Thursday, July 30, 2015

琴訣 Qin Knack 琴之善 benefits of playing the qin

琴如何溶入我們的生活當中進而起到提昇我們的生活, 或幫助我們更好的生活? 古人又是怎麼做的?  因為一位學生的提問, 讓我也仔細地想了一下這個問題. 雖不敢說一定有標準答案, 但唐朝薛易簡的[琴訣]中似乎有類似的說明, 可古人言簡意深,仍然給予後人很大的想像空間. 我還是嘗試翻譯了[琴訣]

The reason for me to write this down is because a qin student bought this very interesting questions and makes me really want to spend some time to think it carefully. How does the qin playing will help incorporate one's life? and how did ancient qin players do to better their life? Although I might not yet find the perfect answer, the [Qin Jue] (Qin Knack) written by a qin master Xue Yi-jian (742-756) from Tang dynasty came into my mind first. Yet, ancient people's simple words deep meaning still left us a lot of imagination. 

I'd like to try to translation the Tang dynasty [Qin Jue] by Xue Yi-jian

[Qin Knack]

“琴之為樂,可以觀風教,可以攝心魂,可以辨喜怒,可以悅情思,可以靜神慮,可以壯膽勇,可以絕塵俗,可以格鬼神。此琴之善者也。鼓琴之士,志靜氣正,則聽者易分。心亂神濁,則聽者難辨矣。”


Qin as music, can observe one's custom and enlightenment; can settle down one's mind and spirit; can distinguish and cheer up one's emotions; can calm one's worries; can embolden one's confidence; can break one away from vulgar world; can differentiate one's negative and positive energy. That is the benefits from the guqin. When the qin player has calm mind and correctitude energy, listeners can understand the music easily. When the qin player is fretting,  listeners will have difficulty to understand the music.



“常人但見用指輕利,取聲溫潤,音韻不絕,句度流美。但賞為能,殊不知志士彈之,聲韻皆有所主也。夫正直勇毅者聽之,則壯氣益增。孝行節操者聽之,則中情感傷。貧乏孤苦者聽之,則流涕縱橫。便佞浮囂者聽之,則斂容莊謹。是以動人心感神明者,無以加於琴。蓋其聲正而不亂,足以禁邪止淫也。今人多以雜音悅樂為貴,而琴見輕矣。”

Most of people appreciate a good qin playing by paying attentions on how easy and favorable the fingerings are, how smooth and comfortable the sound is, how the melody goes without a break and how phrases after phrases running beautifully. But they don't realize that a qin player with ideals and integrity, whose music will have notions, and it will strengthen a brave and honest person's energy. It will touching a filial person's emotion. It will bring tears out from a lonely poor person. It will influence a flattery impetuous person to be stately and cautious.

“今所彈者,皆研精歲久,並師傳勘譜,親授拽法,猶未敢​​言妙。每以授人,聲數句度。用指法則毫寸不差,如指下妙音,亦出人性分,不可傳也。嘗覽操弄之名,凡數百首。然自古琴者,工三兩弄,便有不朽之名。或自製雜弄,或傳習舊聲。固不以彈多為妙也。今人皆不知志,惟務多為,故云多則不精,精則不多也。”

The pieces we are playing now have been studied for ages and were inherited and examined by masters who taught us in person, yet still not dare to say we can play fantastically. When teaching the guqin, only couple phrases at a time. Make sure each fingering is exactly correct. However wonderful sound came out under the fingers has to depend on each player's personality which cannot be taught. One often see people like to be famous by how many pieces they can play, such as several hundred of pieces.  In the early day, qin players focus on mastering only two or three pieces, they gain an enduring reputation. Or they compose short melodies, or they teach ancient melodies. Because they believed that a good qin player do not satisfied with how many pieces he or she can play but how well a piece he or she can play.

...

這位提問的學生已經是年過花甲的美國爸爸. 他就他個人的人生體驗, 從彈古琴當中看到了自己的情緒與對生活的認知. 當他說出他的看法時, 我感到很驚訝也很感動也很敬佩. 他一直從事木工建築的工作, 卻能在彈琴當中找到人生的道理. 

他的生活曾經且同時也還正在經歷著許多起起伏伏, 因工作關係傷了右手食指與中指的指甲, 基本上已無法再生新指甲, 而舊指甲也凹凸不平整, 跟本無助於彈琴, 可他堅持不放棄. 試過一些方法最終決定不用指甲彈而用肉彈. 就像傳說中管平湖先生也是用肉不用甲. 他感到彈出的聲音自己也還滿意. 

