So I recently read:
‘Music for memorisation’ by a user named Chris Lehrich
In short, he provides a detailed account on the strong relationship between music and memory. The aim of his post was to find out a way, method or technique that incorporates music with the method of loci.
I play the piano and also use the method of loci(MOL) so naturally, I too became interested in how I could combine them both. This morning, when I was practicing mental rehearsal, I was struck by an ‘aha’ / lightbulb moment.
Have you ever read a fiction novel? When you read the book, did you create an image of the characters? The location ? We often come across descriptive passages in novels, don’t we all create images in our minds when we read such passages?
I can’t speak for everyone else, but when I read novels I always create images in my mind of the characters, environment etc.
My point is this:
- Reading descriptive passages provokes visual images in our minds
In Judaism, when a person reaches the age of 12/13 they have to do their bar/bat-mitzvah. It’s a ceremony in which they have to recite a certain number of passages. They can recite these passages in two ways, by singing them or by reading it normally. Most people (to my knowledge) decide to sing it because it’s much easier to remember. In Hinduism, Vedic chants are practiced - they are important religious passages that are sung. This tradition has lasted for thousands of years and they’ve developed several complex recitation techniques to remember passages accurately.
My point is this:
- Remembering information is easier when sung than recited normally in a monotonous tone.
The method of loci is great for remembering pieces of information, but what if I wanted to remember an entire book? Word for word? Sure I could use the method of loci, but it would quickly become a tedious and cumbersome task because I’d have to create an image for literally every single word.
So how do I combine the method of loci with music ??
Here is the ‘aha’ moment:
A loci is a place that has order. It can be a house, a column, a familiar route etc.
A musical melody IS a loci !
The combination of notes that form the melody creates the order and the NOTES/PITCH that make up the melody is the loci !!!
In light of this, we can attach words to each note! Descriptive words provoke images and we can attach those words to notes/pitches which together, form a melody.
Thus, we end up with a catchy melody (holding the order) made up of striking, quick, descriptive information (the bits we visualise and then recall) which are attached to each note/pitch (the loci). This is how we can combine music, visualisation and memory.
Lets see how well this works with a fugue hahaha
Your thoughts and comments are appreciated