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Music crosses all boundries
January 5, 2006 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Perhaps one of the most accessible classical works is Ravel's Boléro. In a piece in Wired, Michael Chorost decribes his journey of getting a cochlear implant since going totally deaf. He wanted to experience Ravel and his magic again. This is a very compelling and very emotional read. (via BoingBoing)
posted by wheelieman (25 comments total)

 
If anyone can point me to a MP3 of Bolero, I would be greatfull.
posted by wheelieman at 7:43 AM on January 5, 2006


Nitpick: It's not Classical music, it's Impressionist (or "modern") music
posted by rxrfrx at 7:46 AM on January 5, 2006


To each their own.
posted by wheelieman at 7:47 AM on January 5, 2006


Bo Derek's Bolero was also noted for it's accessability (most assuredly NSFW).
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:47 AM on January 5, 2006


rxrfrx, Sure, just try to find the 'Impressionist' section at your local music store.
posted by HTuttle at 7:50 AM on January 5, 2006


Bolero mp3
posted by null terminated at 7:53 AM on January 5, 2006


HTuttle, I always find my peanuts in the 'legume' section.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:55 AM on January 5, 2006


rebuilt: how becoming part computer made me more human is a great book by the same author that covers some of the same territory.
posted by jimw at 7:56 AM on January 5, 2006


You do not need an mp3; it goes

bump ba-da-da-dump
ba-da-da-dump-dump-dump
ba-da-da-dump
ba-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-dump
posted by Wolfdog at 8:01 AM on January 5, 2006


It's interesting that a story like this wont be met with the same criticism as shocking tales of inevitable transhumanism - while it is essentially one of the many steps leading in that direction.

Although in early stages, it raises interesting questions as the line between human and machine becomes more less definable.
posted by iamck at 8:01 AM on January 5, 2006


I usually find peanuts in the produce section, next to the raisins.
posted by rxrfrx at 8:05 AM on January 5, 2006


I guess Cory just got around to reading his November issue of Wired.
posted by shoepal at 8:15 AM on January 5, 2006


Now I've got the stupid song in my head.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:55 AM on January 5, 2006


Anybody familiar with the theory that the repetitiveness of Bolero's melody was the result of Ravel suffering from brain dysfunctions?
posted by jonp72 at 8:58 AM on January 5, 2006


Wow. I can't imagine music being taken away, nor can I imagine being even vaguely satisfied with being able to distinguish 30 Hz between freuqencies.
posted by plinth at 8:58 AM on January 5, 2006


Not too far fetched; I believe late in life Schumann and Smetana both composed works that predominantly featured a particular pitch they had ringing in their ears due to degenerative conditions. Different circumstance, of course.

On the other hand, with regard to Ravel's repetition specifically: there are plenty of works by other composers that have a similar or greater level of repetition and don't have anything to do with this specific neurological condition; also, this degree of repetition didn't really become a characteristic of Ravel in subsequent works. It's just what makes Bolero Bolero, for better or worse.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:34 AM on January 5, 2006


Further to what iamck said:

This last paragraph:

"My hearing is no longer limited by the physical circumstances of my body. While my friends' ears will inevitably decline with age, mine will only get better."

reflects the similar situation when eye lenses are replaced during cataract surgery. While the lenses don't get better, they no longer deteriorate.

I don't think the same can be said for other body parts that are being replaced.
posted by Capt. Bligh at 9:35 AM on January 5, 2006


Beethoven repeats the same measure some 48 times, uninterrupted in his last string quartet. Sometimes you just want to repeat stuff.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:43 AM on January 5, 2006


Any mention of Ravel's Bolero should include the film Allegro Non Troppo. Anyone who's seen it will know what I'm talking about, and any one who hasn't, should watch it.
posted by dragonmage at 9:43 AM on January 5, 2006


The other day I was at the music store and the checker was unable to identify impressionist music. And no, she wasn't new...and to make matters worse the checker next to her didn't know either.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:18 AM on January 5, 2006


Is repetitiveness just part of a bolero?
posted by kenko at 10:25 AM on January 5, 2006


dude, Kraftwerk is awesome, you can buy ears but you can't buy taste.
posted by lbergstr at 3:52 PM on January 5, 2006


Bolero is repetitive because Ravel wrote it as an exercise in orchestration, and did not particularly intend it for performance. In that regard, it is astonishingly brilliant--but it still essentially is a technical exercise, hence the absence of any real development...or, well, development of any kind, really....and the complete absence of any contrasting material. Etc.

(I'm a conductor, have been saved the pain of having to conduct Bolero thus far.)

(the Wired article was good, though. I'd put just about anything in my head to be able to hear music if I lost that ability.)
posted by LooseFilter at 5:59 PM on January 5, 2006


Imagine being able to give Helen Keller the opportunity to see, and her first request: a heapin' helping of goatse.
posted by rob511 at 6:15 PM on January 5, 2006


Boing Boing misquoted the Wired article, by saying the author was hacking his own implant's firmware. In fact he just writes about his experience as a guinea pig, beta testing various versions of the ear software, and saying how good or bad Bolero sounds with each version.
posted by w0mbat at 2:52 PM on January 7, 2006


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