Why can we remember music even years after listening to it once?


Why can we remember music even years after listening to it once?

In: Biology

For me a lot of music is tired to major times in my life. My teenage years when I had so many of my first time doing this out that there was music playing and that song will remind me of that.

For every song you remember you have probably heard and forgotten 10. Or more. That just had some good pathways built. Maybe it was a good day, or you related to it

I’ve always been told that the best way to memorize something is by rhythms and patterns or mnemonic devices. Of course that’s the way a lot of music is structured. There’s something about good rhythms that our brains just like and it develops these memory pathways very easily. Even if you think you’ve forgotten a song, usually if you hear a short excerpt of it the rest will just come back to you. Hopefully there’s a neuroscientist on here that can explain it.

“The hippocampus and the frontal cortex are two large areas in the brain associated with memory and they take in a great deal of information every minute. Retrieving it is not always easy. It doesn’t simply come when you ask it to. Music helps because it provides a rhythm and rhyme and sometimes alliteration which helps to unlock that information with cues. It is the structure of the song that helps us to remember it, as well as the melody and the images the words provoke.” Taken from [here](https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20140417-why-does-music-evoke-memories)

The music you listend to in your past can be remembered easily when you felt emotions while hearing it. This combination allows you to easier remember a song and often also those times. And a song you only heard once at a party but really hated also has a bond to your emotions and you’ll remember it. The same effect can be triggered with smells and tastes. There is one dish my mother or I never cooked. But when I smell it somewhere ( restaurant, friends house etc) I immediately think of my grandma, who cooked it regulary and I “see” her standing in her kitchen cooking. She died in my early teen years, but it feels like it was only a few years ago. Memories bonded with strong emotions are easy to remember.

Edit: relocated

Music has so many cues for memory, most of them ‘stored’ in [areas of the brain](https://www.ucf.edu/pegasus/your-brain-on-music/) which are activated by different stimuli.

The beat activates one area, the lyrics another, the association between the music and your emotional state, the location you were in, etc. all lead to multiple relationships and triggers for recall.

Weirdly enough I’ve been waking up with a random 80s earworm of songs I havent heard in years this last week…