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Hearing through Our Eyes: Musical Archives and Authentic Performance

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Archives of written music reveal the ways in which scores and parts create as much forgetting as remembering and how they function as palimpsests that record a great deal of change. Instead of setting sounds in stone, musical notations created by composers and the notations added by performers demonstrate how writing, rather than acting as an obstacle to alteration, functions as a transformative force. Although written scores and parts create an illusion of a revitalized past, of the dead hand revived so to speak, hearing written music—through our eyes as well as in new interpretations—confirms our inability to connect with an original, authentic voice from the past even as it propels us into the future.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2008


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