There are many things about my 10th grade US history class that I wish to forget, and many of those memories I have indeed forgotten. But there is one memory that I feel as if I will vividly remember for the rest of my life even though there really is no significance behind it. I can’t even remember the name of my teacher, but I can visualize an entire seen of the classroom associated with a memory involving music. I can remember showing my friend, Sonny, a song that my other friend and I had discovered the night before called “Mexico”. We sat in the back of the classroom right before the bell rang for class. I can remember looking up the song, handing her the phone and trying to read her face to see if she approved. I remember everything about that one moment, while everything surrounding that moment was fleeting. And while I know that this is a pretty insignificant memory and that Sonny probably doesn’t even remember it, if I were to hear that song right now l would be reminded of that moment over three years ago.
Many more memories surrounded by music, just like this one, are vivid in my mind. Seemingly unimportant moments of my life that I have not forgotten are ever present in my memory due to music. Another odd one has to do with the song “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani. As weird as it sounds, I can associate that song (Hell of a song by the way) with a specific image and moment. I remember listening to that song when I was about 13 years old while driving past a group of apartments that were outside the righthand window of the car that I was riding in. I remember the instant I looked out the widow and that is it. I cannot remember who was in the car with me, what we were talking about, or where we were coming from/ going to. These apartment complexes are near my house and every time I drive past them, I think of the song “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani.
Why does music, a form of sound that is not an inherit part of any listener’s past, offer such a connection between the two seemingly separate actions of audition and memory? Music is such an organized form of sound, that it is easy to recognize the as a melodic repetion of a previous auditory experience. Listening to a song can be a reminder that you’ve heard it before due to its form and recognizability but it does not offer insight into why we associate certain instances with these songs or why some memories remain vivid while others fade away. There is something about music that seems to linger. And while there are memories that I remember that don’t involve music, there are many more that do involve music that I know I should have forgotten, but just haven’t.