‘I know I will hear what I heard before:’ The Role of Music in Narrative Progression

Andrea Pérez Mukdsi

University of North Georgia, U.S.A. Orcid ID 0000-0003-3922-1073. Andrea. Email:

Received November 01, 2017; Accepted March 25, 2018; Published May 24, 2018.

  Volume 10, Number 2, 2018 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v10n2.17a


This article constitutes an initial approach to the analysis of musical instances as narrative progression-related marks. For this purpose, I examine the short “Meeting” (1966) by the Argentine writer Julio Cortázar using the notions of instability and tension coined by James Phelan. I show in what way the story-discourse model of these texts uses various musical elements that produce a high/low degree of character presence/reader immediacy within the narrative progression. Ambiguity represents one of Cortázar’s characteristic traits, due to the fact that instabilities are seldom resolved in the story and tensions are left to the reader’s empathetic constructions. I argue that the musical material that either motivates or comes forth from this text is the force that shifts the narrative away from ambiguities and propels the character and reader forward through the absence of closure and completeness that is frequent in most Cortázar’s narratives.

  Keywords: Julio Cortázar, Mozart, music, narratology