A dancer is more than an organism that merely reacts to sensory information, he also makes a personal interpretation. For telling the story of the music, one has to catch the spririt of the music, the soul, the storyline, not just to the beat. A good dancer is one who makes you see the music. For dancing the music from inside out, the senses need to become conscious and this being sensible must be combined with the ability to direct attention in a self chosen direction, consciously. To make it a living, ongoing event, there must be this, rather magical internal trigger for action. The magical effect of music on people seems to be related to the music's narrative content, the spirit or spacial message. All tangos have a 2x4 rhythm, yet each tango has a different narrative content which changes the dancing. And... each dance couple feels the music differently, the story-making is different."Gallo Ciego" by Osvaldo Zotto & Lorena Ercimoda
As the word interpretation has different meanings, some prefer the words realization, realisation or recognition: coming to understand something clearly and distinctly; "a growing realization of the meaning of the music", rather than "a personal interpretation". Another word is awareness: the state or ability to perceive, to feel, or to be conscious of events, objects or sensory patterns.
Regarding hearing music, there are two simultaneous streams of information: through the ears in music that is heard and in thinking music entirely in our brain. Stream 1 is the repetitive pulse (or beat). This is the unrolling canvas so to speak onto which the story of the music, Stream 2, is written or painted. The canvas - the pulse - represents who it is that is telling the story. The pulse is repetitive, the story develops, changes and contrasts. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. The pulse however goes on throughout, repetitively, and has no middle that coincides with the middle of the story. The central nervous system treats those two streams differently. The pulse will tend to go to the feet, the second stream conveys the unfolding story. Phrasing is part of the story stream...
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin',
But I'll know my song well before I start singin',
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.
Here are several nice dance interpretations on Gallo Ciego mostly played by Osvaldo Pugliese. It's like seeing tango through the ears, hearing through the eyes. Nothing expresses the feeling heart better than the 'melting eye'.
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Gallo Ciego by Miguel Angel Zotto y Milena Plebs Javier Rodríguez & Geraldine Rojas bailan Gallo Ciego Javier Rodríguez & Geraldine Rojas Gallo Ciego
Another way of starting Gallo Ciego, Elizabeth Guerrero
Gallo Ciego Show in Cafe Tortoni Gallo Ciego TangoCity Show Esquina Carlos Gardel Gallo Ciego Campeonato Mundial
Gallo Ciego VANESA Y DAVID - la ventana live music Tango as seen / as felt Music is like sculpture. Not personal, we know that it cannot really be emotional. None-the-less, music is for no one completely emotional neutral. It can produce various emotional responses in different individuals and even different responses in the same person at different times. Some music expresses emotions so forcefully that we are evolved into it, it is no longer a passive music experience. The more we are touched by the spirit of the music, the more we are undergoing a deeply emotional story. These compelling, often overwhelming, feelings, emerging seemingly from nowhere, color our moods, affect our perceptions, and can alter our behavior. Music's emotional power arouses a physical experience.
As the musical experiences vary, so too do the emotional or sensual concepts. We can only acknowledge concepts of sensory experiences, let's say like jealousy, when we are familiar with the experience, familiar with a feeling of jealous envy, from inside out. If jealousy or passion is unfamiliar to us, then there is a gap between the feeling and the concept. The content is missing. But as we can see jealous people, we can act as seen, but the gap is obvious for those who are familiar with the emotional experience. Obviously, a starting point is being conscious and becoming aware of something missing in relation to the music, a blind spot about which one is prejudiced or ignorant, leading to a much broader and more deeply sensitive tango.
Music Gestures and the act of hearing
A pianist says: "There’s nothing quite like learning to play a piece of music to really get inside it. Once I’m inside it, once I’m feeling through the piece with my own hands and working through its many parts with the microscope of learning, once I really start to “get it” about the music … it’s just staggering."
There is an unique spirit to every composer and every piece of music, and it’s the spirit that counts. If an artistic performance is to reflect the true spirit, a musician must first show a respect and an affection for the music. A violinist or singer performing with real sensitivity, immediately captures the one's attention and imagination. When the spirit of the music is characterized by counterpoint marking, clarity in the articulation is needed, every note has its place. In a contrapunta piecel, clarity of contrapuntal line is predominant, it dictates a slow and intentional interpretation. It is very important to display the architecture of the music, a good performer will study the architecture and reflect it in performance. Balance is vital too. Tempi also are extremely important. If the tempo is too slow, the piece drags. If too fast and vital, detail is lost and the performance reflects harmful haste. Many authentic performances adopt unsteady tempi, so that the music seems to move in waves.
Hearing music is more than listening, it is touching all of the senses simultaneously. In singing, the body's pulsations are protruded on to a stream of breath, thus revealing the singers emotions and offering a target for affective identification for the listeners. Even when listening to sounds of musical instruments, a part of the listening experience is a notion of the bodily activities that produce the sounds. A player's sense of a musical style is primarily felt in contact with the instrument, and can not be acquired through discourse. The physical effort to create sound is already part of the music. The bandoneón, originally ment as a small church organ, needs the musician's whole body to express a boundary-transcending sound. A musician is expressing himself through his instrument and connecting awareness to the whole body. He is not unpacking a digital audio format. Dancing on life music feels much different from a mp3 audio file which encodes music into a technological form. We interact through all our senses, the sensing body in movement has much more layers than its visual image, which often generates abstract images.
