Wednesday, April 4, 2018

About Rhapsody, Fu 賦

Layout of Prof Yang Ye's talk. 
Saturday, March 31, 2018 at Bard College 9:30 am - 4:30 pm, I attended the Conference - Harmony And Power: The Role of Music in the Cultivation of the Literati in Ancient China

The last talk in the morning section was presented by Prof. Ye Yang from University of California, Riverside (Comparative Literature)

His talk was:
From Musical Instruments to Human Voice:
The Representation of Music in the Rhapsody
Comments by Ying Li-Hua, from Bard College (Art History)

Prof. Yang believes that Fu originally started in the south, not in the Yellow River valley, and was from the land of 屈原 Qu yuan. He also assumes that Fu has a lot to do with shamanism in the beginning.

Prof. Yang finished his talk by using a quote from a conversation between Huan Wen and Meng Jia : 絲不如竹, 竹不如肉  Silk (string instrument) is not as good as bamboo (wind instrument); Bamboo is not as good as human flesh (human voice) -- gradually get closer to nature.

Prof. Ying Li-hua commented that "Fu" (Rhapsody) is meant to celebrate and glorify, exaggerated and over the top, but has the core of a poem.

She questioned the English translation of the word "Xiao 嘯", Whistling. According to Prof. Yang, Xiao was not actually whistling, it is a kind of Daoist practice. She hopes Prof. Yang can show us what the Xiao sounds like. But Prof Yang did not try to do what "Xiao" sounds like.

Prof. Yang answered one audience question about whether Rhapsody is similar to todays Rap music. He says that it is impossible today to write Rhapsody... please listen from the video at the 48-minute.

Sound recording of Prof. Yang's talk: (please do not share, as this video is for personal use only.)


因為聽了此場演講, 本來就對賦並不孰悉, 如今更想弄個清楚

臺靜農先生 的[中國文學史]中說到"賦":
賦 誦也 這種文體是誦讀而不是歌唱
漢書 藝文志: 不歌 而誦謂之賦
聲音拉長為歌 (書: 歌永言)
聲音有頓挫為賦 (周禮 大司樂: 以聲節之曰誦)
誦其言謂之詩, 詠其言謂之歌 (漢書藝文志)
賦的文體是朗誦的 內容則是鋪陳政教善惡的
漢 楊雄認為: 詩人之賦麗以則 辭人之賦麗以淫 (則有criterion的意思, 淫有over the top 的意思)
楊雄認為賦並沒有勸戒的功能, 而是類似排優 (藝伎 skillful actor)

I recommend a good book worth to read:
R.H. Van Gulik 高羅佩 wrote:

Hsi K'ang and his Poetical Essay on the Lute (嵇康 琴賦)

with English translation 

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