You are here

Music and memories

Arrangement, instrumentation, lyric writing, music theory, inspiration… it’s all here.

Music and memories

Postby BoreWhichProject » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:11 am

This may sound a strange topic and maybe something that can't be answered because it is based on personal experience.

A few years ago I can't remember for what reason, I had got into seventies music and still listen to it frequently. While I was born in that decade but for obvious reasons I have no experience or recollection of it yet when I listen to seventies music, I get a feeling that while socially and economically, particularly in the UK, it may not have been a great but at that time music wise it would have been a great and fun time to be in. I think the reason I feel that way is that I am associating music with memories although in my case, these are imagined in the sense of the idea I have of seventies culture through searching through the internet. I had recently googled about the link of music and memories and found this article:

http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20140417-why-does-music-evoke-memories

In that article it had the following paragraph which sounds similar to what I had previously said:

It's often pop music that evokes memories from this time in our lives. Why? Well, for a start this music played in the background, whether we selected it or not. There is always something on the radio, in bars, clubs and bedrooms that is contemporary and is almost accidentally attached to a particular time. Pop music is also of the moment. Listen to popular music from the 1960s and 1970s, for example, and you think you know what that time sounded like. There is something more abstract about, say, western classical music, which has become more detached from its original time and may be harder to place.

It occurred to me that is possible to create music that evokes a certain memory much in the same way as music evokes a certain mood. Maybe they are the similar or the same. With me, I listen to seventies music to evoke an imagined memory but it could be possible to create music that evokes memories that happened to me.

The problem with that is while this music may be special to me, it will have no meaning to other who would listen to it. With that, is it possible to create music that could tap into shared memories of shared cultural values much in the same way that the TV and movie industry is doing lately where they are obsessed with remakes as well as certain periods in recent history like 80's nostalgia?
BoreWhichProject
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:45 am

Re: Music and memories

Postby Dynamic Mike » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:00 am

It's a very interesting article. The last paragraph resonated with me because my Father-in-law, who had advanced dementia, could sing along to Johnny Cash long after he'd ceased to recognise his wife & children. You could tell from his demeanor that there was still an association with music that made him feel comfortable.

I grew up in the 60's & 70's and many of the songs of the time feel personal to me and invoke both very specific but also far more generalised memories. After that time, not so much. I have 2 theories as to why that is.

Firstly during the first 20 years or so of life we change significantly as we develop physically & mentally. So for me 1973 would be significantly different to 1976, compared to say 2003 and 2005 for example. This is probably the same for most people unless there's some major change in circumstance.

However, I also wonder whether a huge factor why things changed around this time might be due to MTV & the advent of songs accompanied by videos. From 1981 onwards you no longer created images based on what you were hearing & your own experiences, instead images were forced upon you. Most people listening to Addicted To Love, or Money For Nothing today, can't help but visualise the images that accompanied them.

Sadly, Buggles it now appears, was probably right.
Dynamic Mike
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3210
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2006 1:00 am

Re: Music and memories

Postby blinddrew » Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:24 am

I backed a kickstarter project a few years back to fund a film about the link between music and memory, specifically looking at patients with dementia. It's called 'Alive Inside' and I'd strongly recommend hunting it out and it looks at these things in a very accessible way.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8810
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Music and memories

Postby Arpangel » Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:42 am

My actual musical memories go back to the early 60's, and when I listen to certain things it's almost like I'm back there, it's like astral traveling, it's so powerful.
Smells are the ultimate transportation though, certain smells will literally transport me back, I'm there. Combine smells, with music, that's a powerful combination.
Of course, we can never hear music as we heard it way back in the past, as we've been exposed to so much music since those times, and it effects our perception of things.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2355
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Music and memories

Postby John Egan » Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:40 am

Arpangel wrote:Of course, we can never hear music as we heard it way back in the past, as we've been exposed to so much music since those times, and it effects our perception of things.

It's the excitement which is missing when we revisit these formative experiences and the influences - some good, some questionable - which accompanied them.
Regards, John
User avatar
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

Re: Music and memories

Postby BoreWhichProject » Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:59 pm

Thanks to all who replied.

I'm just starting music production and at the moment it is just about learning all the basic technical stuff. However, I'm going to tinker as well with some creative ideas. I've been thinking about the link I have to seventies music and whether memories are linked to music, whether real, cultural or just subjective. I then thought that could be used as inspiration. Reading the comments on this topic has made me realise that the only way music can be linked to memories in the way I suggest is through the mixture of sound and vision through creating sound tracks.

On the subject of music sound and visual images, I didn't really think of the 80's music that way, Dynamic Mike. There is no doubt MTV and other music TV channels changed the music industry at that period where artists needed to get onto there for publicity. Could artists have been creating songs to form a sort of soundtrack to the music videos that accompanied them?

