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Origins of Tango

By | November 2008
Page 1 of 3
The real origin of tango music is complicated as tango itself. It’s influences are a complete mystery.
However, Tango music began to be known around 1880. It was played by immigrants in Buenos Aires. These immigrants were mainly from Spain, France, Italy, Germany and Poland. They arrived to Argentina looking for a better life right after World War I. This mainly explains why Tango was born at the riverside, close to the city’s port. Soon after, Tango began to spread all throughout the metropolitan Buenos Aires. This type of music was associated with the underclass. This portion of society felt closed to tango because of the lyrics that talked about the “Bad life”, which is one of the main reasons that caused tango to become so popular.

The first generation of tango players were called the “Old Guard.” The music reflects the habit of men expressing both machismo and sexual desire, mixing sensitivity and aggressiveness. The music was usually played on portable instruments: such as the flute, guitar, and even the violing.

Tango started to be played during a period in which there was no radio or television. Therefore, its music was played live by musicians that could not even read it. The first tangos had no lyrics, but in some cases the musicians would improvise them while playing. This was the origin of tango lyrics.

They generally described the tango environment, which was the reason why they were forbidden: they also showed lack of education. However, at the same time, in some parts of Buenos Aires, poetry was used in the composition of tango lyrics.

During these performances, people used to dance to the music they played. These shows turned out to be so successful that they began to be more frequent.
The first country were tango was danced was Cuba. In the meanwhile, in Buenos Aires the first dances began to be organised at the academies. In tango dancing the couple...

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