Music as a Means of Transportation

The other day, on my way home from work, I was listening to MPR when I heard Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1.  Immediately, my memories shot back to the end of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

At least, I believe it was the end of that show.  Maybe it was the PBS station interlude after the show… in any case, my childhood started flooding back in an instant upon hearing this.  So many memories in my life have music attached to them in some way.  It’s interesting because it has been said that the sense of smell is the most effective trigger of memory.  That is true for me, too.  The smell of rosewater reminds me immediately of my maternal grandmother and the smell of a gas range turned on is an instant reminder of my paternal grandmother.

But music… now that takes me back not only to a certain time or person, but an emotional frame of mind as well.  I have always been a hopeless (hopeful?) romantic, and I always believed the perfect romatic moment would be to slow dance to Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game.  It’s a melancholy romantic song, but I find it so sensual – and that feeling honestly has nothing to do with the video.

Maybe my connection to music stems from the early days sitting in front of the record player and listening to my mom’s collection of Peter Paul and Mary  (I apparently inherited my penchant for wearing a goatee from Peter and Paul)…

…or Simon and Garfunkel (who I thought were quite dapper on the cover of their Greatest Hits album thankyouverymuch)…

…or Marty Robbins (is it wrong that seeing this album play makes me incredibly nostalgic for the times I sat and watched the vinyl rotate as I listened cross-legged on the floor, or when I danced like a silly goof with my mom in the living room?)…

…or the DEFINITIVE version of Froggie Went a-Courtin’ by Burl Ives.

No matter what the song, there is almost certainly a specific memory or at least an emotional state of mind inherently connected to it for me.  When I hear a Bach Prelude played on a pipe organ, I am right back at St. Matthew’s Church listening to the pre-service music.  Everytime I hear the Overture to Candide by Leonard Bernstein, I am back in my room, listening to the album, purchased with my allowance for $1.99 at Erickson’s grocery store in Waseca, of Famous Overtures performed by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, and waving my arms like some frantic madman.

Or I hear 500 Miles, and I am almost in tears for the loneliness that song used to bring up in me.  I could not imagine, as a child, being 500 miles away from the people I loved.  It seemed so hopelessly remote.  Or the happiness and joy that I feel everytime I listen to David Byrne’s Make Believe Mambo.  Just listen to that and try NOT to dance a little inside…

You see, I don’t necessarily need to go anywhere to take a trip.  Often, I can lay back, and when the music starts, I can travel anywhere and everywhere.  And it’s so… perfect.

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About bgm1969

This blog is updated by a guy who’s overweight, silly, Liberal, spiritual rather than religious, infatuated with beauty and grace, musically blessed, and always changing.

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