On the Objectivity of Music

Very unformed thoughts, but wanted to write them down.

Reading Dialogue 2: Grooving on Participation, with Charles Keil and Steven F. Keil brings up Tiv:

I found out that Tiv just weren’t interested in the emotional, metaphorical stuff. They were only interested in the techniques behind really god songs. When I’d ask whether a song sung at a funeral was a sad song, the response was no, the song could be sung the next day at a dance and then it would be a happy song….So it was perfectly clear to the Tiv that there were no emotional reference points that could be tied with any degree of reliability to the syntax or to the song itself. Everything was dependent upon the individual.

…She says, “You’re trying to tell me that I should hear music a certain way, and I’m telling you that when I listen to a Bach cantata, some mornings it makes me silly, laughing, giggly, giddy, and I think it’s the brightest, sunniest thing I’ve ever heard. The next morning, I can put the same Bach cantata on, and I am in tears, totally devastated. It’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. And this is the same piece of music, and that’s how it is for me, and you can’t say how it should be.” So she is a Tiv, right? She is saying that the music is absolutely neutral.”

I realized that this may be true, but words are not neutral. Songs have words that are more or less explicit in meaning and emotion.

This is why jazz, classical art music, other non-verbal music is fascinating – it’s interpretive. All those years of piano lessons, with teachers asking me, “what do you feel here?” It can be different every time. I should be different every time.



A guy, who I now realize looked a lot like JKm in his height and his hands, was hitting on me a lot like this one guy had hit on me (future self: he messaged you on fb). Very confident, making good conversation. We were walking to a spin class, and his hand kept reaching for mine, while I kept laughing and swatting it away, before finally telling him I had a boyfriend. He immediately sobered up.

“Can we still be friends?” I asked.

“No,” he said. He’s only wanted a relationship, not a friendship. We stop talking and hanging out.

I was watching a spin class performance of sorts, but with three different leaders, that honestly had nothing to do with each other. The first was my roommate, or a cross between my roommate and this other girl (future self: she’s the coordinator for your midnight job; she oozed confidence in a very LaS sort of way, and you admired her easy leadership). My roommate was conducting the spin class – as in musical conducting. She conveys so much emotion and feeling in her movements it’s amazing. I am jealous, I realize now because I need to feel that I am more deserving than my roommate.

The second is some sort of angular, broken doll dance. Very, very odd.

Another Shot for FF

So FF inexplicably said hi to me, complimented my sweater, walked out of class with my friend and I making conversation, and went out of his way to get me to hang out in his room.

He’s a very easy person to be around, and he’s quite fun to talk to, and I suppose, if I’m honest with myself, I also see him as physically attractive. Finally, I find him fascinating as someone to analyze and understand. That’s probably why I keep giving him chances, and why I was receptive to his friendliness today, although I’d already told myself to not trust him after his proven flakiness last semester deemed him not worth the effort.

We hung out in his room, and again he amazed me with his musical insight, this time into the new Kanye album. He’s intelligent. He’s kind of free. He’s everything I wished I was – untethered to career pursuits, intellectual, effortless.

He seemed, as he did last semester, very willing to be friends. But with a certain wariness, I didn’t let myself be swayed by him as I did last semester. I didn’t skip class, despite his pleas. I didn’t skip the event I’d decided to attend, instead he simply followed me there. I’d told myself I would not make exceptions for him, and I’m proud to say I didn’t.

I brought up his flakiness, and he attributed it just to his spotty phone checking. And then I straight up confronted him, quite bluntly. More bluntly than I usually would, to the point of purposely straining the interaction, because (and I deliberately did this) I wanted to see if I could get him to either apologize or beg for friendship. I did this with reckless spirit, simply because I did not care whether the friendship happened or not – I am still annoyed and angry and after how things went last semester, I refuse to tolerate similar behavior from him again.

I made him explain himself. I made him run after me and hug me and beg. But as I type, I realize: he never apologized.

So: still no expectations. I will not go out of my way for FF. I will not make isolated time for him. I will invite him and expect nothing. And I will not be disappointed.

Doubts about JKm

Valentine’s Day dinner was…uneventful. We sat, we ate.

