This article takes its point of departure in Maurice Halbwachs’ notion of collective
memory, adding the distinction made by Jan Assmann between communicative
and cultural memory, and Alfred Schütz’s notion of communication, understood
here as the sonorous communication of bodily affect. By combining and cross-fertilizing
the concept of memory with that of affective experience, our aim is to take
a new and productive perspective on music’s role as and in cultural memory as
well as the crucial role played by affect attunement. As examples, we use interviews
and observations from an on-going research project on the role of music in
ethnically-based associations in Sweden. In addition, we show how music often
transgresses the categorical distinctions of collective memory. The main questions
we ask are a) to the extent that there is a difference between music serving as a
means for and as content of collective memory (what the memory is “about”), how
can we account for and explain this difference? and b) how does verbally-narrated
content relate to the sound of music when it comes to collective memory?
2016. Vol. 8, 144–164- p.