Tango Argentino > What makes a danceable tango?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by pygmalion, May 7, 2004.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    The other day, I was listening to the classical music station, and heard Emmanuel Ax, the pianist, do a beautiful rendition of three tangos by Astor Piazzola, the tango-composing legend. Gorgeous music. The only problem is that there's no way in heck you could dance to any of it. The "tangos" sounded like excruciatingly gorgeous concert pieces, not tangos, at least to me.

    So here's the question. What makes a tango, a tango ... that you can dance to? Any thoughts?
     
  2. MadamSamba

    MadamSamba Member

    Jenn, in theory, it would be the unquestionable tango beat and nothing else, but I've heard some totally undanceable tangos, so it's probably an individual thing, something almost inexplicable.

    The moment I hear certain Argentine tangos, my feet start moving and my heart starts soaring...others (but very few) leave me cold. It's then that I duck out for a drink!
    PS: If you like Piazzolla's music, drop by www.piazzolla.org.
     
  3. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I think to define it is difficult but to listen and say yes I can dance to that or no I cannot dance to that is easier. Much of Piazzollas work is for concert not dancing. Even Libertango that Sally Potter and Pablo Veron & co dance to in 'the Tango Lesson' is a choregraphed piece. I would love to dance to Le Grand Tango all 11 minutes and 36 seconds of it, but I know I could not improvise it would have to be rehearsed.

    If you go to the earlier Tangos they are composed as ballads and not intended for dancing, though the rhythm is often the same as for a dance tango. My preference is for instrumentals, but there are exceptions.
    I put AGSRBS on my CDs which stands for Another Good Song Ruined by Singing...you get this wonderful introduction for several bars, then some crooner comes in and ruins it. But surprisingly Echoes From Afar a cd with tangos from Egypt, Algeria, Roumania, Greece, Turkey and Russia, there is singing but it doesn't usurp the basic beat so they are largely danceable and have a character of their own. There are beautiful duets such as Flores de Alma. Piazzolla has done very slow pieces such as Oblivion, which I have heard played at Milongas, that I would not choose myself.
    My two favourite Piazzolla CDs as Tracing Astor (subtitled Gidon Kremer plays Piazzola) but this has some excellent pieces by Sollima, Desyatnikov and Pelecis.and Yo Yo Ma's Soul of the Tango
     
  4. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    I suppose that for me, a danceable tango is one that falls under strict tempo. Otherwise, it is a concert piece. Many of Chopin's Grandes Valses Brilliantes are wonderful VW's, but concert players won't pay attention to strict tempi for these or other waltzes when they perform. Same thing with La Valse by Ravel.
     
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    What got me thinking about it is that a local ballet company is doing a work next weekend which includes some Piazzola tangos. (Don't get me started on the ballet dancers disrespecting other dance forms! Grr. :evil: :lol: )


    So the radio was playing some Piazzola selections in honor of that work one afternoon. I'm sure hoping those songs have no relationship to the ones that will be played next Saturday. (Maybe I should go and see. Hmm.)

    Now I suddenly understand why ballroom tango has that totally corny but prominent beat. And I understand that Argentine tango dance music isn't nearly as free-form as I thought. Hmm.
     
  6. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I think some orchestras may have evened out the beat so it tends to sound like a march for the benefit of ballroom(Danny Bailando? for one); but if you listen to Di Sarli, Canaro, Calo etc the rhythm is the same but they are playing around with the emphasis, adding in contra-beats, putting in melodic sections where the beat disappears to smoother flowing music. Inevitably different orchestras of different make up will have a different take on classics such as Jalousie and La Cumparista. Get Zum's cd if you want to hear a wild jazzy version of these.
     
  7. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Gosh what have ballet dancers done to upset you??

    I prefer Contemporary to ballet but I'd love to see what they make of Piazzolla
     
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh nothing special. I just think that it takes specific training to be able to do, say, Argentine tango, justice. Yet there seems to be an assumption that, if you can do ballet, you can be a quick study to perform another dance form, such as AT. I disagree with that. Maybe you can do it. But can you do it well? Hmm.

