Tango or milonga?

#1
Hello, i am pretty new to tango,and i can distinguish a traditional tango from a traditional milonga,but when it comes to more recent stuff,it gets a bit confusing.My classmates can tell a milonga by being "more uplifting".Me,being a musician, i can tell it by the rhythm,but i notice that a few songs that are considered tangos,share the same rhythm.

For example,in this song from the movie "easy virtue" : (/watch?v=sReQCkYB7CA ) ,the piano plays a rhythm that sounds like a slow milonga. If you notice, in Astor Piazzola's "Milonga del angel" (/watch?v=Pe0lA-ZHIY8) ,the bass plays the same rhythm,a reaaallllyyyy slow milonga.

So, why should the first song be considered a tango, and the second a milonga?Is it right to distinguish based solely on the vibe? I have heard a lot of songs with the same issue,can anyone (maybe being an argentine or a musician) address any opinions?
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#4
Hello, i am pretty new to tango,and i can distinguish a traditional tango from a traditional milonga,but when it comes to more recent stuff,it gets a bit confusing.My classmates can tell a milonga by being "more uplifting".Me,being a musician, i can tell it by the rhythm,but i notice that a few songs that are considered tangos,share the same rhythm.

For example,in this song from the movie "easy virtue" : (/watch?v=sReQCkYB7CA ) ,the piano plays a rhythm that sounds like a slow milonga. If you notice, in Astor Piazzola's "Milonga del angel" (/watch?v=Pe0lA-ZHIY8) ,the bass plays the same rhythm,a reaaallllyyyy slow milonga.

So, why should the first song be considered a tango, and the second a milonga?Is it right to distinguish based solely on the vibe? I have heard a lot of songs with the same issue,can anyone (maybe being an argentine or a musician) address any opinions?
Who says the second one is a milonga? As far as I'm concerned, it's not. It doesn't have a milonga emotion to it, nor does it have a milonga tempo.
 
#5
It's confusing, but I don't think that Milonga del Angel is a milonga - the rhythm is completely wrong. The website tango.info (mostly) agrees with this: see https://tango.info/T9007592418. It's not really the vibe that gives it away either - milonga has a very specific rhythm that you'll come to recognise.
 

UKDancer

Well-Known Member
#6
It would be more accurate to say of Milonga del Angel that it isn't dance music. Of course it's a milonga - it has the typical habanera rhythm running right through it, and the title is a bit of a giveaway as regards Piazzolla's own intentions. It's slow, that's all.
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#8
It would be more accurate to say of Milonga del Angel that it isn't dance music. Of course it's a milonga - it has the typical habanera rhythm running right through it, and the title is a bit of a giveaway as regards Piazzolla's own intentions. It's slow, that's all.
I don't agree that the existence of habanera rhythm mandates that it is a milonga, and not a tango. I don't know what Piazzolla's intentions were, but I'm more concerned with what the results were. This isn't a milonga, (IMO). If you doubt it, just try playing it at a milonga and watch everyone on the dance floor tango to it.
 
#10
Hello, i am pretty new to tango,and i can distinguish a traditional tango from a traditional milonga,but when it comes to more recent stuff,it gets a bit confusing.My classmates can tell a milonga by being "more uplifting".Me,being a musician, i can tell it by the rhythm,but i notice that a few songs that are considered tangos,share the same rhythm.

For example,in this song from the movie "easy virtue" : (/watch?v=sReQCkYB7CA ) ,the piano plays a rhythm that sounds like a slow milonga. If you notice, in Astor Piazzola's "Milonga del angel" (/watch?v=Pe0lA-ZHIY8) ,the bass plays the same rhythm,a reaaallllyyyy slow milonga.

So, why should the first song be considered a tango, and the second a milonga?Is it right to distinguish based solely on the vibe? I have heard a lot of songs with the same issue,can anyone (maybe being an argentine or a musician) address any opinions?

I think both samples are not relevant :
- Milonga del Angel is not a dance music (as Uk dancer and dchester said).
- in my opinion the first part of the song of the movie is an introduction not very intended to be danced; in a bal I would wait before starting to dance ( in the movie music starts to evolve when dance start)
 

UKDancer

Well-Known Member
#11
... just try playing it at a milonga and watch everyone on the dance floor tango to it.
There's not the slightest chance that I would ever play anything like Milonga del Angel at a milonga. It would be my last booking if I did, and I expect that no one would dance. ;)

Edit: Actually, I might play it after La Cumparsita, for people to wind down and leave to. If anyone started to dance, I'd fade it out...
 

dchester

Moderator
Staff member
#13
There's not the slightest chance that I would ever play anything like Milonga del Angel at a milonga. It would be my last booking if I did, and I expect that no one would dance. ;)

Edit: Actually, I might play it after La Cumparsita, for people to wind down and leave to. If anyone started to dance, I'd fade it out...
I actually will occasionally play a Piazzolla tanda. It would be a late tanda, (soon before before La Cumparsita), with the appropriate type of dancers who can handle stuff like this. While most dancers just want to hear the familiar tunes, some do like hearing other stuff (a lot of these people also tend to like some alternative music).
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#14
Ballroom tango usually also has a very strong habanero rhythm.
I'm sure Lois meant to write habanera. Or maybe she wrote that tongue in cheek.

Meanwhile, for my own gratification, and for those of you who may be new to this scene, most people who write about tango are in this vein...

American Style Tango
Music: Medium tempo orchestral, sometimes march-like.
The European style... is a strong march with a steady, consistent downbeat played by a snare drum.

