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Music and Memory
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I just had a profound experience. This morning I've been listening to Wagner's Der Fliegende Hollander (The Flying Dutchman) and as I sunk into the overture and the beginning of Act I, I suddenly could hear, in memory, my father's voice.

My father was a professional classical musician, and when he returned from the Pacific after WWII, discharged from the Navy, he spent a lot of time with me, since there weren't many jobs for musicians, what with re-tooling factories and shops from wartime to peacetime production--and I shared his love of classical music.

One of the things he gave me (I was 5 or 6 at the time) was an old record player. We had a 78 rpm recording of the Overture and incidental music for The Flying Dutchman. He showed me how to take the record out of the sleeve without touching the grooves, center it on the spindle, turn it on and set the needle down on the flat outside section.

Then, as the music unfolded around us, he told me to shut my eyes. "Can you hear the waves on the beach?" he asked me. "Can you imagine the storm, the high winds, the crashing waves over the bow?"

I was entranced. I had never thought of music as reflecting everyday sounds (we lived on the ocean front), and it was a whole new experience for me.

I haven't remembered that incident until today, when I set up my CD to play Wagner again after all these decades. (Opera has never been my music of choice for easy listening.)

Also, I remember learning about onomatopoeia in high school, and thinking that the words that sounded like the object were very much like the music that mimics the real sounds. Onomatopoetic music.

Music hath charms to soothe...and to evoke memories.

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