Bolero just keeps coming
April 7, 2008 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Interesting article in New Scientist describing how a Canadian artist created this representation of Ravel's Bolero whilst she unknowingly had the very same progressive aphasia that Ravel had when he composed the music.

It probably reveals some interesting crossover between the neural processing of music and syntax in language. But in the meantime here's some previous posts on Bolero: This dark animation and some collaborative cello playing.

And may as well throw in Torvill and Dean's 'perfect' ice interpretation as well
posted by leibniz (15 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, that article left me speechless.

posted by rmless at 7:59 AM on April 7, 2008

Wow. Adams visually analyzes Bolero to the point that "every last detail has some meaning." (Which I don't all get, and would go crazy trying.) Still seems like a scientist's mind in a way.

Torvill and Dean... flow with it, beautifully, wonderfully. I'd seen the dance before and still was mesmerized into watching, twice. Thanks for posting.
posted by pummelo at 8:11 AM on April 7, 2008

I really like how in the last few captions on the picture the mountain/pyramid looking shapes turn into city skyscrapers.
posted by leibniz at 8:18 AM on April 7, 2008

A striking coincidence, but I think that's probably all it is. Repetition of a theme is hardly unknown in classical music.

Ravel was a terrific orchestrator, and I think of Bolero as being about the ultimate display of his skill. I picture him deciding he was going to take this innocent, unassuming little tune, something you might whistle, and orchestrate the living fuck out of it until it's bleeding on the floor whining and begging for mercy.

And by God, he did.
posted by Phanx at 8:20 AM on April 7, 2008 [5 favorites]

Maya Plisetskaya dances Bolero: 1, 2.
posted by casarkos at 8:44 AM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

Fascinating post - and never having seen it before, that Torvill and Dean dance is pretty damn spectacular!
posted by jacalata at 8:51 AM on April 7, 2008

For me, this post is a fun coincidence, since I didn't Bolero was named Bolero, until a couple of days ago, although I've occasionally heard it for as long as I can remember. I have a vivid childhood memory of watching some sort of outdoor concert footage on TV, I think with mud and naked people, and Bolero playing in the background. Is anyone else familiar with this?

A part of Bolero was used in a This American Life episode I was recently listening to, prompting me to finally look it up on Musipedia tune search.
posted by Anything at 11:49 AM on April 7, 2008

Oh, in my quest to hear the piece in full, I also ended up watching the Torvill & Dean act on YouTube. I'm not the kind of guy to get excited over ice dancing, but damn if that wasn't that utterly graceful.
posted by Anything at 11:54 AM on April 7, 2008

damn if that wasn't that
posted by Anything at 11:55 AM on April 7, 2008

I came for the linguistics, and ended up incredibly moved by bloody ice skaters. I love it!!! Thanks a lot for the post.

R. Stetson called speech "movement made audible". Music is movement. Ice skating. Its all bloody movement.
posted by stonepharisee at 1:09 PM on April 7, 2008

A surprisingly touching youtube comment from the Maya Plisetskaya link:
"My dreams are not so beautiful as this scenography." -VladWaterBall
posted by pantsrobot at 3:47 PM on April 7, 2008

Frank Zappa - Bolero.
posted by zoinks at 4:09 PM on April 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

This was magnificent. Bravo on that comment, Phanx. This melody is now more moving than I thought possible.
posted by olya at 7:23 PM on April 7, 2008

More linkage in a double posted today.
posted by cortex at 8:36 AM on April 9, 2008

Yeah, pretty shameless double. Though lots of good links on Anne Adams (I wasn't able to find any, though I got a good one on Ravel).
posted by leibniz at 1:01 PM on April 9, 2008

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