Magazine article Strings

The Tango Fiddler

Magazine article Strings

The Tango Fiddler

Article excerpt

The Tango Fiddler, selected and arranged by Edward Huws Jones. Boosey & Hawkes, distributed by Hal Leonard, www.halleonard.com, $22.95.

Tango, though generally considered a dance or vocal piece, has always had instrumental, melodic, and harmonic elements that kept musicians interested. The general public a century ago in Argentina went to milongas, or public dances, to dance to tango bands or listen to dramatic singers pour their hearts into these songs. This wave of popularity kept tango musicians working for many years. But the composers, players, and bandleaders who developed this musical form also featured the performing musicians as prominently as the dancers or singers.

Many tango bands, such as those led by Osvaldo Pugliese and Anibal Triolo, were extremely popular in Argentina for their musical performances.

Even though I am an experienced tango musician, it took playing through a few tunes in this book to really get the feel of the arrangements. It starts with a very simple rendition of "La Cumparsita" that got me and my practice partners thinking that perhaps we were not going to enjoy this collection so much. But a look into other arrangements in this offering revealed that this is, indeed, a collection of tangos that offers a wide historical perspective on a form of music that is growing in popularity.

There are "optional" (easy violin) parts that really amount to extremely simple accompaniment parts. They cannot stand alone as alternate melody parts, but are designed to be simple second violin "play along parts" that have little use except to bring a beginner along on a playing adventure with a teacher or more advanced player. This can be a useful teaching tool, not only for the psyche of the beginner, but especially in the educational world where players of differing levels of development will play together.

The violin parts have a tendency to stick with the traditional melody lines, and occasionally pick up secondary melodic lines when they are important. The piano part, although written in a simpler style with less flourish and embellishment than perhaps a tango pianist would perform, does supply the basic information. …

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