8. Styles of Argentine Tango


It is important for us foreigners to have some historical background knowledge regarding the evolution of Argentine Tango between its musics and dance forms to appreciate this culture. Circa 1936, Juan D'Arienzo had returned the way tango sounded, driving beat. Some believed that, without the appearance of D'Arienzo, tango could have died by the end of 30s. Apparently, due to the slump of world economy between the 20s and 30s and all the other available music and dances from Europe and from the United States of America, interest in tango music had declined. Also, tango music had evolved in complexity in melody and harmony and become too difficult for dancing.

D'Arienzo's music were played for the dancers rather than for the listening public, rhythm over melody and harmony and interest in tango was revived. D'Arienzo's orchestra frequently played in the downtown of Buenos Aires where milonga venues were usually smaller and were packed with dancers. El Centro tango dance style was born due to the lack of space and the driving beats.

On the other hand, Di Sarli's music were smooth, melodic and grand. His orchestra played in the larger venues and another tango dance style was born, Tango de Salon, due to the availability of more space to afford larger smoother slower movements to his music.

It is interesting to note that both El Centro and Tango de Salon were danced in close embrace before 1960's. Open embrace style tango did not exist until social tango had become show tango on the stages.

Simply put, the venue's available space and the music had influenced the evolution of tango.

In another word, tango is danced to the texture of the music, in a social environment with the fellow dancers with the available space.

The following is a quick run down of the evolution of the musicalities of different orquestas as demonstrated by the pianist Mario-Marzan: