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Musical Interpretation – Traveling Ochos

Musical Interpretation. Another aspect of Musical Interpretation is what happens when you start to apply very specific pieces of Tango Vocabulary to fit with the music. It is through this specificity of the vocabulary choice, and really the granular control of that specificity, not to mention the variation (and the variable control of the variation) that musical interpretation starts to take on its true purpose

There are 4 pieces of vocabulary that embody the idea of musical interpretation that we use frequently: 1.) Walking. 2.) Ochos. 3.) Turns. and 4.) Crosses. However, those descriptives are at the 50,000 ft level. It’s more likely that we’ll use the 4 types of vocabulary or their variations: 1.) Parallel System Walking. 2.) Traveling Ochos. 3.) The Follower’s Molinete Turn. And 4.) The Argentine Cross. In Today’s Tango Topic on Musical Interpretation, we look at number two on this list: The Traveling Ocho. Tango Topics recognizes that there are 8 types of Ochos. The Ocho that you usually think of is as a common Ocho is what we call a “Traveling Ocho”, so named because it ‘travels’ down the line of dance, hence it’s proper descriptive name! The distinction is required here because of the seven other varieties such as Milonguero Ocho (sometimes called “Lazy” Ochos), Linear Ochos, or Circular Ochos just to name a few, and as you’ll see in a few sessions, that distinction is an absolute necessity to  what we want to do, which is creating variety and lots of variation as well as structure in our dance.

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To be clear the Traveling Ocho is a staple of the dance, it’s one of the primary tools or pieces of vocabylary (as noted above) that we use constantly to express our musical intents. We use it so often, so unceremoniously (not like it needs ceremony), but without care, it’s just what we do: Ochos, Turns, Crosses, and Walking. We default to these ideas without thinking about the larger picture of what we’re doing, without structure, without any thought as to how it looks, or more importantly, why we do what we do. Most often we respond out of habit, and very infrequently out of conscious thought. For most Leads they respond out of not knowing what else to do (there are other ideas that you just haven’t considered), and for most Followers its a limited palette of options, so what else could there be (quite a bit actually, but you don’t know that yet) ?

From a Musical perspective, most people respond to just the beat and trying to be on beat. There are other options, even though this video doesn’t show those options, they’re implied from previous videos on the topic of Music Interpretation. For a greater portion of you reading this, in one respect you can walk on beat without thinking about it, it’s easy for you. And for some of you, being on beat is a challenge, and what’s worse is that you don’t know it. Now we add to this Musical perspective the Traveling Ocho! From a Follower’s perspective, they feel pressed into immediate service, especially with the applied disassociation, and thereby can’t keep up with what’s being led. More specifically their execution of their technique goes right out the window, and as a result their execution looks sloppy because they’re being rushed into service. And then there’s the other side of the equation: the Lead (the person) implies a lot of their ‘lead’ (the action) to do said Traveling Ocho, and the result looks haphazard, and off-time or offbeat and/or not even close to the beat. 

This is the state of executing a Traveling Ocho in time to the music.

Today’s Tango Topic deals with Section 5a of our continuing series one Musical Interpretation. Section 5 deals with 3 common pieces of vocabulary that we use frequently and how to make them musical, and how to practice them. It is broken up into 4 sub-sections this month: Section 5a (this post) is on the use of the Traveling Ocho as a tool to Interpret the Music. Section 5b is on the use of the Argentine Cross (sans the 255 OTHER Cross variations). Section 5c is on the ‘Turn’. And Section 5d puts it all together. That said, let’s get started on the Traveling Ocho in Musical Interpretation.

There’s a lot more to this ArticleThere’s the extensive Lead’s Perspective, the deeper Follower’s Technique Perspective, and sometimes we throw in a complete Dancing Perspective part, all of which are only visible to Tango Topics Freemium Registered Users, Gold Subscribers, Diamond Level Users, and Milonga Madness Users. To become a Freemium user, Registration is absolutely 100% FREE, click the button below, and you get access to this article, and over 400 videos, hundreds of articles on a wide range of Tango Topics. So what are you waiting for, go register, then login to your Tango Topics Library page and then select the “ARTICLES” button and you’ll see this article with all that good stuff in there. Easy. No ? 🙂

