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 2018)

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.


100 Years of Tango

The tango evolved already in the 19th century, but we have sond recordings only from the 1910 years. In this review talk we hear music from 100 years of tango:

- a scratchy example from 1917;
- music from the first tango boom of the 20ies, already with huge stylistic differences between traditionalists and the vanguard;
- energetic upbeat music from the late 30ies and early 40ies, when tango had become again extremely popular after the economic crisis;
- romantic and slightly dramatic music from the 40ies, when many new tangos were written and composed, and the role of the singers became more important, as performers of "poetry set to music";
- artful pieces of chamber music from the 40ies to the 60ies that take the richness and complexity of tango  to extremes;
- tango for the concert hall from the 80ies, when tango for dancers had lost its popularity;
- music from the new tango boom that started in the 90ies: tango electrónico and traditional tango freshly performed by a contemporary orchestra.


The evolution of orchestra styles in traditional tango

A journey through 35 years of tango music, from the lively traditionalists and the crazy young avant-garde of the twenties to the brilliant and expressive musicians and singers of the fourties and fifties. During this journey we meet cozy, cheeky, high-energetic, romantic, complex and dramatic music; we follow the most important orchestras over the decades, and we listen to all the innovative and rich stylistic elements invented by musicians and arrangers.


The thirties: Develpment 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. 


The fourties: sweeping dance music - the singer in the orchestra - sad drama - complex arrangements.

The early fourties were the golden age of tango. It's estimated that there were 600 tango orchestras in Buenos Aires; every day three new tango discs were released. We have many beautiful recordings from the fourties, a rich source for playing music in the milongas. In the late fourties the music of many orchestras became more complex and the singing more dramatic.

From the enormeous richness of styles and moods I present a wide selection and tell about historical and cultural backgrounds.


The fifties and sixties: Dance music for young enthusiastic dancers - exquisitely sung dramas - hollywoodesque music - fancy music of young innovators.

Between 1950 and 1970 tango was in a strong decline. At the beginning of the fifties many young people still danced enthusiastically and some of them with great perfection in the neighbourhood clubs. In those clubs and also in many milongas in the center, recorded music was mostly played; live performances of orchestras were less common than in the fourties. In the following years non-argentinean music became more and more popular, and the young dancers danced "otros ritmos" like Swing, Rock'n Roll, and Mambo. Tango was for "older people" and had the fame of sad music. When television came up, more and more people would stay at home instead of going out for dancing. The best dancers started a stage carreer in Argentina and abroad. Many orchestras disbanded or downsized to smaller ensembles.

We will hear interesting music from these decades: Of the "Big Four" who were still very popular, of new orchestras with excellent singers, and of smaller bands with very good musicians.


Singing in traditional tango: Lyrics - Styles - Interaction between orchestra and singer.

We listen to sung tangos from the twenties to the sixties, 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.


The Big Four, Part 1: Aníbal Troilo.

Great musicians - sophisticated rhythms - interweaving of orchestra and singer - dosed drama - magic expressivity.


The Big Four, Part 2: Juan D'Arienzo.

Juan d'Arienzo was called "El rey del compás". In the mid-thirties he developed, together with his musicians, a new rhythmic and upbeat sound that has been drawing people to the dancefloor since then. During 40 years the orchestra recorded hundreds of songs, and the style became more and more heavy. The singers are particularly powerful, and the lyrics often rough and sometimes dramatic. We get to know D'Arienzo's rhythm machine and it's development over the decades.


The Big Four, Part 3: Osvaldo Pugliese.

Osvaldo Pugliese is, with good reasons, the most-admired tango musician in Argentinia and elsewhere. Excellent musicians played in his orchestra that was organized as a cooperative, and stayed with him for decades. Although Pugliese was persecuted for being a communist by various governments, he was very popular until his death in 1995, and he left hundreds of recordings. We listen to complex, rich-in-contrast, dramatic, magic music that goes directly to the heart.  


The Big Four, Part 4: Carlos Di Sarli.

in preparation.


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 first part of the 40ies, when there were supposedly 600 tango orchestras in Buenos Aires, when every day three tango discs were released and when in every block in the center there was a milonga, the orchestras of Carlos di Sarli, Miguel Caló and Aníbal Troilo were among the most popular. Nowadays they are essential for every tango DJ.

The seminar presents these three orchestras and their excellent musicians and singers. We follow their career from the late 20ies until the 50ies, with focus on the recordings with singing from the first part of the 40ies, when tango composers and lyricists cooperated cloesely, and the singers no longer sung only the chorus but became performers of "poetry set to music". In a series of comparisons between different versions of the same songs we examine the characteristic elements of the styles of the three orchestras.


Milonga: History - rhythms - styles - highlights.

We listen to ancestors and relatives of the milonga, grounded Milongas, hot milongas, milongas with candombe influences, modern milongas; and some stories around.


Vals: History - rhythms - styles - highlights.

We listen to swinging, melancolic, hilarious, rustic, viennese, folcloristic, meditative valses, and we analyse the rhythms and ways of playing.


Animals in tango.

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, apes, and other animals with their voices appear in comical and contemplative tangos (this is the funny part of the seminar). 


Women in tango.

I present tangos with women as authors, musicians, and singers. And I present tangos where the lyrics express recurrent, stereotypical images of women, among them: the unfaithful woman = the ingrate, who ruins her spouse; the prostitute = the seducer who is at the same time victim of seduction and exploitation; the mother = the only woman to rely on. We listen to beautiful pieces with these topics from various decades, and we discuss, apart from the lyrics, the stylistic characteristics of the music, that make these pieces unique three-minutes artworks.



Seminars for DJs:


Characteristics of the ochestras - to build tandas with character

We examine the characteristics of the orchestras from the point of view of the dancers, and we investigate which moods are produced - in order to build tandas with certain moods and create of flow during the milonga.


Creating the flow - how to construct an evening

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