Tango, from Perception to Creation: A Pianist’s Quest to Capture and Embody Tango in Performance and Composition


Kim Cecile Elton. 2014. Tango, from Perception to Creation: A Pianist’s Quest to Capture and Embody Tango in Performance and Composition .Thesis (Professional Doctorate), Griffith University, Brisbane.


Tango is an established genre in the international music scene, as exemplified by the compositions of Horacio Salgán, Mariano Mores, Astor Piazzolla and others. However, commercially produced Tango sheet music, with melodies and harmonic changes, does not fully correlate with the music expression one hears performed by musicians – Tangueros from Montevideo and Buenos Aires. The main problem is that the distinctive music expressions that elicit emotional responses and appear to define the uniqueness of tango, are not notated on the page. This constitutes a learning challenge for the musician who is foreign to the genre and its original context. Therefore, she must attune her perception of what may be missing and implement a more robust notation of those emotion inducing features. This need is justified as the musician is seeking to compose, arrange and perform music utilizing standard music notation. This thesis presents an attempt to bridge the gap, through performance-centred learning, to reveal Tango’s inherent characteristics. The outcome will give an outsider the opportunity to develop skills in Tango music to achieve a performance style closer to the genre’s authentic musical practice. Therefore, contextual knowledge and mastery of Tango piano vocabulary in an accessible form provides an avenue to play, arrange and compose in a manner that reflects a different approach to understanding pianism in the Argentinean Tango.

Subject Keywords
Tango, Music composition, Music performance, Piano music, Piano performance
Thesis Type
Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Degree Program
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Queensland Conservatorium
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Primary Supervisor
Gerardo Dirie
Other Supervisors
Dan Bendrups
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Copyright © 2014 Kim Cecile Elton.
Copyright Disclaimer
This thesis is protected by copyright. Copyright in the thesis remains with the author. The Griffith University Higher Degree Theses Repository has a non-exclusive licence to archive, publish and communicate this thesis online.


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