The thing that worries me is that I’ve realized I have trouble finding things to talk about with JKm. Not that we have nothing in common, but we don’t seem to talk about the same things. We don’t think the same way.

He avoids any and all confrontation – friendly debates don’t happen. He’s hesitant to give his opinion if it’s any different from mine. And when I push him, he just nods and accepts it – no push back, no counterargument, just a deliberate passive ending of the discussion. All our conversation revolves around little cutesy inside jokes involving our physical relationship, and our physical relationship itself.

He also seemingly has no inner reflection or issues.I’ve realized strong relationships grow out of vulnerability, and hardship is required for vulnerability to happen. He’s not hiding anything from me; he’s completely open, but there’s just nothing for him to entrust me with.

I can’t end things – he’s an amazing person, I truly care for him and him for me. But I want so badly for things to go to a deeper level.

I Eeked Out A Portrait of ES

I probably haven’t mentioned ES on here at all, because she’s a bit removed from the rest of the people I know here, although she’s still among my four closest friends.

I hung out with her tonight, and I think I can finally start to say I am beginning to wrap my head around her.

A bit of background: I made an effort to get to know her at first partly because she was so kind, partly because she was so intelligent and insightful in class, and (after talking to her for more than 10 minutes) partly because I realized she was absolutely fascinating to probe.

Every sentence of her nonstop, even-fired words revealed another ridiculous, could-not-be-true tidbit of her seemingly fantastical life. Combined with a casual modesty, the effect was off-setting. I became determined to prove her wrong; to prove that she was lying. I pointed out random holes in her stories, asked for proof, checked her references. I couldn’t believe she existed.

And yet, I never got to know her. Time spent with her left me in a good mood because of her kindness, but befuddled and somewhat frustrated because of my lack of understanding. I was never satisfied. I couldn’t pin her down. She talked and talked and it was only until recently that I realized she’d never quite answered my questions.

But today. Today, I confronted her and forced her to talk about herself, truly, and presented to her her own oddities. And I finally got answers.

Positive driving factors, but none negative. A lack of remorse, psychopathic tendencies. What she described as a constructed, conscious kindness in the place of an innate one. Keen insight into other people – what I saw and then some. Friendship vs. knowing someone well vs. knowing someone emotionally. Caring about something/one, but not being emotionally invested.

Very, very interesting. And although I got some answers, I still can’t describe her fully like I can other people. More to come.

I Literally Just Wrote Out A Plan for WH

Go to gym, see if I still want to be friends with him.

If yes,


  1. You hurt me by being on and off friends with me randomly and without warning all last semester, and especially the beginning of this semester. I stopped feeling welcome/good/happy around you because you always shot me down and avoided me, while I was unprepared and without an emotional safety net because I expected a friend to do anything but.
  2. Things are weird for me now because I feel like you’re going to do it again, and I question why I continue to subject myself to rejection when it fucking hurts.
  3. I’ve decided to forgive you. 
  4. Will we still be friends? Only if we have open communication, and if you’re bailing on me randomly again, please tell me and let me know why. On my part, I will call you out on it. And that time would probably be the end of our friendship, because I don’t have time for this frenemy shit.

Fuck this. Of course I want to be friends with him still. It’s WH.

Confronting WH

I thought about confronting WH earlier today, and when the lounge dwindled to just the two of us and the tension was palpable in the air, WH just came out and said it.

“I just want us to be back.”

I wasn’t going to talk to him at that moment, but it just sort of came out.

“You never told me why,” I told him, keeping my voice steady. “You apologized, but you never explained.”

And he vaguely explained then. Apparently he’d still liked me up until we got back from winter break. That’s why he’d stopped texting me back. That’s why he’d been distant. And while I sort of get it, it’s shit. It was really shit. Why didn’t he tell me? He didn’t want me to feel uncomfortable.

But dealing with shit up front is so much better than letting one person be confused. Letting one person think they’d done something wrong, or that they had some sort of personality flaw that made them unfit for friendship. Letting that person chase the other and lean on that shoulder that isn’t there because it’s not feeling the friendship but is too wussy to let the other know.

WH, you were a straight asshole to me. I don’t trust you anymore. And I don’t know whether to let myself trust you again. I don’t know.