Flight of the Bumblebee

Flight of the Bumblebee” is an orchestral interlude written by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan, composed in 1899–1900. The piece closes Act III, Tableau 1, during which the magic Swan-Bird changes Prince Gvidon Saltanovich (the Tsar’s son) into an insect so that he can fly away to visit his father (who does not know that he is alive). ( Wikipedia )

The first time I heard this song is when I bought an album from Yo Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin titled “Hush”. This song was in that album. My first impression about it was funny, the tempo was too fast. I thought that Bobby whose a jazz singer was improvising.

I suspected that this song was about a bee that was flying, because it sounds almost like a horde of bees were flying. Then I knew that this song was often used in some cartoon films as the background music when a bee or other animal was doing a rapid movement. Yes, it was very perfect and match to the scene. I also suspected that bumblebee was a name of a bee species. Because by that time I still didn’t familiar with internet and also computer was a luxurious thing in my country. So I couldn’t browse internet to find out more about this song. Now that I can access internet, I know that my guess was right and I can find out more about it.

In fact, this song is a song with very fast tempo and often used as standard when someone wants to show that he or she can play a musical instrument very quickly. This song was even played until 600 BPM ( Beats Per Minute ). In contrary, a slow song may has tempo with 70 BPM. I read a partiture of it and it’s written Vivace 144.

Below are some videos that show some musicians playing that song with different musical instrument and different arrangement.


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