The Music of Tango!

Tango Music has changed over the past century, building, evolving, returning to it’s roots, and holding it’s own part in history. Tango is one of the few genres of music, that the classics, the Golden Age, is still regarded as the most played and sought after music for dancing Tango. You’ll usually find at Milongas, practicas, and other social events, the older music reigns supreme. Only more recently have there been more of a turn towards more alternative music.

What makes the classic music so preferred to dance to again and again even after 70 years? There are many theories, and many opinions on this matter.  My opinion is due to the more subtle bass and lack of drum. A Strong drum beat can really drive a dance and distract from many subtle tones, melodies, harmonies, syncopation, pauses, and the playfulness of the music. Listening to a song hundreds of times, you’ll find more and more to dance to due to missing a drum beat, and every time it brings out a different dance from everyone.

Another unique aspect to Tango music, is there are 3 different styles of tango music.  These styles are Tango, Milonga, and Vals.  Each have their own timing and also their own flow. You’ll often hear mostly Tango being played, with Milonga and Vals alternating every few Tandas. Tandas are also unique to Tango.  A Tanda is a group of 3~4 songs to be danced to with your partner until the Tanda is over. What a Tanda is, a Cortina, how the different types of music work together, flow, and more can be found in the DJing section.

When it comes to the music of Tango, there are different eras mentioned, and can be important to know how things have progressed. Below you’ll find a quick overview with a more in depth section available.

Pre-Golden Age

Pre-Golden Age Tango music ends around the 1930’s, and usually had fewer instruments and allowed a framework to be built upon.  Not always danceable, but started a genre and evolved little by little by those who loved the style and love to dance. Click to learn more about the Pre-Golden Age Tango Music.

Golden Age

Golden Age Tango music starts around 1930 and goes to around 1950, depending on artists, composers, orchestras, and a few other factors. This music is what you’ll find is most played at different social dance gatherings. Click to learn more about the Golden Age Tango Music.

Evolution of the Music

Tango music has evolved over the years. After the Golden age you will find new composers writing music, not always for dancing, but for listening. Breaking away from patterns dancers are used to and trying new beats. This is also due to politics of Argentina. Click to learn more about the Evolution of Tango Music.

Neo/Nuevo/Alt Music

Neo, Nuevo, and Alt music has come to the mainstream more and more since the late 1990’s. Due to an influx and spread of tango, more and more people have wanted to bring their own modern take, while still keeping the music dance able.  These have gone through their own evolution. Click to learn more about Neo/Nuevo/Alt tango Music.