Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Of The Age of Crocodiles:Libertango,Markotango,Bandoneón and Instant Massaginga

drawings by marguerita

NEW YORK — Where Oedipus once tormented us, it is now Narcissus.
Pathologies linked to authority and domination have ceded to
the limitless angst of self-contemplation.
The old question — “What am I allowed to do?” — has given way
to the equally scary “What am I capable of doing?”
Alain Ehrenberg, a French author and psychologist
, speaks of the “privatization of human existence.”

In its place have come a frenzied individualism,
solipsistic screen-gazing,
the disembodied pleasures of social networking
and the à-la-carte life as defined by 600 TV channels and a gazillion blogs.

Feelings of anxiety and inadequacy grow

in the lonely chamber of
self-absorption and projection.

These trends are common to all globalized
modern democracies,
ranging from those that prize individualism,
like the United States,
to those, like France, where social solidarity
is a paramount value.
Ehrenberg’s new book, “La Société du Malaise”
(“The Malaise Society”)
is full of insights into the impact of narcissistic neurosis.

America could use more of that kind of experience.
As it is, everyone’s shrieking their lonesome anger,
burrowing deeper into stress, gazing at their
own images — and generating paralysis.

-Are you a human being or a robot?

Roger Cohen in the 2-22-10 NY Times hits on what Otto Kernberg wrote so well about thirty years ago (pathological narcissism) which has become a central feature of American life.
Everyone locked into his own privacy, unable to feel the existence of the other.


Note:Like concertinas, the bandoneón is played by
holding the instrument between both hands
and either pushing in or pulling out the instrument while simultaneously pressing one or more
buttons with the fingers.
It is considered part of the concertina family
of instruments rather than the accordion family,
although both are free reed instruments.
In the concertina family the direction of
button movement is parallel with the direction
of bellows movement, whereas in the accordion
the direction of button or key movement
is perpendicular to the bellows movement.

Unlike the piano accordion, the bandoneón

does not have keys as per a piano,

but has buttons on both sides

. Additionally the notes produced

on push and pull are different (bisonoric).

This means that each keyboard has actually

two layouts: one for the opening notes,

and one for the closing notes.

Since the right and left hand layouts

are also different,

this adds up to four different keyboard


that must be learned

in order to play the instrument.

However, there is the advantage

that the notes tend to progress from

the bass clef on the left hand to above

the treble clef on the right.

To make matters even more confusing,

there are bandoneóns that are monosonoric

(same note on push and pull).

These variants are more compatible

with a chromatic tuning structure.

None of these keyboard layouts

is structured to facilitate playing scale

passages of notes. Instead the structure

is designed to aid the playing of chords,

which makes sense when one

considers the origin of the instrument

and its intended purpose.

For a beginning player,

certain runs and musical forms

can be difficult, but to an experienced player

they come quite naturally.

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