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This lesson will cover how to approach this challenging work and also how to achieve more authenticity in your tango performances. This lesson will explore its required advanced technique, fluidity, tango rhythm, polyrhythms, and conquering plateaus. Essentially a paired dance, the music contains the scars from the clash of two cultures: European and African, and like many dances before it, such as the contredanse, it began life indecently in the barrios and slums and slowly worked its way upwards into society balls and respectability, so that by , tango was the hottest dance craze in New York.
By , W. Handy had published St. The tango itself is characterized by staccato rhythms supporting a clear melodic line—and lots of attitude. There is very little classical polish or rubato, apart from a very subtle amount on the very end of phrases. The tempo has to be maintained for it to be authentic. It is a party piece that revels in its excess, but significantly never strays from the steady heartbeat of the Tango rhythm.
It is found in two regional flavors—Spanish and Argentinean. Both are normally played on a snare drum in an orchestral setting. The ability to select strings, pluck and damp notes, and control bass strings is essential to making the character of the tango apparent.
This carries through the entire piece, but especially where there are chords. The fragment below utilizes the original tango chords and rhythms of La Cumparsita—the small parade—to help get a feel for and to train the RH control mechanism.
Notice how the opening rhythm is a variation of the habanera rhythmic cell. La Cumparsita frag. Micro Study 1a is purposefully simple to help achieve the tango feel and to practice control.
It uses half of bar 1, explicitly stating the staccato and tenuto notes. Aim to have the melody sustain over any chords, or dampened notes—use full planting to achieve this; a half-barre is needed to play the F over the A minor chord. Staccato accompaniment and a singing melody are what you are aiming for, so use a little more pressure on the a finger to achieve this. Micro Study 1b is a stripped back form of the rest of bar 1, and has a polyrhythm see Figure 2 and a 16th-note melody over the bass eighths.
The bass should remain firm and in-time as t3he triplet pulls against it. Practice with a rest stroke in the thumb, then planting back on the A string; this will help strengthen the RH bass control mechanism and clarify the voices.
Advertisement Rhythm If you have never tried to play 3 beats over 2 see the below example for the rhythmic displacement. Practice each bar until secure, then put them together. How you instigate this arpeggio is important to achieving fluidity, so take note of the RH finger suggestions.
Due to the symmetrical nature of the dim chord, it is possible to fret this in a variety of ways. To cement the fingering, I suggest using broken rhythms to practice this and work up to 16th notes. Of special note, be aware these two bars require a lot of RH mechanism movement to be accurate, so slide the RH down over the strings in bar 1 where the music moves from string 6 to string 1; after that the RH will hover for bar 2.
If you are still struggling to attain speed, separate the hands and play this as an open-string ex. Enhance Your Technique by Digging into Villa-Lobos Micro Study 3 a diminished chord from bar 5 is a practice example that utilizes rhythmic intensity to get the speed bursts up.
Use full planting on the slow passes. Note: These are grouped in fours, as they are not triplets, which are easily played with this finger combination. Micro Study 1c is all about that quintuplet acciaccatura on the third beat of the first bar—a distinguishing ornament in tango music, normally done at the beginning of a phrase.
This study transforms it to strengthen left-hand slurs and will help counting tuplets irregular groupings , which are easier with Konnakol the South India rhythmic syllable system. Again, try this away from the guitar to get the feel for five beats.
This micro study has many aims, so pick one and concentrate on that first, only moving on when you have it. However, we get a better idea of what Dyens was aiming for in his structure using popular music terms: Intro, A verse, B chorus, and then bridge. It is typical in tango music that the verse is march-like and staccato, with a chorus that has more rhythmic variation and excitement, which is why Dyens has added arpeggio runs and a lot of pizzazz in the B section.
For clarity, Micro Study 4 places this bar into half-time, and concentrates on the Cmaj7 chord shape at the seventh fret. Stagger placing the left-hand fingers down 4, 3, 2 and then 1. Once you have it under your fingers, place the bass chord notes back in, as per the original.
Again use rhythmic variations to cement this into your hands if needed. Remember: Speed is a consequence of relaxed effortless technique, which is achieved through mindful repetition.
Do not practice in long sessions where it is possible to daydream. Turn off all the wonderful gadgetry available today apart for one: a metronome. So, practice it with the metronome set slow and beating on eighth notes; you will then be able to advance your technical ability while still maintaining all the syncopations and flourishes.
Push until the music is inconsistent, and then relax back to a slower speed. Make note of where it comes apart at the higher tempo; those are the areas that need further isolated practice. Work on those and then again push the tempo up until it falls apart, or until there are no more issues.
This process will help you ascend onto the next level. We are blessed that Dyens was such a generous, both as a performer and a teacher, as such there are a wealth of YouTube videos of him playing and teaching. Below are a few suggestions for getting to grips with this Tango. Keep a smile deep inside you and remain detached.
Classical Guitar Music. Born in Tunisia in , Roland Dyens was a French classical guitarist, composer and arranger. While there he took lessons under the direction of the Spanish guitarist Alberto Ponce who is still alive and the French conductor and composer Desire Dondeyne after study with whom Roland graduated as the number one in his class in harmony, counterpoint, and analysis. More impressive than his accolades, which are many, 1st place in an international guitar competition in Alessandra, Italy in , a award of Grand Prix of the Academie Charles Cros for his recording of a Villa-Lobos Concerto, a commission to write a performance piece for the Guitar Foundation of America in , an honoring by the Fiuggi Guitar Festival in Rome in etc. Roland was special, a true virtuoso. Somehow, though, virtuoso can be a kind of dirty word, especially for a guitarist. It usually conjures up images of neo-classical electric guitar shredder guys that do little more than play at a thousand beats per minute over silly chord progressions.
Method: Roland Dyens’ Immortal ‘Tango en Skaï’; a Study in Fluidity and Rhythm
This lesson will cover how to approach this challenging work and also how to achieve more authenticity in your tango performances. This lesson will explore its required advanced technique, fluidity, tango rhythm, polyrhythms, and conquering plateaus. Essentially a paired dance, the music contains the scars from the clash of two cultures: European and African, and like many dances before it, such as the contredanse, it began life indecently in the barrios and slums and slowly worked its way upwards into society balls and respectability, so that by , tango was the hottest dance craze in New York. By , W. Handy had published St.