With Miroirs, Ravel firmly established himself as one of the leading figures in the extensive expansion of the piano’s technical and expressive means that took place in the first decade of the 20th century.
Around 1902 the composer had joined an avant-garde group of artists, writers and musicians known as the "Apaches", who used to meet regularly on Saturdays at the home of the painter Paul Sordes.
Each one of the Miroirs is dedicated to a fellow member of the Apaches. The titles of the pieces translate as follows: No. 1, Night-Moths; No. 2, Sad Birds; No. 3, A boat on the Ocean; No. 4, The Comedian’s Aubade; No. 5, The Valley of the Bells.