Sense and Nostalgia

May 10, 2020 · 0:34 am

For the first time in months, I listened to Georges Bizet’s Symphony in C, and I almost forgot how strongly I associated piece this with Harvard’s Summer School Program.

The program took place from mid-June to mid-May, so there was enough time for there to be a summer orchestra. Incidentally, we also played Saint-Saëns’s Suite Pour Orchestre and his Cello Concerto No. 1. They’re all amazingly beautiful, but as a 3rd-stand Violin II player, I enjoyed Bizet far more onstage compared to the other two.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the musical background (yet :)) to analytically explain why. But in simple terms, it was exciting, lively, thrilling. All of the abstract emotions from the program that imprinted in the back of my mind were strongly associated with this piece. (This is true for the other two as well, but more for Bizet.) I felt as if I re-unlocked some of that memory with its associated, strongly nostalgic energy, and re-locked it back when the piece ended.

What can I take away from this? For me specifically, I have a strong link with one of my physical senses, hearing, and no other sense can substitute for its ability to recall strong but abstract long-forgotten emotions. However, not everyone has a BFF relationship with their sense of hearing. But I trust that every human has the ability to use one of their senses as a key for properly unlocking and relocking something as strong as pure serotonin. Some people use their sense of taste. A well-done platter of their favorite Grandma’s cookies can send them back straight into childhood. Some people might use their sense of smell. The correct oakwood might bring back memories of a summer cabin. I imagine this is difficult to consistently do, but I hope every person can get a taste of this feeling at least once in life.

Streaming direct thought dumps from Yuto Nishida.
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