Things that can help with musicality

I’ve always struggled with the music, like a lot of other dancers I know, I grew up not having much music education besides what I did for a couple of terms in secondary school.

So when I started tango, not only did I struggle to move in time with the music, I struggled to even know how to find the beat. I was so used to modern pop music and tango had so many more layers to it.

Teachers taught me figures and sequences, but never explained the music. Occasionally there were “musicality” workshops where the teachers talked briefly about the music and taught sequences they thought fit the music.

I was lucky enough to have attended Joaquin’s classes in Carablanca and also purchase his book Lets Dance to the Music which can be ordered from his website. The book comes with a DVD with examples for each chapter. It starts bottom up, with finding the beat, double time, half time and moves onto more advanced (for me) topics such as question and answers and the form of tango songs.

Another book I found useful is Aaron Copland’s What to Listen for in Music. Its not about tango, but its about music and written for the laymen like me. Unfortunately, there are no musical examples on a CD so I had to find the examples on youtube.

There are many other resources out there and I’m more than happy for someone to give me suggestions.


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2 Responses to “Things that can help with musicality”

  1. jantango Says:

    I sympathize with your dilemma and congratulate you for doing something about it. Dancers who are musicians hear the music, whereas most dancers only listen to it. My music training began at an early age, yet I still had to acquire a musical mind for Argentine tango in the milongas. There was a time when I thought I’d never learn to recognize one orchestra from another. If I could hear Bach and know it wasn’t Beethoven, then certainly I would eventually know Di Sarli from D’Arienzo by the style. This has been a gradual process motivated by my desire to name the orchestra before I danced the tanda. Milongueros have helped me along the way.

    Keep your ears open and have tango music on the stereo all the time. Music has to be a part of you so you share your feeling in the dance.

    • yabotil Says:

      Thank you Jantango, I am slowly hearing the music more – these days as I commute to work, I am having more a-ha moments where I hear something I’ve not heard before and its great!

      If you have any suggestions for a non musically trained dancer – please feel free to share.

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