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(p.203) 12 Memory
Music in the Present Tense
Emanuele Senici
University of Chicago Press

This chapter asks what it might have meant to “know” Rossini’s music in early nineteenth-century Italy. Rossini’s repetitive style, the continuous repeat performances of his operas, and the increasing availability of his music in a myriad of arrangements are connected to the debate on memory in early nineteenth-century European culture at large. The conclusion is that Rossini’s music became memorable as it was heard and remembered, but was also heard as repetitive because it was repeated so often. This ever increasing familiarity brought an ever increasing focus on sameness rather than difference, prompting listeners to hear this music as ever more similar to itself, as ever more memorable, and as—for most of them—ever more pleasurable.

Keywords:   memory, operatic arrangements, repetition

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