A Musical Memoire

Everybody has one of those tracks that means something to them, more than others. Perhaps you have a track that has deeply resonated with you, that you may one day stumble across having not heard for a while and are instantly transported back to a particular memory or feeling.

Have a little think about a song that does this for you, reminding you of a specific experience or period in your life. How does it make you feel?

Nostalgic, happy? Perhaps even sad or fearful?

One track for me personally, that brings these nostalgic feelings, is Madeon’s previous track Icarus. This was released during my final year within secondary school, so automatically it was an exciting time. I was soon to be moving on to further education and making the most of my last few months, with the great people I was at that point used to seeing almost every day. I was still discovering my music taste at this point and would frequently attend a range of gigs from all types of genres: Two Door Cinema Club, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, SBTRKT (a very wide range!). I was also a very big fan of the electronic trio Swedish House Mafia, so when my parents put tickets in my Birthday card for my friends and I to attend their (last ever) event at Milton Keynes Bowl, I was absolutely buzzing! The event was more like a mini day festival, with only the one stage. Other DJ’s such as Alesso, Calvin Harris and funnily enough Madeon, came to do their own set before SHM closed the event. Icarus was already one of my favorite tracks at the time, so when this was played in this unreal location with the sun shining and my mates there sharing the moment with me, life couldn’t have felt better. Hearing this song now I instantly feel these emotions again, with a little hint of sadness that’s pretty unexplainable, possibly because it was so long ago and I’d love the chance to experience it again.

So have a think about a song that does this for you. If you can’t think of a certain memory, maybe a song that sparks an emotion. Here are some to try, have a listen to these songs and take note of the emotions or perhaps even memories they bring…

The reason I feel it is important to address this impact that music can have, is because it’s actually been scientifically proven that music sparks the areas in our brains that relate to memory. I spoke to Australian Neuopsychologist Amee Baird, who has been studying this area for a while.

“in our late adolescents and early 20’s, that is a very important time for self image and identity. It is known that this time results in a ‘reminiscence bump’ – we have more personal memories from this time period. Music is no exception, music from this time period is more likely to trigger memories.

“We know that music activates the whole brain, emotions and the parts of brain that control memory. Music really is a unique stimulus in this way, it just activates so many different brain networks.”

One of the really interesting things Amee discussed, was her recent research into the effect music has on those with memory related illnesses, such as Dementia.

“it is possible that although they have poor memories, it seems they have relatively preserved music evoked memories. Music can also benefit those generally (those with dementia) in terms of improving symptoms such as depression. It can have really powerful effects on people” (Baird, 2017).

It’s almost like these little musical memoirs we have are like mental scrapbooks of our lives, sometimes bringing back memories that we hadn’t addressed for a while or had forgotten about completely. Pretty amazing!

Georgia Peglar

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