因為手指的障礙, 影響到彈琴時整個身體手臂的姿勢, 我提點他改進, 他也很認真的一點一點的慢慢改進. 當他曲子彈的熟了一點就會彈快而忽略了一些細節, 我請他放慢, 聽自己彈的每一個音. 他說我的提點真的有幫助他體會到彈琴就像人生. 其實應該放慢腳步去體會每一個當下, 而不是只顧前瞻後忘了當下才是自己. 他說他看到了自己的 緊張, 害怕, 然後嘗試放下, 再嘗試提起, 進到新的一個level, 感到自己提昇了一些, 感到愉悅, 接著又像是一個循環, 又遇到了緊張, 害怕, 於是再放下, 再拿起, 再進到一個新的提昇. 再感到一種愉悅.... 

琴之善, 在於有沒有發現, 有沒有用心... 







Friday, July 24, 2015

Wood hardness 有關木頭硬度

前日因屋旁大數搖曳間損毀了屋角的排水槽, 遂請樹工來整修此樹, 得知為胡桃樹(Black Walnut), 砍下了兩大樹幹, 先生請樹工保留砍下的長度, 以便日後我們可以拿來利用做家中裝潢木材. 對於我當然只會想到能不能做成琴材...

上網問了臉友, Jim 有將胡桃木做成琴底. 人傑兄傳此Link: http://tieba.baidu.com/p/2220819584
也列出了適合琴面板與底板的琴材. 感謝.

也有琴友說胡桃木太硬, 於是讓我想瞭解怎樣是屬於硬木怎樣是屬於軟木
於是又上網查了木頭硬度比值, 以下是一些參考資料:

http://tinytimbers.com/pdf/chart_janka.pdf
此Link 顯示不同木材硬度表
Black Walnut 比起很多種硬木似乎還不算最硬的, 顯示核桃木在71種木頭中硬度只排第八位.

http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/paulownia/
Janka Hardness: 300 lbf (1,330 N) <-- Paulownia 泡桐硬度 (一般做琴的面版)

http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/softwoods/northern-white-cedar/
Janka Hardness: 320 lbf (1,420 N) <-- 美東雪松硬度(比梓木及胡桃木都要軟, 只比泡桐硬一點點)

http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/softwoods/pacific-silver-fir/
Janka Hardness:  430 lbf (1,910 N) <-- 銀杉

www.wood-database.com/?s=spruce
390 -510 lbf <-- 雲杉

http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/softwoods/red-spruce/
Janka Hardness: 490 lbf (2,180 N) <--紅雲杉木

http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/catalpa/
Janka Hardness: 550 lbf (2,450 N)<-- 梓木硬度(一般做琴的底板,比胡桃木少約一半的硬度 lbf pound force)

http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/softwoods/aromatic-red-cedar/
Janka Hardness: 900 lbf (4,000 N) <-- 紅杉

http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/camphor/
Janka Hardness: 950 lbf (4,440 N) <-- 樟木

http://www.wood-database.com/lumber-identification/hardwoods/black-walnut/
Janka Hardness: 1,010 lbf (4,490 N) <-- Black Walnut 胡桃木硬度 (或可做琴的底板)

http://www.wood-database.com/?s=rosewood
Janka Hardness: from 1,210 lbf (5,400 N)  to 3,350 lbf (14,900 N) <-- 各種花梨木 (都非常硬)

這麼看來如果拿梓桐合木為琴的概念來看, 面板硬度約300 lbf, 底板硬度約550 lbf. 我想琴材的面軟底硬也是相對的. 只要有好的互相振動關係. 是吧?

Jim 說: " The hardness thing is something to consider but there are other factors too - e.g., the thickness of the piece that you use, the flexibility of the wood (e.g., Paulownia is very flexible), and perhaps most important, the inherent resonance....Paulownia has very very high resonance. rosewood is actually pretty resonant and consider a pipa with a paulownia front and a rosewood back - it will "shake"" -- Jim Binkley
硬度是要考慮的,但也有很多其他因素 - 比如厚度,木材的柔韌性(例如,泡桐是非常靈活的),也許最重要的是,內在的共振。泡桐有很好的共振, 而花黎木也是, 如果用泡桐面板花梨木做底板的琵琶會讓你感到"振動"

最不硬的木種: http://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/top-ten-softest-woods/
提到:

Paulownia

(Paulownia spp.)

