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Tango Music

Essay by   •  November 24, 2017  •  Presentation or Speech  •  451 Words (2 Pages)  •  545 Views

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Brief history of tango

Tango originated from Argentina, and was a danced by lower classes citizens. Although it was originally looked down on by other people, it quickly became popular after the sons of Argentina families made their way to Paris. There are many tangos, some that include Milonga, Ballroom tango, and tango val.

Rhythm

Tangos are almost always written in the time 2/4 and 4/4, with a strong pulse. The two main rhythms used in tango is the habanero rhythm and the 3-3-2 syncopation rhythm. The habanero, also known as a treisillo, is a type of duple pulse rhythmic pattern that is used in Cuban and Latin American music. It us also utilised heavily in tangos, with the accented beat in the middle of the bar to highlight the syncopation. The rhythm is sometimes augmented for 4/4 rhythms by having a dotted crotchet, quaver crotchet and crotchet instead of a dotted quaver, semiquaver, quaver, quaver pattern. The variant of the Habanera rhythm is with a semiquaver on either side of the quaver with no dotted quavers, and achieves the same syncopated effect that a tango normally has.

Syncopation is also frequently used in tangos, particularly the 3-3-2 rhythm. There are three beats between the first and the second, and the second and the third accented beat, and two beats between the third and then back to the first accented beat in a two beats of four. So, in two bars of four, the first beat, fourth and seventh beat is accented. Cross-rhythms are also used in tangos, the most common being duple over triple. In fact, the habanero rhythm that I had just mentioned earlier is a type of cross-rhythm. The habanero rhythm is the first three cross-beat of the cross-rhythm 4 against 3. This is because the Habanero rhythm was in a duple time, meaning that a part of the 4 against 3 rhythm had to be cut out in order to fit the amount of beats in a bar.

Dynamics and expression

Tango being a passionate and emotive dance, has many dramatic, contrasting and sudden dynamic change. However, for some other type of tangos such as the tango val, there is more of a build up with crescendos and decrescendos. Modern tangos and ballroom tangos would tend to have an extremely strict pattern, although older tangos, tangos that were originally improvised on the Argentinian streets were relaxed and played with rubato and had many change in tempo within the piece. Tangos are often decorated with grace notes, mordents, turns, gliss. This adds to the dramatic flourish. Another extremely effective way of adding to the dramatic air of tangos was to have long pauses where the beat continues by.

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