The European waltz and the Argentine tango are two of the most popular and elegant dances in the world. They have different origins, styles, and expressions, but they also share some common elements and influences. In this article, we will explore how the European waltz shaped the Argentine tango, both historically and musically.
The Origin of the Waltz and the Tango
The waltz is a dance in 3/4 time, where the dancers move in a circular motion, rotating around each other. The waltz originated in the 18th century in the German-speaking regions of Europe, where it was called Walzer, meaning “to turn” or “to roll”. The waltz was a peasant dance, that was considered scandalous and immoral by the upper classes, because of the close embrace and the fast spinning of the partners. The waltz became popular in Vienna, where it was refined and standardized by composers such as Johann Strauss and Joseph Lanner. The waltz spread to other European countries and to the Americas, where it influenced other dances, such as the polka, the mazurka, and the tango.
The tango is a dance in 2/4 or 4/4 time, where the dancers move in a linear direction, with complex and syncopated steps. The tango originated in the late 19th century in the suburbs of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, where it was called Tango Criollo, meaning “Creole Tango”. The tango was a fusion of various musical and cultural influences, such as the African candombe, the Spanish flamenco, the Italian canzonetta, and the Cuban habanera. The tango was a marginal and rebellious dance, that was associated with the lower classes, the immigrants, and the brothels. The tango became popular in Paris, where it was adopted and adapted by the upper classes, who gave it a more sophisticated and elegant style. The tango spread to other European countries and to the Americas, where it influenced other dances, such as the jazz, the swing, and the salsa.
The Influence of the Waltz on the Tango
The waltz and the tango have some similarities and differences, that reflect their influence on each other. Both dances are based on the concept of the couple, where the leader and the follower have a close and intimate connection. Both dances also have a strong musical and emotional expression, that can range from joy and romance to sadness and nostalgia. However, the waltz and the tango also have some distinctive features, that show their contrast and complementarity. The waltz is a smooth and graceful dance, that follows a regular and simple rhythm. The tango is a sharp and passionate dance, that follows an irregular and complex rhythm. The waltz is a circular and flowing dance, that emphasizes the rotation and the balance of the partners. The tango is a linear and dynamic dance, that emphasizes the direction and the tension of the partners.
The waltz influenced the tango in several ways, both historically and musically. Historically, the waltz was one of the first dances that introduced the idea of the couple and the embrace, that later became essential for the tango. The waltz also helped to popularize the tango in Europe, where it was seen as a variation or a derivation of the waltz. Musically, the waltz influenced the tango in terms of the rhythm, the melody, and the harmony. The waltz introduced the 3/4 time signature, that later became one of the options for the tango. The waltz also inspired some of the melodies and the harmonies of the tango, especially in the romantic and lyrical styles. Some of the most famous examples of tango songs that have a waltz influence are “Desde el Alma”, “Romance de Barrio”, and “Soñar y Nada Más”.
European waltz and Argentine: Two Dances that Enrich Each Other
The European waltz and the Argentine tango are two dances that have a long and fascinating history, that intertwines and enriches each other. The waltz and the tango are two dances that have different origins, styles, and expressions, but they also share some common elements and influences. The waltz and the tango are two dances that reflect the diversity and the richness of the musical and cultural traditions of Europe and Latin America. The waltz and the tango are two dances that deserve to be recognized, appreciated, and enjoyed by all.