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Why You Need This! Music is the foundation of the dance. Without it, duh, there is no dance. However, when it comes to Tango, things get complicated very quickly because unlike other social dances where you can fool around with the beat, you can do that in Tango too by the way, what you can’t do, and so many people do, is fool around with 5 Musical Pause Types! This is the holy grail of tango music. And unless you hear them, you’re going to have an awful nasty time social dancing. Most people just throw in any piece of vocabulary to a piece of music, moment after moment and after moment. But the 5 Pauses Types dictate very clearly what you want to do. Unfortunately, almost no one listens to that and we end up with ‘haphazard’ dancing that looks shall we say questionable and haphazard at best. So yeah, you need this, a lot. And because this particular musical topic deals with WalkingMilonguero Ochos, Milonguero Turns, The Follower’s Molinete, Traveling Ochos, or The Argentine Cross, then it’s applied very differently, and you need to start applying that stuff to your musical interpretation to thereby clarify what it is that you are interpreting in the music. This is very different than just following a beat, this is using the pause with a piece of vocabulary that makes that music stand out! So yeah, you need this.


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About The Video. This video package comes in at 28m:38s in length in 4 Sections.

Section 5a – Introduction – 00:02:51
Section 5a1 – Traveling Ochos – Musical Technique/Rules – 00:09:27
Section 5a2 – Traveling Ochos – With a Metronome  – 00:10:47
Section 5a3 – Traveling Ochos – With a Sliver of Music  – 00:05:33

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The Missing Information. Dearest Reader. TangoTopics is glad that you want to read this Topic, so that you can dig a little deeper into your foundation, into the music, into the codigos of the dance. However, you’re missing three important parts to this Article: The Follower’s Perspective, The Lead’s Perspective, and The Dancing Perspective. Which can change your thinking by informing of some important pieces of information that you may not necessarily be aware of. Watching a 5 minute video will not help you to change. Change is a concerted effort and requires a little thinking on your part: Becoming a Freeium User! As the name implies, it’s FREE. Register. You get to see everything above, and a whole lot more! 😉 Have a nice day.

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Why should you subscribe instead ?  Several reasons.  1.) Probably the biggest reason is to save a boatload of money. Buying these things outright isn’t cheap. Besides when you buy you only have access to the one video. Subscribing, on the other hand, gives you access to everything else so you can see the foundational material that goes with this stuff. 2.) Even if you’re a Free User, you’ll get access to free tips that aren’t available to anyone just reading the post like this one. 3.) Sometimes there are slightly different versions of the videos, that add a bit more content for the free user vs. an unregistered user. 4.) Because the Dancing Perspectives (Lead, Follow, and Dancing) are hidden to the open user. And that’s where all the information is at, unless you actually subscribe. Until you do, those very important textual descriptions of what’s going on for both Lead and Follow you want to read. 5.) And the real reason you should subscribe ? If you’re used to YouTube videos where you’ll see a performance, those Youtube videos don’t explain or walk you through how these ideas work! That is why! What you’re seeing is a presentation, a performance. Not how things work! And what you really need to see is how things work, and more importantly why they work! This website shows you that and more! 

Remember that what you’re seeing is a couple that is performing for the 15th row for a room full of people, they’re not social dancing. Whereas this website is all about ‘Social Dancing’  or how to make things function on a social dance floor. Social Dance floor ? Your local milonga! They’re showing flashy moves as a presentation! But not stopping and talking about how this works, why you’d want to put that piece of vocabulary there, or how to make things fit. This website is all about those things and more!

You could watch those videos and thereby spend your time, trying to infer, and figure out how things may work in that particular situation. Bend your body this way or that, twist and force this position or that. Place your foot here or there and figure it out. This is known as Tango Twister.  Which can be a lot of fun, but more than likely it won’t help you, because you’re missing something: The explanation from an experienced teacher showing you how to properly excute this stuff from a Leading Perspective as well as from a Following Perspective!

The goal of YouTube videos is to get you to study with those teachers in person. The goal of Tango Topics videos allows you to work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own space, so that you can play them over and over again to improve your understanding of the vocabulary or technique being described to therefore better your dancing experience. The goal of classes and workshops is to get you to come back over and over and over again, thereby spending more money with that teacher. This website and the videos under it are here to act as a resource for you to help you to improve your dance. Pay once and you’re done.

Eventually, one way or another you’re going to pay for this lesson, either here and now, or with them. TANSTAAFL! The difference between that lesson and this ? Is that you get to play this lesson over and over and over again. Further still, there are supporting materials (other videos) that help to explain the language and the underlying technique of how and why things work, so you can easily reference those things in the corresponding articles that go with the material, and or any language in the Tango Topics Dictionary. 


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