tango vals rhytm

Tango vals

In this entry we’ll take a look videos explaining the rhythm of tango vals

Amongst our other posts you’ll find the explanation of milonga rhythm.

Before we set off to explore the musicality of vals, let me show you my favorite song!

Alfredo De Angelis: Pobre Flor – Sebastian Arce & Mariana Montes

What’s the base of vals rhythm?

Tango vals has a rhythm of 3/4 time signature. This means that within a bar there are three beat units. The numbers 1-2-3 together represent a bar.

1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2-3, etc.

The rhythm of tango vals is exactly the same as that of Viennese waltz, the difference is in the speed. Viennese waltz is much slower, therefore allows for a step on each beat unit. Tango vals is much faster so normally a step is only made on the first, accentuated beat in each bar.

To provide an easy and comprehensive explanation we’ll use the following notations:
step – a step on the accentuated beat
pause – pause, rest, no step on the beat

Keeping the above in mind, let’s take a look at different rhythmical variations.

First case: Base tempo

base tempo –  we only step on the accentuated beat, which is the first one of each bar:
   1            2       3              1       2           3          1          2          3 etc.
step pause pause | step pause pause |step pause pause |

Second case: double tempo + 2nd beat:

double tempo combined with a step on the second beat – as compared to the base tempo an additional step is made on the second beat of every second bar

1 21 2 3  1 21 2 3
step step pause |step  pause pause |step step pause | step  pause pause |etc

Third Case: double tempo + 3rd beat:

double tempo with a  step on the third beat
– in addition to the base tempo, a step is made on the third accent of every second bar

1 2 3  1 2 3  1 2 3  1 2 3 etc.
step pause step | step pause pause |step pause step | step pause pause | etc.

Once you are confident of your bases, have a fix axis, you don’t have to look for those steps in your memory; once the follower feels secure both in your open embrace and close embrace; when you start noticing and feeling the music – start playing with the different rhythms! Your dance will improve and become more exciting: dance double tempo with your partner; lead double tempo to the partner whilst you only dance single tempo and vice versa.

Hopefully by now you have started to appreciate the possibilities of vals. To bring it even closer, take a look at these videos demonstrating the first two rhythmical variations:
Practice tips:

  • Follow the rhythm by tapping with your hand
  • Follow the rhythm by trying to step on beats when alone
  • Do the same with partners
  • Play with it, try different songs and different variations!

There we go!

Now that you dance fluent vals, take a look at some of the other lessons too ;)

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