La Bella Argentina Tango, by Carlos Roberto – Sheet Music and Dance Description

In 1912, Carlos Roberto’s La Bella Argentina Tango was published.  The sheet music contained “instructions” and has been reproduced below:

[1912, us] Carlos Roberto – La bella argentina. Tango (Lester S. Levy copy)

The cover of the sheet music states that it is “as sung and danced by Joseph C. Smith and Frances Demerest in Sam Bernard’s Production All For the Ladies.”  The music is “composed by Carlos Roberto,” with “vocal adaptation My Tango Boy lyrics by Alice Mattulath.”  I have reproduced the instructions below for easier reading:

[1912, us] Carlos Roberto - La bella argentina. Tango (Lester S. Levy copy) 1

The tango description provided within addresses less actual dance steps than it does the theoretical origins of the dance.  The author offers a number of unusual theories, including claims that the dance may have originated in Mexico, and that it was originally danced without music.

Ragtime Dorian Henry has made a recording of this sheet music available on youtube:

The sheet music for “La Bella Argentina Tango” was provided by the Johns Hopkins Library Levy Sheet Music Collection.  The university references the instructions page, but failed to reproduce it on the website.  The complete music, including instructions, was provided by the Dancing Books Bibliography.


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