Ravel’s Bolero Gets Switched On

attack regularity release chaos shared this modular synth ‘switched on’ style arrangement of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero from 1928.

Ravel’s Bolero was the soundtrack for sexy time in the Blake Edwards comedy 10, starring Dudley Moore, Julie Andrews & Bo Derek.

Bolero is known as a tour de force of orchestration, because the piece repeats the melody incessantly for most of the duration of the piece, with the only development happening in the orchestration.

Ravel reportedly described Bolero as having “no form in the true sense of the word, no development, and hardly any modulation”.

This rendition is in the tradition of ‘switched on’ arrangements of the late ’60s and ’70s, when synthesizers were used both to build creative orchestrations of classical works and to add a dash of futuristic sexiness.

Japanese synthesist Tomita released a notable synthesized arrangement of Bolero in 1978. Tomita’s arrangement is lusher and sonically bolder. It’s also more adventurous or wacky – depending on your tastes – with sounds like his trademark ‘whistling’ and swooping synth glissandos.