All My Changes Were There

Music is well known as an emotion, even a mood, but creator of memories? Not referring to a moment in time when a certain song plays on the radio and that song forever defines the moment, but a song you have never heard before that transports you to a specific moment in time? Studies about the power of music have been many, maybe most famously ‘The Mozart Effect’ – University of California study (in 1993) that showed students performing tasks better whilst listening to Mozart. That resulted in parents world over playing Mozart from embryos to toddlers, as if by magic the genious of Mozart would be transplanted through the notes of violin sonatas to mere mortals. (In 1996 the same study was conducted on British schoolchildren, this time playing “Blur” and the results were the same, so either Damon Albarn possesses the same genious as Mozart or the key is not which music, but music itself). Science writer Philip Ball has included all of this in his book “The Music Instinct: How Music Works and How We Can’t Do Without It.” In the book Ball notes “Music is a vital part of human culture- we know of societies without writing and even art, but none without music.” So what about those “invented memories”?. When I heard K.D. Lang’s interpretation of Neil Young’s “Helpless” it immediately transported me to the long heady summers of 1970s. With the first line of “There is a place in North Ontario” I am back by the seaside (nowhere near North Ontario, might I add), sunny skies, standing on the rocks with the wind blowing through my hair. Running, with the smell of just cut grass, the sound of the water sprinklers and the motor boats cutting through the afternoon. And all my friends are there. All long hair and beautiful, unmarked all of us in our youth. And its Neil Young that takes me there. Philip Ball writes music affects us in such a profound way as it lights up different parts of our brain. Maybe its science, maybe its neurons, maybe its communication and the warm tone of K.D. Lang or maybe it just is.
Something that defines us all.


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