The Corsican Brothers and the Legacy of its Tremulous “Ghost Melody”
Keywords:the Corsican Brothers, Ghost Melody, television drama
Audiences for stage plays, like audiences for narrative film, rarely remember much about the music, only whether or not it was appropriate to the dramatic genre. The “Ghost Melody” represents one specific case of nineteenth-century music for melodramatic theatre that lingered in the minds of audiences long afterward. It appeared in the original French production of The Corsican Brothers (1850) and carried over into British and American stage productions. Always coupled with special scenic effects, it worked as a persuasive tool to help suspend disbelief. The melody with its setting represents a specific type of melodramatic music, one used for the supernatural appearance of a deceased loved one. Its effect resonates in the music of other stage plays and in music composed to films of a similar genre.
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