Monday, January 22, 2018

陳雷激先生紐約亞協古琴演奏會觀後紀 After seeing Chen Laiji's concert in NYC

一月20星期六 一早坐灰狗巴士到紐約市, 天氣難得稍微回暖, 不低於零下了.
當晚與學生一起去聽這場音樂會(第一次坐 lyft service 在吃完越南河粉後 準時趕到會場)

On Saturday Jan 20, 2018 I took the 10am greyhound bus to NYC. That evening I went to see this concert with my student, and experienced first time the NYC lyft service. We got there on-time after having dinner of a Vietnamese pho.  In Asia Society, I encountered many qin friends.

上面的video 有亞協整場錄影.

陳雷激先生一開始的一點關於空調噪音的含蓄抱怨, 更讓觀眾了解到彈琴聽琴, 安靜的環境非常重要. 反起到了讓觀眾更能專注在他的琴音上的效果.  只有在彈琴後, 人們才會發現我們的環境有太多噪音汙染.

The video above has the whole recording of the concert. There's a kind of episode at the beginning that  Mr. Chen's humble complaining of the air condition noise, seemed helping audience to focus more on his qin playing better. It also conveyed his idea of how important a quiet environment to the qin playing. While playing the qin, one will realized that we are living in a sound polluted environment.


The concert also included the promotion of the Gong Geng school and the school founder, Mr. Adai's organic food restaurant in Hangzho China, the Long Jing Cao Tang as well.

英文翻譯的那位女士似乎對古琴曲及古琴文化毫無所知, 因此無法有效翻譯曲目名及重點觀念. 現場似乎有3/4都是能聽得懂中英雙語的人. 如果翻譯員能更有效的翻譯, 相信會讓陳先生的意念讓那1/4的朋友都能了解到更接近他想要傳達的.

The lady who helped translate into English, seemed not quite familiar with the guqin culture and the qin music pieces. I reckon there were about 3/4 of audience can understand both English and Chinese. If the English translator can understand the qin culture better, it will be helpful to better convey Mr. Chen's idea of the qin to that 1/4 of audience.

陳先生琴音明暗對比明顯. 他的身體隨音之震動也在舞台上表露無遺. 這絕對是包含了他在法國受到的西方音樂教育有所影響. 雖然不同於一些傳統琴人認同的如: 身不搖擺,不炫耀,等之本質. 但對吸引觀眾的注意力, 有起到幫助的作用.

Mr. Chen's qin playing has strong contrast of the tone of light and heavy. His body vibrate with the sound can be seen easily on his performance. I think his western music education does influenced him quite a lot. His qin performance has good effect on letting audience concentrate better on the qin playing, which some might think it is actually against the traditional qin playing concept of that the body movement should not be showy at all. For public performance, maybe that is fine and actually helpful to promote the guqin music to people who don't know about it.

1, 安靜的環境 才能得大音希聲
2, 古琴音樂的"律動" (Pause 脈動, 但不同於西方Rhythm 節奏)有很多變化, 他用彈"龍翔操"來讓觀眾體會一下他所謂的"律動" .
3, 補白: 就像畫國畫時如何把一張白紙慢慢地填上主題, 但又不是全部填滿.
4, 中國音樂裡的愛情故事不若西方多, 多像是桃園三結義那般的故事. (這點讓很多觀眾不以為然, 特別是像崑曲裡的牡丹亭.) 稍後龍井草堂的阿戴先生為此也做出反應. 提到更多中國的愛情故事, 如白蛇傳, 梁祝等等. 我想或許是野史與正傳的不同吧. 中國的愛情故事多出在野史而不入傳書. 而古琴曲裡有關愛情的故事比例上確實也不多.

Points he has mentioned:
1, The importance of a quiet environment to understand better laozi's idea of that the greatest sound is like silent.
2, Guqin's "lu dong" (pause) is not like western's rhythm, there is many variations of lu dong. He hopes audience can understand what he mean by the "lu dong" from his qin playing of the Long Xiang Cao (Song of the flying dragon).
3, Touching up the white space: like Chinese painting fill in the white paper without filling in fully.
4, Not like western music, there is not much great love stories in Chinese music, but more like friendships between men. This point was making many audience not agree at all. And later Mr. Adai, the owner of the restaurant, also disagree and friendly point out several examples of Chinese love story, such as the legendary white snake, the Liang and Zhu, The Pavillion of Peony, etc. I think perhaps Mr. Chen was trying to say that in traditional Chinese biography, not many great love stories were recorded, but they were written in more on unofficial history book. And in guqin music, there is indeed a very tiny proportion of love stories. 


