A tanda for...

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by tangobro, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    *seeking to learn*

    So I get that a tanda is a set of pieces that "go together" and that traditionally, one dances the entire tanda with the same partner. BUT what are "the rules" by which one is supposed to pick the songs? How do you know when (to quote Sesame Street) one of these things is not like the others? (Aside: Curious about what happens if your partner is abominable and you need to leave in the middle of a tanda, but I bet there's a thread on that, so I'll look.)

    I'm all for breaking rules, btw. I figure it's probably better for me if I know what they are, first, though. :D
  2. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    Same orchestra, same period, same singer (although it's possible to bolt two singers in one tanda with one transition or with an instrumental in between if the styles aren't too jarring, but that's a black art).

    There's slightly more wiggle room in vals and milonga tandas.
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Ah. I figured it was something like that. Thanks. :)

    So that means the rules are waived/different for tango nuevo, since orchestra, singer, period no longer applies? Still four or five songs, but related in some other way?
  4. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Style is what usually unifies a successful tanda. With traditional music, that often (but not invariably) means the same orchestra/period/singer (if any), but with contemporary/alternative music it is really a matter of whether the tracks go together to form a coherent whole. That can be achieved either by choosing material with a similar feel, or just as frequently, with deliberate contrasts. Your ears and your desire to dance are the ultimate benchmark.
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I'll use that info to go back and listen to some of the tandas that have been posted in this thread so far. :cool:
  6. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    Yup. For tandas like this, you basically make up your own rules, but all you do is keep the dancers in mind - you'll jolt couples out of their 12 minutes of bliss if the different tracks take a different mindset and can't be danced in the same style and using the same interpretational techniques. The couple usually needs 1-2 tracks to adjust, so just playing things at random will rob them of the optimal adjustment that makes for a great last track that will etch the tanda in their memory.

    Mind you, especially with nuevo tandas you can deliberately wrongfoot people some of the time (or gently takes them from A to a very remote B during the tanda), but it has to have a purpose - and you don't do it often and have to choose the moment well (according to the general mood and flow).

    Mind you, those are things to be mindful of even when you don't break the simple rules. A tanda always has to 'breathe'. You can't play four long Pugliese-Maciel tracks ending with Recuerdo or Esta Noche de Luna without giving some breathing space by playing something short and a bit more simple (like Cascabelito) as the third track - you don't want them to be exhausted and burned out by the time you light up the fireworks.
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  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    That makes a lot of sense! I like ... The Beatles and U2, but that doesn't mean that playing Let It Be followed by Red,
    Red Wine makes any sense. Or, even if it makes sense to me, that doesn't mean I should subject others to that weird combination. Gotcha.

    Okay. Homework time for me. Time to listen to some more tango music. I will be back with questions, though. Guaranteed.
  8. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    I say go for it. I will occasionally play a tanda with different orchestras in it, as long the songs all have similar "moods/emotions" to me (it's a very subjective thing, but some songs just seem to fit well together).

    It's not something I do a lot, but I've never heard anyone complain when I've done it, (and a couple times I've even had people ask who that tanda was by because they liked it).
  9. AndaBien

    AndaBien Well-Known Member

    I agree. I have several tunes that are really good for dancing, but I don't have enough by that orchestra to make a whole tanda. Sometimes I throw out a catch-all tanda, just to get these tunes into circulation.
  10. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    Rats. Now I find it very difficuly to sacrifice another di Sarli tanda for this one. Can't play di Sarli all night long. Well _I_ wouldn't object, really, since I always feel as a dancer I have too long to wait for a di Sarli tanda over here (unless the DJ knows me and I make a point to trip over a wire or something to make my presence known ;-) ), but I'm just me.
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Told ya I'd be back with questions. So far, I have two. (Disclaimer: I don't speak Spanish.)

    1) The tandas I've listened to so far seem to be on an even emotional plane. Meaning, the songs within the tanda seem to have a similar emotional feel. Is that true? (I could be missing something because of the language barrier; I realize that.) If it is true, is that by design, or is it possible to design a tanda that's structured more like a requiem -- with each "movement" or piece within the tanda having a different function and expressing different emotions? (e.g. boy meets girl -- passionate abandon -- dramatic breakup -- forlorn heartbreak, with one song representing each?)


