Milonga de mis amores, Pedro Laurenz (1944)

This is the first milonga I’ve syncd with the music. Milonga de mis amores is one of my favourites. It was written by Pedro Laurenz in 1937 and has been recorded by several s, including Francisco Canaro and Juan D’Arienzo. Tango.info has a list, here.

Laurenz recorded a vocal version with Héctor Farrel in 1937. I hadn’t heard it prior to a few days ago. Here’s a YouTube link. Basically Farrel sings the last C section, and that’s all. Overall the playing isn’t very crisp or tight like the 1944 instrumental cut.

The score on Todo Tango has lyrics by José María Contursi, which I haven’t included. I syncd. the music with the 1944 Laurenz version. The piano sheet music was used to create a visualization, here.

Form
I always want to know the music’s . Exactly how many s there are, their length, the order they are played, and if a song, when the section’s melody is sung. Knowing this basic information, and being able to identify each section as it is played, goes a long way towards understanding the music’s essence.

The form here is quite interesting and unusual. There are three s of varying lengths with two different 4 bridges, one connecting sections A and B and the other sections B and C. A bridge is a short section that connects the main sections, usually with different material – different melodies, harmonies, rhythms. That is true for the first but not the second one in this case.

The form is A-(Bridge 1)-B-(Bridge 2)-CA-(Bridge 1)-B-(Brigde 2)-CA-Coda (which is Bridge 1)

The first time through, Section A is 16 bars long, Section B is 24 bars, and Section C is 16 bars. The bridge between A and B is 4 bars long and the one between B and C can be interpreted as either 4 or 5 bars long. The second time through, sections A and B are half as long. A is 8 bars and B is 12 bars. Section C remains at 16 bars. Both bridges are the same as before. I’ve labelled each section and bridge in red on the score.

Commentary and Observtions
(Anyone requiring a refresher on what a is should pop-up its definition and maybe read Notes and Rests: Their Duration and Notes: Naming Them)

The rhythm is prominent (provided one is listening through earbuds or good speakers) in the bass line accompaniment in Sections A and C. Section A is a perpetual motion machine. A very simple and tight ranged melody is played on the first 16th of every beat. Between those notes is a 3 note ostinato, a rhythmic and melodic pattern repeated over and over. It is a 4th to 6th below the melody, alternating on E-D sharp-E (until the half way mark and the end of the section). The section is essentially a mass of sound moving continuously in fast 16th notes.

The bridge to Section B maintains the continuous 16th notes but now the melody declines from a high C in fashion down almost an octave. There is an even louder, more emphasized mass of sound with all lines (all instrumental parts) descending simultaneously. The pace slows in half with continuous 8th notes with heavy accents on the off beats; syncopation.

Section B alternates fast 16th note segments with slower 8th note ones. It’s character is “sunnier”, being in the relative major key, A major.

The bridge to Section C, at bars 44 and 88, completely changes the rhythmic feeling and character. And we are back to a minor. Above the bass line’s rhythm is its 3-3-2 version, played triple forte (very loud, forceably). Notice in the music there are continuous 16th notes and another ostinato pattern. The 3-3-2 is created by accenting the appropriate beats/sub-beats. (The accent sign is this: >) Similar to Section A, these notes are melodic and are higher than the ostinanto notes. So the 3-3-2 is a vital part of both melody and rhythm. play an important role in the bridge and Section C. The bridge emphasizes the 3-3-2 rhythm while Section C puts it in the background.

The 3-3-2 in Section C is quite subdued, at triple piano. The melody is the focus and it is rather strange. There are many non-harmonic tones that noticeably clash with the harmonies, many of which are dissonant on their own.

I really dislike the sudden silence then the big mellow chord with the piano at the end. Just too out of character for what has been happening for the past two and a half minutes! A nice powerful V7-i in strict time would have been a more effective way to end this highly rhythmic music.

I have just begun marking down the harmonies and will finish up when I can.

Pedro Laurenz, 1944. Close the “synchronze audio/video” window before playing the music. Click the stop icon or any bar to stop playback.

