listening log #2: Ravel’s “Pavane pour une infante defunte”

Note: timings are based on the following recording:


  • solo piano
  • major
  • tempo is andante
  • sustained melody with inner harmonies
  • staccato off beat harmonies
  • heavy use of chords
  • 3:08 polyrhythm motif introduced
  • melody in mid-higher register of piano


  • A (0:00-0:58): begins with single note, single note melody, staccato harmonies between high melody&low contrasting harmony
  • 0:49 cadence
  • B (0:59-2:05)- contrasting mood, broader use of register, octave pedal, repeated chords in higher register, melody above all other parts, heterophonic (?)
  • 1:19 bridge motif (similar to @0:51), strong chords, syncopated rhythm, resolving chord progression ||cadence
  • return to B
  • 1:48 bridge motif developed
  • C (2:06-3:03)-rolled chords, melody begins in upper register, moves towards middle (@2:28), melody in octaves (@2:42)
  • 2:52 development of bridge motif, more intricate rhythm
  • D (3:04)- begins with single note, develops upward and out from single note
  • 3:42 repeats D slightly different, rolled chords
  • 4:27 repetition of  C, developed, arpeggiation of chords within essentially unchanged melody
  • 5:21 development of cadence @2:52


  • Ravel was a contemporary of Debussy, admired Wagner
  • early 20th century composer
  • better known for “Bolero”
  • published in 1902
  • pavane=type of dance
  • title means “pavane for a dead princess”
  • mournful