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2011年2月13日 星期日

中國音樂的現代化綜論 (3) -- 香港現代音樂發展的里程埤

前言: 這篇文章接上篇討論民國初年發展起來的中國新音樂如何為香港現代音樂的發展帶來動力。香港雖是彈丸之地,但在國際上,她對現代音樂的貢獻卻是無可置疑的。香港的現代音樂,也像民國初年 (五四之後至1937 年中日戰爭開始時) 發展起來的中國新音樂一樣,表現出像中年美女帶有的絕代風華,千嬌百媚和風情萬種。這也因為香港的廣東傳統音樂正對峙著西方式的現代化 (western modernization) 衝激。我這篇文章,就是討論香港音樂早期現代化的發展,看它甚樣與中國的新音樂有著千絲萬縷的關係。敬請各同學留意,不要 copy-and-paste。但 idea 就不妨拿來參巧一下。


正文:
Affirming the value of Chinese folk tradition and linking it firmly with musical nationality, Huang Zi (黃自), Head of the Composition Department in NCM, wrote: “Some people make mistakes because they do not really understand that great art is a representation of our nation and society as a whole. The characteristics of our traditional music and folk songs are indeed an expression of our Chinese nationality. They, of course, shouldn’t be overlooked.”[1] Regarding the relationship between the new Chinese national music and folk tradition, Huang continues: “I reckon that it is natural for our Chinese national music to develop along this path [the path of the development of Musical Nationalism in Russia]. Neither a total copy of western music nor sticking to the old way will work. This is merely suicidal regarding the development of our national music. ….indeed what we should do is to learn and master the good western musical practices, applying them to reorganize our traditional and folk music in this proper way. By doing so, it is possible to create our new national music”.[2] Folk material then, from Huang’s view, is essential to the recreation of new music for modern China.

As we have seen, the new Chinese music (music in western-format) which both Xiao and Huang championed and Chinese folk tradition are intimately related. Interestingly, the initials of new Chinese music ‘NCM’ are the same as the acronym for the first music institution in China, the National Conservatory of Music, also ‘NCM’. The fact that ‘NCM’ (music) is originated from the NCM (conservatory) seems appropriate. Chang Chi-jen describing the development of this NCM (music) comments that, “It is not surprising to learn that the first generation of these native-trained graduates [of the NCM] were devoted overwhelmingly to western music, since almost all their teachers were European-trained Chinese.”[3] As a result, western music gradually became popular in the Chinese community. Music in general became synonymous with western music in many people’s minds.[4] With the support of the NCM, many western-trained local musicians and composers were nurtured and became zealously involved in the development of Xiao’s new national music, which was regarded as the authentic Chinese music, moving as it did from the traditional past towards future generations. Mutongduandi (牧童短笛 Buffalo Boy’s Flute), a solo piano work composed by He Luting of NCM, is one example of successful NCM (music) for its time.[5]

In my opinion, Xiao’s new Chinese music (western-format), which contains recognizable traditional elements, can be viewed as a creation of a musical tradition out of the past, yet stretching continuously to the future. In China’s modernization period, virtually all cultural spheres have been touched by the spirit of wholesale westernization and concomitantly ancient tradition was largely rejected. On the other hand, the new Chinese music has resisted such thorough wholesale westernization and so has never lost its traditionality. In this sense, it is unreasonable to include Xiao Youmei and his NCM fellows in the wholesale westernization party, as some scholars claim.[6] Furthermore, it is believeable that Xiao’s new Chinese music survived and continued to thrive in the modern Hong Kong’s musical scene when the New China was experiencing its political turmoil during Mao’s purge of the Anti-Rightist Campaign (1957) and the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

Acknowledging the continuation of Xiao’s new Chinese music in British colonial Hong Kong is crucial to our understanding of how the Chinese musical tradition can be preserved and recreated for the future development of Hong Kong contemporary music. Indeed ‘contemporary music’ is a rather vague and loosely defined term. It often refers to something at the present time. As time goes by, the meaning of contemporary music will shift. Xiao’s new Chinese music, music in western-format, was viewed as contemporary music at that time. To a certain extent, new music is new because it is created with a new technique and concept which is western musical style. It is not directly inherited and developed from the ancient Chinese music tradition. However, it is gradually becoming part of the vast Chinese music tradition and continues to develop now and into the future.

Despite the impact of musical globalization and ideas such as “music as international language”, on local composers writing music of international style, many composers still intentionally look back to the traditional past for inspiration. The ‘bottle’ of these creations is western, but the ‘wine’ is traditional. In this sense, they succeed in developing Xiao’s new Chinese music. Chinese thoughts, spirit, and sentiment are expressed in the form of recognizable Chinese traditional ‘content’, enhancing by western avant-garde compositional ‘manners’. The development of Hong Kong “New Chinese Music” , therefore, can be viewed as  spanning the historical period from China’s modernization  to that of Hong Kong.


[1] Huang Zi, “怎樣才可產生吾國民族音樂 (Ways to Produce Our National Music) 1934,” in Huang Zi yizuoji 黃自遺作集 (The Posthumous Essays Collection of Huang Zi),” Zhu shouzhong et al. ed. (Anhui: Anhui wenyichunbanshe, 1997), 56.
[2] Ibid., 56-57.
[3] Chang Chi-jen, “Alexander Tcherepnin: His Influence on Modern Chinese Music” (Doctoral thesis, Columbia University Teachers College, 1983), 24-26.
[4] Chang Chi-jen, “Alexander Tcherepnin,” 24-26.
[5] I shall discuss the traditionality of He Luting’s Mutongduandi in details in the next chapter.
[6] Some recent scholars include Xiao Youmei in the intellectual group who supported wholesale westernization. See He Xiaoping, “The Background Behind the Formation of Chinese Music Backwardness Theory (中國音樂落後論的形成背景),” Journal of Music Research, 2 (1993): 8.


To be continued.....待續.........

David Leung (theorydavid)
2011-02-13 (published)
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