Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Performing reliably from memory requires two different types of memory organization: associative chains and content addresses. Associative chains develop spontaneously during practice, but have the disadvantage that when something goes wrong and the chain breaks, the performer must start over from the beginning. To avoid such embarrassment, experienced performers develop the ability to start from multiple locations in a piece. The hierarchical organization provided by the musical structure supplies addresses, making memory content addressable; for example, thinking “second theme” brings the music to mind. To develop content addressable access, the musician must attend to particular features of the music repeatedly during practice until they become performance cues. These are thoughts, like “second theme,” “listen,” “excitement,” that have been prepared during practice and come to mind spontaneously and reliably during performance, guiding the musician and providing places where playing can resume if things go wrong.

Keywords: memory, performance, performance cues, memory organization, content addressable access

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.