Sunday, April 7, 2019

留白 Liu Bai

Sunrise by Claude Monet (1840-1926) 

Xiao Xiang Eight Scenery 瀟湘八景(partial 局部) by Yuang dynasty Zhang Yuan 張遠

上圖畫面飽滿, 下圖給予多處留白. 均為上品. 
古琴音樂乃道家思維, 大音希聲, 
絲弦, 走手音, 吟猱綽注, 少息, 大息, 等等元素產生留白, 
是氣, 是韻, 而不是聽不見就表示音死. 反是生, 是生命的氣韻的象徵.
"人", 也就是創作者, 彈琴者, 的心, 氣, 與音的合一. 

當留白產生, 聽之以心. 則天人合一, 
超然, 雄渾, 於內心產生. 

I used the above two paintings to compare the concept of philosophical aesthetic view between Western classical music and Chinese guqin music. The painting above is full, while the painting below has a lot of blank space.  Both paintings are top grade. Guqin music involves Daoist philosophy -- such as "the greatest sound is almost no sound," and the using of silk strings, the sliding techniques, vibratos, pauses, long pauses, etc,. which are the elements to create space (Liu Bai, reserve white), which symbolized the "qi" (energy), and *"yun" (a leftover sound). If one cannot hear the leftover sound, do not think it is a dying sound. On the contrary, it is still alive. It is the heaven and human as oneness. "Human" is the composer, the player, whose heart and qi combined with the nature (heaven).

In addition to the basic senses, there is the cognition of the mind. It is not necessary that to show a  lively music, one must create rich notes to  fully fill a given space. When there is "Liu Bai", the listener listens with his or her mind, to become one with heaven, and a transcendental or a powerful elegant feeling is developed. However, there is a gradual fusion between the actual objects and the Liu Bai. To achieve that gradual fusion, one must be able to achieve certain techniques first.

Thanks to Shuengit's comment:
Shuengit Chow: "reserve white", white is an opaque physical piment (color) - shouldnt Liu Bai be more like leaving "empty spaces", "un touched", and not a white color (in English that is) in Chinese bai, means not only white, but "un-touched"


*Yun 韻, relates to the sense of rhythm as well.