Timbre And Harmony In Bolero
The main characteristics of the piece taken in analysis, Bolero, one of lasts works of Maurice Ravel, is the mastery of timbres at the expense of the melodic complexity.
Harmonisations and timbre duplications come build a perfect crescendo which start from the first bar and go through the entire musical piece.
The Harmonic elements generate expectations to things to resolve (Kurth & Rothfarb, 2006, p.45) and they reinforce the feeling of discontentment in the minor theme.
The choice of Timbres during the various repetition of the theme is spotted to be fluent and equilibrated with the change in dynamics and follow perfectly the interchange between the minor and the major theme.
Repetition with waxing in loudness and …show more content…
Everything is builded over the repetitive rhythm and resounding melodic elements, leaving any empty space to be filled by orchestral textures. Like the melodic theme, also the expectations created by this crescendo are confused. In the final suspended chord we hear the interplay between conscious and subconscious perceptions come to a static point: the subconscious, perceiving the dissonance of the second in the overtones, creates annoyance, and the conscious mind finally achieve the culmination of internal tension accumulated during the crescendo in this powerful finale.
Pierre-Joseph Ravel, his father, was a pioneer of automobile industry. (Orenstein, 1975, p. 10) He had many factories, and Maurice Ravel was fascinating by those, like for Haum, which he described:
“a gigantic foundry in which 24,000 men work day and night’ and its ‘smelting castles, these incandescent cathedrals, and the wonderful symphony of travelling belts, whistles, and terrific hammer blows in which you are submerged”
(Unpublished letter, dated December 1845, cited in Orenstein, 1975, p. …show more content…
- and I certainly intend to use it” (Chalupt and Gerar, 1956, p. 38, cited in Orenstein, 1975, p.10)
In 1928, the composer took time to visit the Ford motor plant in Detroit and described it in glowing terms to his brother (Orenstein, 1975, p.10); it is possible that in this composition he want to represent the repetitiveness characterising work in factories. Melodies and rhythm have an evocative repetitive theme suitable with Factories feelings, and the piece seems to point more on elements analysed by the right hemisphere, leaving analytical elements as “empty”spaces on the solid structure grid used to sustain a piece otherwise ‘spineless’.
As Ravel said, it can be just a crescendo study, “consisting wholly of orchestral tissue without music” (Orenstein, 1975, p. 200), leaving an evidence of what was leaving the composer was the formal knowledge need to translate the emotional meaning which was continuing appearing in his subconscious imagery, and giving in the Bolero an aspect of
“musical perseveration, or at least a waning of his musical faculties”. (Warren, 2003, p.