After discussing the Italians’ skill of performing with their hands while they’re talking as if improvising on a melody, Rosa and Butch—the main characters in Guy de Cointet and Robert Wilhite’s Iglu—converse about what they understand by tempo rubato. In their exchange, the musical term that refers to the expressive and rhythmic freedom of the performer who shapes music by introducing variations to the tempo of the original score, is now a matter of performative speech.
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