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Committing Music to Memory

The ability to read music mentally "to one's self," as we say in speaking of reading a book or a paper, is far more general than we suppose.
First there are the composers—they must have the ability to do it, although there are many of these who compose only at the piano.
Orchestral conductors have it, and some of them even commit the music to memory and direct without notes. Nikisch, Von Bülow, Rubinstein and others do this.— From The Musical Record.

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