Here, you can watch a beautiful video of the flight of the bumble bee, listen to the famous tune by Rimsky Korsakov or download his sheet music for free, and compare the flight of the bumble bee with a bee mimic - the Bee Fly!
But first, the video.
In this wonderful video from Richard Hammond's BBC documentary Invisible Worlds,
Richard explains how bumble bees are an aerodynamic mystery. They have
large fat bodies in comparison with their delicate small wings. But as
Richard explains, their bodies have sufficient muscular power to make
their wings beat an incredible 200 times per second. In addition, they
use their legs to balance their bodies further, and twist their wings to
gain maximum lift.
Clever, cute little things!
Bumble bees also have sensory hairs in their antennae which are involved in regulating flight movements by detecting the flow of air across the antennal surface. (From Bumblebees, by Ted Benton).
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, composer of The Flight Of The Bumblebee was Russian, and began composing at the age of 10 years old.
He composed the piece for his opera, The Tale of Tsar Saltan,
which he wrote between 1899 and 1900. The piece features at the end of
Act III, 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).
Here is the text of the scene where the Swan-Bird sings during this music:
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