Guitarist - Composer - Arranger

(5) Intro to Accompaniment – Harmony

I’m a long time student and teacher of tango guitar. This series of articles is for tango guitar students and guitarists interested in pursuing tango. Contact me for more information on lessons and workshops.

This month we’re going to wade into the vast waters of harmony. Many guitarists will already have a working knowledge from studying classical, jazz, or rock. For those folks, I’ll point out some characteristics of traditional tango harmony. For those who have less experience, fear not – I’ll show you where you can start.

Once we combine harmony with rhythm (see guitar blog 4 for rhythm), we’ll have the basis for tango accompaniment.

Here are 6 thoughts for approaching tango guitar harmony:

Understand basic chord functions

No matter what your background, you probably have some idea about the chords that occur naturally in a major or minor key and how they relate to each other. Even if you need to brush up on these concepts you can do so in the context of learning tango. You’ll want to work with a teacher and make sure you understand how basic chords function within a piece of music.

Learn to read chord symbols