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This month we’re looking at variations, one of the classic elements of traditional instrumental tango arrangements. Variations, usually made up of 16th notes, are a staple of the tango orchestra sound and are principally played by the bandoneon, (although they can be played by other instruments), and often come at the end of an arrangement. Variations are based on the melody (see ‘theme and variations’ in classical music). Tango guitarists play 16th note variations and there are many examples of guitar ensembles where variations are played by more than one guitar in harmony or in octaves. We p