Juan d’Arienzo (December 14, 1900 – January 14, 1976) was an Argentine tango musician, also known as “El Rey del Compás” (King of the Beat). He was a violinist, band leader, and composer.

He was the son of Italian immigrants and used more modern arrangements and instrumentation; his popular group produced hundreds of recordings.

His first memorable performance was in 1919 at the Nacional theater during the comic play by Alberto Novión, El cabaret Montmartre.

He received the nickname Rey del Compás (King of the Beat), from Príncipe Cubano, at the Florida cabaret when he was replacing Osvaldo Fresedo. He said: “Mine was always a tough orchestra, with a very swinging, much nervous, vibrant beat. And it was that way because tango, for me, has three things: beat, impact and nuances. An orchestra ought to have, above all, life. That is why mine lasted more than fifty years. And when the Prince gave me that title, I thought that it was OK, that he was right.”[1]

His music is played often at milongas in Buenos Aires.

His recordings were accompanied by singers: Alberto Echagüe, Armando Laborde, Héctor Maure, Jorge Valdez, Alberto Reynal, Antonio Prieto, Carlos Casares, Carlos Dante, Enrique Carbel, Francisco Fiorentino, Horacio Palma, Héctor Millán, Mario Bustos, Juan Carlos Lamas, Libertad Lamarque, Mercedes Serrano, Raquel Notar, Osvaldo Ramos, Roberto Lemos and Walter Cabral.[2]

Sample Tango Music by Rodolfo Biagi

The songs below are representative of tango music as a whole. There are three types of Tango music that you’ll hear at a Milonga (a tango dance party):

1.) Tango, which is 4/4 time, meaning there are 4 beats per measure.
2.) Milonga, which is a style of music, a dance party itself, and a style of dance done to the style of music. Milonga music is typically 2/4 time, meaning there are 2 beats per measure and has a very distinctive type of rhythm which is known as the ‘Habanera’ Rhythm.
3.) And lastly there is Vals music which has a very distinctive ‘lilt’ to the music indicative of 3/4 time signature or 3 beats per measure.

Juan D’Arienzo – Nada Mas – Tango Sample

Juan D’Arienzo – Silueta Porteña – Milonga Sample

Habanera Sample – Continuous

Juan D’Arienzo – Alma Dororida – Vals Sample