Tango Topics | Exploring Your Dance


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Musical Interpretation with the Argentine Cross

Dearest Reader: When talking about Musical Interpretation, you’re immediately going to jump to the conclusion that what Tango Topics really means when it says “Musical Interpretation” is ‘Musicality’. No. The word ‘Musicality’ means to be music, that’s what the ‘ity’ ending of the word means. Literally, (from webster’s) “a condition or quality of ‘being’ music”. Tango Topics doesn’t know about you, but we can’t ‘be‘ music. We can listen to the music, we can write the music, we can dance to the music, but we can’t be music. Notice the action verbs there ? Listen. Write. Dance. But in this case not ‘Be’.  It is physiologically impossible for something or someone to be music. Because that is the case we want to create a level of detailed and descriptive accuracy with our language, and that is to Interpret The Music. That’s what this series is all about, a way to interpret the music in such a way that no matter who you are dancing with, regardless of your role (lead or follow), that we dance in structured manner that interprets what we’re hearing into dancing format that looks exactly like what we’re hearing. 

A very important tool to learn when wanting to expand our Musical Interpretation skills is to learn to execute on the beat, not behind it, not ahead of it, but directly on top of it. While this has been expressed clearly in Sections 1 and 2 of the Musical Interpretation guide thus far, it’s taken a whole new level here in Section 5b. Sections 1 and 2 deal with being on beat and ‘respecting the pauses‘, section 5 deals with the specificity, and granular control over when something is done, musically. In Section 5 we’ve only begun to explore the granular control aspects. Today in Section 5b, we’re continuing in that same vein. We’re playing with specific granular control (from a leading and following perspective), with a piece of well known and well worn piece of Tango vocabulary occurring in a very discrete place. The discrete place ? The Musical Paragraph Marker! And the vocabulary ? The Argentine Cross.

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From a Musical Perspective let’s address a statement made above, that is absolutely important going forward, and that must be made clear, “there are only 4 (sometimes 5 or 6) Musical Paragraphs”.

What is a Musical Paragraph ? This is a Tango Topics construct, you will not find this anywhere else, or on youtube, nor taught by any other teacher. Put simply, a Musical Paragraph is a series of paired Musical Pauses (usually between 4 and 6 pairs in a single paragraph), that comprises one singular musical ‘idea’, or more importantly, a ‘movement’ in a song. If you stop and you analyze what you’re hearing, you’ll hear 4 distinct sections of a song (sometimes 5 or 6 depending on whether or not there is a singer), each one marked by a Type 4 Musical Pause or what Tango Topics calls “The Musical Paragraph Marker“. This type of Musical Pause serves two important functions. 1.) It is a Musical Pause in and of its own right, which means that you must respect it! 2.) It serves as the declaration between one musical idea and the next. You’ll hear this idea expressed in all 6 of the major forms of Tango Music (Tango, Milonga Porteña, Vals, Tango-Milonga, Tango-Vals, and Milonga Criolla). However the later the music within the Golden Age period the more distinct and clear it is. The earlier in the period, the more muddy it is. So how do you know that you’re hearing a type 4 Musical Pause or the Musical Paragraph ? What you’re listening for is a clear and distinct ‘bum-bum‘. While we won’t play that here for you, you’ll have to do that work on your own (or subscribe so that you can see what we’re on about), you can infer a great deal from just listening to your favorite pieces of music. However, if you were a registered user (it’s free), you would see a slightly different answer to this question here. You’d actually get an example of the Bum-Bum, but alas, you’re not so you’ll have to ‘infer’ and ‘imagine’ instead of signing up as a free user to go a little deeper. 🙂

Here’s a hint though, go listen to Juan D’Arienzo, any of his Tangos or Valses. The reason for D’Arienzo is that his are very easy to hear for the Musical Interpretation beginner,…ummm you! Oddly enough you’ve been hearing them all along. The thing is that you have just haven’t realized it. This idea is in Every. Single. Song. You’ll hear a distinct shift in ideas where the music sharply changes and goes in another direction. The melodies change, the theme changes slight. That’s the ending of one idea, and the beginning of the next or as Tango Topics calls it: The Musical Paragraph.

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 32m:20s in total length in 3 Sections.
Section 5a1 – Argentine Cross – Technique – 00:08:22
Section 5a2 – Argentine Cross – With a Metronome  – 00:12:19
Section 5a3 – Argentine Cross – With Music  – 00:11:39

This video is NOT for sale. You can only view it with a Tango Topics Subscription.

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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on Dec 31, 2020 at 12:01 Tango Topics will cease operation

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What will happen to all of the content I’ve built over the last 5 years ?
It will get stored on a hard drive and it will not see the light of day after that.

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