Tango Argentino > Teaching Musicality to tango dancers

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by bordertangoman, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. borisvian13

    borisvian13 Member

    Sure, this is the situation everywhere (except in Argentina perhaps). There is nothing wrong about starting AT for any reason you like. What I'm saying is that, ideally, say after the first year, the people who still don't like the music should simply drop it.
    And those skills mentioned above are rarely accessible to leaders during the first year anyway.
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    As the years have gone by, and as I've gotten to know some of the long termers, it turns out that many of them are quietly on the make. And it's not just the young guys. I've known for some time that things move more slowly in the AT scene than at the country western place, and much less overtly, but it moves none the less.

    And, someone wrote about feeling comfortable with the same steps. I believe now that many if not most women, too, are in AT to be comfortable, rather than be "challenged".

    And I'll write again, that I am SO gald to read some of your comments (that's a bunch of you) about noticing the lack of musicality and variety in dancers.

    From the very beginning it was clear to me that there were no drums pounding out an obvious rhythm for people to dance to in AT.
    When Swing was becoming very popular with American youth in the second half of the 1930s, some musicians and educators believed the the music would increase the musical awareness of fans and dancers.
    AT is a more challenging music to dance to than many other genres. Who is up to the challenge?
  3. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    I'll never forget how one of my first teachers explained that: There is a reason that there is no percussion in tango, and that there never will be. In tango the dancers are the percussion. You don't dance tango to the music, you dance it as part of the orchestra, creating and completing the music.

  4. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Oh don't some teachers have some odd ideas! But it is an interesting thought nevertheless.

    As someone who absolutely loathes ballroom tango, it still is interesting to note how it has back influenced its own music so now
    it has a boringly predictable often thumped out rhythm.

    Whereas all the received wisdom seems to be that in AT the music came first. And of course if you are a native of BsAs you certainly did hear the music before ever dancing it. We don't.

    But the lack of a sharply percussive beat is one of the distinctions of the music, once tuned to it it seems to invite you in instead of stamping on your ears. It's that subdued smoothed out rhythmic pulse as part of the music that seems to allow dancing with the melody as well as the beat.

    I'm no musician so I'm not competent to comment technically and am not sure a technical structural knowledge is all that much help. I have far too much difficulty trying to grasp what 2/4 time is and then people start on about 4/8 time. Oh dear.

    And now Gssh is saying a waltz is what?

    What I do know is far too many dancers don't seem to really dance
    to me. It's the same old moves whether its Vals or Milonga and at the same speed. Others ignore a milonga and tango to it - I want to move and so do my partners.

    We should talk about how to get the ronda to go round when it's appropriate.
  5. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Errr... I can't help thinking you're creating a bit of a strawman. Has anyone made that assertion?

    (as "Not liking the music" is not the same as "not dancing to the music")
  6. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    I wouldn't presume to be so proscriptive.

    If a person is enjoying their journey, if they're dancing well, who are we to tell them to drop it simply because of their musical preferences?
  7. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    Yes - and that's exactly the sort of terminology that gives musicality classes a bad name.

    I don't care about 2/4, 4/8 or 8/16 for that matter. It's not relevant to me in my dancing - or if it is, the people talking about it are clearly unable to communicate why it's relevant, because they clearly failr to understand that dancers are not musicians.
  8. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I'm not sure that I understand your post well enough. There are a lot of ways you could think of a vals (3/4, 6/8, or possibly even 12/8 ), but from my way of thinking, the only way to get to 4/4 would be if you are thinking triplets on the quarter notes, (which would then be similar to 12/8 ).

    For the non-musicians: 6/8 time has 6 (normally quick) beats with the emphasis on beats 1 & 4. 12/8 has 12 beats with the emphasis on beats 1, 4, 7, & 10.
  9. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I see lots of people whose dance, men and women, apparently has nothing to do with the musical beat or phrase. This goes for many sorts of dances: tango, swing, waltz, others. It's not only due to a lack of percussion. I guess they just feel inspired emotionally by the tune. I'm a musician and the first dancing I ever did was choreographies to specific music, so making the dance fit the rhythm and the phrase seems obvious to me. Some (lots of?) people are truly not aware that music has phrases, an A-part and a B-part, maybe others, and that those will be repeated.

