I have written about this many times but never was it brought home to me so much as the other night. Rory was sleeping uncomfortably next to me, recovering from two slipped discs. Not a movie, not crummy TV, not a book could he concentrate on.
I put on one of my favorite channels, Classic Arts Television, which specializes in wonderful old clips from film, stage, opera, and art. The overture from “William Tell’ was playing and from the depths of his sleep came Rory’s voice saying “Rossini”and yes it was. This was followed by his identification, still asleep, of the selection as “the calm after the storm.” Also true. He gradually awoke and listened to the rest of the music. Nothing else could have awakened him or given him relief.We then put on a video in Czech with no subtitles of “The Bartered Bride.” It was fine.
Now Rory had spoken before in his sleep. I had surreptitiously put on the Westminster Dog Show, knowing he hated it. From the sleeper next to me, I heard the words, “I had a nightmare. I dreamed I was listening to the dog show.”
But this was different as I think music is different to those who respond to it. I’m not a scientist so I can’t tell you if it’s right or left brain or why I retain music so much better than words. I can identify music from my long past. See Oliver Sacks for more on this. He had a patient who had lost all memory, even of loved ones, but who reproduced perfectly all his music on the organ.
Does it organize the mind in special ways? so that I can go cantering down the highways of musical memory and enjoy so much of my past. Thoughts on this anybody? I feel especially grateful nj.com to have this gift which Oliver says everyone has and, of course, to have a spouse, cantering along beside me.