Musical memories

by hexacoto

Have you ever listened to a song, and be deluged by memories associated with it?

There are certain songs that will always remind of certain things. Amy Winehouse reminds me of my time in Prague, for I listened to a lot of it whilst there. The grey streets and grey looks of people staring across you on the tramvaj will always evoke the soulful tunes of the late musical talent.

Particular albums of Japanese electronic artist, Fantastic Plastic Machine, brings about images of my time in Munich and Vienna.

Songs from Chinese pop singer Faye Wong reminds me of this one friend whom I, of my own stupidity, did something cringe-worthy, and we’re no longer friends. We talked about how Faye Wong is one of his favourite singers. I can’t listen to her songs without being reminded of how dumb I had been.

Music is not something that is merely heard with the ears, but seen by the mind and felt by the heart. All it takes is music to remember memories, to feel emotions, to affect judgement (BrE. AmE uses ‘Judgment’). Just as diaries hold your memories for posterity, we are just as able to meaningfully code data into the tunes and lyrics of music.

It is said that Socrates used different locations of his home to memorise his oratories, by assigning a word or fact to a specific object or feature of his home. Likewise, I think tunes, rhythm and lyric can achieve the same storage effect.

Losing these memories, on the other hand, seem a lot harder. How does one consciously forget a tune? When one hears it, recollection of it is instantaneous. Plus, many memories imprinted onto music are done so subconsciously — perhaps an incident happened while you’re listening to the tune, but it is seldom a concerted effort. This makes losing that memory more difficult.

Be wary of musical memories, they have ways of nesting in your head.