Analysis of the origins of the tango and its relevance to Argentine national Identity


The tango is a musical genre that originated from the Argentine community. It is music accompanied by a social dance, which relies on improvisation. Carlos Gardel is mostly identified as tango because he was among the first writers and composers of the tango songs. The song originated from the Buenos Aires in Argentina due to political issues, which turned dance into a close choreography work that led to the embracement of tango. Having its origin in Argentina, has a positive effect on the social lives of the people of argentine. It is a projection and a reflection of Argentine identity, which has led to the transformation of historical circumstances through the tango lyrics. It started as music with words from the experiences that affected people in the society and later developed to a dance highly valued by the Argentine community.

Origin of Tango

Tango originated from Buenos Aires and Montevideo. The cultural interactions of the people in the community led to the identification of an expression mode. Through tango, the people could convey their feelings, at the same time, a form of entertainment. With the political, social, and cultural changes in the city, tango was used as a form of expression to either show acceptance or give their opinion. In the beginning, the mode of expression was not named; therefore, there was no reference to tango. It later came to be referred to as tango after the emotions turned to music and developed to create dances embraces by the Argentine community. Tango embodies the history of multiculturalism in Argentina hence shows acceptance of the many cultures. It showed the value of cultural identity, thus directly connected Argentina’s cultures. It tells the story of the region, together with enhancing the cultural integration of the Argentine community.

Tango origin also points to the history of Argentina between 1805 and 1860. During this period, England wanted to conquer Buenos Aires but was overruled almost immediately by the Argentines. The defeat led to the emergence of ideas to help gain independence. Consequently, there was a civil war and a fight against Spain, which unified the Argentine republic. After independence, the government promoted immigration, which led to the European workforce, and many of their displaced people migrating to the city. The new arrivals had few resources and were very poor; hence the available resources needed to be shared after a high competition for them. Under the leadership of Juan Manuel de Rosas, the culture of the community got support, and the various cultures integrated; hence it used music to express ideas and entertain. However, in 1852, Juan was removed from power, and all the dancers and singers banned. They could not perform in open places hence had to find smaller and hidden places to practice and play. Through this, the choreography elements changed, thus getting the name tango, as it involved dancing close to one another.

Tango is a genre that evolved from other styles of music and dances. After Argentina allowed immigrants into their territory, they came in with various cultures that encompassed styles of dances. These different communities had to integrate their lifestyles to blend and assimilate in the same region. Therefore, with the multiple methods, the people incorporated each other’s approaches and techniques hence forming a new genre. The genre consisted of various community styles brought together; thus was different from the original ones, consequently creating a new name. Tango was embraced and accepted by the individuals they could all take part in performances. Also, they came together to form lyrics and provide their experiences in the political, cultural, or social lives, mainly that affected their wellbeing in the Argentine region. The evolution of the genre pointed back to Argentina, from various cultures of immigrants, as well as the Argentina community.

Spanish and Portuguese expanded their reigns in Argentina, creating two capitals, Buenos Aires and Montevideo. The towns developed, with a lot of construction that needed a lot of labor to complete and accomplish the goals. Classes also formed the lavish living in luxurious places and having slaves to work for them. The slaves, mostly from the immigrant communities, performed a lot of casual work during the day such that by evening they were too tired and wished for some entertainment to stimulate their mental state. Therefore, during the night, the slaves and workers would gather in the slums of Buenos Aires, and through dance and music, expressed themselves. The form of expression through music and dance came to be known as tango. However, the authorities were against such gatherings and would punish them whenever caught. They wanted full control over their workers, but the groups continued meeting forming a dance between two people with quick movements. This dance was named tango and also developed in the Montevideo region.

According to Vollmar, tango developed with the men of the poor class of Argentina. The men used to perform activities such as knife-wielding and spent leisure time taking cheap wine and talking about women in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. During such a period, the men needed an activity to entertain and encourage them to work hard. They started forming mournful and love songs, expressing their feelings towards poverty and life experiences. The expressions developed to songs, which they sang together and started dancing. Since they were love songs, the men danced in two, to illustrate, two persons who are in love dancing. The dance encompassed close interaction, within a very short distance while holding one another. As the men kept singing and dancing, women became interested and joined the men. They improvised new styles and lyrics and combined with the existing techniques created by men forming a lot more improvised tango. Most of the women were prostitution, which made their way to the ports, hence a form of entertainment. The tango became part of their activities and performed in the entertainment premises.

The origin of tango music is unclear, but it is evident that it started in the cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo in Argentina. The politics of the land led to the people of the area finding ways to entertain themselves. Also, with immigration into Argentina, there existed more cultural setups in the region, hence to integrate the groups, the communities embraced other people’s ideas forming a shared culture of the tango. Also, slavery increased with Spain conquering the land, and since they worked for long hours, they had to find ways to improve their mood. The experiences of the people due to political and cultural activities encouraged them to find ways to express their feelings hence developed the tango music and dances. Tango’s origin developed from the experiences of people in Argentina to express their opinions on issues affecting them.

Relevance of Tango to Argentine National Identity

Argentina is the origin of the tango, specifically in the cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo. It is a form of identity for the Argentine community, as most of the lyrics develop from the experiences of people in the Argentine society. It addresses their problems and challenges faced during the past times and expresses their feelings of either acceptance or rejection. Through the music and dances, one quickly understands the cultures of the community, with developments and introductions added through the history. Also, the social characteristics of the people based on political and cultural basis extend and deepens knowledge of the specific individuals in the community. This occurs because the songs and dances express most information and activities of the people; hence one quickly learns from them. The report in the lyrics identifies the argentine community, and people understand and even embrace some cultures; therefore, it only identifies them.

