The educated Tanguero

Essential Tango Knowledge

Tango DJing Part 5: Designing a Playlist

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The Playlist.

Ok, we are now ready to do some serious work. We are asked by the local Tango club to DJ a Saturday night Milonga. The Milonga starts at 7 PM and is finished at 11 PM, so we have to provide 4h of music. People use to come late (between 8 and 9) and we should look for a highlight at around 10 PM. Usually people like to do Tango and Vals, Milonga is not that popular, but we know that a hot Milonga (Candombe) can be efficient. Neotango is welcome and there is a chance of some people asking for a Salsa Tanda as well. We have to provide our own equipment and we can attach that to a professional sound system. We will not get money, but food and a drink is offered :-).

So we start thinking about a scheme to play the music. The usual Milonga scheme is TTMTTV, which is called a Milonga cycle. Because Milonga is not that popular and I try to play Valses not too frequently (they are gems and should shine brightly). So we decide to start with a scheme TTTMTTTV, which puts the first Milonga into a phase where not so many dancers have appeared. Later in the evening, we will be free to change that scheme to the traditional one. One Milonga cycle will be around 1.5h which will give us roughly 3 cycles.

I now start to choose the style for the Tango sections. Usually it is good to start with simple rhythms and to proceed to a more sophisticated and dramatic character later on.

So we will start with a soft rhythm, proceed to hard rhythm, which will climax somehow to D´Arienzo. Then we start with the more smooth rhythms and climax dramatically to Pugliese. After some Neotango we will climax again to a Candombe after which we will play some soft music plus a special Tanda of Valses. My Milonga planning sheet now looks like this (click to magnify):

Tango_0001
Milonga planning sheet 1: 3 Milonga cycles and flavours of the Tango parts.

 

Putting in an expected tension curve and the orchestras, the picture looks like:

Milonga planning sheet 2: Tension curve and highlights
Milonga planning sheet 2: Tension curve and highlights

 

After that, we choose the Milongas and Valses. Today we use Milongas from Laurenz and Racciatti, plus a mixed Tanda of Candombes with Caceres as a highlight. Valses are from Biagi (fits nicely after the D´Arienzo Tanda) and additionally a Mixed Tanda with mainly Valses from Tango Andorinha and another mixed Tanda with Trio Scho. This will look like:

 

Tango_0003
Milonga planning sheet 3: Orchestras for highlights, Milongas and Valses chosen.

 

Now we just have to put in other orchestras to close the tension curve. We have decided to shorten the Drama, Nontango and Soft parts to contain only 2 or 1 Tandas.

With this information, we finally can start to design the Tandas. Apart from some usual tandas (which we take from the library), it is always good to have at least 50% of music designed anew. Four Tangos per Tanda would be perfect, but to keep the goal of 4h, we have to cut that down to 3 Tangos for the normal Tandas. The Highlights will be played with 4 songs per Tanda.

The soft rhythms are played by OTVictor, Tanturi and Canaro. Harder Rhythms are played by Biagi, Rodriguez and D´Arienzo. For me it is not a problem to have two Tandas of one orchestra, especially if it is a Tango and a Vals Tanda. For the Lyrical part, we start with Fresedo and continue with Troilo and DiSarli. Generally, De Angelis as a good transition to Pugliese, which is generally a highlight of every Milonga. After Pugliese, it is advisable to change the style, a Valse will definitely cool people down and changing to Neotango will usually address different dancers. This cycle will be started with Gotan Project, experimental tango from OT Fernandez Fierro (which is not Neotango, but very aggressive modern Tango) and another mixed Tanda with Bajofondo. We will accept, that only few dancers will do the Fernandez Fierro and most others will break.

ACandombe will produce a full dancefloor and a mixed Tanda of Nontango with slow music will cool people down.  Beatiful Vals music will give people a good feeling and the evening can be concluded with the usual La Cumparsita. I generally play Gardel as the last song, which is not intended to be danced, but I do not blame dancers for dancing it.

So this is the final construction sheet.

 

Tango_0004
Final Milonga planning sheet

 

 

Designing the Tandas is the biggest problem. Generally the Tanda should start with a powerful tune with a good beginning. The first 15 seconds are very important, because that is the time, when dancers make their decisions to dance. So we start with a strong piece. Also the last song should be a powerful one. In between, pieces with less energy may be placed. Generally the speed and key of the songs should be matched, but that is not a fix rule.