The pieces Mr. Chen had performed:
Flowing Water
Three Virations on the Plum Blossom
Wild Geese Landing on A Sandy Shore
The Song of Flying Dragon
Moon Reflected on The Second Spring (rearranged with Xiao and Erhu)
The Song of Guang Ling (partial)

以下是傳載自悉尼古琴同好會的Facebook, 可更多了解到陳雷激先生對古琴演奏的思想
Below is copied from the Facebook of Guqin in Sydney, one can better understand some of Mr. Chen's ideas of qin music and playing.

Guqin in Sydney - 悉尼古琴同好会 added 2 new photos.
陈雷激老师讲古琴 (A speech about Guqin learning by Master Chen Leiji)
一、关于音乐: About Music:
● 音和音乐是不一样的,大多数人可以弹出音,却没有音乐;
- Key notes are different to music – most people know how to play notes, but cannot express music.
● 无论流派,音乐才是最重要的;
- Regardless of you or your teacher’s “school”, MUSIC is the most important aspect.
● 音乐的画面感在演奏者心里,但你却需要通过技术把这些画面感呈现出来,让听众也感受到;
- The picture of your music only exist in the player’s own head, but you have to use your techniques to “draw” these pictures to your audience, and let them see it too.
● 音乐归根结底是人的问题,人的情怀,情怀有多大,音乐就会有多大;
- Music is dependent on the person playing it. The vision and feelings of the person. Therefore, the bigger your vision and feelings, the greater your music will be.
● 音乐中,分寸感是很重要的,也是很难掌握的;
- In music, it is very important to control the extent of expression, which is also extremely difficult to control.
● 音乐中所有的“散”以及“自由”,都要靠严谨和规则来支撑。规则是通往自由的唯一路径;
- All the breaks and freedom in music are all based on carefully measured and tested rules – rules, or understanding of music theory and interpretation is the only path to true musical freedom.
● 音乐中的每一个音都是有生命的。因此,每一个音的走向也就都有它们的道理存在;
- Every note in the music should have its own life, therefore each notes’ expression should be carefully reasoned through and expressed.
● 蔡元培先生说过:中国教育的关键是“信仰”和“科学”。中国文化中很讲“感觉”,而感觉的东西太多太虚。西方文化则注重通过严谨的方式把感觉落到实处。西方音乐和东方音乐的律动是不一样的,即使节奏型相同,但音乐中的律动都不同。西方音乐更加注重每个音之间的关系,音的关系是能够算出来的,但是,算出来之前,必须靠扎实的技术来实现;
- Master Cai Yuanpei once said: “China’s education is highly based on ‘faith’ and ‘feelings’. However, these are too vague to catch or control. Western culture on the other hand values meticulous logic, and solidify feelings through reasoning. The rhythm of Western and Eastern music are therefore different. Even based on the same tempo, the rhythms are of two origins. Western music pays great attention to the relationship between every note, and these relationships can be calculated mathematically. However only truly solid skill of your fingerings can express these relationships.
● 中国音乐的学问不是能在琴谱上看得到的
- The depth of Chinese music is not written on the music script itself, it’s more spiritual, therefore requires a lot of feelings, plus a good knowledge of the cultural historical phenomenon.
● 学习中国传统音乐,就要多听西洋音乐,听别人的才能更好地了解自己;
- To learn classical Chinese music, one need to listen more to Western music. Looking through a different perspective can help us better understand ourselves.
● 中国音乐如同中国绘画,一种白纸就已经是一幅作品。任何作画,都只是“补白”;
- Chinese music is like Chinese painting – a blank sheet of paper itself is already a piece of work. Any addition to the blankness is merely “touching up”.
二、关于古琴演奏:About Guqin Performance:
● 演奏古琴要摒弃虚荣心,人的“真”很重要;
- To perform Guqin, one has to at least temporarily leave their vanity behind. It is important to be sincere even just for the moment.
● 演奏古琴的琴人,最终还是一个文人的气质,潇洒儒雅的气质;
- Guqin is created by literati, and most music of Guqin written by literati, so a truly good performer will have the charisma of a literati – which mean it is a good idea to look through history, and see what is the Chinese’s definition of a true literati.
● 每首乐曲的第一个音,无论怎样都会是对的。但是,当第二个音一出现,与第一个音之间形成走向和关系时,对错好坏就有了;
- The first note of every single piece will always be right – you can’t make mistake with that. But it is when the second note appears, and creates a relationship and pattern with the first note, we can determine whether your performance is good or bad, and your music is correct or wronged.
● 古琴演奏中,只给演奏者两个音。用两个音的机会赋予乐曲生命,并用两个音吸引听者;
