Your Memory of Music Creates Network of Memories

When you hear music, it’s not stored separately, but with all other aspects of the situation that you perceived. The smells and sights of the place, your mood, the people you were with, what you were doing, are all stored together and connected with the music, often in detail. Do you have some favorite songs that bring up memories of certain friends or family members? When you hear one of those songs, you may find yourself back in another time and place, remembering a certain party, encounter, or even what you did after the party. The music may bring back the entire scene and mood, and maybe even the reason for the mood.

Smells Trigger Emotional and Nostalgic Memories

Scent brings up memories faster than about anything else. Smells stimulate nerve impulses which travel to a part of the brain called the olfactory system. The olfactory system sends the information to the limbic system, then we become aware of the emotions connected to the smell. The limbic system interacts with the emotion and memory centers in the brain, but not with more developed regions. That is why memories sparked by aroma bring up feelings of pain, pleasure, affection, anger, etc., rather than details.

Music and Smell Are The Two Strongest Memory Triggers

Music travels from the auditory system to the brain, activating both left and right sides of the brain. Music heard at a certain dinner party can bring back memories of people’s faces, the taste of the food, the environment, the conversation. Add to this the smell of certain food, perfume, scent of a flower, etc., which will bring back a  certain mood. No wonder we love to eat out or gather for a meal while listening to music!

Listen to some timeless classical music from the harp.


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