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The origins of tango are very obscure. It is said that it started in the second half of the 19th century or early 1870s, being a mixture of Hispanic habaneras (Cuba), Candombes or tangos from Andalucia (Spain), Milongas, and black tunes.

The Origins of Tango


  • From Origins To World War I

Origins of tango are very obscure. It is said that it started in the second half of the 19th century or early 1870s, being a mixture of Hispanic habaneras (Cuba), Candombes or tangos from Andalucia (Spain), Milongas, and black tunes.

It represented the encounter of two cultures: The one brought by the Gauchos (from rural areas) and the large immigrant influence present in Buenos Aires.

A dance of African Caribbean origin was common then: the CAN-CAN.

Society only accepted dances without physical contact in the 1880’s. Originally Tango was danced as a solo performance by a woman. However, this dance gradually evolved into a dance between a couple as tango is danced today.

The musicians used to move from one bordello to another playing in groups of 2 or usually 3 musicians who had to improvise their music at the beginning since there was no printed tango music until the end of the century.

The trios were usually a combination of harp, violin and flute (rarely an accordion was included).

Origin Of Tango Word 

There is no exact evidence of the origin of the word Tango, but there is by now some belief that it is a derivative of TANGANO (according to the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, Edition of 1803) and the word TANGIR (play an instrument) which was associated with black African Dance. 


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