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Ravel and 'The Raven': The Realisation of an Inherited Aesthetic in Boléro


Throughout his life, Maurice Ravel was captivated by the act of creation outlined in Poe's Philosophy of Composition, proclaiming that 'my teacher in composition was Edgar Allan Poe, because of his analysis of his wonderful poem "The Raven"'. Boléro is widely recognised as one of the most popular orchestral showcases, yet it has defied traditional methods of musical analysis owing to its melodic, harmonic and rhythmic repetitiveness. By defining a 'Poe aesthetic' that corresponds to Ravel's documented reflections on the creative process and the aesthetic precepts outlined in Poe's Philosophy of Composition, this paper proposes a new reading of Boléro.