Tango Music Overview
Traditional Tango Music
The music that is most frequently used for social tango today was recorded during the so-called "Golden Age" of tango, approximately 1930-1950. It is a unique blend of classical instruments played with somewhat of a "street feel." The influences of tango music include percussive elements from African music, the traditions of Spanish guitar, Italian violin, classical piano, string bass, and a curious German instrument called thebandoneon.
During the past twenty years of the "tango renaissance," musicians and dancers have been experimenting with the introduction of electronic sound and world music to the social tango environment. We recommend this article by Sharna Fabiano to learn more about contemporary trends in tango music. Visit www.neotango.com to get an idea of what kinds of songs are being used for tango dancing outside the traditional Argentine repertiore.
Want to be a Tango DJ?
The Tango DJ is quite possibly the most important person in the room at a tango event. With the composition of each tanda, or set, and the sequencing of these tandasthroughout the evening, the DJ can make the dancers feel happy, tired, inspired, or bored at any moment. It is a very creative process. Some DJs plan the entire playlist ahead of time, some create the playlist as they go, and some do a little of both.
Our first and most basic advice to aspiring DJs is, of course, to listen to lots of tango music. Visit www.tangodj.org to get started with everything from essential tango CDs and where to buy them, to how to put together your own playlists for a milonga.