In order to finish exactly at 11, we have to skip one Tanda, which will bring the final Tanda of “La Cumparsita” directly after the last Vals Tanda, which is not a problem.

We always have a Salsa Tanda just in case and we also have to be prepared in case that plan A is not working. So we should be prepared to design Tandas on the go and change the musical plan if needed.

This is the final playlist:

 

 

Track List: Milonga_Demo_2013

 

Num. Title Artist Time BPM Genre Key Rating
1 Bailate Un Tango, Ricardo Protagonistas del Tango 03:05 127.653 Tango-Vocal Dm ***
2 Lunes Orquesta Tipica Victor 02:43 120.792 Tango G **
3 Adios Buenos Aires (Angel Vargas) Orquesta Tipica Victor 02:36 126.104 Tango Em **
4 Ventarron (Alberto Gomez) Orquesta Tipica Victor 03:02 125.073 Tango Cm **
5 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
6 Que Noche Ricardo Tanturi 02:32 129.582 Tango Dm **
7 Adios Pueblo Ricardo Tanturi 02:58 131.575 Tango Fm **
8 El Pollito Ricardo Tanturi 02:21 126.927 Tango Am ***
9 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
10 El Garrón Francisco Canaro 02:26 133.623 Tango Dm ***
11 Confesion (Mario Alonso) Francisco Canaro 02:56 130.516 Tango Cm ****
12 De Mi Barrio (Isabel de Grana) Francisco Canaro 03:14 126.562 Tango Am ****
13 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
14 Yo Soy De San Telmo Pedro Laurenz 02:35 111.379 Milonga Cm **
15 La Vida Es Una Milonga Pedro Laurenz 02:25 108.138 Milonga Fm **
16 Milonga De Mis Amores Pedro Laurenz 02:25 103.587 Milonga Am ***
17 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
18 Union Civica Rodolfo Biagi 02:28 133.431 Tango G# **
19 Golgota Rodolfo Biagi 02:33 128.761 Tango Dm ***
20 Racing Club Rodolfo Biagi 03:10 124.572 Tango G#m ***
21 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
22 El Encopao Enrique Rodriguez / Moreno 02:35 124.393 Tango G# ***
23 En La Buena Y En La Mala Enrique Rodriguez 02:28 134.697 Tango Gm ***
24 Son Cosas Del Bandoneón (Tango) Enrique Rodriguez 02:43 136.573 Tango Am ***
25 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
26 El Flete Juan D´Arienzo 02:58 132.508 Tango E ****
27 El Marne Juan D´Arienzo 02:58 131.250 Tango Fm ****
28 Felicia Juan D’Arienzo 03:14 122.928 Tango Dm *****
29 Mi Dolor Juan D´Arienzo 03:03 130.843 Tango Am *****
30 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
31 Loca De Amor (Vals) Rodolfo Biagi 02:14 110.074 Vals C# *****
32 Dichas Que Vivi (Vals) Rodolfo Biagi 02:17 108.332 Vals Bm *****
33 El Ultimo Adios (Vals) Rodolfo Biagi 02:09 101.726 Vals Dm *****
34 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
35 Vida Querida (Tango) Osvaldo Fresedo 02:24 125.885 Tango G **
36 Noches Largas (Tango) Osvaldo Fresedo 03:15 90.784 Tango D ***
37 Arrabalero Osvaldo Fresedo 02:31 128.720 Tango G ***
38 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
39 Milongueando En El 40 Anibal Troilo 02:32 136.829 Tango A ****
40 Retirao Anibal Troilo 03:20 121.087 Tango F#m ****
41 Quejas de bandoneón Anibal Troilo 02:41 121.099 Dm ****
42 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
43 El Abrojo (1958) Carlos Di Sarli 02:48 117.611 Tango A ***
44 Viviani (1956) Carlos Di Sarli 03:01 112.022 Tango G# ****
45 Indio Manso Carlos Di Sarli 02:54 113.433 Tango C *****
46 Una Fija (1958) Carlos Di Sarli 02:51 115.480 Tango Dm *****
47 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
48 El lloron Donato Racciatti 01:49 105.867 Milonga B ***
49 Silueta porteña Donato Racciatti 01:35 112.782 Milonga Dm ***
