How do you memorize an entire symphony?

Neuroscientists have found that musical memories can be preserved in the brain even when most other memories are lost. Memory loss, such as that experienced by amnesiacs, provides a window for neuroscientists to study how memory works.

One amnesiac patient, a German professional cellist, had such profound memory loss that he could not remember well-known facts about Germany, nor important details from his youth or adulthood. He had no memory of relatives and friends, except for his brother and his full-time care-giver.

However, he could still play the cello and sight-read music. Moreover, his memory for music from his past was just as good as that of his non-amnesiac colleagues. He could even learn to recognise new music (but not new faces or objects).