In Sherlock S04E03, when Sherlock meets Eurus in her cell, Eurus asks Sherlock to play the violin and professes that she taught Sherlock how to play the violin.

EURUS: You play, don’t you?

SHERLOCK: How did you know?

EURUS: How did I know? I taught you, don’t you remember? How can you not remember that?

SHERLOCK: Eurus, I don’t remember you at all.

EURUS: Interesting. Mycroft told me you’d rewritten your memories; he didn’t tell me you’d written me out completely.

Source: http://arianedevere.livejournal.com

Sherlock had completely rewritten any memories associated with Eurus, made his best friend into a dog (somehow reminds me of the S02E02, Hounds of Baskerville episode).

Returning back to the question, if Sherlock had blocked every bond with Eurus, how come he still remembers how to play the violin; despite the fact that it was Eurus who taught him to play the violin, in the first place.

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    If I met my driving instructor today I doubt I would recognise him, so many years have passed by, but I still know how to drive a car. In this case, it sounds as if Sherlock has deliberately chosen to erase her, not his violin playing skills, from his mind,
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 13:17
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    @mari but you remember that your driving instructor taught you. Sherlock is a little more complex.
    – cde
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 18:29
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    @cde Sherlock says “I don’t remember you at all”, he doesn't say nobody taught him how to play the violin. Big difference :)
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 18:32
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    Do YOU remember the person who taught you A, B, C? I certainly don't. Then how can I even write this comment??
    – slebetman
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 3:21
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    @todd that sounds like motor skills part of the brain was damaged. Not a equivalent situation.
    – cde
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 5:00

2 Answers 2


Talents and skills are a subconscious memory, also known as procedural or implicit memory and often are excluded from amnesia, brainwashing or other memory damaging events. Memories of specific events are episodic or explicit memories. Each is stored in a different area of the brain.

So, Sherlock forgetting an episodic memory like events with his sister would not remove procedural memories like playing the violin.

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    It seemed like Sherlock was suppressing any memories that involved his sister. If that was the case, then wouldn't he also suppress the memory of being taught how to play the violin by his sister? So even if he retained the skills involved in playing, he wouldn't know he had them.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 21:09
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    @oliver no, that's the point. Skills are not the same as personal memories. His changing of one doesn't affect the other. Any example of ante grade amnesia shows this. They don't remember learning the skill or language, but still retain the skill.
    – cde
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 1:01
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    The Wikipedia article on amnesia addresses this under Childhood Amnesia. They explicitly mention how playing an instrument is different from interacting with a person. Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 1:26
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    @cde - Yes, he retains the skill, but the point is, he doesn't know he has. E.g. I don't have any memories of learning how to play the violin, so if I suddenly discover that I can, I would certainly wonder when and how I learned it. Sherlock does not have Amnesia, he is not aware that he has blocked memories.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Feb 20, 2017 at 8:43

From your question you quote "Mycroft told me you’d rewritten your memories" so the memories aren't just blocked, but actually changed. You've already given the example of how a person became a dog. So presumably he could have rewritten his memories of learning to play violin so that somebody else taught him or that he taught himself.

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