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“A Hellish Instrument”

“A Hellish Instrument”

The Story of the Tango Bandoneón

(p.233) 11 “A Hellish Instrument”
The Accordion in the Americas
María Susana Azzi
University of Illinois Press

Argentina's most popular music genre, the tango, had already enjoyed a long history before the bandoneón became its quintessential instrument. Known as a danceable music genre, tango involves everything from poetry, song, gesture, and narrative to philosophy and ethical values. This chapter traces the history of the instrument and of the dance from their inception through the Golden Age. It concludes with an homage to the internationally acclaimed bandoneonist Astor Piazzolla, who singlehandedly redefined tango in the 1980s. Piazzolla considered the accordion “a strong instrument” because of its noisy sound—it is this “mud quality” that is so characteristic of his tango nuevo (new tango).

Keywords:   tango, Buenos Aires, accordion, musical instruments, bandoneón, Astor Piazzolla

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