Musicality trouble..?

#1
Hello everyone!
I am doing research on musicality challenges, so I would like to ask if you have gone through some rough times with any type of Tango music, if you have found/or not ways to get past it, and if so could you share your story with me..?
It could be anything type of challenge, hearing the beat, the rhythm, the melody or the tone, understanding the music or emotionally connecting to it, or even a combination of the above.

Knowing that this group has also many Tango teachers maybe you personally didn't have any musicality challenges but you have helped a student with musicality trouble, and therefore have an great story to share...? maybe..? :)

Thank you in advance,
Chrisa
 

newbie

Well-Known Member
#3
My trouble with musicality is usually the follower, who will perform her usual steps of the usual size at her usual tempo and with her usual energy, notwithstanding whatever nuance I may be leading.
Now if the survey is "The leaders, this pathetic excuse of human beings, are notoriously unable of anything even remotely close to musicality. But here I am, me the higher source of wisdom C. Assis, and I will lecture them all" then here is a title which certainly is a challenge for me when it is played by the milonga DJ: Enrique Rodriguez - La Colegiala
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#4
..the follower, who will perform.. at her usual tempo..
I find musicality, interpretation, and cadencia is a leader´s job. When I dance in the following position (normally I´m a leader), I literally shut off my ears and I only follow the leader´s handover. Probably I still hear the music but it sounds far away and secondary compared to the music the leader "provides" with his body. Luckily I never went through a situation when the "led music" and the "heard music" worked against each other. Recently I danced (in the leading position) with a woman who usually is leading. I clearly could perceive her different interpretations, smallest intentual jerks for fractions of a second. Probably she could not blind out the music that was playing.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#5
...would like to ask if you have gone through some rough times with any type of Tango music..
Yes I did. In my tango beginnings I heavily wondered why I could dance this but could not dance to that music. Finally I decided to open up two baskets, one for good music, and one for bad music. The music I could intuitively dance to was put in the basket with good music. The basket with good music later on used to blossom out into my DJ stock of tango music. And retrospectively after almost twenty years of tango dancing, almost every of that negatively tagged pieces kept it´s label. So of course Belgica by Biagi and Colegiala by Rodríguez still are lousy pieces!
 
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opendoor

Well-Known Member
#6
On occasion of the death of Ismael Heljalil I recently responded in a fb thread:

...in this video, a classic, rather energetic but also very melodic Laurenz is playing (No me extraña - It comes as no surprise), one of those few killer songs whom true tango music lovers know absolutely by heart. And we can see Heljalil dancing in a truly ''zen'' way, in a beautiful embrace, dancing rather simply but completely focused inside the music. It's obvious just from watching how well he knows it, and how much he loves to dance to it. Indeed, what I find so ''zen'' is how his movements seem completely adapted to, immersed inside the song's sad melody, as if the couple is floating magically over the music, while maintaining that kind of very moving, consoling full embrace that makes tango so special, along with its rich, immortal music...
My answer
You put it in a nutshell ¡ Zen ! It´s almost like your zen master provokes you with koans, beats you with a cane, insults you to the bone, but you try to stay in the sphere of pure unintentional spirit. I´m far from this state. Thus the vid of Ismael provokes me to the breaking point and leaves me helplessly at the same time. That guy actually must be deaf ! I cannot escape the power of "No Me Extraña". Especially the second cadencia would make me spin and turn like a super flying bouncy ball. When "No Me Extraña" comes I sit down devoutly because I know I would never be able to express with my body what I hear and feel at that moment. I cannot equate such a piece, but Ismael painlessly carries on as usual, but why, how? Perhaps he was a milonguero, I´m a dancer. He´s in the embrace, I´m in the music. He´s connected with his partner, whereas I would forget about everyone and everything around me. Thanks for sharing..
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#8
This is interesting to hear different leaders thoughts. The problem I have with Belgica (and a lot of Biagi tango) is not the musicality as much as that it’s uninspiring (if not downright boring). Biagis of that ilk I don’t play at milongas, unless someone requests it, (I will at practicas though). FWIW, I believe it was Gabriel Misse who told me Biagi tangos shouldn’t be played at milongas, to which I was happy to reply, I rarely do. His statement made me think about how often great performers that I’ve seen dance to Biagi, and I don’t remember seeing many (if any).

The Colegiala thing I can’t relate to. I loved dancing to it the first time i heard it.

The one I had problems with the first time I heard it was La Cachila by Pugliese. I found the tempo changes in the first minute or so to be very unpredictable (someone told me there’s more than one version of it though). My solution was to listen to it several times before dancing to it again.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#9
... Colegiala.. I loved dancing to it
Question aside, what do you dance to it? Milonga or Swing (Foxtrot)?
..La Cachila by Pugliese.. I found the tempo changes in the first minute or so to be very unpredictable...
I fear that´s a wanted reaction to sort the good from the poor dancers. The highly predictable marcato-section starts round about 0:50 until then all poor dancers finally could have left the the floor. (Sorry if I should repeat myself too often) ..but one statement of Cacho Dante (in the 80s flagship of the milonguero style movement) has affected me deeply: As a young man I only visited Pugliese´s show because the milongueros could not dance apropriately to his music. Analogously: I was a dancer, Milongueros could not dance!
 
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#10
Start with orchestras that are well marked, e.g. Pugliese, Tanturi, and Donato. (Yes there are more but I don't want to overwhelm you.) Don't count but listen for the downbeat.

