Maurice Ravel and Korean Music

Maurice Ravel
and Pungmul
Jinnie Park
HL Music Y1
Population: 73 million (as of 2010)
Principal Ethnicity: Korean
Located on the Korean Peninsula, in
North-East Asia
Area: 219, 140 km²
Religion: Traditionally Confucian and
Buddhist, but 20th C Christianity in
SOUTH Korea:
-22.8% Buddhist
-18.3% Protestant
-10.9% Catholic
-1.7% Other
-46.5% No Religion
South and West have plains; North and
East are mountainous
Many significant islands
• People began to live on the Korean Peninsula some
700,000 years ago
• 5th C: Town-states evolved into tribal leagues
- Three notable kingdoms developed
• Starting in the 8thC, the Peninsula began to become
more unified
• Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392)
- 1234: Invention of the world’s first movable type
Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910)
• Scientific and cultural
• Invention of the turtle ship,
the world’s first iron-clad
• Switch from Buddhism to
• Invaded by Japanese,
Manchuria, etc.
• “Hermit Kingdom”
- Isolationist principles to
protect from Western
• In 1897, became
“The Korean Empire”
Gyeongbok Palace
Joseon Dynasty
• Korean folk tradition;
originated in the Joseon
Dynasty or before
• Rooted in lower-class,
farming culture
• Involves singing,
dancing, and drumming
• Most performances take
place outside
• Constant motion
3:50 – 4:40; 7:38 – 8:14
• Central part: drumming
• Sometimes includes wind
instruments (nabal, etc.)
• Dancers, with elaborate,
acrobatic choreography
• Often play the sogo while
• Sometimes wear sangmo
• Japsaek, actors, dressed as
“caricatures of traditional
village roles,” interact with the
• Performers wear colorful
• Headgear: Buddhist kkokkal
• May be a reflection of its
shamanist influence
0:03 – 0:30
Originally a prayer song played at
the beginning of a performer
group’s stay at a village; meant to
ask for blessings from village spirits
Singing, dancing, and drumming
Strong vocal and percussion
Some repetition of rhythm
Often played at samulnori
Note: “Vocables” style of music
notation that arranges written
syllables (note representations) in
Modern South Korea
Pungmul Today
Due to the large differences between Joseon
Korean culture and modern culture, pungmul
is not played as often as before – but efforts are
being made to preserve the style.
Important Intangible Cultural Property
– 1962 Cultural Property Protection
Law; after Japanese Occupation and
Korean War
Samulnori (1978 – )
University groups
French composer
Known for his piano compositions,
chamber music, vocal music, and
orchestral music
Was a leader of avant-garde French
Personality – “meticulous about his
appearance, “ “well-read,” “sensitive
and self-critical,” “mischievous
sense of humor”
attentive to form and craftsmanship
Very original – not fully
impressionistic or modernist
Born March 7, 1875 in Ciboure, France
Began piano lessons and theory
lessons at age six
– Was talented at the piano, but
preferred composing
Attended the Conservatoire de Paris
– Was not successful academically,
though he was considered “very
gifted” in musical areas
Was expelled in 1895
Returned to the Conservatoire in
1898, this time focusing on composing
rather than on piano playing
Studied composition with Gabriel
Fauré until 1900
Studied each instrument’s unique
abilities, color, and timbre
Published a few early works, but was not
well-accepted by critics
Was considered “too radical”
Met Debussy in the 1890s and became
good friends
By 1905, people were comparing the
two and factions emerged, causing the
men to grow distant
During World War I, grew depressed
over his mother’s death (1917)
- Wasn’t allowed to be an aviator
because of his short stature and
weak health; became a truck driver
After the War, began international tours
– Was more popular overseas than in
Continued to gather popularity and
wrote more pieces
In 1932, he was in a car accident and
began to exhibit signs of a neurological
Consented to experimental brain
surgery, but fell into a coma and never
woke again
Died on 28 December 1937
Mother, Marie Delouart, was Basque, but grew up in Spain
Basque-Spanish folk songs sang to him at bedtime
His father, Joseph Ravel, was Swiss; was interested in music and culture
“As a child, I was sensitive to music – to every kind of music.”
Brought him to visit factories; influenced rhythm of Boléro
● Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, at the Exposition Universelle (1889)
Russian, foreign music
Ricardo Viñes – pianist and one of his best friends
Interpreted much of his piano music
“Important link between Ravel and Spanish music”
● Café pianist Erik Satie
“Distinctive personality and unorthodox musical experiments”
● André Gadalge - teacher
Apaches (hooligans) – a group of composers, musicians, poets, etc.
“artistic outcasts”; included Igor Stravinsky and Ricardo Viñes
Met regularly until World War I
Claude Debussy – different styles, but friends
Major Works
Jeux d'eau
“first piano masterpiece,” “pathfinding
impressionistic work”
Mirrors (1905)
● Daphnes et Chloé (1909)
● Le tombeau de Couperin (1919)
● La Valse (1920)
● Boléro (1928)
Boléro (1928)
Ballet, based on the musical form
and Spanish dance, “bolero”
Written for a large orchestra
C major, ¾ time
Begins pianissimo and rises in a
continuous crescendo
Key doubling and diatonic chords
Main continues to be played on C,
minus eight measures of E major
Ida Rubinstein
Boléro (1928)
Snare drum(s) play an unchanging ostinato rhythm
Two main melodies are repeated, passed from instrument
to instrument
– First is diatonic
– Second has more syncopation and flats
– Spanish-Arabic melody
Pizzacato strings, mainly with tonic and dominant notes,
accompany the themes
– Bass drum, cymbals, and tam-tam enter for the first
– Trombones and saxophones play “raucous glissandi”
while the rest of the orchestra plays the snare drum’s
– Dissonant D-flat chord to a C major chord
Instruments either follow snare drum rhythm, the main
theme, or a quarter/eighth note rhythm
• Performance duration:
12 -18 minutes
– Average time: 15 min.
• Tempo di Bolero, moderato assai
(very moderate)
– Original metronome
mark: ~66
– Modern editions usually
play at 72
• Ravel preferred a steady tempo –
like a metronome
Most performances are outside
Number of performers differs
“Farmer's music;” usually not for higher
Was originally played at village events,
shamanistic rituals.. Rural settings
Blurred boundaries between audience and
Vocal is important; no wind instruments
Performers wear colorful costumes
No conductor
Improvisation is encouraged
Usually played indoors
Written for a large orchestra
Rooted in Spanish dance
Not often played in rural
settings; concert halls
Rhythm reminiscent of
factories - ostinato
Wind instruments play a large
Led by a conductor
Rigid; Less improvisation
• Preferred setting: outside
● Uses dancers in performance
● Was not predicted to be a success
- Ravel once stated he wanted
the performance to take place ● Style experienced change over time
● Performance varies depending on
outside, against a factory
● Represents a traditional style
• Central element: drumming
● Repetition
• Importance of rhythm
● Emphasis on dynamics
• Has one central beat
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