A moment of time
frozen and keyed to an indicative sound
, often a tonal
al phrase. This can also be expanded from a single moment of time to a whole type of time - a broader set experience, usually linked to intense emotion
Hearing the signal sound will conjure a vivid memory of that time, complete with sights, sounds, smells, feelings and shivers that ran up your spine. Also, similar experiences will key the signal sound to play in your head.
A personal example: I'm going to guess this occurred sometime in 1993 - probably the end of summer / beginning of autumn. I was 20 and unbeknownst to me, these were the end times for my very close friendship with Eric. My life was in turmoil as I moved into my second apartment, alone, and struggled with how to stay in college. Eventually I dropped out. Sex and relationships were all new to both Eric and I, as we had both come out of the closet about three years prior and we were just getting some experiences under our belt. Harsh ones at that. I felt that he was perhaps the only person who really knew me. It's likely he felt the same. As we dated other people - and never eachother - tensions grew.
One night we were just driving aimlessly, which we did a lot, in Eric's dirty white mid-80's Buick Skylark - the "k" on the back logo was missing, making it a "Buic" which we pronounced with a terrible French flair, like "booeeek". It was late and we were on some road by Lake Washington - a quiet part. The moon reflected off the calm water. A new chill hung in the air.
A song began to play on the radio. I knew I'd heard it a few times, but I never payed much attention to popular music those days. For some reason this time I heard the lyrics, and they are forever conjoined to this time in my memory:
Oh my life
Is changing everyday
In every possible way
I later learned that this was The Cranberries
. These three lines still flow through my head from time to time, when things get a little crazy
... when it seems too much is changing at once... when I see Eric out at a bar and we just say "hi."