Music, memory, and emotion. Three things that are relatively all tied together if you wish to look at it in certain ways is it not? When I think of music, memory and emotion, I think of music triggering a memory that allows one to feel an emotion. But perhaps I am one of those (although I highly doubt it) overly sensual people that is simply trying to read too much into this whole thing. But, nonetheless I shall continue.

In class we watched some clips of the movie “Equilibrium” which brought up interesting concepts of what emotion can really do to one. In the setting, the ones in power were attempting to get rid of human feelings, and of course, since music can cause emotion, they were attempting to eradicate that as well. The scene that was most interesting to me in the movie clips was the scene where Christian Bale decided to listen to an old record, and started crying when he heard it. To me, this scene highlights and emphasizes the extent to which music can affect a person. Nowadays, I feel we take music a little for granted, for with sites like YouTube, we are able to listen to it for free and on a whim. However, when I stop and think about what music is, the hours spent by the writer toiling away with words and sounds, capturing emotion, it makes me realize just how complex and dynamic a simple piece of music can be.

For me, the music, or sound if you will that resonates most deeply is the Westminster chime for it is the chime that all Japanese schools sound when it is time for class. Every time I hear it, the “music” sparks memories of being back in Japan over the summer and attending a Japanese public school for a month at a time and the memory sparks all of the emotions I was able to feel: nervous, excited, a little below average (why were my classmates so darn smart???). It always fascinated and continues to fascinate me how a simple several note chime can spark all of these memories and emotions in such a short and effective manner.

Finally, reading through the “History of Music” article, the point I found most interesting was the line that stated that “some of the proposed survival benefits that music may have conferred includes its capacity to promote group cohesion and cooperation, to enhance cognitive and social skills.” I thought this line was especially interesting, for a few years back someone was explaining to me how when two or more people sing together, it makes the group happy for they can be on the same beat and be cohesive as a group. I find it interesting how something as simple as a complex array of notes on a piece of paper can have such a great effect on people, and can even help us to promote group cohesion and cooperation.

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