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November 30, 2004

Music taking the lead?

A recent visiting teacher Chan Park raised an interesting point while fielding questions on his opinions of the development of Tango music.

According to Park, danceable Tango music stopped evolving by the mid-80’s, as evidenced by the fact that most of the modern and major milongas worldwide plays predominantly music from the 40’s, the so-called Golden Age music. Why?

The gist of his argument was that during the 40’s, musicians catered to the dancing public and so the fruits of their labour needed to be good for the musicians to earn a decent living. Nowadays, while the recording quality is much better, many people (outside of Argentina, I presume) play Tangos as a diversion or a part-time stint. Secondly, creativity in music has a strong tendency to divorce the dancing community, see eg. how Jazz has evolved to the point that it’s (mostly) no longer danceable.

On the other hand, who is the paying public who will support the further growth? The dancing community like ourselves, or people happy to sit and enjoy the “background” music? Or, alternatively, will the dancing catch up to the ever-changing music styles, as say, the Neuvo styles?

I guess this is more specific than asking whether Tango will ever become stale?

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