A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Bolero

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BOLERO. A brisk Spanish dance in 3-4 time. The earliest form of its rhythm was

{ \new RhythmicStaff { \time 3/4 \stopStaff \stemDown c4 c c | c4. c8[ c c] | } }

which later became

{ \new RhythmicStaff { \override Staff.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 3/4 \partial 4 \stopStaff \stemDown s4 \bar "|" r8 c c c c c | c4. c8 c c | } }

while to the longer notes of the accompaniment shorter melody notes were given, and vice versá. Gradually the rhythm of the castanets, which were used as an accompaniment to the dance by the dancers themselves, was introduced into the music, which now assumed this form

{ \new RhythmicStaff { \override Staff.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 3/4 \partial 4 \stopStaff \stemDown s4 \bar "|" c8[ c16 c] c8[ c c c] | } }
or
{ \new RhythmicStaff { \override Staff.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \time 3/4 \partial 4 \stopStaff \stemDown s4 \bar "|" c8[ \override TupletBracket #'bracket-visibility = ##f \times 2/3 { c16 c c] } c8[ c c c] | } }

The bolero usually consists of two chief parts, each repeated, and a trio. The castanet rhythm above referred to mostly commences at least one bar before the melody. Good examples of the bolero may be found in Méhul's 'Les deux Aveugles,' Weber's 'Preciosa' (gipsy-ballet), and Auber's 'Masaniello.' We give the opening of the last as an illustration

{ \time 3/4 \new ChoirStaff << \new Staff { \tempo "Allegretto." \relative g'
  { <g e c>8->[ r16 <g e c>32 <g e c>] <g e c>8 <g e c> <g d b> <g d b> | 
    \repeat unfold 3 { <g e c>8[ r16 <g e c>32 <g e c>] <g e c>8 <g e c> <g d b> <g d b> | }
    << { g'8-! g ~ g16. e32 d16. c32 c'16. g32 e16. c32 |
         b'8-! a ~ a16. a,32 g16. f32 a'16. f32 d16. a32 |
         a'8-! g ~ g16. g,32 fis16. g32 a16. b32 c16. d32 |
         f16 e d c e d b c a8 \times 2/3 { g16[ c e] } | s8_\markup { \null \lower #3 \smaller etc. } }
      \\
       { r8 \times 2/3 { <g, e c>16 <g e c> <g e c> } <g e c>8 <g e c> r <g e c> |
         r8 \times 2/3 { <f d a>16 <f d a> <f d a> } <f d a>8 <f d a> r <f d a> |
         r8 \times 2/3 { <f d b g>16 <f d b g> <f d b g> } <f d b g>8 <f d b g> r <f d b g> |
         r8 <e c g> <e d b>[ <e d b>] <e c a> r } >>
 } }
  \new Staff { \clef bass \relative c
  { \repeat unfold 4 { c8 r16 c32 c c8 c g g | }
    <c g' c e>2.:8 | << { <a' d f>2.:8 | <b d f>:8 | }
    \\ { f,2.:8 | g:8 } >> c8[ c gis gis] a r | s
 } }
>> }

[ E. P. ]