It's interesting the mentions between music and dementia and I'll definitely try to see that film 'Alive Inside'. Where I come from, the winter months, while not as harsh as other countries, does have an effect on me at times where I feel down. For some reason when I feel this way, I have thought of bars with bright neon lights inside and loud cheesy commercial music and it does cheer me up. When I do go to visit these types of bars at the weekend, I do feel better but really alcohol isn't good for when you feel down. I don't know if I have a form of Seasonal affective disorder and while it is in no way like Dementia in any form, I wonder if it is more the loud cheesy commercial music that makes me feel better at this time of year? While it isn't the type of music that I normally listen to and I haven't really given it that much thought until now. I might try to experiment to try and recreate a bright, brash sound that is specific to this type of music.
BoreWhichProject
New here
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:45 am

Re: Music and memories

Postby John Egan » Tue Dec 17, 2019 12:13 am

One other aspect of music memories I have noticed in those who played through those times that they differ remarkably from those who came to watch. Not just in the content, but in the emotional aspects. Both are, not surprisingly, affected quite differently by their individual experience.
Regards, John
User avatar
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

Re: Music and memories

Postby Arpangel » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:18 pm

John Egan wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Of course, we can never hear music as we heard it way back in the past, as we've been exposed to so much music since those times, and it effects our perception of things.

It's the excitement which is missing when we revisit these formative experiences and the influences - some good, some questionable - which accompanied them.
Regards, John

John, the excitement was caused by not having any influences or reference points, some pieces of music were more successful than others in this respect. But it was all good, it was a continuous voyage of discovery, soaking things up like a sponge.
I can remember hearing "Virginia Plain" by Roxy Music, and it changed my life, there were no obvious clues as to where it came from, it was literally like music from another planet, I think John Peel said the same thing.
This doesn't happen anymore, that type of originality and excitement, may be it has all been done? and now it's just a matter of rearranging the furniture.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2355
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Music and memories

Postby John Egan » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:39 pm

Arpangel wrote:
John Egan wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Of course, we can never hear music as we heard it way back in the past, as we've been exposed to so much music since those times, and it effects our perception of things.

It's the excitement which is missing when we revisit these formative experiences and the influences - some good, some questionable - which accompanied them.
Regards, John

John, the excitement was caused by not having any influences or reference points, some pieces of music were more successful than others in this respect. But it was all good, it was a continuous voyage of discovery, soaking things up like a sponge.
I can remember hearing "Virginia Plain" by Roxy Music, and it changed my life, there were no obvious clues as to where it came from, it was literally like music from another planet, I think John Peel said the same thing.
This doesn't happen anymore, that type of originality and excitement, may be it has all been done? and now it's just a matter of rearranging the furniture.

It doesn't happen to me anymore, but maybe it does to others probably younger than you or me. I rermember my parents saying something like that to me when I was a teenager.
Regards, John
User avatar
John Egan
Regular
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2002 1:00 am
Location: Staffordshire, England

Re: Music and memories

Postby blinddrew » Thu Dec 19, 2019 10:41 pm

I disagree with that final statement Arpangel. There's plenty of interesting, exciting, arresting even, music out there, it just rarely makes it into the mainstream.
It was ever thus. :)
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 8810
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Music and memories

Postby N i g e l » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:26 pm

I agree with your dissagreement Blinddrew !

The electric guitar must have been around for 50 years before The Edge popularised his rythmic echo style.

More recently with Skrillex; I probably had a 10 year head start with all the right gear to inovate nothing ! but he had the initiative, drive and talent to develope an inovative new style.

When I got my 1st sampler and loaded up some presets - Hammond, Mellotron, yep just what I expected. Then I loaded "Loops" :wtf: and it made my head judder {Isnt that cheating ? :shifty: looks around room :shifty: did anyone see me ?... :shifty: }
N i g e l
Regular
Posts: 371
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:40 pm

Re: Music and memories

Postby desmond » Thu Dec 19, 2019 11:38 pm

Arpangel wrote:I can remember hearing "Virginia Plain" by Roxy Music, and it changed my life, there were no obvious clues as to where it came from, it was literally like music from another planet, I think John Peel said the same thing.
This doesn't happen anymore, that type of originality and excitement, may be it has all been done?

It's difficult for new things to change you life when you've lived a lot of it - it's much easier to do this when you are younger because you're not jaded, and have a thirst for new things. We don't, as human beings, value new things nearly as much as when we're older - we get into a kind of "you know, I've got all the things I'm comfortable with" phase, and anything new that can disrupt those established and long set-in things requires a tremendous amount of momentum to get taken seriously.

Ie, it gets harder to shift those brain cells around the longer they've been active and the more solid the pathways they've formed.

This is entirely normal, and is the same as it has ever been.

Probably the only real difference is that various forms of media probably have lesser relative importance (in general) in peoples' lives because there is so much else available to distract us. I'm not super into today's pop music (as in Radio 1) as I seem to have finally aged into the generation that's too old to really "get it". It's just not meant for me any more. I mean, I can appreciate good writing, good performances, and good production - but the material just doesn't speak to me, or excite me in the way that pop music did when I was young (in the 80s). And I'm sure plenty of people my age in the 80s undoubtedly thought the music and fashion of the time was dreadful and appalling, compare to what they loved when they were kids.

