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In other instances, phonic considerations pervade the lyrics to the point of contributing with their musical-evocative function as much, if not more, to the context as the meanings themselves, as is plainly the case of La negra (1987): "Ti cerca una negra…/al telefono un attimo…/ma l'ombra e` ambra…" and "… l'anima e` magra…/in questa giostra pigra" (There's a black girl looking for you…on the phone a moment…but the shadow is amber…and the soul is thin…in this lazy ride) or Gratis (1981): "Via da questa mischia,/ c'e` qualcuno che cincischia…/ma la storia se ne infischia…" (Outside of this milling crowd, there's someone muttering/pottering about, but history doesn't give a damn).

2.3 evocative idioms and instrumentation

Music overflows still further onto the lyrics as a continuous presence in the subject matter. There are countless references to dances, dancers and musicians with orchestras and instruments also figuring quite heavily. It is when such references go hand in hand with precise elements in the arrangement, that the input of the "regista" is most apparent, as carefully chosen musical idioms and instrumentation are employed to create very precise theatrical effects.

The late eighties concert version of the song Dancing (as can be heard on the 1988 album Live) is certainly a case in point where not only the use of the brass section but also the very phrasing of its fanfare motif create precise echoes of a particular kind of swing as stylised for film and theatre. This gives the dance not just its historical context and flavour but invests it with a particular kind of drama. Interestingly, the original studio version (from Appunti Di Viaggio, 1982) contains rather different allusions: for example there is no use of the brushes in the percussion and the brass is toned down in favour of a smooth understated electronic medium. The overall effect is closer to that of a classy 70's European discotheque with its soft disco-latin sounds. The same lyrics, therefore, are given a rather different context.

But there is also a third version that was performed on the artist's 1993 tour, and this updates the dance further through the use of a salsa percussion, a typical funky guitar riff and a modern jazz break, turning it into a kind of historical summary of all the dance's possible adaptations. The old dance hall and big band suggestions are retained throughout all the reincarnations of the song, with a varying degree of emphasis, because they are actually built into the musical content. What Conte sometimes enjoys playing with afterwards, is the way in which different arrangements can affect the possible allusions of the original composition.