Music and Song in Circe Part I
Apologies for the late post, I read the assignment too quickly the first time.
The beginning of Circe marked some of the most barren pages for music and song, perhaps due to the combination of the new form (much less internal) and the breakdown of the family unit which Stephen and Lynch witness. It is puzzling then, why the conversation between Bloom and Rudolph is also as devoid of references, but perhaps this serves to drive home the broken domestic unit of the Bloom family.
Again, the lack of music and song must be a result of the dramatic form, and thus only really bears significance when music itself is the topic of discussion. A notable occurrence of this is Stephen and Zoe’s conversation at roughly 15.2070-2090 (pages 410-411) where two important concepts are presented: the notion of music without identity in the “series of empty fifths” which Stephen plays on the piano (lacking the third, the progression lacks minor/major identity), and the importance of the authenticity of authorship and in music—a point which Stephen asserts really does not matter, as long as the work has some larger significance. Closely related to this is Philip Drunk’s concept of musical transposition (the same song played in a different octave) as a “Reduplication of personality” (15.2523). As an early speculation, maybe this relates somehow to concepts of nationalism and Bloom’s concept of Irishness or his lack of nation.
Later on, for the first non-Sirens time, an abundance of music and performance overwhelms the scene on page 422. More on this later.