Writing about World Music

Davidson College, Fall 2015

Music and Memory

One of the most fascinating aspects of music, in my opinion, is how it bring back memories. Sometimes this is a great thing because there are such happy memories associated with certain songs and other times, it’s not so great because perhaps I don’t want to remember something that is associated with that song. For example, I remember listening to “Blackbird” by The Beatles in the car with my dad in one summer when I was really young. I remember thinking that it was a lullaby and feeling so at peace. Because of this memory, “Blackbird” has been one of my favorite songs for my whole life. On the other hand, I remember listening to “100 Years” by Five for Fighting when I found out my uncle had died when I was in sixth grade. Even though I love the actual song, I can’t listen to it anymore because of the memories.


I also think having memories associated with music is so great sometimes because every song is a new opportunity. Every new song I listen to can have a new memory associated with it someday. And if I want to, I can associate certain feelings with certain songs. For example, two years I made a playlist called “Summer” and put only happy, warm songs on it. I would listen to this when I drove around in the summer or on beautiful days in the winter or whenever I was in a good mood, so those songs have a positive connotation to me. I’ll always find these associations so cool because, even though some memories and associations are uncontrollable, I can make any song the perfect song for certain moods.

1 Comment

  1. I also agree that music can invoke certain memories, whether they are good or bad. There are some songs that every time I hear I go back to a certain moment in time. For example, whenever I hear House Party by Sam Hunt, it takes me back to this summer where me and my friends would listen to it every single time we drove somewhere. I also have memories of when I was younger of my dad always listening to the greatest hits of Cat Stevens, whenever he would take me places. Since being in college I have found myself listening to Cat Stevens and it floods my mind with all the memories I had at home with my dad. I think it would be very interesting to study the correlation between music and memory, because there certainly is a connection between the two, and it is very cool. Its amazing how one song can take you back to a certain point in time, and make you feel things that you wouldn’t have felt without it.

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