(Photo by retorta_net)
Tango orchestras, known as Orquestas Típicas, date back to the 1870’s, a period when the country was beginning to form its national identity after its independence in 1816. The first formations were very basic and consisted of guitarists, flutists and violinists. Afterwards they incorporated the piano, the double bass, the cello and the emblematic bandoneón, which replaced the flute until Astor Piazzolla reintroduced it.
Initially, Orquestas Típicas played in different venues, first in brothels and suburbs and later, as they gained prestige, in more open social spaces. In the thirties, they also began to include musical scores, which contributed to the sophistication of the compositions and led to tango’s golden years in the forties with Troilo, Pugliese, De Angelis, Francini-Pontier, Discépolo, Manzi and Expósito as the leading directors and composers.
Nowadays, with the revival of tango, there are contemporary tango orchestras such as the popular Orquesta Típica Fernandez Fierro that follows a traditional approach and stages weekly live shows at the Club Atlético Fernández Fierro in Almagro. Other contemporary tango orquestras are the Orquesta Típica Imperial, and the Orquesta Típica Sub-25 directed by Pablo Agri which played in the tango world championships.