Music – our link to the past

Have you ever heard part of a song and instantly drew in a sharp breath at the memory it brings? Or felt feelings of nostalgia as you remember exactly how you felt the last time you heard it?

I’ve tried to add this type of flow-on emotion to my writing and have come across a number of obstacles. Firstly, a writer can only mention the name of a song and not the lyrics, unless you want to pay royalties to the composer. Secondly, and with the first in mind, I have found it extremely difficult to describe a song by sticking to the melody only, without reference to any words.  And all other things considered, if the reader has never heard of the song you’re trying to describe, all your efforts might be in vain from the very beginning.

So how can music transport us to the past without so much as an attempt to bend space-time and somehow allow us to travel back in time? (Yes, I’m one of those people who at one point read Einstein’s theories about relativity).

One obvious reason for this is that each time you hear a song being played during a significant event or in a distinct place, you capture the memory of the people you are with and everything about it to store it away for later.  And when you hear the same song in the future, it triggers the same memory and inevitably the same emotion.

However, if a thought can be measured in frequency, is it possible that when you hear a song of the past, the brainwave generated by your thought can actually bend space (and inevitably time) in such a way that you are able to reach out, just enough, to connect to your former self and relive the event – if only for a split second?

Probably not, but it’s written down now and you heard it from me first.

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