Tango Argentino > Open Embrace is an Oxymoron and Tango-fusion is Gibberish

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by tangomonkey, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Actually you said: "On the dance floor, at my best..." which could be taken either way... ie: dancing your best or behaving your best (or some combination of both). You meant the former, but I read it as the latter since that is what MY point about people's traits meant and in that post you were responding to my point (what my teacher said).

    I really don't know how to prove something I've experienced to you. It is, as you say, about empathy and awareness of what is going on for other people.. not just where they are or might move to, but what is happening for them emotionally. Also, I didn't say people DANCE in a petty way, but that their traits are magnified. They behave in a more petty way. Or insecure. Or joyous. Or whatever. They may also dance in a joyous, secure, insecure, or other manner, but...

    Not everything going on on or off the dance floor is limited to actual dancing.

    The quote was "Whatever you are, you'll be more that in Tango". Tango is more than just what happens in the 3 minute song and it is certainly more than just the movements that occur even during the song.

    I had another teacher who made a distinction between Tango and Dancing, as well as Tangueros vs "dancers".

    You yourself admit to thinking of the music as gibberish, so why do you have a problem with me pointing out that you are disparaging it? You ARE disparaging it, aren't you? How is saying "Junk is Junk" NOT disparaging and if you feel that way about the music, why is it a bad thing to say that you are being disparaging? I'm genuinely confused.
  2. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Plus music, theater and dance are usually part of the Fine Arts department of any academic institution (at least in the US), so to claim only the visual arts should be called "Arts" seems weird to me. Maybe it's one of those terminology things that that vary on either side of the pond.
  3. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I pointed out that your posts do not necessarily READ as you might intend. You can take that as an attack/ complaint or you can take it as information that might be useful about how you are coming across. Your choice.

    And yet you also are upset with me in another post for saying you are being disparaging, so I really don't know how to have a discussion with you about it.

    I'll go back to the kid's table then.. it's more fun over there anyway. ;)

    No seriously. It would be logical for me to assume that this was an ad hominem attack on me since you have taken some of the general comments I made as being about you (when they weren't). But I won't... Because I know that I'm also mature and have no problem with opinions as long as they aren't presented as facts.

    I'm supposed to prove isn't gibberish? Why? You asked why some people like dancing to it and I thought I explained that upthread. You say it's just your opinion that it is gibberish and not a fact, so that's the end of it. I have no need to change your opinion and I totally respect that your opinion can be different from mine.
  4. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I' dont' think I agree with this. I'll have to consider it next time I go out dancing. I think you would find that the old milongueros always had an emphasis on musicality, despite variations in the complexity of the music.

    Unless by physicality, you are also meaning ALL aspects of the physical dance, like the connection. However, you can't separate the connection from the musicality because without the connection, musicality falls apart from lack of communication between partners.

    Maybe I am misunderstanding what you mean by "musical complexity"

    Ok THIS I definitely disagree with.. you've obviously never had an orange tabby. ;)
  5. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    You quoted me yet it seems you are responding to JohnEm, since you and I are saying the same thing. Yes?
  6. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    That is a marketing slogan. As a musician of 45+ years experience I find this concept to be contrived.

    My goal as an interpretive artist is to be true to the music. How I am feeling or what my character (however that's defined) is, is irrelevant. If the music calls for joy I have to make it sound joyfull; if the music is morose and plaintive I have to create that atmosphere. And I have to abruptly shift gears, so to speak, when the music changes character.

    On the dance floor I interpret the music, attempting to get into its mood and rhythms and convey my feeling and understanding of it with my partner, and work towards a common understanding. Its as simple as that - no existential "I am more this or that" is required.

    No, you aren't supposed to prove electrotango isn't gibberish. I asked for musical evidence - reasons why you specifically think my opinion is wrong. In music criticism one expresses an opinion backed up with evidence. Not being a provable fact is irrelevant. A response is to counter argue the points and provide other evidence to support a different claim or opinion. Sure, you do not need to change my opinion and I didn't ask you to. I asked for counter evidence or counter argument why electrotango isn't junk.

    One thing I complained about in electrotango, is the fact most of it has a bombastic unrelentless beat, with a back beat (accents on 2 and 4), which is completely un-tango-like. Now someone could counter argue the point and explain how they work those features into their dance. Similarly for the other complaints I made in the thread, which are only a few I have.