Tango is referred to as a reflection and projection of the argentine community as it shows the transformation of historical circumstances from the beginning to the current state. The changes, as well as its effects on the community, are reflected in the lyrics of tango songs. Historical information gives the origins of a city, explains the developments and reasons for changes; hence tango explains the modifications and alterations. The migration of social and cultural practices across national and social boundaries expressed the attitude and attributes of people during the time. Therefore, the genre reflects the lives of the community. It is also a projection of circumstances since, through the historical backgrounds, one may forecast the future using the trends of activities. The tango includes the fears and the community due to the historical developments hence easy to project future occurrences. The argentine people found a platform to communicate and express themselves through tango.

The political, social, economic, and fashion concepts and developments within the style of dancing in the argentine community appear in the tango. This information allows contextualization of the contemporary context, both geographically and historically hence an enhanced understanding of the ideas. The attires in the tango dances corresponds with the theme of the song and the culture of the people. Thus, it has become a wave of interest not just in Argentina but worldwide. Fashion ideas from the tango dances are embraced and the source identified from the argentine community. The global interest has also encouraged tourist activities in the city, to learn their cultures, fashions, economic activities, and social experiences that may be embraced by them. Besides, the government of Argentina decided to protect and nurture tango as a source of cultural heritage. The practices, expressions, skills, and representations of the community are passed from one generation to another hence promoting creativity and social well-being.

The history and culture of the community apply for educational purposes such as in cultural studies, decolonization, and performance studies using tango. Argentine society has acquired an education identity or is an object of study, as its cultures and history apply in today’s studies. Cultural studies use the example of the Argentine community’s arts in reviews, with a case of the historical activities and customs. Also, with the existence of the process of decolonization in Argentina, political history educates on the effects of colonization. Most commonly, performance studies for choreography, music, and dances incorporate the tango of Argentina. It is a combination of music created, together with dance. Therefore, the evolution of tango choreographic styles and its development from the past to today’s experience provides a strong basis for music and dances. These educations that use Argentine tango keep the concepts of the community embraced by various countries hence forms an identity for the community.

Tango is also used as a social object as it represents the life values of individuals. The genre evolves, considering the ethical values of the community and traditional representation. Hence the style represents the social values of individuals and could be embraced by other societies. It also represents a sub-culture as it shows constant progress and delimitation, which differentiates it from today’s high culture. Individuals embrace ethical values, and their source linked to the Argentine community hence becomes the founders of the values and concepts. Throughout the world, there has been an exponential spread of activities, with people taking lessons on tango music and dancing, accepting the cultures of Argentina. In some places, it has become a form of therapy for emotionally and mentally distracted people to have activities that raise their spirits and encourage them. Therefore, tango is not only an object but also represents a health therapy to the sick.

Through Carlos Gardel, tango acquired distinctive elements such as alienation of vulnerability, fidelity, and loyalty, and material success. Gardel takes part in the spread of tango to the world hence is closely associated with the genre. In his films and songs, he was mindful of his image and presented himself in ways that expressed respect. Also, when forming lyrics for the love songs, he speaks of reality; that is, love breaking because of women’s infidelity. This was an experience he had with the Argentine community; hence had a better way of expressing it through his songs. Gardel also makes a strong influence of incomplete family due to poverty and immigration issues. These qualities make him fit well with the tango elements as he precisely depicts the experiences in the community. Through his actions, the argentine community gains a sense of good reputation and ethics, through the influential man of the genre to the world.

Tango is incorporated in celebrations of cultural heritage in Argentina, showing the widespread state in which, the tango genre has been embraced as a piece of popular music and dance. Since the music originated from various cultures and beliefs, it encourages diversity and peaceful coexistence between people, which the community has shown by living together. Coexisting and encouraging peace inspires developments to occur, which has led to the emergence of musicians, choreographers, dancers, and songwriters who embody the culture of tango. The community itself celebrates tango, therefore, being an example to other nations by inspiring them to support and accept the genre.

The argentine community recognizes tango as its national identity. It identifies its culture and values to the world; hence some ethical values can be sourced from the city. Through tango, the region is used as a learning experience in the fields of cultures and choreography work. It is also a form of ethical development in society; hence used as an example of the evolution of ethics and rules. The area was colonized during the early periods, but they were able to fight back even after groups of immigration people joined the land. Therefore, argentine is an excellent case of a region that survived decolonization hence used in studies. To add on, Carlos Gardel is closely associated with tango, and through him, the community id identified with an outstanding image. This is because of how he conducted himself before people and also through his activities as a hero. The argentine community has gained national identity through the tango and has become one of the most popular sources of the most exponential genre.


Tango is a genre that evolved from Argentina in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. It came due to people’s cultural, political, and economic practices that influenced their way of life. Through the genre, the community communicated to other people expressing their feelings and experiences subjected to them. It developed to music and dance, with the assimilation of different cultures of the immigrants in the region after they agreed to intermingle. Tango now benefits the Argentine community as is a form of national identity. The world knows and understands the city due to the evolution of tango in their region. It is used as a social identity and relates and projects issues of the city. As a social identity, the tango music and dance styles are embraced in various regions of the world; hence they are recognized for creating such styles, values, and cultures. The historical developments and evolution of tango reflect the evolution of Argentine national identity, which keeps growing and spreading to various regions of the world.


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