St John's C of E Primary School

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Ostinato:Ravel 'Bolero' 19.2.24

The Ostinato 

In music, an ostinato comes from the Italian word for stubborn, (a bit like the English word obstinate). It is a motif or phrase that keeps repeating in the music – often on the same instrument and at the same pitch. 


Maurice Ravel: Bolero 

In the 1920s and 1930s Ravel was internationally regarded as France's greatest living composer.


The Bolero is an orchestral piece. It has an ostinato throughout which is played on a snare drum. It is very hard for the player as they have to play the same rhythm over and over again, in time for the full 15 minutes of the piece of music.  


Sometimes the percussionist has to play it very softly and sometimes it has to get much louder to fit in with all the other instruments. It sounds like an easy thing to do to keep playing the same thing – but it takes a lot on concentration. In this video you can see the drumsticks tapping out the rhythm quietly to start the piece off. Can you hear it played all the way through? 

Maurice Ravel - Bolero, conducted by Andrzej Kucybała

Info: 0:00 Intro 0:06 Snare Drum 0:17 Flute 1:00 Clarinet 1:44 Bassoon 2:28 E flat Clarinet 3:12 English Horn 3:57 Muted Trumpet and Flute 4:41 Tenor Saxophone 5:26 Soprano Saxophone 6:11 French Horn and Celeste 6:56 Woodwinds 7:41 Trombone 9:10 Violins Andrzej Kucybała - conductor Stanisław Moniuszko School of Music Orchestra in Bielsko Biała, Poland La Folle Journee de Varsovie recorded at Polish National Opera in Warsaw, October 01, 2017 #AndrzejKucybała #ravel #Bolero