September 28, 2016

Melody and Memory #MUS654



Is there something about context that gives those notes meaning?

Laura poses a question this week. I am linking this with a question of my own.

How does context link with memory?

Yesterday I was thrown back in time, with a seemingly obscure choice of J S Bach's solo cello piece at my son's end of term school musical.

It reminded me of the exact place where I used to play these pieces. I'm glad Laura also turned to Bach and mentions it in her post here "Making It Melodic" https://www.lauraritchie.com/2016/09/26/making-it-melodic/. In particular how many performers can make this piece their own, through interpretation and situation of performance.

When I heard that melody in the musical, I closed my eyes, blocked out an auditorium full of parents, children and teachers chattering, a video screen displaying a rolling tape of children's colourful drawings and repeated my personal mantra that I created nearly 20 years ago during a personal development course.

I can't see any obvious link between these events but what came out of that memory trip was a warm feeling and a re-affirmation that love needs to be a focus in my life again. The theme of those children's drawings where joy, friendship, family and love. I wonder if this will now be intertwined in the memory/context mix.

Robertson et al (2015) talks about semantic associations and how this is part of the complexity of how memories are formed or even disassociated. They conclude that 'These semantic associations with context are complex, can develop over a lifetime and are complicated by additional associations brought by language use.'. The language of music adds to context and yet can transcend context.