AskDefine | Define bolero

Dictionary Definition



1 music written in the rhythm of the bolero dance
2 a short jacket; worn mostly by women
3 a Spanish dance in triple time accompanied by guitar and castanets

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a type of dance

Extensive Definition

The bolero is a type of dance and musical form.


Bolero is a 3/4 dance that originated in Spain in the late 18th century, a combination of the contradanza and the sevillana. It is danced by either a soloist or a couple. It is in a moderately slow tempo and is performed to music which is sung and accompanied by castanets and guitars with lyrics of five to seven syllables in each of four lines per verse. It is in triple time and usually has a triplet on the second beat of each bar. A number of classical composers have written works based on this dance: Frédéric Chopin wrote a bolero for solo piano, and Maurice Ravel's Boléro is one of his most famous works, originally written as a ballet score but now usually played as a concert piece.

Cuba and Mexico

In Cuba, the bolero developed into a distinct dance in duple time which eventually spread to other countries, while the dance itself gradually disappeared from Cuba, leaving behind what author Ed Morales has called the "most popular lyric tradition in Latin America". The modern Cuban bolero song tradition originated in Santiago in the 19th century.
The travelling, storytelling trova (or canción) tradition was major basis for the Cuban bolero, influenced by a variety of European musical styles. The trova was usually accompanied only by a guitar, and had a rootsy, Spanish sound.
Some musicologists also trace an influence from the traditional son music of the Mexican state of Yucatan; this is actually quite plausible, as the traditional music of this region sounds very much like the bolero, having many similarities in melody, tempo, and vocal style.
Though some scholars date the bolero to the early 19th century, Ed Morales dates it to José Pepe Sánchez's Tristeza, in 1885, which popularized the term bolero and is now considered the first classic in the field.
The Cuban bolero traveled almost immediately to Mexico after its conception, where it became part of the repertoire of Mexican traditional music. In fact, some of the bolero's most prominent composers have come from Mexico, an example being the great Mexican composer Agustín Lara.
In the 1950s, sung boleros became extremely popular and have enjoyed enduring popularity as a popular song form throughout Latin America especially performed by trios like Los Panchos

American Style ballroom

Another kind of Bolero is the American Style ballroom dance popular in the United States. It is a unique dance style combining the patterns of Rumba with the rise and fall technique and character of Waltz and Foxtrot.
The music is 4/4 time, and is danced to the slowest rhythms of the Rhythm ballroom dances (which include Bolero, Rumba, ChaChaCha, Mambo, and East Coast Swing). The basic rhythm of steps in patterns, like Rumba, is Slow-Quick-Quick.



  • The Latin Beat
bolero in Catalan: Bolero
bolero in German: Bolero (Tanz)
bolero in Estonian: Boolero
bolero in Spanish: Bolero (baile)
bolero in French: Boléro
bolero in Italian: Bolero
bolero in Dutch: Bolero (muziek)
bolero in Japanese: ボレロ (ダンス・音楽)
bolero in Norwegian: Bolero
bolero in Polish: Bolero (taniec)
bolero in Portuguese: Bolero
bolero in Russian: Болеро
bolero in Slovenian: Bolero
bolero in Finnish: Bolero
bolero in Swedish: Bolero
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1