    There's another thread on this somewhere.
     
  9. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I agree with what you say. I also think there's a difference between a dancer who is professionally trained and us mere yokels who learn it by ear so to speak. AT is an informal improvised dance and too much "precision" changes its dynamic. :?
     
  10. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Hmmm...you talk of a noticeable beat for AT, but those of you who peruse the other threads in other forums will know that I am musically challenged. I heard a couple pieces of music in class and thought that they were fast due to the melody and various instruments playing. THe instructor started calling out the beat and it was slower then what I would have done. I guess it is due to my other dance training. :? I hear so much in the music. Any tricks for being able to filter out the other stuff to hear the beat a little more clearly?
     
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    The best thing you can do is take a workshop with Joachim Amenabar/ Might need atrip to Bs As though.

    You ar probably not wrong and neither is your teacher. It is what you hear that counts. I often just stop and wait a couple of beats as in AT this is acceptable to pause. There are also changes in tempo in different pieces. Try listening to individual instruments in a piece and see what pace each is playing.
     
  12. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    What you say makes sense btm. I just went to an AT practica yesterday night and saw just that. We'll see if my milonga experiences this weekend match that as well.
     
  13. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    I'd have to disagree with this. Both can't be right, and in this case the teacher is probably right. It's a mistake to listen for the beat by listening to the melody or a singer--because they may for interpretive reasons sing or play behind the beat or sometimes slightly ahead of it. You have to learn to listen to the rhythm instruments. Eventually, you'll be able to count in your head and know the beat around which the melody instruments or the vocalists work.
     
  14. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    The teacher is right in showing the basic beat, and I agree on the value of recognizing this and the patterns superimposed on this to get a full understanding of the music. But when dancing AT I only saw the beginners dancing to the basic beat. I could see how all the advanced dancers were responding to the music. It is like dancing salsa and understanding the basic or ballroom, but even less so. It truly from what I see, is a dance where one is one with the music and your partner. :) That's why I get so excited when I do AT. Even with only m,y 3 hours worth of classes.
     
  15. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    The teacher is right in showing the basic beat, and I agree on the value of recognizing this and the patterns superimposed on this to get a full understanding of the music. But when dancing AT I only saw the beginners dancing to the basic beat. I could see how all the advanced dancers were responding to the music. It is like dancing salsa and understanding the basic or ballroom, but even less so. It truly from what I see, is a dance where one is one with the music and your partner. :) That's why I get so excited when I do AT. Even with only m,y 3 hours worth of classes.
     
  16. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    The teacher is right in showing the basic beat, and I agree on the value of recognizing this and the patterns superimposed on this to get a full understanding of the music. But when dancing AT I only saw the beginners dancing to the basic beat. I could see how all the advanced dancers were responding to the music. It is like dancing salsa and understanding the basic or ballroom, but even less so. It truly from what I see, is a dance where one is one with the music and your partner. :) That's why I get so excited when I do AT. Even with only m,y 3 hours worth of classes.
     
  17. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    The teacher is right in showing the basic beat, and I agree on the value of recognizing this and the patterns superimposed on this to get a full understanding of the music. But when dancing AT I only saw the beginners dancing to the basic beat. I could see how all the advanced dancers were responding to the music. It is like dancing salsa and understanding the basic or ballroom, but even less so. It truly from what I see, is a dance where one is one with the music and your partner. :) That's why I get so excited when I do AT. Even with only m,y 3 hours worth of classes.
     
  18. mchlopek

    mchlopek New Member

    Looking for a tango for my wedding

    I have just found this web site a week ago and found a forum about wedding tango's which I can no longer find. There was some one with the member name of "TANGO" who mentioned that they had found a wonderfull tango for their wedding and even had a video posted on a website that I could not get to.

    If you have suggestions for my wedding please let me know.

    If you know how to contact "Tango" please let me know.

    Thanks

    Michael
     

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