260 lbf (1,160 N)

The other Balsa. Paulownia can be very light and soft, and is really the only other wood that at times can even approach Balsa’s lightness. Ironically, both are hardwoods.
泡桐與另一種木Balsa 是最輕最軟的木, 但它們其實都屬硬木.
--------------

關於梧桐跟泡桐:

梧桐跟泡桐是不同的樹, 屬於不同目不同科不同屬
Wutong 梧桐: 錦葵目(Malvales) , 梧桐科(Sterculiaceae), 梧桐屬 Firmiana
Paotong 泡桐: 唇形目 Lamiales, 泡桐科 Paulowniaceae, 泡桐屬 Paulownia


Firmiana simplex 青桐, 梧桐
梧桐葉有三或五個裂口, 泡桐葉是沒有裂口或只是很淺的裂口

Paulownia 泡桐
https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/泡桐屬

另外一提, 法國梧桐又是完全不同種的樹
目:山龍眼目 Proteales
科:懸鈴木科 Platanaceae
屬:懸鈴木屬 Platanus
種:法桐 P. orientalis




Friday, July 10, 2015

招隱 Seeking a Lofty Recluse

打譜自: 神奇秘譜

神奇秘譜曰: 臞仙案琴史曰 是曲乃西晉時左思字太沖. 見天下溷濁, 將招尋隱者, 欲退不仕, 乃作招隱詩云: 杖策招隱士,荒塗橫古今。巖穴無結構,丘中有鳴琴。白雲停陰岡,丹葩曜陽林。石泉漱瓊瑤,纖鱗或浮沉。非必絲與竹,山水有清音。何事待嘯歌?灌木自悲吟。秋菊兼餱糧,幽蘭間重襟。躊躇足力煩,聊欲投吾簪。

("臞仙"一般是形容身體清瘦,目光炯炯、精神健旺的老人 hale and hearty)
(Zuo Si 左思: 250–305) 

Around the 3rd century to the 6th century, after Han dynasty, China entered an era of disunity and warfare. Zuo Si was living in this chaotic society and felt that he wanted to find a recluse to follow and abandon his official job. He made two poem about Seeking a lofty recluse. Here is one of it and the qin melody [Zhao Yin] with lyric is based on this poem. 

My attempt translation of the poem by Zuo Si:

Holding my walking stick and seeking a hidden lofty recluse. The road is deserted as if no one ever walked there before from ancient times. I see only a cave above the rocks without any house, but there seems to be someone playing the Qin. White clouds stay on the northern hill against the sun while red flowers bloom on top of trees brightly on the southern side of the mountain. Spring water splashes between beautiful jade stones, fish swim up and down in the water. Does it really need any silk and bamboo music or singing since there is such beautiful scenery and the natural pure melody from mountain and water already. Wind blowing through shrubs naturally create sorrowful chants. Autumn chrysanthemum mixed in my food. Picking a wild orchid and putting it on my collar. I wandered for a long time and now my legs are feeling tired. How about abandoning my hairpin (means abandon his official job) and dwelling here.

又有招隱曲云: 
山中鳴琴。萬籟聲沉沉。何泠泠。石溜寒泉縈心。
未必絲竹如清音。不如歸去。踟躕投吾簪。
歸去來。丹葩耀林。歸去來。幽蘭澗深。
灌木自吟。松竹陰。遑遑何之。三徑為君尋。
籬下黃花散金。振衣躑躅彈冠塵。
莫教雙鬢蕭蕭霜雪侵。


My attempt translation of the lyrics:

There is a Qin playing somewhere in the mountain,
All kinds of sound are quiet down now, 
How cool and clear it is. 
The sound of cold spring water over the jade stone curl around my heart. 
Even silk string and bamboo flute might not sound as pure as this. 
I should soon abandon my hairpin and go back to nature. 
Let me go back to nature, red flowers are shining on top of the tree. 
Let me go back to nature,  there is an elegant orchid next to the clear deep spring water. 
When wind blows through shrubs, it naturally creates chants. 
Pine tree and bamboo create shade. 
Why were you so busy for fame and fortune? 
The hidden path and dwelling is all for you. 
Chrysanthemum under the bamboo fence are blooming. 
Hurry up shaking off the dust on your clothes and hat. 
Do not let the mundane world whiten your hair on the temples.


故有是操

隱士 (yinshi) a hidden man or men-in-reclusion, in Chinese history can be dated back to a gentleman, Xuyou 許由(about 2323~2244 BCE) who rejected emperor Yao's offer of ruling over the entire realm. "Xuyou felt besmirched just by having heard the offer; he rinsed out his ears and headed off to the mountains for the rest of his untrammeled days." ([Patterns of Disengagement - The Practice and Portrayal of Reclusion in Early Medieval China] by Alan J. Berkowitz).

中史上的隱士一般不是指沒沒無聞退隱之人 , 而是帶有自我認知, 高尚人格, 高知識的傑出人物, 我們或是會直覺浪漫地以為隱士是那些安詳自在住在深山裡不參與任何社交活動的思想怪異的社會邊緣人. 其實他們多半是儒家的隱士...



Please listen the melody without singing:

with singing: