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By note = ?

Context:

...until I knew by note the story of the African, and the subsequent generational wending of our family through cotton and tobacco plantation into the Civil War and then the freedom.
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Could this be a misprint for "by rote"?
Or is music involved in the context somewhere?
Comments  
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
It is by rote, not by note.
"by rote" - a way of learning, memorizing by repeating again and again, sometimes with the implication that little attention is being paid to the meaning of what is learned

CJ