Tango in München mit Theresa

Musik-Seminare "Zuhören und Kennenlernen"

Why "Listen and Experience"?


In more than 100 years of tango, a fascinating variety of styles has developed. Each orchestra created an own, distinct sound and refined it over the years. Fortunately, recording technique was already available, so we can today listen to the music that was played 60 or 80 years ago. The seminar series "Listen and Experience" invites dancers to perceive in more detail the music that they have danced to for hundreds of times.


To get inspired by the music while dancing is not only a question of intuition and subjective sensation. A trained ear recognizes on the one hand the structures that are in each tango and that make the dancers "breathe" and synchronize with the partner; and on the other hand it discovers an endless number of details in the rhythmical and melodical richness of the tango music and in the variety of styles. So to train the ear means to inspire the dancing again and again and differently with every song and with every partner.


The presentation of selected tangos, with comments on musical and stylistic details and on historical background, conveys knowledge to the dancers and helps them to sharpen their awareness of the rich details in the music, thus opening new horizons of inspiration.

Bookings welcome!
Languages: German, English, Spanish

Recent seminars (May 2017)

Highlights of traditional tango music – why tango sounds as it sounds.
Or: What is tango?

- Typical rhythms in tango

– Instrumentation

– The way of playing, "expressivity is more important than a beautiful sound"

– Poetry set to music: Situations, emotions, and attitudes in tango lyrics, and their musical arrangement.

This seminar introduces the most important tango orchestras of the 20ies to the 40ies and demonstrates the rhythmical, melodical and stylistic elements that characterize their sound and produce the "feeling" of their music.



The evolution of orquestra styles in the traditional tango

- The playfulness of the traditionalists (1927)

Osvaldo Fresedo, Juan Maglio "Pacho"

- La Guardia Nueva: Expressiveness taken to extremes (1928)

Julio de Caro

- Cosy and sentimental music in the early thirties (1931-1932)

Roberto Firpo, Francisco Canaro, Adolfo Carabelli

- Upbeat and cheeky music in the thirties (1936-1939)

Edgardo Donato, Juan d'Arienzo, Rodolfo Biagi

- Creating a genuine orquestra brand with new instruments (1935-1937)

Osvaldo Fresedo, Francisco Lomuto, Roberto Firpo

- Dynamic and complex music, influenced by La Guardia Nueva (1938-1941)

Aníbal Troilo, Roberto Firpo, Carlos di Sarli, Pedro Laurenzi

- The orqustra and its singer, interpretation of poetry set to music (1941-1942)

Carlos di Sarli, Lucio Demare, Miguel Caló, Aníbal Troilo

- La Guardia Vieja sounding warm (1945-1950)

Osvaldo Pugliese, Julio de Caro



The Thirties: Development of the stylistic diversity of the orchestras.

From the Guardia Vieja and Guardia Nueva to the Época de Oro

At the end of the twenties, during the first big tango boom in Buenos Aires, there were two predominant stylistic tendencies competing for the audience: the traditional orchestras of the "Guardia Vieja" and the innovators with the protagonists Julio and Francisco de Caro who called themselves "Guardia Nueva". Many of the important musicians of the "golden age" had their beginnings in these years.

In the following decade the tango passed through economically difficult times; musicians had to find other sources of income, many orchestras broke up. But the remaining and new protagonists experimented with enthusiasm and created new stylistic elements. At the end of the decade it was an enormous diversity of orchestras that constituted the beginning of the next tango boom, the "golden age". But not only as the transition to the well-known and popular music of the "época de oro" the thirties are important – in that decade many wonderful songs were created. 



Singing in traditional tango.

Lyrics – styles – interaction between orchestra and singer.

We listen to sung tangos from 1928 to 1955, from crude cheeky songs to "poetry set to music"; we listen to different styles of singing and various ways of orchestra and singer playing together. From about 1940, with the "cantor de la orchestra", singer and orchestra interweave more and more, and emotions and dramatic moments are created.

And we read the lyrics and their translations.

We will experience

- Familial homicide and violence, sung in a rough style (1928-1931)

- Marital drama and threat of suicide, sung in Belcanto (1931)

- About the arrogant neighbour, about football, and gambling, played and sung cool and upbeat (1933-1935)

- Loneliness, misogyny, bitterness, death wish, in sophisticated orchestral arrangements with estribillo singing (1937-1940)

- Nostalgic view at the home barrio, by the "cantor de la orquesta" (1941-1942)

- Lovesickness, drama and desperation, contrapuntually expressed by the orchestra and his singer (1942-1944)

- Lost love, lost home, lost youth, in dizzying pieces of poetry set to music (1944-1961)



The other Big Four
Roberto Firpo - Francisco Canaro - Osvaldo Fresedo - Julio y Francisco de Caro

Energetic rhythm - magic phrasing - cozy sweetness - crazy expressivity

 "The big four" - Carlos di Sarli, Juan d'Arienzo, Aníbal Troilo, and Osvaldo Pugliese – developed styles and created many excellent tangos and have to be present in every milonga. "The other big four" were pioneers of tango in various aspects. They created essential innovations of instrumentation and style, they provided training and initiation for the best musicians, and they created wonderful music for dancing.

Carlos di Sarli - Miguel Caló - Aníbal Troilo.
The elegant salon orchestras of the 40ies

In the beginning of the 40ies - when there were supposedly 600 tango orchestras in Buenos Aires, when every day three tango discs were released, and when in each block of the center there was a milonga - the orchestras of Carlos di Sarli, Miguel Caló, and Aníbal Troilo were among the most popular groups. Nowadays they are among the essentials for a traditional milonga.

In this seminar we follow these three orchestras and their brilliant musicians and singers from the 30ies to the 60ies. The focus is on the first half of the fourties: the years where composers and lyricists cooperated closely, and the singers became interpreters of poetry set to music. In comparisons of different versions of the same songs we point out the characteristic ways of playing and arranging the music.

Tango and animals

These are some animals we will meet in the seminar:
- cow and horse: These animals play an important role in the argentinean economy, social history and culture, and they are topics of many tangos (this is the serious part of the seminar).
- birds, cats, dogs, apes, and their voices can be heard in comical and contemplative tangos.

- birds, fly, dog and many other animals appear metaphorically in tango lyrics.

Seminars for DJs or those who aspire to be DJ:

Characteristis of the orchestras, to build tandas with character

Here we consider the orchestra's characteristic repertoires and ways of playing and arrangement the music not as an end in itself, but their functionality for dancing. We study the moods that are produced by certain kinds of music, in order to build tandas that develop or maintain a certain mood, and to create contrasts between moods.

Creating the flow - how to construct an evening

Coherent tandas – contrasts between tandas – cycles of energy – tuning with the dancefloor.

Upcoming seminars

June 6th, 2017: "Tango and Animals", Giesinger Bahnhof, Munich