I'm trying to find the word for when solitary notes or ordinary sounds invoke the "feel" of some music you were listening to after the music has ended. For instance, if you hear someone play an E♭ by itself on a piano it doesn't contain any particular "feel" (eg. it may not make you sad, or happy, or invoke any particular emotion). However, if you listen to an entire song in the key of E♭, then stop, then play a solo E♭ it may sound as if the note has taken on the "mood" of the song (eg. it might sound sad if you had just been listening to a sad song and E♭ was in the key that the song was in).

More importantly, I'm looking for the word (it might be the same) for when this particular form of bias effects "normal" sounds. eg. you play a song in the key of E♭, and then pick up a glass of water and hear ice clinking, if the note of the ice happens to be in the same key as the song you were playing the ice may then "sound" like the song and invoke the same feeling.

I've heard several people talk about percieving things this way, but I've never known anyone to have a word for it.

  • Is evocative not what you're looking for? You actually use invoke in your question. I can certainly see how you might mean a more subliminal feeling, so I gave resonate a +1. Similar to evocative would be emotive.
    – stevesliva
    Sep 21, 2015 at 5:09
  • I think these all make sense and do describe what's happening; the sound certainly "echos" the song or "resontates" with the song, but I'm also pretty sure there's a more scientific word for this actual phenomenon. I'll give it a few days and see if anyone knows it, and if not mark one of the existing answers.
    – user22330
    Sep 21, 2015 at 13:59
  • The Proust Effect ?
    – Jimmy
    Sep 22, 2015 at 20:33

2 Answers 2


I think "resonate" works here. When you're talking about sound waves, it means to reverberate or fill with sound. But it also means to evoke memories or emotions.

  • Note really the word, but it doesn't look like I'm going to get an actual answer, so this will have to do it. Thanks!
    – user22330
    Sep 25, 2015 at 19:59

You could also say "echo", the sound echoes the feelings of the song.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.