Tango El Choclo song analysis

Hi everyone. I’ve been exploring and making arrangements of classical tangos for the guitar. This is a Tango from 1903, I will try to explain some harmonic concepts that were in my mind for arranging this tango in IFR terminology. This tango have three sections that we will call A, B,C. I chose the key d minor that’s the same as Horacio Salgan’s version. The rythm is 4/4 as most tangos are. See attached video.


Section A: The melody starts on the pickup on the upbeat of the third bar on note 3.
6- for two bars going up using a combination of arpeggios and using the tension between note 3 and 4. In the third bar we go up and use a 6- with a major 6th and then down again and we finish the phrase with a 4D and a 3D chord.

We now use a very similar melodic motif but this time we start from the 3d chord. So we are using the tonic dominant relationship. We go up with arpeggios and then back down using inversions of the 3d chord.

We know go back to the original phrase but with a variant. We use the same phrase with chord 6- for two bars and then insert a quick 3 half diminished and a 6d chord creating an atrraction and resolving to a 2-. So this progression is a minor 2-5-1 to the 2- chord.

Now we finish the A section with the following chords: 2-/ 6-/ 3D- 6- using some chords as chromatic embellishments but the main progression is the one shown before

Section B: In section B we start by going to the relative major key. So if d minor is the 6th chord, F major will be the 1 chord.
So the phrase starts with the 5D chord inmediately causing an attraction to the 1 chord and then going to 6- / 2-/ 5D /4#diminshed/ 1M. The whole phrase goes 5D/ 1M/ 6-/ 2-/ 2-/ 5D /4#diminshed/ 1M. This 4#diminshed/ 1M relationship is a tricky one to explain. Remember diminished chords can be thought as 4 different chords so a B diminshed chord(b,d,f,ab) can also be thought as a F diminshed or a 1 diminished chord. It causes a type of suspended feeling that when it resolves to the 1M it is very satysfying to the ear( for another example of this relationship look for section b of chega de saudade)

The second phrase has a very similar motif but these time instead of doing it in the 5D chord we start in the 3d chord creating atrraction to the original 6- and resolving in it and then the phrase closes with a 7D and finishing with a 3D and then the whole B section repeats itself entirely.
:5D/ 1M/ 6-/ 2-/ 5D/ 4#DIM/ 1M/ 3D/ 6-/ 7D/ 3D :

Section C: We now go to D major tonality. D minor was the tonality of Section A so this is the paralel major tonality.
The melody outlines the D major chord or in this case our new 1 chord, and then responds with a 5d chord in a very similar fashion and then go back ti 1 chord.
1M/ 5D/ 1M
Then we do a very popular progression that starts 1M/ 6D/2-/ This using mixed harminy using the 6d chord to go to the 2-
After we land in the 2 minor we then convert the 2- into a 2D chord having a very uplifting sensation and finsihing the phrase on a 5D chord and the whole section repeats itself and the second time instead of finishing in 5D you finish on the 1 chord to have a feeling of closure to the phrase.
Whole section: 1M/ 5D/ 5D/1M/ 6D/ 2-/ 2D/5D

After all this journey we go back to section A and the original key of D minor. Harmonically it’s basically the same with some embellishments. When a section is repeated and especially if it’s the closing section of the whole piece you would want to make some variants. In this case Ia use chromatic embellishments. It’s important for these to work to have a strong sense of rhytm and where the strong and weak beats of the melody are. Also I use a small variation in the 2-/ 6-/3 D/ 6-/ progression and use what IFR calls something like the “long way home” that is 2-/ 5D/ 1M/ 4M/ 7 half dim/ 3D/ 6-.
Thank you for reading if you made it this far. Any questions, suggestions about the analysis or analysis from other songs please let me know. Happy playing

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