As I remember it, when tango music and dance became popular in Europe, musicians made it sound like the other music they played at the time, and we aren't talking about the "Spanish tinge" found in some jazz of the time. Oh, and don't forget the castanets, probably from flamingo.

And, just to get a dig in, DWTS does a really poor job of portraying Argentine Tango, not to mention their poor choice of music, muddying the water for those who haven't spent a lot of time learning about AT music and dance.
 
#15
Hello, i am pretty new to tango,and i can distinguish a traditional tango from a traditional milonga,but when it comes to more recent stuff,it gets a bit confusing.My classmates can tell a milonga by being "more uplifting".Me,being a musician, i can tell it by the rhythm,but i notice that a few songs that are considered tangos,share the same rhythm.

For example,in this song from the movie "easy virtue" : (/watch?v=sReQCkYB7CA ) ,the piano plays a rhythm that sounds like a slow milonga. If you notice, in Astor Piazzola's "Milonga del angel" (/watch?v=Pe0lA-ZHIY8) ,the bass plays the same rhythm,a reaaallllyyyy slow milonga.

So, why should the first song be considered a tango, and the second a milonga?Is it right to distinguish based solely on the vibe? I have heard a lot of songs with the same issue,can anyone (maybe being an argentine or a musician) address any opinions?

Milonga del Angel (MDA) is mostly a milonga in name only. A musical style uses musical elements in specific and common ways. This "milonga" lacks many of those typical for milonga. In fact it completely reverses them. Examples:

One of the most defining musical elements of a style is tempo, and milonga's is fast and in 2. MDA is very slow and in 4

Another element is melody and phrasing, and milonga's melodies are rhythmically crisp in highly segmented and short phrases. MDA has long sweeping lyrical melodies in long phrases.

Although MDA uses typical milonga habanera-based rhythms at times, the very slow tempo alters their effect and "feel". They play an important role, especially in the second, more dramatic, turbulent section (in the accompaniment). That is why I said this piece is "mostly a milonga in name" - it uses milonga rhythms at times and very effectively, yet the slow tempo overrides our (my) sense of the music being a milonga.


Very slow tempo, lyricism with sweeping and long melodic phrases, overall a melancholic muscial character - these are not typical milonga qualities.

Anyway, just a few thoughts that came to mind.
 
#16
I consider Piazzolla to be the pinnacle of tango as music. His use of the musical elements of tango/milonga is masterful, highly creative and highly artistic. I could - and have done - listen to him for hours at a time. I've only danced to him once and that was at home.

If curious, for that story and some background info. on Piazzolla's Adios nonino, see the post I wrote a couple of years ago.

http://www.tangomusicology.com/wordpres/adios-nonino-an-introduction/
 
#17
I'm sure Lois meant to write habanera. Or maybe she wrote that tongue in cheek...

As I remember it, when tango music and dance became popular in Europe, musicians made it sound like the other music they played at the time, and we aren't talking about the "Spanish tinge" found in some jazz of the time. Oh, and don't forget the castanets, probably from flamingo.

Habanero/habanera; flamingo/flamenco. I assume both of these are the result of wretched "auto-correct". :)
 

newbie

Well-Known Member
#18
Hello, i am pretty new to tango,and i can distinguish a traditional tango from a traditional milonga,but when it comes to more recent stuff,it gets a bit confusing.My classmates can tell a milonga by being "more uplifting".Me,being a musician, i can tell it by the rhythm,but i notice that a few songs that are considered tangos,share the same rhythm.

For example,in this song from the movie "easy virtue" : (/watch?v=sReQCkYB7CA ) ,the piano plays a rhythm that sounds like a slow milonga. If you notice, in Astor Piazzola's "Milonga del angel" (/watch?v=Pe0lA-ZHIY8) ,the bass plays the same rhythm,a reaaallllyyyy slow milonga.

So, why should the first song be considered a tango, and the second a milonga?Is it right to distinguish based solely on the vibe? I have heard a lot of songs with the same issue,can anyone (maybe being an argentine or a musician) address any opinions?
While there are different opinions whther Piazzolla tangos are tangos, everyone agrees that Milonga del angel is not a milonga. As for the Easy Virtue fragment, it sounded neither tango nor milonga to me, even when I tried to listen only to the piano.
Milonga is recognized by its fast-habanera rythm.
 

Angel HI

Well-Known Member
#19
I don't agree that the existence of habanera rhythm mandates that it is a milonga, and not a tango. I don't know what Piazzolla's intentions were, but I'm more concerned with what the results were. This isn't a milonga, (IMO).
Milonga del Angel (MDA) is mostly a milonga in name only. A musical style uses musical elements in specific and common ways. This "milonga" lacks many of those typical for milonga.
I believe that these 2 posts answer the OP's orig. question the best. Adding to TMonkey's post, and the OP's further confusion, every American whom I have met (not bashing Amers), dance Libertango as a tango (which was written as a milonga), and Santa Maria (Gotan) as a tango (which even tells you it's a milonga). :)

So, I guess, unless you are dancing at a very 'proper' place, it's mostly one's individual interpretation or preference. Of course, when one is played as a part of a tanda, you dance the intended dance of the tanda.
 

tangobro

Active Member
#20
... every American whom I have met (not bashing Amers), dance Libertango as a tango (which was written as a milonga), and Santa Maria (Gotan) as a tango (which even tells you it's a milonga). :)
my experience, as an American in New York City, is different. Although there is a popular video of Santa Maria being danced as a tango:


I've only seen it danced as a milonga.

as for Libertango:


I've seen it performed to more often than danced to, using the elements of stage tango for dramatic effect (although the dancers are using the social dance floor as their "stage" :().
 

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