    (I've played several electrotango tracks to my colleagues and I am unable to quote what they had to say. I'll just say using the words junk and gibberish is actually quite charitable. ;))

    We have fundamental differences of opinion and are unlikely to reach consensus. I respect what you have to say but can't agree with a lot of it.
  7. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Yes.. I was agreeing with you and adding my thoughts to your own comment.
  8. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    Well, that's progress of a kind. :)
    Zoopsia59 likes this.
  9. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    You are still talking about how you dance or interpret music. I don't know how to make it any plainer that that is not what I am talking about.

    I've seen petty leaders throw hissy-fits on the dance floor when their follower doesn't respond in the desired way to the lead. I've seen small unimportant collisions start in arguments that result in one party suggesting that they go "outside to settle their differences" (meaning a fistfight). I've seen people who are typically "nice" become practically saintly in their patience and encouragement of a newbie who keeps stepping on them or moving roughly, and that no one else will dance with.

    It's not just about the actual dancing. It's about personality traits and how the tango scene seems to magnify them. Impatient people become more impatient. Controlling people become more controlling. Kind people become even more generous. Happy people become downright radiant in their enjoyment of the dancing. Arrogant, "superior" people don't even try to hide their arrogance. Insecure people have their insecurities sorely tested and often fail to rise above the insecurity.

    If I had to guess, I would say that you are probably a rational, intellectual, and analytical person. If so, perhaps tango brings that out more in you. Perhaps not. I can only speak to my own experience and observations IRL. Many of the people I have known in Tango have their personality noticeably exaggerated by participating in Tango events, whether in sitting around, or in dancing, or everything in between.

    As for it being a "marketing gimmick"... No. My teacher had a demanding 6-figure day job and cared not a whit about marketing himself as a tango teacher. He taught at a studio and considered it the studio's problem to market the class. He only taught those who approached him or the studio, not people he had to solicit on his own. He didn't put the phrase on flyers or use it as a slogan on a business card or anything. It's just something he said. For all I know, he only said it to me. But it resonated so completely with me, that I've never forgotten it, because I've seen it play out over and over in my years of Tango. The fact that you haven't, doesn't make it "contrived"

    I don't recall you making any points, just the statements. I remember a post saying you could present the actual musical evidence, but maybe I don't remember where you did. At this point I don't care enough to go back and read the whole thread.

    Gibberish: unintelligible or meaningless speech or writing; nonsense

    Do you mean it has a "relentless" beat or an "unrelentless" beat (meaning it does relent)? I am probably more educated (and particular) about English than music. So I don't know if you really meant "unrelentless" or "unrelenting" (relentless) which are opposite things.

    If it has a relentless beat, how can it be unintelligible? A relentless beat should be pretty clear. If it has a relenting beat (which is what unrelentless means) then it might be unintelligible, but that certainly doesn't automatically make it so. Quite a lot of music (as you know) has changes in tempo.

    If it can be understood and interpreted by some dancers, how can it be meaningless? If it means something to anyone at all, it has meaning.

    "Gibberish" is a subjective term. A foreign language sounds like gibberish to someone who doesn't know it. Meaningless is also subjective.

    Perhaps you could link a couple of tracks that particularly exemplify your point?

    Junk is an even more subjective term. My roomate calls my piles of papers on the dining room table "junk" even though they contain (at the moment) my tax return stuff. Definitely NOT junk.

    You think it's junk. Maybe I don't. (or maybe when you post a link to some tracks, I'll agree with you) End of discussion because further discussion is pointless just as any debate about preferences and what people like is usually pointless. I also like Madonna and the movie Whiplash (which drummers have criticized quite a bit) I find the reasons why the movie isn't accurate to be interesting and educational, but they don't change the fact that I enjoyed the movie.

    From a strictly logical interpretation of English language usage, the music cannot be gibberish, meaningless, or junk as long as anyone understands it, finds meaning in it, or likes it.
    twnkltoz likes this.
  10. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    I honestly cannot say I have not noticed extreme behaviour as you describe. There are people I don't associate with because I simply don't care for them, for whatever reason. But I wouldn't know if they are more extreme (for better or worse) in the milonga than they are anywhere else. Perhaps I'm too obtuse.

    Sorry, a typo...yes, "relentless"

    Subjective words, sure. So are other adjectives. When I'm writing and not quoting I am speaking for me. Music which is a mash-up of electronic sound samples, synthesized instruments, mediocre, simplistic melodies, simplistic harmonies (and very few of them), one or two simplistic repetitive rhythms over top of a prominent relentless back beat (contrary to tango music's 1 and 3) - it is meaningless and unintelligible to me as a trained classical musician and musicologist. By unintelligible I mean the musical components, when assembled into a piece of music, do not work together to produce beauty or meaning. Music has beauty and meaning when it is coherent - meaning the numerous independent musical elements need to cohere and be better than the individual parts. Electrotango does not do that. I assume the musicians writing and playing electrotango don't agree with me on any of these things either.

