Y hoy es tu voz que vuelve a mi, en esta tarde gris
your voice comes back to me, in this gray afternoon.
Last week, we played a retuned version of Troilo’s En esta tarde gris for the first time at a milonga, Los Locos in Amsterdam.
I had analysed the speed of this song because I felt there is something wrong with how the singer Francisco Fiorentino sounds, the violins sound too sharp and the whole piece sounds overly excited for a “tarde gris” (gray afternoon).
With the method described in a previous post, I found that the tuning (pitch) of the version from the CD El Inmortal “Pichuco” – El Bandoneón was more than halve a tone too high (+54 cents). This means the correct tempo is 3.05 percent slower than on this CD.
Other versions are also tuned around the middle between A and B♭, but closer to A.
Listening to the retuned version, at first, we had some doubts. Doesn’t it take all the energy and passion out of the song?
I double checked. The score is in A minor. Correcting it upwards, to B♭, makes it faster and makes it worse. In 1971, with Roberto Goyeneche, Troilo also plays it in A minor. The key A minor must be correct.
Canaro with Francisco Amor plays it in Bm, not one but two semitones higher, I think because that fits better with Amor’s voice. This is no reason to think that Troilo’s version should be in Bm, because from A to B would require almost 12 percent speeding-up.
In general, I am finding that the tango music is almost always played in the key in which it had been written. And in the few cases that it is transponed to another key, it is more than one semitone higher or lower. This is important when we try to restore the music to the original key, pitch and speed.
Back to the milonga, how was it? Fortunately, when we played the retuned version in the milonga, it sounded very good. People who danced it reported that it still has its energy but that the voice sounds much better and more natural. Listen for yourself:
The version from the series Obra Completa en RCA sounds better. I retuned and edited it. Download my retuned Troilo – En esta tarde gris.
Speed correction for other versions:
- Nattuci: -2.62 %
- Su obra completa en la RCA: -2.18 %
- Remi: -3.13 %
For an complete English translation see www.planet-tango.com/lyrics/tardegris.htm.