A MUSIC PRIMER   Leave a comment

When it comes to planning the music for a tango party, the ideal situation is to go with the “Big Bands” and the “Hit Parade.” A typical CD will run on the average for about an hour. On the average there are 20 selections on a CD. The use of computers makes it even easier to stock up on choice tango music.

Take Carlos Di Sarli, Osvaldo Pugliese, Anibal Troilo, Juan D’Arienzo, Francisco Canaro, Ricardo Tanturi, Miguel Calo, Alfredo de Angelis, Rodolfo Biagi, Osvaldo Fresedo.

Next, consider that Di Sarli, Pugliese and D’Arienzo have two and even three distinctive periods, then you have about fifteen orchestras to chose from. If you were to just take four of their hits, you come out with sixty themes enough for three hours of the greatest tango music from the Golden Era. This should be enough music to cover 95% of the USA milongas. There are only a handful of milongas that last longer than three hours.

Each one of the fifteen orchestras have more than four hits to pick from, at least a dozen are classics, so that gives you about nine hours of uninterrupted dancing to the classics. You can go through three milongas without ever repeating a theme. Randomly altering the sequence in which you play the orchestras, or tandas, and it would take a year or two before the dancing community is totally familiar with the music, the rhythms and the orchestras. By then one hopes that they have also learned how to dance to them.

That’s how I approach all dances, either as a host or as an invited DJ. I carry about eighteen such CDs which I have mixed, fortunate as I am to have an extensive library and an educated knowledge of the music and the way it is danced. I wonder sometimes why friends don’t take advantage of a wealth of experience and knowledge that is available to them just for the asking. Rather than being jealous, envious or competitive of those who knew more than I did, I wholeheartedly took advantage of their generosity and I humbly learned.

The sounds of changing times

Osvaldo Pugliese music can be identified in three distinctive periods and three totally different styles. His first recording was Farol, and it took place July 15, 1943. The sound of the 1940’s orchestra can be typified by Recuerdo, Mala junta, Tierra querida and El arranque. The sound of the orchestra during the fifties can be sampled in Chique, La rayuela, Emancipacion and Nochero soy. Finally, in the sixties and seventies, Pugliese recorded perhaps the finest and most memorable tangos of which we consider to be his legacy to the Tango Hall of Fame. Listen to Que noche, La biandunga, A Evaristo Carriego, and Nobleza de arrabal among many others.

Juan D’Arienzo also went through three distinctive stages punctuated by the men who sat at the piano: Rodolfo Biagi, Juan Polito and Fulvio Salamanca.

Carlos Di Sarli‘s sound didn’t change much, but the quality and sonority of his arrangements have two major periods, before and after 1950.

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