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April 26, 2007
Dancing in the Music
When Mandrágora goes on tour this May, we will be giving an hour long musicality class called "Dancing in the Music". We will talk about some musical concepts like
- The basic tango beats: en dos, en cuatro and syncopa
- Ventanas (Windows), or places where the music stops.
- How to know when the music is going to stop (and how to impress followers by
dramatically stoping on the final "chan-chan'!)
- Some different parts of tangos and how to listen for them
- What the hell is that noise: an introduction to the wierd scrapes, scratches and percussive effects employed by tango orchestras to compensate for not having percussionists.
- An intro to tango music history: how do tangos from different eras and orchestras sound different
So how are we going to do this? I'm glad you asked.
We will set up in the middle of the dance floor and ask the dancers to dance arround us. We will play without any amplification, so dancers will hear a slightly different sound at different points in the circle. Mandrágora will play examples from different tango eras, such as Guardia Vieja (old guard), Epocha de oro (Golden Age), and Evolutionary (Post-Golden Age).
Here's a little playlist of some of the tunes we will play with a few notes of what to listen for. Click here to open this player in a separate window.
- 1-3: Roberto Firpo Felica, La Payanca and Sábado Inglés. Guardia Vieja Note how these tunes are very strongly en dos. Felicia and Payanca are slow enough that you could dance these with a step on 1 & 3, or with "quick" steps between them. Sábado Inglés is actually a Tango-Milonga, which is basically a quicker tango or slower milonga, your choice.
- 5-7: Carlos di Sarli Comme il fault, A la gran muñeca, and El choclo. Early Epocha de oro. Some of the easiest and best tango for dancing. A staple of introductory tango classes. A good mix of lyricism with en dos and en cuarto.
- 9-11: Juan D'Arienzo La Tablada, El Triunfo, and El Pollito. Epocha de oro
Note how the beat is firmly en cuarto.
- 13-15: Anibal Troilo Sur, Che Bandoneon, and Maria. Troilo's career spans many eras, but he's best known for a very dramatic and lyrical tangos. Note how the back beat is usually a straight 4 with a lot of syncopas. The orchestrations can sometime be a bit lush and hard to dance to, but the tunes are fantastic.
- 17-19: Osvaldo Pugliese Gallo Ciego, Los Mareados, La Yumba. Extremely dramatic music. Big contrasts in tempo, volume and intensity. These are 3 of our favorite songs to play, but they are not necessarily the most danceable. DJs often hold off on playing dramtic Pugliese untill later in the evening.
Posted by bbarnes at April 26, 2007 5:00 PM