Tanda of the Week
Very interesting and useful Web site for DJs or anyone interested in how tandas are structured. Every week the blog is updated with a new tanda by the author, DJ Antti Suniala. There are links to various sources where the music in the tanda can be listened to or purchased. The site contains discussions of the music in the tandas and contributions from guest DJs. Tandas are built around primarily Golden Age composers and lyricists. The site is updated on a regular basis.
Chris’s DJ set blog
Chris Jordan has provided a list of some of the various milongas he has DJ’ed, together with a detailed listing of all the music played at those milongas. The list provides the name of the orchestra, the name of the song, the duration, date of publication, information about the song, an excerpt of the music, and the ways in which a particular song can be combined with other songs by the same composer and how it was used at various milongas Chris DJ’ed. A rich, highly detailed look at the way a skilled DJ creates a set for a milonga. An excellent resource for current or aspiring DJs. Update: Chris has added a new search feature to his blog. You can search on any aspect of the music, such as orchestra or song title, and get detailed results about the song, the orchestras that played it, other songs that go well with it, and where it appeared in Chris’s list of DJ sets.
I mentioned this site under the main resources page because of the extensive information on tango provided by the author, Keith Elshaw. However, Mr. Elshaw is in the business of providing high-quality digital restorations of early tango music. He explains his restoration method in considerable detail and explains why it differs from commercially available CDs. If you’re a DJ or a collector or just a serious listener, I imagine this would be the “go-to” site for tango music. Keith is also an outstanding DJ, well known not only for the clarity of his recordings but the range and diversity of the music he plays, including many tangos that are rarely heard today.
Tango-DJ, which is dedicated “to the preservation of Argentinian tango” music, provides free access to a searchable database of more than 70,000 songs. Visitors can search by title, artist, genre, date, album and other parameters. An annual membership fee provides access to sound samples of the songs, cover art, and advanced search features. Full membership offers discounts on CDs, access to transfers in lossless format, and more. The database provides a wealth of information, including the title, album, recording date, singer (if any), album, duration, and publisher. There are also some useful resources for DJs.
Tango Music for Social Dancing
A wonderful Web site on how to build a collection of tango music for a milonga by Stephen and Susan Brown. The site is very well laid out and easy to follow and provides useful information on how to build a collection, essential elements of that collection, and where to find music. Catalogs composers and orchestras by period and style (“old guard,” “early golden age,” “golden age,” etc.) are provided. Contains interesting and useful information on fidelity and availability. Excellent if you want to build a collection for home use or even as a starter guide for a DJ.
Traditional Tango Playlist
A Web site by Anton Sukhanov. Excellent resource providing a discography of most of the important composers of Argentine tango, along with brief samples of their music. The site is very nicely organized and easy to navigate. Each composer is given a separate page and recordings are broken down by year or orchestra. If their is a singer, the singer is listed alongside the composer. There are separate pages for milongas and vals rhythms.
Poesía de gotán: The Poetry of the Tango
Not a discography but a collection of tango lyrics together with English translations by Derrick del Pilar. The song titles are organized alphabetically by their original Spanish title. The translations are by the author and there are sections on translation and word choice that are worth perusing.
In French but for those who read the language, a useful compendium of orchestra leaders and their discographies, singers, dancers, film directors, etc. Entries are alphabetical and the site has a wealth of useful and obscure information about the people who made tango what it is today. Entries range from short biographical statements to lengthy biographies and discographies.
A Web site not limited to music but one that provides extensive information on composers and recordings. The site makes use of an interesting organizational scheme. The author lists individual songs by title, together with the composer, lyricist, genre, and so on. Clicking on a song title links to a page listing every orchestra that has played that song, the vocalist, the year, the orchestra, and information about the recording. For example, the author lists 140 performances of El Choclo by various orchestras, several by Juan D’Arienzo. Clicking on the “info” link next to the title and composer brings you to a discography of D’Arienzo’s recordings of that song and where they were recorded, together with track information, duration, and so on. Very detailed and, I would imagine, highly useful for DJs. In addition to songs and albums, the site contains extensive information on composers, singers, lyricists, musicians, DJs, and dance teachers.
Something of a heritage site dedicated to digitzing and archiving traditional tango music. From their Web site:
TangoTunes is an Austrian-Argentine project with the aim to preserve the music of Tango Argentino. This way, we also preserve and support a piece of Argentine culture, which was declared World Heritage several years ago.
