The Characteristics of Tango Music
Tango is a musical style that features a complex rhythm. It also has a distinctive melody and lyrics. It originated in the effervescent socio-cultural milieu of Buenos Aires, which was overflowing with immigrants. Its most prominent musicians were Juan d’Arienzo, Anibal Troilo, and Osvaldo Pugliese.
Unlike most other genres of music, tango does not usually use percussion. Rather, tango musicians use a technique called fraseo to interpret melodies.
It is in duple meter
The duple meter characteristic of tango music makes it easy for dancers to follow the rhythm. The beats are divided into two 8th notes per measure and are grouped in groups of four (two groups for 4/4 time and three for 6/8). Most tangos have a simple harmony, incorporating only the chords i, iv, and V7. The harmony can come through the bass line or through a piano accompaniment.
Many tangos use a habanera rhythm as the base for their bass lines and percussion parts. This rhythm is a very important part of tango, but it can be difficult to master.
The complexity of tango is derived from a combination of parallel and palindromic structures in both pitch and rhythm. In addition, tango has a unique rhythm that features accented quarter notes called marcato. These are what make tango music truly distinctive. Musicians accentuate and articulate the different marcatos to create a variety of symmetrical patterns.
It is sung
The tango’s distinctive sound is created by a variety of instruments. Typically, it is played by a guitar duo or an ensemble called “orquesta tipica” that includes a flute, two violins, piano and bass guitar, plus at least one bandoneon. Sometimes a solo clarinet or guitar is also included. In addition to the musical accompaniment, tangos usually have a vocalist who sings sung sections or verses of the song.
After the death of Carlos Gardel, a schism developed in tango music; some musicians like Juan d’Arienzo and Rodolfo Biagi sought to perpetuate the style established by their mentor, while others, including Carlos di Sarli and Anibal Troilo, tried to push tango’s boundaries into more experimental directions. These developments led to the golden age of tango, which lasted from 1935 to 1952.
The most popular tango orchestras were those of Juan d’Arienzo, Francisco Canaro and Mariano Mores. They featured a large number of performers and produced arrangements that were made specifically for dancing.
It is danceable
Tango music has a distinct rhythm and melodic structure. Its chords usually contain chromatic notes, which add to the musicality of the piece. In addition, the melody can move either with or against the bass line. This allows dancers to create long foot drags and swirling sweeps.
During the Golden Age of tango, tango orchestras consisted of two violins, two bandoneons, and a piano and bass player. Later, some bands added clarinets and saxophones to their lineup. They also added a vocalist.
Generally, tango songs are medium tempo and have more charm than drama. They are often under four minutes in length, which makes them easy to dance to. However, some dancers have difficulty concentrating on the beat and varying their movements over an extended period of time. This is due to their lack of experience in dancing tango, which requires extreme focus and an ability to listen. For this reason, they should practice tango in a studio or dance studio before they try it on the floor.
It is rhythmic
Rhythm is the backbone of tango music. It is both hypnotically mesmerizing and deeply rooted in the history of the genre. Unlike other musical styles, tango rhythms aren’t syncopated. Instead, the regular rhythm is tied to a preceding note with a strong arrastre. This is what makes it so unique and beautiful.
Tango music was influenced by jazz, and the rhythms have evolved over time. Traditionally, the rhythm is set in 2/4 or 4/8 time and contains two upbeats and two downbeats. It also has a distinct melodic quality and can feature nostalgic lyrics, a dramatic or intense mood, and freedom for improvisation.
In the early tangos, the bandoneon was used as the primary instrument, but later musicians experimented with different instruments. Many transition era orchestras featured a saxophone and piano, which made the music more accessible to dancers. While these tangos aren’t as popular for dancing, they have an identifiable sound and are useful for learning the basics of tango.