Perfumers categorize smells in a way similar to ranges of music

This weekend, the Philadelphia Orchestra will perform the U.S. premiere of a new composition that asks: What’s that smell?

While writing “Ephemerae,” Peruvian composer Jimmy López Bellido learned that perfumers categorize smells in a way similar to ranges of music: high, middle, and low. So he wrote his concerto in three movements: the first is “Bloom” with its citrus floral tones, and the second is “Primal Forest,” evoking pine and lavender.

“The third one is called ‘Spice Bazaar,’” he said. “You have the feeling that you’re walking within a bazaar full of spices somewhere in the world, in an open-air market full of merchants and you’re infused with all these smells.”

— Read more in The scent of a symphony: The Philadelphia Orchestra premieres a new work about how music smells at WHYY.


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