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Music is an incredibly personal thing as are emotions. I would agree with cerberus that different styles of music are attractive depending on your emotional state at a given time, but in the thing that I find strange is how the same piece of music can invoke different emotions.

I don't even attempt to understand some of the intricacies of the workings of the human brain (I'll leave that to the psychologists) but I know how music affects me.

Just over two years ago a very close friend of mine took his own life after being unable to come to terms with a discovery that changed his life. That was an incredibly low time for me but one thing that I remember most is feeling that my sense of the music in my world was much heightened. I started to notice pieces of music that I'd never really payed attention to before. I started to make mini-disk compilations that reflected my mood. One day it would be music that could be described as having more poignant feelings, for example U2s With Or Without You or certain Pogues tracks, then the next day it would be non-lyrical stuff in the dance genre. I found that music without words and an obvious emotion was easier for me to deal with. I think I reached that conclusion after I broke down in tears in a cafe in Edinburgh when With Or Without You was played.

It was almost as if music became actively invasive into my mind. I was barely able to hold a conversation together without music coming into my head. I could be chatting to someone in the street or sitting in a nice warm comfortable room with my therapist and then a song (or more likely a small snippet of a song) would spring into my mind and I couldn't shift it. Maybe I began to use music as a substitute for emotions? Paul, my therapist, would often ask me what I was thinking and I could only answer him by talking music with him.

I came across a piece by Avro Pärt called Cantus In Memory of Benjamin Britten for strings and bell which is (to me at least) incredibly funereal. It is quite simplistic, really just a single bell (described as a funeral bell), a string arrangement and a tone that eventually cycles away to nothing. It became synonymous with Fergus. I went through phases of not being able to listen to it at all, to wanting desperately to hear it. But when I did hear it I always felt bad. It was almost as if I wanted to feel the loss, to keep the moment, to not really let go.

But times and people and feelings change. What was it that someone once said about time healing wounds? When I listen to Cantus now, it doesn't provoke the feelings of loss - now it means rememberance, I remember the time we had together. It makes me smile. I suppose like hearing a piece of music and loathing it with a vengance the over a few weeks modifiying your opinions of it until it becomes the most infectious song you've ever heard.