Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Dan Kavanagh 

BA [Hons] Creative Music Production

My name is Dan. I'm from Dublin, and my main interest is in instrumental composition. I have been composing for visual media for three years, primarily for animation. With a desire to investigate older styles of music, I decided to research the genre of Argentine Tango for my final year thesis.

Project Description

This project involved the analysis of established tango compositions in order to compile data on common techniques and conventions heard throughout the genre of Argentine Tango. This data was then used to compose pieces using the same techniques seen across the genre. Two traditional pieces were composed, one for two flutes, and one for the bandoneon (an accordion-like instrument common in Argentine music). The two traditional pieces showcase the fundamental elements of the Argentine Tango that were analysed throughout the research portion of the project. These pieces were later turned into contemporary pieces, incorporating elements of modern electronic styles of music. The contemporary pieces showcase traditional tango conventions in a modern manner with the intention of pushing the boundaries of this traditional genre. The project analyses and discusses all of the features that make the Argentine Tango unique and use these to justify the reconstruction of the genre in a contemporary style.

Analysis and Reconstruction of the Argentine Tango in a Contemporary Context

The thesis discusses in detail the genre of Argentine Tango. There is a thorough analysis conducted into existing literature on this genre. The research done into existing sources on tango pieces and various tango analyses conducted by other researchers provided the basis for the project. Following the discussion of these sources is the analysis of three traditional tango compositions. The in-depth analysis of these pieces provided the data necessary for the subsequent composition process. It was through the gathering of data on various pieces across the genre that the common conventions of Argentine Tango could be extracted and then utilised to compose pieces distinctly within the genre of Argentine Tango. These compositions were then analysed under the same criteria as the established compositions in order to justify the creative decisions made in the context of the genre. The thesis also discusses the production process of the two contemporary pieces that develop upon specific tango fundamentals in a modern and more experimental manner.