"Probably for every man there is at least one city that sooner or later turns into a girl. How well or how badly the man actually knew the girl doesn't necessarily affect the transformation. She was there, and she was the whole city, and that's that."
I recently read this in a beautiful short story called "A Girl I Knew" by J.D. Salinger. I love the way it describes how people can be such a strong influence in your experience of something.
I was telling a friend that I wanted to start learning the Faure Impromtu. She immediately recalled in great detail "Oh I remember when I played that piece! It was for an Easter service. My daughter was little and found the stuffed bunny she was supposed to get the night before. My husband had the children in the balcony during the service and my daughter cried out 'Look there's Mommy!' and carried that stuffed bunny all over the church." That was a 40-year-old memory for her.
As much of a solo instrument as the harp is, there are always other people involved in music. A person I study with, a group I perform with, an audience that hears me play - people I connect with on some level and associate with that music.
So much heart and soul goes into the music that those people become the entire piece. When I hear it again years later, it's not just the music I'm hearing. I'm instantly taken back to the time I played it, the place where I rehearsed it, the people I played it with, the audience that supported me.
They become the memories that the music recalls.
They were there, and they were the whole piece, and that's that.