- Think about this, if in a performance, you are only given two notes, just two – to bring your music to life, and attract your audience – how would you achieve this?
● 古琴弹奏时,演奏者要清晰知道自己的演奏动机,知道为什么快,为什么慢;
- Throughout performing, the performer has to clearly understand each note they are playing, that there is a clear underlying reason to every single note – why fast, why slow.
● 古琴曲的律动与人心脏的律动是很接近的,这也是为什么古琴曲会让人舒服的原因。因此,弹奏者要与音乐在相同的律动中同呼吸,所谓“人琴合一”便是如此;
- Guqin’s rhythm is extremely similar to the rhythm of human heart, which is why many say it is very soothing listening to Guqin. Therefore, the performer has to pace their breathe as they play. Think of it as you are singing – only you are doing it through your Guqin.
● 弹奏古琴要懂得“偷懒”,这个偷懒是说让自己舒服,因为放松舒服的状态一定是好的;
Performing Guqin, one need to learn to be a little “lazy” – meaning knowing how to make yourself feel comfortable. Being comfortable helps you relax, thus perform at your best.
● 古琴演奏选择曲目时,不应该选择自己吃力的作品;
- On performaing occasion, avoid any piece that you have little or no confidence in.
三、关于日常练习:About practice:
● 古琴是练出来的,不是弹出来的;
- Guqin master come from accumulative practice, not playing without repetition and thinking.
● 古琴曲目虽然大多是节奏较慢的,但是练习中要多选择更快的曲子。这就如同你能扛得了100斤重,扛50斤的时候才会觉得轻松;
- Although most Guqin music are fairly slow in tempo, but it is important to try practice it at above normal speed. This is like if you can lift 10kg weight, then you will feel much better when you only need to lift 5kg.
● 最好的练琴时间是每次能够持续三小时,练到有些接近崩溃的时候,那个时候是最累但是也是状态最放松的;
- The best length of practice time is to continue non-stop for 3 hours, when you are almost at the verge of your energy. That is when you are the most tired, but it’s also when your body is the most relaxed.
● 同样的旋律,要努力练习更多可能的节奏型;
- Given the same melody, once you are fluent, try out different combination of tempo, looking for a new way to present it.
● 古琴弹奏中,右手非常重要,因为眼睛要看着左手,因此右手的熟练决定你的演奏技术。练习中右手的基本功因此也是最重要的;
- Right hand is very important when playing Guqin, because your eyes are constantly following your left hand. Due to this, how familiar you are with the positioning of your right hand will determine how good your overall performance will be.
● 个人练习中,要把会弹奏的作品使用固定音高唱出唱名来;
- When practicing alone, sing the melody out loud. Sing the note out too if you can.
● 练习中如果遇到困难,就要把困难拆散,先从节奏开始解决,然后看唱名,然后按照节奏唱出音高;
- If there are difficulties when practicing, first learn to break down your problems – start from tempo, then to the accuracy of the notes, and sing the notes out loud with the required tempo.
● 练习中,可以使用“画圈练习法”。就是在弹错的地方反复练习,连续演奏五遍以上都没有错误,则可以放行;
- When practicing, it is recommended to circle out the problematic parts, practice each of them repeatedly. Once you can play one part without making mistake for five repeats, move on to the next.
*Sourced from Mr Chen Leiji's Guqin seminar at Duyi Guqin School Beijing, May 2015. Translated by Yui Chi.
原始资料来源: 陈雷激老师于度一琴馆展开的师资培训研习课程,2015年5月。英文部分由Yui Chi翻译。

對於上述, 我覺得有些英文翻譯可能會有誤導, 又或許是英文翻譯才是陳先生的本意? 因為中文的部分看完再讀英文的部分, 我會有不同的理解...

 "● 古琴曲目虽然大多是节奏较慢的,但是练习中要多选择更快的曲子。这就如同你能扛得了100斤重,扛50斤的时候才会觉得轻松;
- Although most Guqin music are fairly slow in tempo, but it is important to try practice it at above normal speed. This is like if you can lift 10kg weight, then you will feel much better when you only need to lift 5kg."

I would like to say when practicing, try practice it below normal speed at the beginning, until you are really familiar with the piece, then speed it up. I think the Chinese part is trying to say that pick a difficult piece to practice, later you will find playing other pieces becomes rather easier. And the difficult piece has parts that need to be playing fast.

"● 演奏古琴要摒弃虚荣心,人的“真”很重要;
- To perform Guqin, one has to at least temporarily leave their vanity behind. It is important to be sincere even just for the moment."

I am not sure if the English translation is actually what Master Chen was saying. In the Chinese part, it does not say "temporarily" and "even just for the moment." When I read the Chinese part, my thinking is "always" but not "temporarily."

1/22/2018 于紐約上州