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Very short history of the evolution of Tango

The history of tango is fascinating and complex, as it developed over time in the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay fusing diverse cultural influences. Here is a summary of the evolution of tango:

  • Origins (19th century): tango has diverse roots dating back to the 19th century in the slums of Buenos Aires, inhabited by immigrants from various parts of the world, especially Africans and Europeans. The milonga, a fast dance with African influences, and the habanera, of Cuban origin, were two of the musical forms that influenced early tango.

  • Guardia Vieja (1880-1920): Early tango was instrumental and associated with the underworld. It was danced in brothels and in places frequented by immigrants. The music of the Guardia Vieja was characterized by being faster and rhythmic. Instruments such as the flute, guitar and violin were common at this stage.

  • Turn of the century (1900-1920): Tango begins to gain popularity in Argentina and Europe. At this time, lyrics are introduced into the songs, and tango begins to be accepted in middle-class society. Notable composers of this era include Carlos Gardel and José Razzano.

  • Guardia Nueva (1920-1940): During the 1920s, tango undergoes a transformation with the influence of musicians such as Julio de Caro and Osvaldo Pugliese. More instruments are incorporated, such as the bandoneon, and tango adopts more complex orchestral arrangements. In addition, professional dancers contribute to the diffusion of tango as an elegant dance form.

  • Golden Age (1940-1955): Tango music and dance reach their peak during this era. Great orchestras such as Juan D'Arienzo's and Aníbal Troilo's define the sound of this era. Tango is exported internationally, and artists such as Astor Piazzolla begin to experiment with new musical forms, moving away from traditional tango.

  • Decline and resurgence (1955 onwards): After the 1950s, tango experiences a decline in popularity in Argentina, partly due to social and political changes. However, in the 1980s, tango experiences a resurgence with the influence of musicians such as Piazzolla and the revival of traditional tango. Modern elements are incorporated and tango is mixed with other musical genres.


This is a painting on canvas made for us by the artist and painter Kara Russ from Posadas, Misiones, Argentina.

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