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2010年12月26日 星期日

情深義重

前言:

我年青時很渴望做作家。可是,父母反對得很勵害。所以就放棄了,轉學機械工程,但換來的是一事無成。

雖說是出身理科,我的文學水平,或許比不上老友蕭才子,卻不覺得比別人差很多。在我自學的中國文學裏,尤其喜歡古典韻文和現代散文。所以,我年青時就在雜誌裏發表了不少散文和古典詩詞,也在年前拿過一個寫作音樂評論文章的比賽亞軍。

我的好朋友 B Tam,常說自己是理科人,對事對物,都以實用的角度去看。可是,我卻常見她情緒起伏多變,多愁善感,動不動就眼濕濕,似足一個詩人。真奇怪,我想難道那些 engine 可以抹去她的眼淚? 不用多說,又是一個在人生路途裏,上錯了車的人。真是同是天涯淪落人。(可是她是否應的)

閒話休題,現以這篇文章,獻給所有準備結婚的朋友,聊表寸心。




情深義重

知道老朋友要結婚,心裏很替他高興。但同時也接到另一位朋友來電訴苦,告知我他和女友要分手了。我真不知怎樣安慰他。原來我的朋友和那個女孩子已相識多年,接近談婚論嫁的階段。現在對方突然跟我朋友揮一揮手,就勞燕分飛。我聽後心裏不禁感慨萬千,只嘆世事變幻,多麼無常,多麼無情。

我們做人,應該怎樣看情義呢? 當然,朋友相交,以義為重。這也是中華民族固有的特質。要將情義這種特質翻做英語,幾乎沒有完全相稱的字詞。我對男女相愛的看法是: 愛情不該只有情,還該有義。這就是我們中國人常說的 情深似海,義重如山了。

海,予人的感覺是動盪不安,而山卻是穩重不移的。澎湃的海浪雖是多姿多采,既充滿了浪漫,也揚溢激情,令人回味無窮。但無論如何,總不及穩定的山,能給人一份天長地久,永恆不變的感覺。男女相悅,郎情妾意,雖說是盟誓旦旦,但如果相方沒有培養義這種特質,在這人慾橫流,物質至上的世界裏,總不免受到影響,最後還是分手告終,各走異路。熾熱的愛根本就不能使人體會到義才能給予對方更多幸福,更多喜樂。由此可見,夫妻患難相依,至死不渝,絕不能只靠情來維繫。夫妻本是同林鳥,大難臨頭各自飛。這些只是有情無義的愛,是片面的,飄忽的。來時甜蜜,去時凄楚; 世間只有含義的情,才是真摯,才是永恆。男女兩情相悅,至白頭到老,由情深似海,到義重如山,才是情愛的真諦。

想起朋友的遭遇,不禁慨歎一句: 人生無別離,豈知恩義重。



David Leung
1980 (published)
2010 (revised and published)

Ways of Listening (怎樣聆聽音樂)

Forward:

The following article investigates the issue of how a listener hears art music. Unlike common discussions on the similar topic, this article opens a new and creative perspective for one to understand music from the receptive side .


Note: Since the following essay is a qualified academic paper presented at The University of Hong Kong, I have reserved the main portion, which contains some important new findings of mine, to prevent plagiarism. Hereby published is only the introduction section of this paper. If anyone who would like to go through the whole paper, please contact me directly.


Ways of Listening: Aesthetics, Metaphors and

Quotations in Music


Introduction

    For some listeners, the response is almost instantaneous.  A mistuned March parade easily sparks the most spectacular sound picture in Ives’ orchestral set.  A hurdy-gurdy waltz furtively occasions in the movement of the most ambitious Mahler’s symphonic music.  The ability in both to weave banalities into wonders, with the mundane – whether it be the band music in one or the street waltz in the other – being transmuted into the stuff of marvels, reconfirms us a saying, that, “in music, nothing seems impossible.”  Would it be a singer’s voice, a familiar tune, a sonic gesture or a rhythmic pattern or any other musical device that can exert such tremendous impact on listeners?  I would suggest that musical quotation is able to do it.

