I have always had trouble listening to music unless it is for a specific reason. Sometimes that reason is for research, sometimes it’s to keep me at a certain pace while exercising, and of course sometimes it’s to change or augment my mood.
I came across the idea of creating a “waking playlist” (as I like to call it) or a playlist to hear in the morning which has the function of staging the coming day. I read about this in a couple of different music therapists’ blogs, and I really like the idea. The first piece that I choose for mine is “Boléro” by Ravel. I discovered this piece when I was in fifth grade, and have adored it since.
Recently I heard a Radiolab podcast called, “Unraveling Bolero,” in which the hosts reported on a very unusual story involving one Anne Adams, a biologist whose path resembled Ravel’s in a peculiar way. Here is a synopsis of the episode:
At some point, Anne became obsessed with Maurice Ravel’s famous composition and decided to put an elaborate visual rendition of the song to canvas. She called it “Unraveling Bolero.” But at the time, she had no idea that both she and Ravel would themselves unravel shortly after their experiences with this odd piece of music. Arbie Orenstein tells Jad what happened to Ravel after he wrote “Bolero,” and neurologist Bruce Miller and Jonah Lehrer helps us understand how, for both Anne and Ravel, “Bolero” might have been the first symptom of a deadly disease.
Find “Unraveling Bolero” here: