The Origin of Tangos #2

by Rodrigo Gonzalez

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  • In this lesson we will continue discussing the origin of ‘tangos’. The musical genre Tangos originates mainly from the region of Cadiz situated in Andalucia, on the south of Spain, but it also extends to other regions such as Sevilla, Jerez, Extremadura and Malaga. Its harmonic and melodic patterns and structure change depending on the area but the rhythm remains in 4/4. According to Blas Vega and Manuel Rios1, the word ‘tangos’ comes from the onomatopoeia ‘tang’ which means ‘sound of the drum’ and is one of the rhythmic characteristics of this musical genre. In some parts of South America ‘tangosa’ refers to a gathering of the African slaves dancing to the beat of the drum which would confirm the influence of African rhythms on this musical genre. The flamencologist Domingo Manfredicano states that the tangos were popular even in the Roman Empire thanks to dancers from Andalusia.

    Concepts for this lesson:
    In this class, I have applied very well known techniques such as "alzapúas" strummings and scales patterns ("picados") that are complex because of the speed of their execution. As you can see, the main melody is based on the "alzapúa" technique (moving the thumb up and down) in a 4/4 meter (common time). Tangos have the distinctive characteristic of stroking in the third of the four beats, as shown in these lessons. This "falseta" has scales (using index and middle finger) combined with a hard ligature in two beats before the ending.

    A Phrygian Major:

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