Daniel Wilson is a UK-based writer, researcher, and composer, recording as Meadow House and Radionics Radio, and is one quarter of of improv group Oscillatorial Binnage.
Music’s capacity to elicit echoes of personal memory in listeners has received attention from writers in recent years. Unless one has personally experienced a “Proustian moment” in sound, a cynical reader might dismiss such writings as woolly meanderings. The phenomenon is, of course, real, but finding concrete, universally acceptable examples is problematic because the subjective effect varies from person-to-person.
In 1876, a child in Connecticut named George Starr White played with a tin-cans-and-string telephone. It had drum skins for bases, and he tried to sensitize it further by experimenting with moistening the string. On a whim, he asked his friend several yards away to put a cat near one end, but instead of hearing its purr he intuited what he called a “breeze” through the can.