"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). Gardel was a hugely popular singer and songwriter who popularised the Tango in Argentina and across Latin America. Both the songwriters died in the same plane accident in 1935. "Por Una Cabeza" means "By a Head" (a close win) in horse-racing, 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 film soundtracks (most notably "Scent of a Woman") and albums, e.g. Nicola Benedetti's "The Silver Violin". See a live performance here on this youtube video or check out the album on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.
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 Violin and Piano by Jim Paterson, though other instruments are also capable of playing the violin part. On mfiles we also have the original Tango Song piano/vocal and an arrangement for Piano Solo.
Here is a video of Por Una Cabeza arranged for violin and piano:
The audio controls below allow you to play the mp3 version of Por Una Cabeza arranged for violin and piano or you can download the MP3 file. You can also download the midi version of Por Una Cabeza arranged for violin and piano.
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 violin and piano in PDF format.