Argentine Tango: Convergence and Diffusion Essay

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At the end of the nineteenth century in the cities of Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay a new genre of music was evolving. This new genre of music eventually came to be called the Argentine Tango. Tango music evolved from the interaction of many different cultures, and it continues to evolve and branch out into many subgenres. Beginning around 1880 the first traces of the Argentine tango were beginning to fall into place. (History 2005) This occurred through the convergence of music of the many cultures which were found in the area. Immigration to Buenos Aires was prominent at the time, and the mestizaje—racial mixture—that took place between the Argentineans and the immigrants lead to the creation of the tango as music, …show more content…
(“El Choclo.” 2009)
Another aspect of the tango that evolved overt time was the instrumentation of the tango ensembles. Early tangos were characterized by the violin, flutes, harps, guitar, and piano. (Zucchi et al 1977: 655) In 1910 the fundamental instrument of the Argentine tango was introduced to Buenos Aires: a square button accordion, known in Argentina as the bandoneon. (Olsen and Sheehy 2000: 395) Ultimately, the instrumentation of the Argentine tango came to be known as the Orquesta Tipica. The actual instruments that composed the Orquesta Tipica changed over time, but the general consensus consists of two bandonones, two violins, a piano, and a double bass. (Olsen and Sheehy 2000: 395) The instruments in the Orquesta Tipica typically include the aforementioned instruments, but there are variations depending on what suits the composer.
The Argentinean tango was founded by mixing the cultures if the immigrants in Buenos Aires; the most influential were the Spanish with their “tango andaluz”, the Cubans with their habanera and the Africans with their Candombe. (Ferrer 1996: 37-39) Given that the majority of the immigrants and slaves entering Buenos Aires were men, the Argentinean tango was originally danced by men. (“Tango Music” 2009) This was not a chauvinistic or misogynic act, rather because at that time period there were many more men than women, there were no women around

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