Open Tango with Sean and Charity

For many, the music is one of the most exciting elements of argentine tango. From the driving rhythms of D'Arienzo, to the heavy melodies of Pugliese, we are drawn to the enchanting music of Argentine Tango, and it drives our movements through each night of dancing.

Tango music evolved with the dance, from its beginnings in the ports of Buenos Aires. Musical influences from the urban dwelling immigrants of Buenos Aires combined with the music of the rural gauchos (South American cowboys), and the African ex-slaves and slowly evolved to create the music that was to become Tango.

Most Argentine Tango music listened to in milongas is played by an Orquesta Tipica, or some variation of it. An Orquesta Tipica is generally made up of a piano, a contrabass, a bandoneon section, and a violin section. Although the contrabass most typically holds down the rhythm, and the piano and bandoneons play accompaniment, in any given Tango tune, you will hear all of the instruments playing various parts of the music. The bandoneons and piano will often carry sections of the melody, and all of the instruments will generally have there turn at playing some countermelody or fill. During the 1930's and '40's, the Orquesta Tipica reached its ultimate height, with many of the most famous orquestas playing every night at the milongas in Buenos Aires. Because they were constantly competing with each other for customers (dancers), many of the arrangements from this era are superb for dancing tango.

Today, tango music has made its way around the world and back, and has assumed various forms and styles. Many tango bands today are much smaller trios, quartets, or conjuntos. These groups consist of any combination of instruments, from more traditional pianos, guitars, bandoneons, flutes, contrabasses, and violins, to accordions, harmonicas, and even electronic instruments. Indeed, in many parts of the world, dancers are even exploring dancing argentine tango to totally different forms of music.

No matter what music you may be dancing to, the more your movements correlate with elements of the music, the better your musicality, the more exciting and enjoyable your dances will be...