Have you noticed how music tends to anchor memories?

Posted by: hanna2222

Have you noticed how music tends to anchor memories? - 01/02/06 11:19 PM

Maybe this is obvious..but certain songs
"anchor" in my mind/heart particular memories.
I was in Malta in l970 and remember a friend
playing "Scotch and Soda" on his guitar on a
bluff overlooking the sea. Will never forget it,
the place, the feeling, the song.
I remember being in 8th grade and taken to
hear Handel's Messiah for the first time
to a concert in Tacoma by my girlfriend's mother.
I felt I had discovered the motherlode and wept
with joy!
Posted by: Ted2

Re: Have you noticed how music tends to anchor memories? - 01/03/06 02:09 AM

Yes, but often the memories are very personal, very trivial and have nothing to do with anything, least of all the internal "programme" or meaning of the piece to me.

So there are two categories of memory in this regard. I have the deeper image, which is better than a photograph and more like a permanent sound hologram of the soul in time and space. But then I also have hundreds of trivial surface associations I cannot easily rid myself of.

I just noticed that your question was not restricted to music I have written myself, and in that passive sense the answer probably is obvious. However, the deeper "hologram" memory of the creator is certainly one of the finest effects of good composition and good improvisation. This capturing forever in sound a certain time, feeling or state is a profoundly satisfying act like no other.
Posted by: pianojerome

Re: Have you noticed how music tends to anchor memories? - 01/03/06 02:15 AM

Yes, in fact I just had an exam on this subject a few weeks ago!


There was an interesting genre that we briefly studied, called "pizmon." It's a Syrian-Jewish genre, and involves borrowing an existing Arab melody and setting it to a Hebrew text. Thus, the song reminds of both the text and the borrowed melody. It gets more complicated, too, as the Arab melodies were sometimes themselves borrowed melodies. The particular example we studied in class used a melody from an Arab film song, and the Arab film song actually borrowed the melody from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. So this one little pizmon reminds of the Hebrew text, the Arab film music, and Tchaikovsky's nutcracker suite. And then, of course, there's the memory of the particular occasion for which the pizmon was composed.