Thursday, April 23, 2015

Guqin Timeline, 玩古圖, 知音

Here is a timeline that we can see some major events happen in the qin history.

After Confucius, There are 4 major arts favored by ancient Chinese literary class, the Qin, follow by the Go (Chinese Chess), Calligraphy and Painting.  This 14th century painting by Du Jin, who was active in the middle of the Ming dynasty from around 1465 to 1509, is called "Enjoying Antiquities". 

Two ladies in a screened enclosure, one unwrapping a qin and the other preparing a incense burner.

a person charring a large painting scroll and a "weiqi" (Go) game board. 

On the top left of this painting, there is some description from the artist:   
"Enjoying antiquities was common before, being studied for their high aspiration. 
By esteeming shapes and providing names, ritual and music are to be found within them. 
A day without ritual and music, and humanity would fall from grace. 
To perform and uphold them, this is what I have endeavored. [Signed] Chengju, Du Jin. 
--National Taiwan Palace Museum

知音 Friendship
Bo Ya (伯牙) was a qin player from the Spring and Autumn Period or the Warring States period. He was known by his first name of "Boya", although his surname may have been Yu (俞), thus his complete name is sometimes given as Yu Boya (俞伯牙). The Lute Platform in HanyangWuhan, China was where musician Yu Boya is said to have played. He is associated with the guqin pieces Gao Shan 《高山》 ("high mountains") and Liu Shui 《流水》 ("flowing water").
According to Qin ShiLiezi said:
"Bo Ya was good at playing the qin. Zhong Ziqi was good at to listening to the qin. When Bo Ya's will was towards high mountains in his playing, Zhong Ziqi would say, 'How towering like Mount Tai!' When Bo Ya's will was towards flowing water in his playing, Zhong Ziqi would say, 'How vast are the rivers and oceans!' Whatever Bo Ya thought of Ziqi would never fail to understand. Bo Ya said, 'Amazing! Your heart and mine are the same!' When Ziqi died, Bo Ya broke the strings [of his qin] and vowed never to play [the qin] again. Thus, there was the melody of High Mountains Flowing Water." --Wiki

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Qin Lecture at Kean University

Monday April the 20th afternoon 4:30pm to 5:30 pm, 2015, at Kean University World Music Culture class in NJ, was my 2nd time giving a lecture about the qin for Prof. James Musto's students. Taken from my last year's experience, this time I decided to do more interaction with the students. Prof. Musto recognized the intimate quality that the qin has, so he asked the students to sit closer to me and the guqin. It went very well in that the students were very attentive to my talking and playing and asked many good questions.

I still used slides to remind myself not to miss any of the most important parts I think, of the guqin. This time, I focused more on the qin as a life style and what the feeling that qin music could bring to the audience, and then qin construction, silk string, notation, and lacquer cracks, etc. From the questions that Prof. Musto and his students asked, I was able to answered all of them and they are all in my preparation. That really made me feel pretty good. I only played “Innocent Seagulls” and “The dialog between the fisherman and woodcutter”, but enough for Prof. Musto and the students to hear the essential quality that the qin music has. The students were very impressed that the left hand can create a lot of nuances timbre, and one student told me that although qin music is not very loud, she really felt such powerful quietness that drove her full attention to the music.

I really enjoy this kind of interaction, better than sitting tight to listen a lecture or a performance. I am really appreciate that Prof. Musto and Dean Dr. Arasimowicz gave me this opportunity to share my love of the guqin to the World Music Culture students at Kean University.

2015年四月二十日下午四時三十分, 在新澤西州的肯恩大學世界音樂文化課上, 我再度分享了古琴音樂與文化給Musto 教授的學生們. 這是繼去年同樣的課程, 今年再度受邀. 非常感謝Arasimowicz 校長以及Musto 教授再度給予我這次機會分享我對古琴的熱愛.

這次不同於去年, 我決定要與學生多一點交流. Musto 教授也發現到古琴小眾的特性, 於是要學生們坐離我與古琴再近一點. 這樣確實很有幫助, 學生們很投入, 問了很多非常好的問題. 我還是有使用投影片來輔助我的說明使我不會漏掉任何我覺得重要的內容. 這一次我放入更多的焦點在:琴在古人生活中的地位,以及琴音帶給聽眾什麼樣的感受. 然後也介紹琴的結構, 絲絃, 琴譜, 指法, 以及斷紋等等. Musto 教授與他的學生們提出的種種問題, 我的回答可以說是幾乎含概了我準備的所有內容, 這讓我感到很高興.

琴曲方面我只彈了''鷗鷺忘機''''漁樵問答'', 但已讓大家能夠聽到琴音中最精華的特質. 學生們對彈琴左手能產生出非常細微又多樣的音質感到印象深刻. 有一位女學生跟我說她覺得雖然琴的音量不大, 但她感受到那種安靜的片刻有一股很強的力量讓她完全投入到琴音中. Musto 教授在聽了漁樵問答後感言音中的對答似乎含概了整個人生的種種經歷, 有起有落...他覺得這琴音中有太多的東西在裡頭. 我覺得這樣討論比乖乖的坐在那聽演講或演奏更有意思. 我感到非常高興這樣的互動.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

格古要論 古鏡

唐代真子飛霜鏡. 充滿道家思想.
Dec 13 2014 to Apr 26 2015 an exhibition of A Discovery from the Maritime Silk Route at Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, Canada. And there is this one bronze mirror from Tang dynasty

古人鑄鏡 必用青銅 制作精緻 惟唐鏡紐最高大 故諺云"唐大鼻"

"真子飛霜" 之名來自傳說中的古神仙玄真子以及唐李沇的
方响歌 的最後兩句



The 4 Chinese characters on the mirror are Zheng Zi Fei Shuang. Zhengzi is a legend daoist master. Fei Shuang "Flying frost" might came from a Tang poem. 李沇的方响歌. Together it might be trying to give the image of that music can bring us to aloof realm.