Musical borrowings have long occupied an important place in western music.  For centuries, composers have incorporated materials from existing music or earlier works into their compositions.[1]   From the parodic masses of Dufay’s or the use of Lutheran hymns by J.S. Bach to the “re-composition” of earlier music in Stravinsky, borrowing as a compositional procedure constantly presents itself as a challenge to the composer’s imagination.  Yet there has never been such an epoch as the 20th century in which quotations and references feature so extensively in works of numerous composers.  And it is in the music of Charles Ives, an American native composer that one discovers, perhaps for the first time in history, some missed opportunities and unrealized potential in western music.

One of the first tasks that confront Ives’ scholars who undertake research into his music has always been to go through the labyrinth of quotations in the composer’s works. Peter J. Burkholder, who identifies different kinds of “quotations” in Ives’ music, focuses on exploring the complex musical, psychological and philosophical motivations behind the borrowings, and shows the purpose, techniques and effects that characterize each one.  Wiley Hitchcock offers a general but succinct survey of Ives’ music in his Ives: A Survey of the Music, providing analyses of some important pieces and tracing the sources of the quotations.  Philip Lambert’s studies apply set theory analysis to music, revealing the pitch organization and structural coherence of the works.   Larry Starr adopts Lambert’s approach but offers analyses that relate Ives’ musical settings to the composer’s philosophical ideas and biographical background.  Other scholars also advocate research on Ives’ uses of quotations in relation to the European musical tradition, American patriotism, the early 20th century socio-cultural background of New England and other European masters such as Stravinsky, Mahler and Schoenberg.  Doubtless the above-mentioned research takes place in the domain of either the compositional dimension or the biographical terrain of Ives.  As such, the issues of quotation, if any, are viewed mainly from the composer’s scope. 

Despite the multifarious approaches, however, few regard it an issue of aesthetics or attempt to address quotations from the perspective of the audience.  How does a listener experience, feel or respond when facing the network of quotations in Ives’ music?  In what way do listeners respond to these quotations in relation to their own socio-cultural surroundings?  Referring to the functions of music, Tia DeNora remarks that music “is not merely a ‘meaningful’ or ‘communicative’ medium.  It does much more than convey signification through non-verbal means.  At the level of daily life, music…may influence how people compose their bodies, how they conduct themselves, how they experience the passage of time, how they feel – in terms of energy and emotion – about themselves, about others, and about situations.”[2] Music in general, and quotations in particular, can be read as a force of social life, a medium of social relation, a technology of self, or a device of social ordering.[3]  Furthermore, if music, just as what Nora has claimed, consists of an interlacing of experience (feeling, action) and the materials that are accessed as the referents for experience and its metaphoric and temporal parameters,[4] it may thus be seen to serve as an operating platform for the temporal structure of one’s past events, as well as the emotional responses. 
 
    This paper attempts to explore different ways of listening to Ives’ quotations by offering a critical survey of some of his music.  Quotations, as I would like to argue, can and ought to be read and understood in terms of metaphor.  In fact, just as Lakoff has claimed, “metaphor permits an understanding of one kind of experience in terms of another, creating coherences by virtue of imposing gestalts that are structured by natural dimensions of experience.”[5]  From this sense, metaphor is not only a matter of imaginative rationality, but also aesthetic experience.  It is created from our daily surroundings and cultural experiences, and is able to conceptualize our cognitive minds and to induce our emotional sensations.  New metaphors are capable of creating new understandings and new realities, involving all the natural dimensions of our sense experiences, especially that of sound.  Analysis, therefore, is no mere counting of quotes or characterization in terms of compositional techniques.  It rather evokes the totality of the sonic world of a specific time, place and event, operating in every dimension of the listeners’ psychological and aesthetical states.  Be it a tune, a rhythmic pattern or a specific sonority, a reference to a style or genre, a quotation is a tangible link between the sonic and cultural reality of the past and those of the present, as well as a metaphorical representation in one’s own imagination.  Applying ideas and concepts borrowed from paintings and literature, it is hoped that an intertextual reading of the quotations will open up new areas of scholarship on the subject.

David Leung
2010-12-26 (published)
2010-12-31 (republished)
Copyright Reserved by David Leung Tai-wai, Hong Kong