Using music for emotional signposting: is Argentine tango just reality show TV?

One of the things I notice about the whole Argentine tango scene is that I’m basically told what I should be thinking and feeling. The emotional response is prescribed. Everything is prescribed, curated, signposted, and predefined by the performers, teachers and organisers. There’s little room for interpretation: just accept and shut up! Our Tango DJs are amazing, got it!? It seems very important in all of this to present people in loud costumed dancing with a lot of exaggerated movement and dramatic gestures.

Youtuber Tantacrul who is a composer explains how the phenomenon of reification is utilised in the production of reality TV as a mechanism of emotional manipulation and elimination of critical thinking. I’ve always found the whole construction of the Argentine tango phenomenon odd, especially the fact that everything is so rigid and prescribed by the gatekeepers in in terms of what you’re allowed to think or feel, and how you constantly need these shows. The concept of reification seems to explain the psychology behind what’s going on and how this connection of tango music to the exhibitions and costumes is essentially designed to stop us from being able to exercise critical thinking and just accept.


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