We see a frail and elderly woman in a chair, her eyes downcast. She motions for the music to be turned up, a swelling melody from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, and with a little encouragement her hands begin to flutter. Then suddenly her eyes flash and she’s Odette the swan queen at the misty lakeside, arms raised. She leans forward, wrists crossed in classic swan pose; her chin lifts as if she’s commanding the stage once more, her face lost in reverie.
The woman in the film is Marta Cinta Gonzalez Saldana, a former ballet dancer who died last year, the year the video was shot. But the clip has gone viral since being posted recently by Spanish organisation Musica Para Despertar (Music to Awaken), which promotes the value of music for those living with Alzheimer’s.
The particular ability of music to connect with people living with even severe dementia is becoming well known.
Photo courtesy of Musica para Despertar 照片：「喚醒的音樂」提供
Auditory memory may be the last thing to leave us because it’s one of the first things we develop, at around 18 weeks in the womb, says Grace Meadows, program director at Music for Dementia. “They’re some of the deepest neural pathways that get laid down,” she says. Our first language, the babbling and cooing of babies and their carers, is a form of musical exchange. “That’s why it’s so deep and why we’re so responsive to it, because it’s so primal.”
That remains true when people have cognitive impairments, partly because music is processed in so many different parts of the brain. If there’s something blocking its neural pathway, it finds another path. And music from formative stages in our lives tends to have the strongest hold, especially around the teenage years and 20s, the “memory bump” as it is called, when so many intense social bonds and new emotions and experiences take place: first loves, moving to new cities, or perhaps dancing your first leading role on stage.
For Saldana, a strong muscle memory is tied to those musical instincts, but you don’t have to have been a professional dancer for music to spark a physical response.
影片中的女人是曾為芭蕾舞者的瑪塔‧辛塔‧貢沙雷斯‧沙爾達尼亞，她已在二○一九年，亦即此影片拍攝的同年去世。但該影片自從最近被西班牙組織「喚醒的音樂」（Musica Para Despertar）發布以來便爆紅。「喚醒的音樂」將音樂的價值推廣給阿茲海默症患者。
With the international COVID-19 pandemic increasing in severity, tighter border restrictions mean that only a small number of Taiwanese will be able to travel abroad during this year’s Lunar New Year holiday period. As a result, hotels are doing a roaring trade in family reunion dinners this year, with several well-known five-star hotels becoming booked out as early as December last year. Two months ago, the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel had sold nearly 200 preorders, while places for Lunar New Year dinners at the Okura Taipei and the Fullon Hotel also sold out last year. The pandemic has given a
I certainly won’t miss the commute! (5/5) 我對通勤是絕對不會想念的！（五） A: With global telecommunications, wireless connectivity and the death of the office, it will be possible to work from anywhere. B: So you think you could just take off to a beach or a beautiful, sun-soaked spot in an idyllic part of the world and do your work from there? A: If we could do it, many others could, too. There wouldn’t be an idyllic place left on Earth. They’d all be crowded with people shouting into their mobile devices or tapping away on their keyboards. A: 有了全球電信系統、無線網路，再加上辦公室的消失，以後要在哪裡工作都可以。 B: 所以你想這樣就可以到海邊，或者世界上某個詩情畫意、陽光普照的地方去，在那裡工作？ A: 如果我們可以這樣，很多人也可以呀！這樣地球上就不會有什麼詩情畫意的地方了。因為這些地方都會擠滿人，大家都大聲講手機，或是在鍵盤上劈哩啪啦打字。 （Paul Cooper, Taipei Times／台北時報林俐凱譯） English 英文:
I certainly won’t miss the commute! (4/5) 我對通勤是絕對不會想念的！（四） B: Urban planners are going to have to massively rethink how cities are designed. Business districts will go out of the window. Office buildings will have to be repurposed. Commuter routes will become a thing of the past. A: They will be able to make open, green spaces for people to work in, which will be easier now with all this wireless connectivity. It’s going to be great! B: Careful what you wish for. We might not be tethered to the office, but we’ll still be tied to our mobile devices. We’ll still need to be contactable 24/7, slaves