    Perhaps I will...

    Sorry, that's no the case. The branch of philosophy called aesthetics does just that. And opinions and preferences can be changed or adapted, once new or previously unconsidered information is made known. If I were to have a discussion with an electrotango musician he/she might be able to convince me the error of my ways - or at least cause me to soften some of my opinions. Or I might convince him/her to spend their time in a better way. It is common when musicians, say a quartet, get together to work on a new piece of music, to have quite nasty disagreements. Sometimes over exactly how to articulate a single note. Sometimes no common ground can be found and the piece is scrapped for something else. This process is exactly about preferences and likes. And the process is essential.

    That's quite a high - impossibly high - bar. By that standard, as long as someone understands it, finds meaning in, or likes it, none of the disparaging terms can be applied by anyone else. I don't know any category of human artist pursuit that can meet your standards. So, I don't accept the position.
    Last edited: May 15, 2015
  11. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I feel that way about a particular type of jazz, but I also know that to people educated about jazz, it is quite sublime and masterful. To me it's a train wreck that never comes together. I once did the in-house sound mixing for a group performing that sort of jazz and I was so frustrated because I couldn't get the mix "right". Then a far more experienced sound guy who really loved the group, came over and told me it sounded great! I told him my frustration that I couldn't make it "gel" and sound coherent. He said "That's how it's supposed to sound.. you're doing it just right.

    I still didn't like it. ;)

    I meant that it was the end of OUR discussion, because to me it's a pointless discussion.

    But I don't have any interest in doing that. What you like is your business. It's not my place to try to change it.

    I also don't have any interest in someone on an internet forum telling me whether I can use my time "better". That would be pretty arrogant. If anything would be a better use of my time, it would be not engaging in these round robin discussions in the 1st place, but I always get sucked in! ;)

    Maybe for a musical quartet trying to play together. Not for me on a tango forum.


    That's what happens with language and word definitions. They either apply or they don't.

    As long as they are stated as opinions, they can be bandied about by anyone, anytime. It's when they are stated as though they are absolutes, that I have a problem with it.

    That's ok.. I don't need you to.
  12. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    I think I write and express myself reasonably clearly. Yet you misinterpret, it seems, my entire prior post. I am not writing about you, or asking you to do or think a single thing.

    There are entire fields of study and enquirery which made this absolutist statement nonsense:

    Zoopsia59 said:

    …any debate about preferences and what people like is usually pointless.

    I wrote:
    "The branch of philosophy called aesthetics does just that. And opinions and preferences can be changed or adapted, once new or previously unconsidered information is made known. If I were to have a discussion with an electrotango musician he/she might be able to convince me the error of my ways - or at least cause me to soften some of my opinions. Or I might convince him/her to spend their time in a better way. It is common when musicians, say a quartet, get together to work on a new piece of music, to have quite nasty disagreements. Sometimes over exactly how to articulate a single note. Sometimes no common ground can be found and the piece is scrapped for something else. This process is exactly about preferences and likes. And the process is essential."

    You responded:

    You’re just pulling my chain now, aren’t you. If you can seriously read that paragraph of mine above and come to the conclusion I’m talking about YOU, then there’s a reading comprehension issue. It is patently obvious I am writing about discussing preferences and opinions with another person (or group of people) and allowing for a change in perception and understanding by either/both/all parties because of discussion.

    You are of course entitled to your anti-intellectual statements.
  13. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    Now who's being insulting and going for personal attacks?

    Goodbye. I'm done with this thread. This is exactly why I find these discussions pointless.
  14. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

    Well the difference is that I understand and play many forms of Jazz. It's complicated and multi-layered music. Electrotango is not, and the fact I know that invalidates the point you are trying to make.
  15. tangomonkey

    tangomonkey Active Member

  16. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I think that for the purposes of these thought experiments I actually mean "ALL aspects of the physical dance". And I agree that they can't really be separated completely without making it no longer a dance, just like musicality encompasses all aspects of the dancers relationship with the music. Though it is easier for me to imagine a dance without music - i.e. by definition without musicality - than one without any physical component. I have danced and enjoyed dancing without music when practicing.

    When I talk about "complexity" in the music I am thinking about any structure like repeated phrases, hinted at breaks, call-response patterns, ABACA structure, and so on. I.e. everything in the music that gives us an additional channel of communication, that allows us to predict and understand what our partner is going to do. Somebody just stepping on the beat does not communicate much, just like somebody who moves randomly does not (successfully?) communicate.

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