On her Tango Investigation Agency (TIA) Facebook page, Trud Antzée (tangoimmigrant blog) came up with Tanturi’s “Mozo guapo” that is published on CDs at various speeds, tuned somewhere between Am and B♭m.
Which version is correct? It’s important to sort it out because it’s not about marginal errors but about substantial, notable differences that you can hear and feel when dancing. Should the Mozo guapo (handsome guy) calm down?
The original score (see below) is in A minor (Am) with a second part in A major, written by Tanturi himself in 1941. He recorded it in February of the same year. However, on CDs we hear something between Am and B♭m. Playing in B♭m is very very rare in tango (and with 5 flats quite difficult), and there is no reason to think Tanturi changed his mind and wanted the piece played one semitone higher.
Since tuning of the (Germany-made) bandoneons at that time was the same as current tuning, tuning is is not the cause of the problem. It is the rotation speed of the disks (shellacs) that was not exactly at 78 rotations per minute (see homepage for more explanation).
I found one copy in my collection tuned exactly in A of which I don’t know the source. [update: Jens Dörr told me that the CD Buenos Aires Tango Club/Serie Orquestas/Tanturi&Laurens ORQ 249 has the correct speed].
I checked four other versions published on CDs, which are all too fast, with some differences, and calculated the required correction:
- Two versions just between A and B♭. Tuning: B♭ -47 cent (=A +53). Speed: 114 bpm.
CDs: Tangos De Mi Ciudad BMG/Tango Argentino + Natucci
- Two lower-quality versions with a tuning closer to B♭ than to A. Tuning: B♭ -21 cent (= A +79). Speed: 115 bpm.
CDs: Cuatro Compases El bandoneón/EBCD 048 + Muñeca brava/Magenta
The correction brings it back to Am and the resulting speed is 111 bpm.
A correction of -4.61% is quite big, but let’s listen to the version that ‘only’ needs -3.15% correction and the retuned copy:
In both examples, first you hear the uncorrected fragment, then the same fragment corrected.
Not only the voice sounds better, with a more natural vibrato, but also the violins and other instruments.
Download here my completely retuned Tanturi – Mozo guapo.