Event Title

Tangled up in Tango: An Argentine Dance Composed in Four 20th Century Musical Languages

Presenter Information

Liam Connell, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Diamond 344

Start Date

1-5-2014 9:00 AM

End Date

1-5-2014 12:00 PM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

The tango, as a music, a dance and a cultural phenomenon originated in Buenos Aires in the late 19th century. Much ink has been spilled in attempting to pin down elusive origins of this romantic and complex music, and the theories often contradict each other. Just listening to the classic recordings of the likes of Carlos Di Sarli, one can hear that tango music was conceived as the love child of cultural entities as diverse as West African and Flamenco music, to name a few. One can imagine what traits a generation of heroic musicians possessed, who overcame pedagogical differences to make a new music. Absorbent: they welcomed every musical ideology that they came across. Playful: they let their melodies lilt behind melancholy lyrics, giving tango its intensely romantic taste. Practical: unlike their jazz contemporaries in North America, they kept the music rooted in an ideology that made it danceable and interesting for non-musicians. Thus, the story of the tango makes it a receptive medium for continued experimentation. After writing an arrangement in a traditional style of the standard tango melody, El Amanecer, I used the composition as a template for my study in 20th century music theory. As a result, we hear the tango played a number of times in the styles that Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Elington and others might have written it. Like fine scotch (or perhaps more like fine turpentine), some 20th century music, as it deviates from tonality, is difficult to develop a taste for. It requires both a specially developed ear and a broadening of aesthetic horizons to appreciate. This is a tango spoken in tongues. Some listeners will respond to certain languages more than others and perhaps some of the languages will prove to be in fact gibberish.

Faculty Sponsor

Natasha Zelensky

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Music Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Humanities

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

647

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May 1st, 9:00 AM May 1st, 12:00 PM

Tangled up in Tango: An Argentine Dance Composed in Four 20th Century Musical Languages

Diamond 344

The tango, as a music, a dance and a cultural phenomenon originated in Buenos Aires in the late 19th century. Much ink has been spilled in attempting to pin down elusive origins of this romantic and complex music, and the theories often contradict each other. Just listening to the classic recordings of the likes of Carlos Di Sarli, one can hear that tango music was conceived as the love child of cultural entities as diverse as West African and Flamenco music, to name a few. One can imagine what traits a generation of heroic musicians possessed, who overcame pedagogical differences to make a new music. Absorbent: they welcomed every musical ideology that they came across. Playful: they let their melodies lilt behind melancholy lyrics, giving tango its intensely romantic taste. Practical: unlike their jazz contemporaries in North America, they kept the music rooted in an ideology that made it danceable and interesting for non-musicians. Thus, the story of the tango makes it a receptive medium for continued experimentation. After writing an arrangement in a traditional style of the standard tango melody, El Amanecer, I used the composition as a template for my study in 20th century music theory. As a result, we hear the tango played a number of times in the styles that Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Elington and others might have written it. Like fine scotch (or perhaps more like fine turpentine), some 20th century music, as it deviates from tonality, is difficult to develop a taste for. It requires both a specially developed ear and a broadening of aesthetic horizons to appreciate. This is a tango spoken in tongues. Some listeners will respond to certain languages more than others and perhaps some of the languages will prove to be in fact gibberish.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/256