Emotion, Feeling and Musical Memories
Lauren Istvandity [+]
This chapter examines the way in which emotion, and by extension, affect, is embedded within and activated by musically motivated memories. It argues that while strong emotion is often associated with musical memories, the affect that is produced by listening to personally salient music is somewhat more useful in explaining the triangulation between music, memory and feeling. The presence of both positive and negative emotions is integrated throughout the chapter, including a critical examination of the concept of nostalgia for its role in reflection upon musical memories, and its application in present contexts. Participant narratives are used to demonstrate the complexity behind emotional memories, including unexpected physical and mental reactions to music. Therein, both commonplace and novel scenarios for the inception of emotional memories including romantic relationships, bereavement and loss, and lifetime milestones are unpacked. The chapter also raises questions about the purposeful use of music to provoke emotion, and the intention behind the creation of literal soundtracks for special events.