In cooperation with TangoVia Buenos Aires we promote the project “Tango Digital Archive” with the goal to archive the recordings and documents of Tango Argentino in their entirety.
A commercial site, but they appear to be serious about making high-quality digital recordings of older work available to the public.
Discography of Juan D’Arienzo
A very complete and well organized discography of the music of Juan D’Arienzo on the Tangoteca Website. The D’Arienzo discography runs from 1928 to 1975. It is arranged by decade and includes date of recording, record number, style, singers, title and author, along with useful marginal notes. The site includes a wealth of interesting details about the history of tango recordings and a guide to tango record labels.
Discography of Francisco Canaro
In English and Spanish. As the title states, the site is devoted to the work of Francisco Canaro. It contains what it claims to be the most reliable and up-to-date discography of Canaro’s recordings and links to other resources and discographies. The site is maintained by Christoph Lanner. The information, broken down by period, includes title, genre, creator (composer), version, label, catalog number, matrix number, recording date, and remarks. The site is nicely laid out and easy to use.
Carlos Di Sarli – Definitive Versions
A discussion and introduction to recording technologies and versions of recordings of Carlos Di Sarli by the various labels. Part of Frank Jin’s Web site. A very useful and well-researched list of the best current recordings of Di Sarli’s work.
Another Web site that has translated the lyrics to a number of Golden Age tangos. The site includes translations of the lyrics together with the original Spanish, discussions of the text, and links to the music itself. Tango Decoder currently offers English-language versions of 70 tangos and new translations are added weekly. The site was started in January 2014 but already contains a considerable amount of useful information. So, if you’re curious about a particular song or just want to get a better idea of what those lyrics are actually about, this is a good place to start.
A very useful database of tango music. Contains information on song titles, orchestras, composers, singers, dates, and more. Provides samples of all songs and information about their history. El Recodo also provides a very useful search feature, allowing you to search for a song title and providing a list of every recording of that song. Song information includes lyrics, dates, and some wonderful suggestions for building a tanda around a particular song. Also includes a fun tango quiz for anyone who would like to test their musical knowledge.
I’ve added this link to a page at Tango Voice because it provides one of the fullest descriptions of how tandas are generally put together in milongas in Buenos Aires. It includes a detailed breakdown of orchestras, periods, and songs, together with extensive links to examples of the music and to other Web sites for understanding tango music and creating tandas. An invaluable resource for a DJ.
Jens-Ingo’s Tango DJ Resources
Jens-Ingo Brodesser is a tango DJ. His blog provides a wealth of information about the production of tango music, and the history of various recordings and record labels. The site contains a wealth of details about record production, record labels, composers, conductors, and performers. There is information about DJ’ing and audio technology as well. If you’re a DJ or simply interested in the history of Argentine tango music, this is a valuable resource.
Tango Music Structure
A nice discussion of tango musicality with a number of examples drawn from popular tangos. The author deconstructs several songs into sections for a better understanding of how the music is structured and how we might interpret it.
Tangólógia – Hilynur Helgason
A very useful resource for DJs and music lovers. The author has included some detailed analyses of the evolution of tango music over the years and an extensive section on tango history with a focus on musical development. There is a separate section on DJ technique with a great deal of technical information and recommendations. There are sections on equipment, media quality, compression, and equalization. The author has also provided a list of his own DJ sets played at various milongas. The information includes song title, orchestra, date, singer, and more. An outstanding reference for beginning DJs and an excellent resource for professionals.
Jay Tango – DJ
A blog and how-to for professional and aspiring DJs. Jay’s site contains a wealth of information on his approach to DJ’ing for milongas, including how and why he chooses to play what he does. There are sections on the technical details of DJ’ing and an entire section on tango musicality. The blog section of the site presents topics primarily of interest to dancers as well as pages on the history of tango. All in all a very useful resource for DJs and dancers alike.
Tango in Depth
This blog appears to have been started only in 2021 and has only a couple of entries. However, what it does have is well explained and richly detailed. The lead story is about the music of Orlando Goñi and his work with Troilo’s orchestra. There is some useful biographical information as well as details about his musical career and style. The author goes on to provide detailed explanations of the different rhythmic structures used in tango music, together with samples and examples of musical scores. If you want to know more about how the music works and why it does, this is an excellent resource. The author is himself a musician and musicologist.