    2) What function, if any, do lyrics of the song play in choice of songs within a tanda?
  12. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    1)
    In some respects a tanda always has a certain dynamic to it -- rising energy, rising energy with a dip in the middle (especially for tandas with something very dramatic at the end), falling energy (rare, usually only when things are getting too chaotic on the dance floor and you need to moderate), rising tempo, slowing tempo, from rhythmical to lyrical or vice-versa (depending on what you are going to play next; sometimes you might like contrast between the tanda and the next one --behind the cortina-- and sometimes you might like seamless transitions).

    But the _mood_ in a tanda usually evolves slowly, so as not to wrongfoot the dancers. Of course you can challenge the dancers on purpose (ending e.g. a tanda of D'Arienzo with the very unique 1971 (!) 'Este Es El Rey') but you can't do it _all_ of the time.

    It is also possible to take dancers from A to B, but it requires a tremendous amount of skill, and it's definitely done using very gradual mood transitions (so that the dancers can adapt to the mood changes easily, but still end the tanda in a completely different mood).

    Non-traditional music allows you much more freedom to play with radical mood and energy contrasts, more like what you can do with the movements in a musical work. People dancing those tandas do not expect the same 'flow'.

    2)
    They can for the DJ --you can start a Caló/Berón tanda with 'Al Compas del Corazon', a tale of innocence and joy, and end with the usual story of hartbreak and sorrow with 'Jamás Retornarás'-- but it's lost on most dancers.

    Some who know the lyrics _will_ actually weave the mood of the lyrics of a particular track in their dance, but in my experience even these are prepared to let go at the end of the song.

    But that is why pauses are important even within the tanda, especially with very lyrical tracks. You can't play 'Derrotado' ('beaten' or 'devastated') and just leave the dancers 2 seconds before you move to the next track; they'll need time to recover. Some songs even _cannot_ be played anywhere but at the end of the tanda (I think that I tend to play 'Derrotado' at the end).
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to write all that out. I think I understand. I'm off to listen to more music and see if I really do. :)
  14. dchester

    dchester Moderator Staff Member

    Speaking only for myself:

    1) True, by design. Although I might somewhat increase the mood for each song in the tanda. Example, if the mood for a tanda was about rhythm and energy, I would be more likely to have the slowest song first.
    I have also dabbled with building a tanda sort of like a sonata, but I don't do that very often.

    2) None
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  15. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    A common basic definition of a tanda is is that it composed of music played by the same orchestra during a given era, some purists add that the orchestra should include the same musicians since even during the same era orchestras had changes. Outside of Bs.As. or places where people grew up with and are intimately familiar with tango music, having a different musician probably would not turn off the dancers. The tanda is supposedly structured so that the dancers know, as soon as they hear the 1st song, what the orchestra (and therefore style) and tempo of the tanda will be.

    If you are done dancing with your dance partner because it's the end of the tanda - or for any reason before the end of the tanda, the tradition is to say "thank you" & move on.
  16. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

    Probably depends on location. Michel Auzat, a French Canadian DJ who has experience in Canada, the US, Europe & Bs.As. mentioned that in Bs.As. where many people understand the combination of Spanish and Lunfardo that form the lyrics, some dj's will avoid lyrics that deal with religion, death, & topics that are downers in social situations. I mentioned the song "Margarita Gaultier" earlier in this thread, a personal downer for me. He also mentioned that some dj's limit the number of songs with lyrics within a tanda both in & out of Bs.As.
  17. UKDancer

    UKDancer Well-Known Member

    Do be aware of the convention that "thank you" means that you want to stop dancing with someone, and it rarely conveys appreciation. If you have enjoyed a tanda, and want to express appreciation, then for the avoidance of doubt, find another way to express it.
  18. sixela

    sixela Active Member

    At the end of the tanda the leader escorts the follower back, he certainly doesn't move on. And if he appreciates the follower, he practices the arcane art of the piropo, and certainly doesn't say 'thank you'.

    Saying 'thank you' in the middle of a tanda and moving on without escorting your partner back to the edge of the floor is a _very_ strong signal, and not a good one.
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I *knew* I should have started a separate thread for tanda etiquette.
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  20. tangobro

    tangobro Active Member

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