An orquesta típica is an ensemble of musicians who play tango music. Typically,  there is a string section, a bandoeon section, a piano, and sometimes a singer or two. There is no specific rhythm section – no drums or other percussion instruments. An orquesta típica is an expanded version of a sexteto tipico, which includes 2 bandoneons, 2 violins, double bass, and piano.

I call any band that plays tango, no matter what the instrumentation, an orquesta. Not entirely accurate but it simplifies things.

How the music is organized, structured; the number of sections and the way they  are constructed, the number of bars and phrases in each, and the order they are performed. more...

Composers/arrangers make a very conscious decision regarding form. The order sections are heard greatly effects our sensations and responses as listeners and dancers.

Sections are the top level element of music's form. They are the the large building blocks of tango music, typically lasting around thirty seconds or so. Each section is a unique segment of music, having a distinct musical character.

Tango music has two, occasionally three, primary sections, which we may label  “A”, “B”, “C”. Sometimes there is an "Introduction", "Bridge", a short section between two larger ones, or "Coda", a short concluding section.

Usually each section will be played consecutively in order (A then B then C), followed by various other orderings. Typically in tango songs each section is played instrumentally then each is sung, then section A is played instrumentally: A-B-A (vocal)-B (vocal)-A. But there are many exceptions and other possibilities.

Phrases exist within a section.

Sections are the top level element of music's form. They are the the large building blocks of tango music, typically lasting around thirty seconds or so. Each section is a unique segment of music, having a distinct musical character.

Tango music has two, occasionally three, primary sections, which we may label  “A”, “B”, “C”. Sometimes there is an "Introduction", "Bridge", a short section between two larger ones, or "Coda", a short concluding section.

Usually each section will be played consecutively in order (A then B then C), followed by various other orderings. Typically in tango songs each section is played instrumentally then each is sung, then section A is played instrumentally: A-B-A (vocal)-B (vocal)-A. But there are many exceptions and other possibilities.

Phrases exist within a section.

A bar or measure is a small segment of music containing all the number of beats as specified by the time signature.

A note is a sound or tone having two aspects:
1) The primary, auditory one, is pitch. Each note has a unique pitch, with a sound wave frequency measurable in hertz. In many parts of the world instruments are tuned to A at 440Hz.

2) The secondary, temporal one, is duration, called "time value" or "note value". When written or played each note has a specific duration, how long it lasts relative to the beat.

When pitch and duration are combined we get melodic shape and rhythm. Pitch creates melody and gives it direction, the melodic shape; duration provides the melodic rhythm.

Milonga came before tango and its characteristic rhythm was, and is, the Cuban habanera. Early tango's rhythm was based on the habanera also. Soon other syncopated patterns dominated. The 1st variation, the "syncopa" is the most commonly heard syncopated rhythm in tango music. All three versions are used in milonga.

Habanera Variations describes the syncopation and relationship between these patterns.

When a melody or segment of music moves mostly in step-wise fashion using notes of the underlying scale. A scalar melody uses both chord and non-chord tones, compared to an arpeggio which uses only chord tones.

Scalar and arpeggiated melodies have distinctly different sound qualities. Composers blend the two together to create melodies of vastly different and varying character.

Music examples are here.

Milonga came before tango and its characteristic rhythm was, and is, the Cuban habanera. Early tango's rhythm was based on the habanera also. Soon other syncopated patterns dominated. The 1st variation, the "syncopa" is the most commonly heard syncopated rhythm in tango music. All three versions are used in milonga.

Habanera Variations describes the syncopation and relationship between these patterns.

Dynamics is the volume factor in music. There are two broad categories: a relative volume level which does not change until some marking specifies it does; and a volume that changes gradually or suddenly.

An arpeggio is a chord (a harmony) that is broken up into individual notes, that is, the notes are heard one at a time in succession, not simultaneously. Arpeggios are frequently heard in the melody and somewhat less in the accompaniment.

More information, music and audio examples are here.

A cadence occurs when the music comes to a pause, a resting point, a complete stop, or resolution of tension. It is achieved by a few specific harmonic progressions. Often there is a rhythmic change which helps create the sense of pause or resolution.

The most obvious cadences happen at the end of phrases and sections, and almost certainly at the very end, where the harmonies move from I-V(7)-I.

More information about harmonies and cadences is available on the Harmony page.

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