50 La Punalada Donato Racciatti 01:46 121.712 Milonga G ***
51 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
52 Café para dos Alfredo de Angelis 03:05 120.569 Tango Cm ***
53 El Huérfano Alfredo De Angelis & Carlos Dante 02:49 120.565 Tango Em ***
54 La Yumba Alfredo De Angelis 03:10 124.032 Tango Am ***
55 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
56 La Rayuela Osvaldo Pugliese 03:17 113.636 Tango E ****
57 La Tupungatina Osvaldo Pugliese 04:07 117.966 Tango B *****
58 Nueve De Julio Osvaldo Pugliese 03:42 114.936 Tango Gm *****
59 Gallo Ciego Osvaldo Pugliese 03:36 114.738 Tango Dm *****
60 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
61 Lagrimas y Sonrisas Tango Andorinha 02:42 93.957 Vals B ****
62 Olga Tango Andorinha 02:31 100.482 Vals F#m ****
63 Corazon De Oro Lalo Schifrin 03:09 88.895 Vals Am ****
64 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
65 Epoca Gotan Project 04:24 90.998 Tango Am *****
66 La revancha del tango Gotan Project 05:16 110.995 Tango F#m *****
67 Santa Maria Gotan Project 05:58 117.995 Tango Am *****
68 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
69 El 13 Fernando Samalea 03:46 107.000 Tango A#m ***
70 Mango ma non Tango Follia! 04:07 113.005 Tango Am ***
71 Alexanderplatz Tango Tanghetto 04:03 120.001 Tango Am ***
72 La hada y el gordo Medialuna Tango Project 03:38 100.000 Tango F ***
73 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
74 Milonguero viejo Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro 03:00 115.311 Tango Em ****
75 A los que se fueron Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro 03:35 114.906 Tango Cm ****
76 Orlando Goñi Orquesta Típica Fernández Fierro 02:56 116.845 Tango Em ****
77 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
78 Azabache (Milonga) Miguel Calo 03:04 114.974 Candombe G#m ****
79 Toca Tango Juan Carlos Caceres 02:53 115.996 Candombe A#m ****
80 Tango Negro Juan Carlos Cacérés 03:44 113.722 Candombe Fm *****
81 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
82 Tengo Miedo De Olvidarme Juan Carlos Cacérés 03:07 107.047 Q9T Em ****
83 Youkali Tango String 04:47 120.781 Tango Dm **
84 Oblivion Beltango Quartet 04:13 140.456 Rock Cm ***
85 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
86 Sur Cuarteto Cedron 03:50 130.865 Tango Dm ****
87 Volver Cuarteto Cedron 03:02 115.960 Tango Cm ***
88 Yuyo verde Cuarteto Cedron 04:08 119.294 Tango Em ****
89 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
90 Di Goldene Pava The Klezmatics 04:02 98.852 Q9 V Em ****
91 Milaja Moja (Vals) Trio Scho 03:51 111.655 Vals Am *****
92 Sneg (Vals) Trio Scho 03:18 71.552 Vals Em *****
93 Two2tango_Cortina —————————- 2—————————- 00:18 110.193 ————– Am
94 La Cumparsita Ciudadanos del Tango 03:18 117.088 Tango Gm *****
95 La Cumparsita Orquesta Típica Buenos Aires 03:48 121.197 Tango Gm ****
96 La Cumparsita Nicolas Ledesma 05:57 118.246 Tango Gm ****
97 La Cumparsita Carlos Gardel 02:17 112.806 Tango G# *

 

Finally, you may have noticed some funny things. We play the most famous song of Pugliese (“La Yumba”) not in the Pugliese Tanda, but in the DeAngelis Tanda to give the dancers a clue that Pugliese follows. After the most energetic Candombe by Caceres, we play another Caceres song to start a slow cuddly Tanda.

 

This was the last part of this little workshop on Tango DJing. Everything else comes by practising, so good luck and if you find this useful – give some feedback and buy me a drink 🙂

Your Tango DJ,

 

-Ricardo (“El alemán”)

 

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