Concerning active listening and the ear, it has two facets. The mechanics of hearing are straightforward and well understood, but the action of the brain in interpreting sounds is still a matter of dispute among researchers. The mechanisms of sound interpretation are poorly understood, in fact is not yet clear whether all people interpret sounds in the same way. Until recently, there has been no way to trace the wiring of the brain, no way to apply simple stimuli and see which parts of the nervous system respond, at least not in any detail. Most studies in psycho-acoustics deal with the sensitivity and accuracy of hearing. We might assume that sound of a particular waveform and frequency sets up a characteristic pattern and that the brain deals with these patterns in the same way it deals with visual patterns on the retina. If a pattern is repeated enough we learn to recognize that pattern as belonging to a certain sound, much as we learn a particular visual pattern belongs to a certain face. The absolute position of the pattern is not very important, it is the pattern itself that is learned. It does appear to be a learned ability and about sensitivity, the ability to sense something. Each time we have learned to identify a particular pattern or recognition of disability awareness, we become more one with the soul of the music.
The expressive power of music emerges originally from the more open and abstract musical story stream. But a piece may be well phrased and otherwise well performed, but without the pulse it lacks vitality and presence. This pulse affects the microstructure (duration and loudness) of each note played. Within the notes of a beat, variations as small as one millisecond are sensed, and each composer has his own unique way of incorporating microdurations into their work. Similarly, variations of a few percent in the loudness of a tone also has a marked effect on the emotional meaning of the composition.
- A dancer's ear:
Saber escuchar la música... The legendary dancer Carlos Gavito, recognized milonguero and Zen philosopher of the tangodance, says : The secret of tango is in this moment of improvisation that happens between step and step. It is to make the impossible thing possible: to dance silence. First, to dance it is to know how to listen to music. For example, Julian Plaza's “Nocturna” - Nocturnal- is like listening to the street at night, it is incredible, all dance... es como escuchar la calle Corrientes de noche. Es increíble cómo escuchás los ruidos y los bocinazos. Todo eso tiene que estar cuando bailás. In the music are all the steps. The low one, marks the walk of the man with all the problems of existence. There is the violin, which sounds as the woman.. That's why, when one is dancing and a very pretty part of violin comes, he has to say to the woman: "Dance me, dance me, bailame, bailame". Later the piano, that is the moment at which both are walking together. Then there is a comunión of movements. And El Bandoneón, in which lives the spirit of tango Argentino. It is like a pomp of soap and I get there in, inside. The pomp moves inside with me, but I do not move. This is essential to learn in tangodance, the real dance, that of the silence, of following the melody.
Carlos Gavito: The important thing is to know why we want to dance. We dance a solitude that we have inside us and cannot occupy with anything. This gap, that emptiness to which we put movement is the tango. "Lo importante es saber para qué queremos bailar. Bailamos una soledad que tenemos dentro de nosotros y no la podemos ocupar con nada. Ese vacío al que le ponemos movimiento es el tango."
Carlos Gavito (°1942), started his career as a tango dancer in 1965 in Buenos Aires. He joined the cast Forever Tango on December 1995, dancing and choreographing two classics of the show "S.V.P" and "A EVARISTO CARRIEGO", with Marcela Duran. He was a true representative of the so-called milonguero style, very close up and passionate dance. Carlos Gavito spent half of his life looking for this moment of illumination in the dance, his choreographies astonished people of the contemporary dance. He passed away on the 1st of July 2005.
Dancing is drawing
The origin of the word dance is: F. Danser, fr. OHG. Dansn to draw; akin to dinsan to draw, the act of drawing spatially closer. Drawing can exist on two levels: action drawing and gesture drawing. Gesture drawing is related to action drawing, both involve the principle of movement, but it goes further than action drawing. Action drawing only deals with physical movement: the action line, the axis. When you do a drawing of what a figure looks like, your drawing can be correct and competent but it will only be what the figure looks like, its appearance without a deeper emotional content. Physical movement however, has a nonphysical counterpart: its essence, its movement identity. Gesture drawing involves not only physical movement, but a deeper concept of essential identity, a search for the internal, a deeper spiritual meaning of things. When you do a gesture drawing of a figure, when you strive to capture the essence, its energy of being, the figure becomes alive. Carlos Gavito's dancing is such a way of gesture drawing. The music is touching him emotionally and he puts that nonphysical content into his movements. Through use of his own sensory and perceptual experience of the music, he is telling an emotional, narrative story.
Such inner liveliness is needed to give dance a soul. It is the active, introspective process that gives content to act of dancing together. One can only make contact if an appearance has a deeper emotional substance. Being drawn to each other, relates to a metaphysical reality: being drawn out of ourselves toward the other, goes beyond the physical act of coming closer...
