Ravel: Rigaudon from Le Tombeau de Couperin

You made it to the weekend!

I wanted to share one of my favorite pieces as a fun way to start the weekend. The “Rigaudon” from Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin is one of the pieces that made me fall in love with piano, and it’s just a fun piece to both listen to and play (hopefully I’ll have a good quality recording before too long).

Ravel began work on Le Tombeau de Couperin while he worked as a nurse’s aid in World War I.  Each movement in the work is dedicated to a friend that he lost during the war, thus allowing them to live on eternally through song.  The Rigaudon form stems from a lively, French folkdance that gained popularity in the court of Louis XIII. In the ballet, it was performed with a lot of running and a lot of leaping, which you may also do when you listen to Ravel’s version.

In the future, I’ll do a little essay on Couperin himself and his influence on later keyboard composers (especially Ravel!), but for now, it’s the weekend. Just enjoy this fun one!

And happy practicing!

About the Author

Amy King is a music theory and piano instructor currently residing in the Chicago area.

She holds a Master of Music in Music Theory and Cognition from Northwestern University (June 2020) and a Bachelor of Arts in Piano Performance and English Literature from High Point University (May 2016), where she received the Outstanding Senior Music Major Award, which is awarded to one single graduating music student per year.

Amy has been teaching private piano lessons for 12+ years, taught classroom music theory for 5 years, directed choirs spanning ages 4–25, led and arranged for a university a capella group, and composed and arranged music for various soloists and ensembles.

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