Polly's Tango Talk

Bandoneon and the Tango Gods

**The blissful blending of bandoneón and tango is unique and treasured. Its contributions to our enjoyment and enhanced experience are limitless. IMO the bandoneón is the most ingenious instrument ever invented and its masters are a special breed of musical genius. YouTube has many examples and information.

Once upon a time in the Land of Tango Gods, (just go with me) an important discussion took place about the future of a dance that was being created in the Land of Argentines. The Gods decided that the music for this yet-to-be-named ingenious entity should be accompanied by an equally ingenious instrument, that the instrument should enhance the music of said dance and cause it to elicit deep-seeded emotions, including those from those who generally do not emote.

The God of Sound Waves recommended that the instrument able to generate volumes ranging from high to whisper soft. The Goddess of Geometric Design declared that the instrument be hand-crafted, cube-shaped, light-weight and about the size of a hat box. The God of Symmetry recommended there be buttons on both sides with the bellows between and that the reeds be made of metal to create a soulful sound. The Gods of Melody and Harmony suggested their creation have an unusually wide range of several octaves.

The Goddess of Ambidexterity suggested that for added interest there be 74 buttons on each side. In random order. The God of Twisted Humor suggested, and all gleefully agreed, that the buttons would play one note when contracted and another when expanded. This assured that it would take a special type of demented, er, determined, musician of the Order of Gifted to master their masterpiece. The God of Multiplicity declared that the instrument be its own percussion to be bounced on the player’s knee or slapped on its side. The instruments would require skilled craftsmanship.

The Goddess of Nomenclature suggested they name it after its inventor, Band, and add a few letters to be mispronounced in various ways. She predicted that mortals would feel slightly smug when they learn how to say it and would take pleasure in correcting others.

So they instilled these concepts in the mind of Heinrich Band, an innovative German who dutifully created a portable instrument for playing church music. The Tango Gods ensured that his namesake was introduced to Buenos Aires and that all who know and care about tango would also know about the unique creation of the bandoneón.

 

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