    I once saw a professional piano player, who hung around with dancers and played for them, and who was taking a waltz lesson. He literally did a quick shuffle through the turns, going about 50% faster than the beat. I can't figure that out.
  10. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I'd like to have you explain this statement. Waltzes have three beats/measure, and they are even. The first beat is often emphasized, in the music and in the dance, but it's the same duration as the other beats.
  11. JohnEm

    JohnEm Well-Known Member

    Well I'm clueless here, I almost not dare to ask.
    But in plain english please how can a waltz be 4/4 time.
    I hear three beats on which we dance on the first usually emphasised beat. But I synchopate if that's the correct terminology dancing on beats one and two; rarely on 2 and 3 but with right dancer in phrases on all three beats.

    Please note: this is a jargon free zone!
  12. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Gssh, I will confess to having absolutely no clue what you are talking about wrt vals being in 4/4. Not in technical musical terms, not in dancing terms.

    Could you please explain, preferably with examples?
  13. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Hey! That reminds me, don't you and I have a date with a certain Mr. Reznor? ;)
  14. Gssh

    Gssh Well-Known Member

    Sorry for creating confusion- this is kinda half baked, and might very well be wrong - but i have been listening to vals a lot lately because i have been working on it, and what i keep noticing that while there are always three beats in a bar it is not really the ONE-two-three of a 3/4 waltz - the beats in vals seem to me to be shifted slightly - the two-three are consistently closer to each other than they "should" (at least to my ear, and i might be completely wrong - i don't have vals sheet music, nor do i know how the orchestras actually thought about it) so that it is more like ONE - - three-four. *shrug* maybe i am just making this up - i started thinking about this because i have both "real" waltzes (the eastern european ones that all non-tango-tango dj's play :) ) and tango valses on my mp3 player, and when practicing i noticed that the rhythm seems noticably different when you have one directly after the other.
  15. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

  16. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Ah. Without knowing just what you're listening to, I can think of a reason for that. If one beat is accented, the musicians may not be playing all of the beats for the same duration of time. This could be either styling or actually written into the music with some sort of dotten rhythm. Sometimes some of the beats may end up sounding like they've been "crowded together" a bit, and the rhythm can seem uneven, but it doesn't change the underlying time signature.

    ...except in cases where the composer has decided to monkeying around with things and actually changes the time signature mid-song. This, however, is rare, especially in AT music. Come to think of it, I don't know that I've ever heard it in traditioinal music...
  17. Subliminal

    Subliminal Well-Known Member

    Of Nine Inch Nails fame? ;)
  18. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member


    Oh yeah, we do!

    (gtg...gotta finish my friggin' article.)
  19. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I'll go with Gssh on this one.
    Long, long ago (it seems) we had a discussin on this and I went and looked at some actual sheet music for both vals and waltz. If I remember correctly, what I found that in SOME written music you don't see 3 quarter notes in each bar or measure.
    In many of them you do. How can three notes that are all "one quarter notes" not sound like a metronome with each note being equal?
    Sometimes the "unequalness" of the 3 notes shows up in the scores.
    You COULD count it ONE... two three. ONE...three four works, too.
    Sometimes it's more overt than others.
    Just like that hard to define quality "Swing", it's amost a feel to the music.
    BTW, note that the slow, quickquick of Night CLub Two Step feels different than the ONE...two three of waltz.
    (I've seen at least one argument that accented notes do in fact last longer than others of "equal" duration.)
  20. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    OK, I think I understand what you are talking about, but it's still 3/4 time. 3/4 time has 3 beats to a measure (3 quarter notes). However the quarter notes could be either split up into eighth notes and/or combined with other notes. (as long as you add up the notes and still get 3/4 in a measure).

    It sounds like you have a pattern where you have a quarter note joined with an eighth note, then have a single eighth note followed by a quarter. That would give you rhythm something like what you are describing (assuming I understand you correctly). I've heard songs where the melody had that type of rhythm (you described), but more times than not, the other instruments will mostly have the three quarter notes.

    One of the interesting things about music is that the melody (or lead) can and typically will vary from what the other instruments (the accompaniment) is doing.

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