed, killed. It's tango-ish somehow. But related to the lyrics?

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