"Por Una Cabeza" is a Tango Song, composed and sung by Carlos Gardel (1890-1935) with lyrics by his song-writing partner Alfredo Le Pera (1900-1935). Though born in France, Gardel moved to Argentina with his mother at a young age, where he became a hugely popular singer and songwriter who popularised the Tango. Both the songwriters died in the same plane accident in 1935 at the height of their careers. "Por Una Cabeza" is a horse-racing term meaning "By a Head" (a close win), and the song tells of a lover who is equally addicted to women and betting on horses. It was originally written as a song. However it is frequently heard these days in instrumental arrangements, especially with a violin playing the melody, and in this form it has appeared on several albums (e.g. Nicola Benedetti's "The Silver Violin") and film soundtracks (e.g. "Scent of a Woman"). Here is the famous Tango scene from "Scent of a Woman" on youtube.
Most arrangements of the work include some features which are not in the original song as written. One feature is a definite strong Tango rhythm and in the chorus a step by step descending sequence in the bass (e.g. left hand in our arrangements). The other feature is that the rhythm of the melody in the chorus is written using triplets, which is in fact closer to the way Gardel sings it in surviving recordings. The sheet music presented here has been arranged for Piano Solo by Jim Paterson. On mfiles we also have the original Tango Song piano/vocal and an arrangement for Violin and Piano.
Here is a video of Por Una Cabeza arranged for piano solo:
The audio controls below allow you to play the mp3 version of Por Una Cabeza arranged for piano solo or you can download the MP3 file. You can also download the midi version of Por Una Cabeza arranged for piano solo or alternatively edit/play the midi file.
The image below is the first page of the sheet music, and here you can download the full sheet music for Por Una Cabeza arranged for piano solo in PDF format.