The variación (variation in English) is the ending segment of tango music where instruments, especially bandoneon, do a virtuoso performance with short notes. The length of variación is usually 10 to 30 seconds.

El Recodo by Biagi has 10 seconds of variación (from 2:11):


No me extraña by Laurenz has 34 seconds of variación (from 2:12):

The variación is usually present in rhythmic songs and absent in lyrical songs. The below lyrical song, La capilla blanca by Di Sarli, does not have a variación.

A variación is used to reach the rhythmic or dramatic climax of a song, and thus danced with a strong contrast to what you have been doing until the start of the variación in the song. The usual way is doing a lot more and quicker things in that short period of energy fireworks. Another but much rarer way is, if you have been dancing quite fast until the start of the variacion, you slow down – in dancing to the variación, contrast is more important than speed, as long as the feeling of the main energy of the song is heightened.

One example of dancing to the variación by speeding up, although from a performance, is below. The variación starts at 2:17.