Friday, May 3, 2013

Ravel’s Bolero-An Epic Out of Amusia

bolero-music-mp3-maurice-ravel-amusiaWas reading chapter nine (disorders of speech and language) from Dejong’s Neurologic Examination by William Campbell this morning where he spoke of the late works of French composer Maurice Ravel as an example of amusia- a higher center disorder when one is not able to appreciate or compose music. Immediately I downloaded the music (embedded below). It’s a masterpiece. Listening to it on my Altec Lansing has just made my day. Excellent composition. Note the predominance of changes in pitch and rhythm (more right hemisphere) with few changes in melody (more left hemisphere). However it was this variation in tempo that made Ravel immortal with Bolero.

N.B. Indians, especially Bengalis may just be familiar with this music. Some great filmmaker, whose birthday is on May 2, used a somewhat similar kind of music in his epic films regarded as masterpieces of Indian cinema. After listening to the music the very first time, the stark familiarity with his composition struck me.

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