If you close your eyes for a moment and think about tango, it’s very likely that one of the first images that will come to your mind will be one of a… bandoneón. But where does this fabulous instrument come from?

According to some sources, the bandoneón, the emblematic instrument of the Tango, arrived in Buenos Aires and Montevideo, as early as 1865, perhaps brought by German immigrants or sailors. The bandoneón was invented in Germany or in France, and produced in Germany, as a cheap substitute for church organs in poorer communities.

A large accordion-like instrument, the bandoneón is possibly the hardest instrument in the world to play, having two button keyboards, each with no obvious relationship in the placing of notes, and each having the notes placed differently depending on whether the keyboards are going in or out.

But no other instrument sounds like the bandoneón, and, once past the hurdle of learning where the notes actually are on the keyboard, bandoneonistas can create the most extraordinary, hauntingly beautiful sounds.

The irony is that the inventors of the bandoneon discarded it and noone else came to use it but Argentine immigrants! So instead of being used in churches, it is now used in milongas all around the world!


Nati & Bruno

Source: http://www.totaltango.com/acatalog/tango_brief_intro_91.html