The only thing that really change is one's perspective, I think...
User avatar
desmond
Jedi Poster
Posts: 9048
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:00 am
mu:zines | music magazine archive | difficultAudio

Re: Music and memories

Postby N i g e l » Fri Dec 20, 2019 4:48 pm

desmond wrote:.....I'm sure plenty of people my age in the 80s undoubtedly thought the music and fashion of the time was dreadful and appalling, compare to what they loved when they were kids.

The only thing that really change is one's perspective, I think...

As a youth I hated Minnie Ripertons "loving You", the one sung in an aviary.
Even worse, it seemed to be in the charts forever.
Now a-days I dont mind at all when it is played on the radio or in the supermarket.

As opposed to the Chi-Lites "have you seen her", which has always been an awesome classic to me.
N i g e l
Regular
Posts: 371
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 2:40 pm

Re: Music and memories

Postby Gone To Lunch » Sat Dec 21, 2019 2:32 am

Speaking as a psychology grad, musical appreciation has a kind of critical period that correlates with sexual maturation, ie mid-teens to mid-twenties, the hormones and fertitlity peak.

So for example someone who was 15 in 1970, and therefore 25 in 1980, will get a certain kind of thrill recollection from Johnnie Walker's 'Sounds of the 70s'

Just as someone who was 15 in 1935 and 25 in 1945 will probably get steamed and misty over Glenn Miller and the rest.

Obvious because we peak physiologically, including sexually and intellectually in those years, and we are most pre-occupied with getting laid and all that entails. And because music and consciousness are so entwined.
Gone To Lunch
Frequent Poster
Posts: 813
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2004 12:00 am
Location: London
http://www.gonetolunchmusic.com/

Re: Music and memories

Postby awjoe » Sat Dec 21, 2019 6:46 am

Gone To Lunch wrote:Just as someone who was 15 in 1935 and 25 in 1945 will probably get steamed and misty over Glenn Miller and the rest.

If they're still drawing breath, then yes, I would imagine them getting steamed and misty.

I'm still preoccupied with getting laid. I wonder if that's why I still enjoy music.
User avatar
awjoe
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2438
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:00 am
Fringe member of the Party Pooper People's Party

Re: Music and memories

Postby Arpangel » Sat Dec 21, 2019 10:30 am

blinddrew wrote:I disagree with that final statement Arpangel. There's plenty of interesting, exciting, arresting even, music out there, it just rarely makes it into the mainstream.
It was ever thus. :)

I was listening to BBC6 Music last night, a woman came on, it was sort of interesting, then.....
Bang! that was it, I thought, this is just Enya with more effects, more reverb, and more Crystal Echoes, just more of everything, that ruined it for me then on in.
This is what I'm finding, yes,there seems to be lots going on, but it's just the latest effects and production techniques, there's no real substance, or genuinely new musical ideas behind this stuff.
If it was up to me I'd ban the "Shimmer" effect, I've got about three units with that on them and I consciously never, ever use it.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2355
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Music and memories

Postby The Elf » Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:00 pm

There definitely *is* good music being made, but most of us are too lazy to hunt it down.

I was unfortunate enough to be subjected to a couple of hours of MTV recently, and I have to say it was utterly dismaying. How many times can the same half a dozen names be combined around the word 'featuring' to give us 80% of the channel's content? By the time I heard the 20th Autotuned vocal I was considering stuffing my socks in my ears.

Then I do a few YouTube searches and my faith is restored. It's out there, but you have to meet it half way.
User avatar
The Elf
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13292
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 12:00 am
Location: Sheffield, UK
An Eagle for an Emperor, A Kestrel for a Knave.

Re: Music and memories

Postby Agharta » Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:11 pm

The Elf wrote:There definitely *is* good music being made, but most of us are too lazy to hunt it down.

....................

Then I do a few YouTube searches and my faith is restored. It's out there, but you have to meet it half way.

Spotify has made accessing music that is new to me so much easier and cheaper and the "Fans also like" feature has been very helpful.
It's a completely different world to when I was a teenager and one album cost about the equivalent of 2 months Spotify Premium and often buying it was the only way to hear it.
Agharta
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 3678
Joined: Sat Oct 30, 2004 12:00 am

Re: Music and memories

Postby Arpangel » Sun Dec 22, 2019 10:55 am

The truth is I’m not really that interested in listening to other peoples music, one, I can’t be bothered to make the effort, or search, and two, I’m too involved in trying to make my own.
I’ve got tons of influences, mainly from the past, that’s annoying enough, and I don’t want to add a stack more to those, and I’m also more aware these days, about taking ideas, or sounding like anyone else, as I’ve got older it’s become just not on, I know it’s unavoidable completely, but not listening to others music is a good way out of that situation.
If I want to relax, or chill out, I listen to "easy listening" music, stuff that doesn’t make me listen too hard, things like lo-fi hip hop, or Classic FM these days, but even Classic FM is too interesting, as I’m listening to more classical music than ever, it’s an infinite source of inspiration, unfortunately.
User avatar
Arpangel
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2355
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2003 12:00 am


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users