Ivan Lopez

One of the things that I want to talk about of this phenomenon is not only the theoretical and the analysis of music as way to study the psychology, but the memory and how it works in a perception of music in human brain.

Psychology: “The study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity”

It is not weird that music becomes an important area to study a psychological phenomenon. Since greeks or before , music was one of the big categories of study like mathematics and gymnastics. This years is common that at least most of the people use to hearing music most of time.

Connecting this lecture about psychology in music reminds me once I watched a documentary called Alive Inside, a Story of Music and Memory.A film about Dan, a guy who is looking for a personal and a social goal. He is experimenting in nursing homes with a lot of elders who have dementia, the illness that we all know as alzheimer. The experiment consists in giving an iPod to the patients with personalized playlists, so they can connect with their past. Trough the film we can appreciate how music can stimulate people’s memories.

I was touched by seeing how sensations and passions some times repressed, some times forgotten came alive again. The result was fantastic.

In the human brain there are space to connect with the past only hearing something familiar. One of the most common way to activate the memories trough the music is listen a song. Songs are the way that we can remember come particular moment in our lives, or a person, or a situation, a place, a feeling, etc.

“ One of the differences between psychological studies in music and those of a philosophical nature has been the emphasis in the former on obtaining objective, empirical, or a posteriori evidence through rigidly controlled experimentation.”

Elliot Dainow in his writings about “ Physical effects and motor responses to music, talks about a connection between music and the rhythms of the body.

“ The connection between musical rhythm and the rhythms of the body is substantiated by evidence from musicologist, experimental psychologists, and neurologist. The average normal HR of 72-80 beats per minute. This tempo corresponds to the reaction time value of .75 seconds, wich seem to be a psychic constant corresponding to the duration of the complete process of perception” ( McLaughlin citing Oleron, 1970, p.34).

A few days ago my grandmother past away. In her last week, we can notice that she doesn’t be aware of the situation , also she start to lose her memories, like remember a person such a familiar people. Those days were hard to our family because we knew that those are her last days. One day I went to her house and put her music with an headphones. She starts to listen an intro of her favorite song, My way, when she starts to listen the voice of Frank Sinatra’s singing that song, her eyes start to move in a particular way, like remembering things. She stop to move and began to look into her memories. I can notice that this particular song makes her conscious. A couple of days after this moment she fall in to a intensive therapy in an Hospital and doesn’t move or open her eyes anymore. Two days after, my brother put her the headphones and put a playlist of songs that she likes to hear. One again the song “ My way” induce that she move a finger. Everybody was amazed that she react at this.

“In listening to a piece of music one may experience pitches that are sounded successively or simultaneously as forming coherent patterns which unfold as the piece progresses; one may hear both melody and harmony. Many aspects of these heard appear to conform to the theoretical precepts of tonality or part-writing. “

Why music is so important to our brain? How it works? Why not has the same effect the visual things?

Two day after we notice that, a Friday at 9:05 pm I was playing a gig with my jazz trio, and I asked my partners to play that song, My way , as a tribute to my grandmother.

I could feel a big energy in this particular moment. When I returned to the Hospital, my brother notify me that she was die at 9:05pm.




(1)The Psychology of Music and Its Literature

Roger P. Phelps

College Music Symposium

Vol. 15 (Spring, 1975), pp. 114-125

Physical Effects and Motor Responses to Music


(2)Elliot Dainow

Journal research in Music Education, Vol.25, no. 3 (Autumn, 1977), pp. 211-221


(3)Alive Inside

A Story of Music and Memory

Michael Rossato- Bennett




Chambers English Dictionary.


(5)Psychology of music, II: Perception & cognition


One thought on “MUSICAL MEMORIES

  1. clvillarreal2 says:

    First, I’m sorry about your grandmother. I was just wondering if you had ever done some research on music therapy? I have several friends in the field and the overall consensus is that since music activates both sides of the brain, when it starts going, music stays.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s