Is there a study of the role of music in friendship, a study of the way in which music helps people establish and maintain strong friendships, the way the love of music becomes a powerful code of communication for close friends?
I take as an example of music’s resonance in friendship my sonic intimacy with Pantelis Polychronidis, my “other self.” A major plateau of our friendship is our collaborative listening – namely, not listening together but listening to each other’s listening together. My listening to his listening with me and my putting together musical “works” with him makes Pantelis the contrapuntal part of my listening self. Making music together is the basic dialectic of our reciprocity. In addition, I have been reading (that is, participating in) his reading of texts such as lyrics, libretti, poetry, scholarship, biography and much more. It is exhilarating to converse just by citing or quoting textual sources we both know well.
Now, if he teaches me to read music, I will be able to read his ultimate reading, the musical one. Reading music together would mean reading his reading of a score with me, reaching a new plateau of our collaborative friendship. Reading the same scores would bring our listening and our reading together. To our conversations by a piano we would add more conversations, this time on a score.
Together we co-habit a resounding present, we achieve a presence in flux. Our friendship always unfolds and at the same time remains in suspension. Once he has taught me how to read a score, the unknowability of music, whose reading also leaves us in suspense, will reinforce the performative understanding of our friendship – the sense that, like music playing, friendship too is a performance, not a score: each actualization is unique.
Think of all the pieces you hear, the paintings you see, the lyrics you recite, and the places you experience in the unique way that a dear friend of yours has heard, seen, recited, and experienced them with you. In all these instances the two of you have not just shared but remade the world together. Friends promise each other to a shared future of at-tunement with new worlds, new musical spheres of their own making.
1 October 2019