Music to Relax – Ravel, Pavane Pour une Infante Defunte

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving vacation. Getting back to the work grind is going to be tough this week especially for those of you lucky enough to have had some time off for the holiday. Once again my friends I am here to help you chillax and set an aural soundtrack to get you in a groove for the week ahead.

I was first introduced to this piece when I just began ‘serious’ study of music in college. There was an arrangement for a guitar quartet that I was lucky enough to be a part of and have loved this piece ever since. There are several arrangements of the Pavane for a variety of instrumentations including solo piano and guitar. My favorite , in the video below, is a symphonic version. Ravel was a master of instrumentation  as can be heard in this piece and his other compositions such as, “Bolero.”

Ravel along with his contemporary and French countryman, Debussy, were the leaders in the music of the Impressionist movement. A period in music history that generally stretches from 1875-1925.

In my previous Music to Relax Posts, I often mention the words open and space when describing the music. I thought I would expand on that here. Both terms ‘open’ and ‘space’ are multifaceted in musical analysis. They can refer to the rhythm, harmony, melody, texture and orchestration, as well as, any musical parameters. In order of the previous parameters this could mean; longer slow notes, chords that extend over the octave with little dissonance, stately themes and a lush character. This certainly does not mean that relaxing music can’t be dissonant, fast, chromatic, etc. Or that music that doesn’t follow these ideals can’t be relaxing. They are offered as generalizations which are often employed in music widely regarded as relaxing.

Perhaps a good illustration would be in visual arts. If you see a painting that is very busy and confusingly draws your focus in multiple directions it might be considered to raise tension in a viewer. Conversely, a portrait of a pastoral landscape with flowing soft colors and a subject that catches the eye easily would be more relaxing.

Enjoy and relax!


  1. That’s a lovely piece. Never heard that, I’m a real novice when it comes to classical music. Many modern Rock and Metal bands could do with learning about space in their music. Always thought Free were masters of that. But anyway thanks for posting the track, really enjoyed it.

    1. You know whats kind of funny is I originally got into classical music through metal. Randy Rhoads and Yngwie. Long before U studied music in college, If you are looking for more try Beethoven Symphonies. They are metalish. Mozart, Vivaldi and Bach are a little easier to listen to. Mahler is awesome. For the metal shredders try Paganini, Liszt and Chopin. Want something really out there try Charles Ives, William Kraft Stravinsky. It can be intimidating but worth it to try listening.

    2. Ooops that was before ‘I’ studied music. As far as rock bands with that quality I would include Pink Floyd. Marley comes to mind. Satriani especially his ballads have a lot of space and openness. Until We Say Goodbye, Into the Light, Echo are a few.

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