Look at this chart.

1525653900277.png

Tango has four beats to the measure. Vals has 3 beats and Milonga has two beats. The downbeat is the first beat of the measure. No matter how many notes in the measure, there can't be more than 4 beats in the measure for tango, 3 beats in the measure for vals, and 2 beats in the measure for milonga.

Dancers hear a lot of notes in milonga and a lot don't hear the beat which is why there is a lot of rushing.

I found another diagram. The timing is 4/4, 4 beats to the music. You can see there are several combinations that total 4 beats.

 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#11
Question aside, what do you dance to it? Milonga or Swing (Foxtrot)?
I dance milonga to it. I absolutely love that song. However, none of the other Rodriguez foxtrots (that people dance milonga to), fit it well in a tanda. Thus, I rarely play it when DJing.

I fear that´s a wanted reaction to sort the good from the poor dancers. The highly predictable marcato-section starts round about 0:50 until then all poor dancers finally could have left the the floor. (Sorry if I should repeat myself too often) ..but one statement of Cacho Dante (in the 80s flagship of the milonguero style movement) has affected me deeply: As a young man I only visited Pugliese´s show because the milongueros could not dance apropriately to his music. Analogously: I was a dancer, Milongueros could not dance!
I'll just say I was a bad dancer, the first time I tried dancing to it. :oops:
 
#13
I find musicality, interpretation, and cadencia is a leader´s job. When I dance in the following position (normally I´m a leader), I literally shut off my ears and I only follow the leader´s handover. Probably I still hear the music but it sounds far away and secondary compared to the music the leader "provides" with his body. Luckily I never went through a situation when the "led music" and the "heard music" worked against each other. Recently I danced (in the leading position) with a woman who usually is leading. I clearly could perceive her different interpretations, smallest intentual jerks for fractions of a second. Probably she could not blind out the music that was playing.
ooooh! this is interesting... How was it for you dancing as a leader? I found that in the beginning it was a bit of a battle between leading, doing the movement and listening to the music, but after I got more comfortable with the music I was more playful and could hear the suggestions from my follower.
 
#14
Yes I did. In my tango beginnings I heavily wondered why I could dance this but could not dance to that music. Finally I decided to open up two baskets, one for good music, and one for bad music. The music I could intuitively dance to was put in the basket with good music. The basket with good music later on used to blossom out into my DJ stock of tango music. And retrospectively after almost twenty years of tango dancing, almost every of that negatively tagged pieces kept it´s label. So of course Belgica by Biagi and Colegiala by Rodríguez still are lousy pieces!
Were any of those bad pieces that jumped over to the good basket a surprise..? I mean, like... making you think: "WoW! I never thought I would be enjoying THIS piece..!" ?
 
#15
This is interesting to hear different leaders thoughts. The problem I have with Belgica (and a lot of Biagi tango) is not the musicality as much as that it’s uninspiring (if not downright boring). Biagis of that ilk I don’t play at milongas, unless someone requests it, (I will at practicas though). FWIW, I believe it was Gabriel Misse who told me Biagi tangos shouldn’t be played at milongas, to which I was happy to reply, I rarely do. His statement made me think about how often great performers that I’ve seen dance to Biagi, and I don’t remember seeing many (if any).

The Colegiala thing I can’t relate to. I loved dancing to it the first time i heard it.

The one I had problems with the first time I heard it was La Cachila by Pugliese. I found the tempo changes in the first minute or so to be very unpredictable (someone told me there’s more than one version of it though). My solution was to listen to it several times before dancing to it again.
Oh! I didn't know about Misse's view on Biagi but you are right I can't think of any great performances with Biagi...hm... interesting. The beat is indeed very very clear...haha...but that might be the very problem..?!?!
 
#16
Start with orchestras that are well marked, e.g. Pugliese, Tanturi, and Donato. (Yes there are more but I don't want to overwhelm you.) Don't count but listen for the downbeat.

Look at this chart.

View attachment 3679

Tango has four beats to the measure. Vals has 3 beats and Milonga has two beats. The downbeat is the first beat of the measure. No matter how many notes in the measure, there can't be more than 4 beats in the measure for tango, 3 beats in the measure for vals, and 2 beats in the measure for milonga.

Dancers hear a lot of notes in milonga and a lot don't hear the beat which is why there is a lot of rushing.

I found another diagram. The timing is 4/4, 4 beats to the music. You can see there are several combinations that total 4 beats.

I was given a similar diagram for salsa I remember...! It was really helpful, it created a picture of what was going on with the music... Do you give this to your students?
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#19
..Luckily.. the "led music" and the "heard music"..
ooooh! this is interesting... How was it for you dancing as a leader?
Tango isn't a democratic thingy, Chrisa. So when I became aware of that alternative interpretive possibilities I was (indeed) reflective for portions of a second. But there can be only one lead in a milonga set-up. Flipping the lead may be an option for prácticas, but also flipping means that one of the two is the leader at that moment.
 
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opendoor

Well-Known Member
#20
..I decided to open up two baskets, one for good music, and one for bad..
Were any of those bad pieces that jumped over to the good basket a surprise..?
No, not really. As far as I can remember the labels stick tight. I think I was a listener prior to starting dancing. So my categories were unaffected by things as danceability or habituation. A lot of beginners find tango awful first. Now they praise these pieces as the one and only. I find a lot of them were not mistaken by their first impressions, Chrisa.
 

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