A sound can conduct me to a particular place or setting. The sound may evoke specific weather conditions that I associate with that place or it may convey a sound from nature or the city. Or something from the past. This happened one day when I pressed a few black keys on the piano. Because the sostenuto pedal was pressed down it created a resonance that transported me back to the place where, years ago, I discovered the piano.
When I am composing these associations disappear. Sounds become independent, transform or develop into motifs. They no longer refer to an extra-musical idea, they become just sound. But eventually – sometimes long after I have finished a piece – I am conducted back again: a place, landscape or area.