How are our personal soundtracks of life devised? What makes some pieces of music more meaningful to us than others? This book explores the role of memory, both personal and cultural, in imbuing music with the power to move us. Focusing on the relationship between music and key life moments from birth to death, the text takes a cross-disciplinary approach, combining perspectives from a 'history of emotions' with modern day psychology, empirical surveys of modern-day listeners and analysis of musical works. The book traces the trajectory of emotional response to music over the past 500 years, illuminating the interaction between personal, historical and contextual variables that influence our hard-wired emotional responses to music, and the key role of memory and nostalgia in the mechanisms of emotional response.