5 thoughts on “Listen to this: ‘Boléro’

  1. What you call “second melody” sounds and feels to me more like the second half of one long melody divided into two parts, though that may be not much more than mere semantics. In any case, that second “tune” is an especially curious beast. It is exactly the same length as the other one (about 50”) but it covers over two octaves which is twice the range of its sibling (which is why the first is always played by one instrument but the second has to be divided between two sometimes). And its “minorness” plays a truly “minor” role: it stays in major for its first 40” repeating the E-natural (which is the indicator of major in the key of C) eight (8!) times and only during last 10″ introduces E-flat (which suggests minor) for just four fleeting appearances, but then immediately resolves back into the C-major chord anyway. So i would call it “mijor” or “manor” at most – essentially perhaps “major with ‘minoric’ tendencies”.
    This certainly is a remarkable piece. A little more of such analysis and its “sexiness” and “10-ness” will be forgotten and disappear forever…or at least until the next great performance of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, MarK. Yes, perhaps “minor” isn’t the perfect word for the “second” melody. There are also those B-flats and D-flats in that melody too, though, which certainly gives it an anti-major feeling. Btw, the more than two-octave span of it makes it a very, very difficult trombone solo. At least for me!


      • Its technical difficulty is one of the main reasons this solo is always included as an “obligatory” requirement for principal trombone auditions in just about every major symphony orchestra. Another reason is the difficulty of its interpretation – balancing the need of projecting its sexy character with remaining within fine musical taste.


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