Christian's Tango and Bandoneon Info

Christian Mensing


Contents

button The Bandoneon Page

button The Scores Page

button Bandoneonists
some biographies

button Tango Musicians
musician's homepages, addresses

button World Tango Sites

button Miscellanous



Since now more than 30 years, we experience surfing on the argentine tango wave, the longest ever, indeed. Different opinions compete to explain this phenomenon: a very successful Tango Show demonstrating that the dance is much more than a bullfight with music, the discovery of the New Tango, the recognition of the art to tell the story, even a complete opera within the 3 minutes available on a record, the richness of the lyrics, the deepness of the history behind many artists and performers, and the new media. The new media, plastic music, internet, and here most important the tango discussion lists, like the Tango-L to name the most prominent, have contributed without doubt to its diffusion, giving advice, interchanging experience, making public where enthusiasts could learn the dance, hear or play the music.

Argentine Tango's history may be compared with that of Jazz in respect of time period. In fact, early tango orchestras performed both genres. Both do have African roots, though not immediately evident. e.g. the habanera, or tango americano how it was called in Spain, as the precursor of the tango.

However, distinct appreciations led to some differences: Jazz music is highly improvised when performed. Many famous Jazz musicians hardly read the music, while tango needs arrangements with a precise performance similar to that of a chamber ensemble.

If you are looking for records in a music store, you may easily find jazz in an own section, while there is no one for tango. Instead you need to search in sections like Music of the World or Folk music. To be clear: Argentine Tango is not folk music but Urban Music from the harbors of the River Plate Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Hence the name Argentine Tango, Buenos Aires is about 10 times Montevideo, and since most people know better the first, it's how they simplify to distinguish it from the social dance Tango. More precisely it should be called Tango Rioplatense.

Tango consists of basically 4 elements:

  1. dance
  2. music
  3. lyrics
  4. art, theater

If you already know the tango, you may have been introduced through the dance, or perhaps the music? Less probable by the lyrics, except you are a native Spanish speaker. One major reason for the magic of tango is due to these four elements and where each one makes its contributions.

One main topic concerning the music and which is the most important of this site is the most characteristic music instrument used to perform the music: The Bandoneon. It is a relative small squeeze box with usually 71 buttons, each one single note, but different on push and draw. Since there are virtually 4 different keyboards with an arbitrary distribution of the notes, it takes longer to learn it. Everything related to this instrument, how to learn it, its maintenance, find written music, buy new or used instruments, all is covered here.

This web page started in 1995 as an ftp server at the ETH in Zurich and was dedicated exclusively to the bandoneon. At that time this instrument was hardly known. The new internet was available only for universities and big institutions. It was still a privilege to have access to the medium. Students organizing milongas asked owners of web pages to announce their activities. These Tango Servers were very important for the initial diffusion of tango. The very first of them was The Lausanne Tango Server of the EPFL in 1993, but which closed a few years later. Ernesto of Vienna and Garrit of Frankfurt were the successors. In 1996 this site started to publish the Switzerland activities and soon of the rest of the world. It was very impressive for me to see how tango became well known all over the world and professional dancers discovered the argentine version of the dance for their work.

Why this page since we have Google? Linking to pages only does not provide information, you must provide contents. I still maintain the page, because you may find information not found on other sites or books. Perhaps you will find the same elsewhere. Yes, the contents was often copied in the past and several times I found my texts in articles translated to other languages. Also you will find contributions of other people, and again, you may find them as copies on other sites without credits...

The current URL is on-line since 2016 and the migration is still not completed. If you miss your favorite place in the list, please let me know to add it.
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(German, Spanish, English)
last update: 2017-09-04

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