Movement and the lived-body
Motion as a form of touch, assumes a line of communication, a haptic listening and responsiveness to the other’s body, and being touched by the music. Dancers develop this sensitivity in maturity. Mature ballet dancers acquire an attunement to the other that increases their enjoyment of performing. Performing no longer becomes a matter of ‘being seen’, no longer performing an optical illusion of ballerina lightness in front of the mirror, it also invokes the reciprocity of ‘seeing’, ‘touching’ the other, the audience through focus. Focus might be described as a (visual) ‘touching’ of the other, an intercorporeity of subjects mutually constituting each other during the event of performance. Intercorporeity means that the world is capable of encroaching upon and altering us, just as we are capable of altering it. Body and world, like past and present, are "interwoven", hooked together.
Movement as a form of touch is experienced rather than enacted, invisible rather than observable, independent of, rather than dependent on, a body which may be characterized by youth and a capacity for virtuosity, but may equally be old. These experiences can be described as transient moments, allowing passage beyond conscious control, you are not ‘trying to get somewhere’, signaling an intention of an as yet unrealized action: you are ‘already there’. Ekstasis, a Greek word for moving beyond oneself, does not depend on “how high you can get your leg up” or “the brilliance of your pirouettes”.
Ecstasy does not mean ‘body-less’, but rather ‘time-less’, rapture is not a disembodied state but rather an embodied experience outside time. Ekstasis and the ability to recall movement through body memory, support the notion of embodied consciousness. It is the body and its corporeally inscribed memories of movement that offers the embodied self the possibility of rescue from fragmentation. Recovering the inner self through dancing relates directly to body memory, the lived-body. Dancing can be a way of incorporating past into present and, especially in the face of physical ageing and the contemporary fear of being touched, maintaining continuity and inner growth.
Rhythmically, the traditional tango is based on the beat of two quarters (dos por cuatro), and is a music mainly dedicated to dance. The pattern of beats have a rythmical stability and are clear to the performer. When listening to the traditional tango "La Cumparsita" and begining to march following the rate of the music, its pulse, you discover that there are noticeably marked pulses and other weaker, and than each marked pulse it is followed by one weak one. The rhythm is a simple pattern of beats of differing weight that tends to repeat itself periodically throughout a music, where the first tends more to be accentuated than the rest. In the case of the Cumparsita, our ear tends to group two pulses, one accentuated or hard followed of one weak one.
Astor Piazzolla stretched the classical harmony and counterpoint and moved the tango from the dance floor to the concert stage. When listening to "Libertango", the rythmical sensation feels very different from the Cumparsita. There are shorter pulses and others have more length or duration, and they can be grouped in a rhythm of two long and one short one, the score is in 'three'. Piazzolla accentuates music in places that do not seem to "fit in" with the pulse, generating therefore the musical illusion of hearing pulses of different duration while, at the same time, the pulse does not change. Doing this type of divided rhythm or compound time signature (compás compuesto), generates a rythmical instability that confuses a rhythm dancer. It is a drastic change in the rythmical conception of the tango and it's visual representation. His tango nuevo compositions tell us something of our contemporary life, dancing it relates much to modern dance choreography, nuevas tendencias coreográficas.
In a way, as tango as social dancing had died out since 1955, Tango Nuevo made tango look young again. It was a revelation for many. Except for some "swing" and a "slow", the habit of dancing was lost. Now, couples wanted to dance on that intense music. In the 80'ies in Europe, young people started learning tango figures. Throughout time, followed the rediscovery of the old rhythm dance orchestras.
The disappearance of El Tango
The bandoneonist and Argentine composer Rodolfo Mederos: The tango does not come from Argentina, but from a Babylon Tower (by the war-immigrations of Jews, Italian, Polish, Spanish and other); it arises from that Tower of Babel of those immigrants that did their music but fertilized by the Neapolitan canzoneta, the "couple español", the Polish polka with some "criollismo regional" and minted in an immense sadness, because many immigrants knew that they never would return to their land, not only because they were in war, but because they did not have the sufficient wealth or income.
The tango, as musical entity, contains three musical influences and they have roots in Europe: the baroque one, by its ornamentation; the neoclassicism, by its structure and harmony, and the romanticism, in its interpretive aspect. In the beginning, the tango was melodious and spoke of "What is happening" to the people, they sung their own histories and later they could dance that music; the modern tango was removed of that in a very toxic way and put its eyes in concert halls.
Our culture is in crisis, in state of disappearance; the tango to which I refer has disappeared. In their long presentation, where Mederos recalled the military dictatorship of their country and that produced 30 thousand disappeared persons, "and also disappeared a culture", referred to the Argentine cultural movement currently and to the role that develops the tango in it, what defined as a shopping where the tango is "macdonalizado", merchandized, they put in things that have nothing to do with the history of the tango, such as cosmetics, and the people, above all the tourism, consume this thinking that is a form of the tango; in reality the tango does not exist as popular culture, it exists as product for the tourism, that is to say, the tango has died. It has become a product for the tourism.