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2011年6月20日 星期一

令人醇醉的八十年代歌曲的旋律人後記

前言: 上一次題及的八十後和六十後聆聽歌曲口味的不同的問題,現在又有新發展。我和新郎哥對展示出來的結果,都不禁相對笑笑。當然,我們是很高興和欣賞各方好友的大力支持,他們無論想唱甚麼歌曲,都是為新郎哥助興。既是幫忙,攪攪氣氛,我們也很專重他們的選擇。不過,話得說回頭,人對音樂的感應,歌曲風格的認同,還是那一句,不同年紀閱歷,不同時代,不同民族的文化價值和美學的標準,都是不同的。所以,對音樂藝術的審美標準和理解,都不會是永恆不變的。


正文:

經過一番商討,新郎哥老友 email 給各方好友之後,我還已為沒有異議。可是,先是一輪silence ,最後的結果是: 一番你推我讓之後,各八十後老友就推了一個不大懂中文的老友出來 (他原本是印尼華僑,根本不知道誰是劉家昌,也不知國語歌梅花海鷗,更遑論月亮代表我的心),致 email 新郎哥說,他們還是想向難度挑戰,所以最好還是唱 Time to Say Goodbye。查實,最當初的時候,我是 propose 唱這首歌作為壓軸歌曲。可是老友們一聽到 Time to Say Goodbye Sarah Brightman 唱第一段時就牙痛咁聲。因為他們說這很像急口令。因此他們想唱一首比較容易的。但他們 propose 的歌曲,又不大適合作壓軸歌曲。最後,新郎哥就說出自已的至愛 -- 老餅歌曲--劉家昌的 晚安。這就是我上一篇文章所述的前因。

事情確是峰迴路轉。後來,這班八,九十後老友聽過此曲後,就分分說很老套,難頂。所以,就轉呔唱 Time to Say Goodbye 了。他們現在是不怕急口令的前段。真奇怪。

然而,他們所說的急口令,也不是甚麼真的像棟篤笑的急口令。只是他們不夠音樂知識,不知道 Time to Say Goodbye 的原作者是 Italian 。也不知 Italian 最令人欣羨的音樂就是 Opera。意大利歌劇在音樂史上的地位是無可爭辯的。甚麼是 Italian Opera呢? 就算今天那些知道有 Broadway Musical ,有 Phantom of opera 的八十後年青人已被稱為有音樂修養的了,我看也是答不上來。查實意大利歌劇最dramatic 的部份不是 Aria (嘆調),而是 Recitativo (宣調)。意大 利歌劇強調音樂,所以沒有對白。所有推進劇情的部份,需要用 recitativo 來半講半唱出來。這就是 Italian Opera 的精粹了。用意大利文來唱 Recitativo,可說是一絕。根本,Recitativo 的寫作就是為意大利語言度身定做的,我們用德文,或是法文,根本唱不到這種 recitativo 的效果。

Time to Say Goodbye 這首歌曲的第一段就是摹彷輕快的 意大利 recitativo 的風格而寫成的。我們的老友是中國人,不懂說意大利話,所以 feel 不到這個 "急口令" ,也覺得難學難唱。而且,原文是意大利歌曲,英文版本只是歌曲太成功了,為了迎合世界各地歌迷的口味,只好張就點用英語唱出來。用英語唱這首歌,我看是低了一點層次境界,稍欠風韻。

不過,為何香港的八十後又 feel 不到劉家昌的中國式曲調? 這也拜九十九年的 British Colonization 所賜。因為殖民地的西方式的管治和西化教育,也有很大程度 marginalize (不是erase) 一切跟中國本土有關的文化,社會和政治。我們香港人的文化特性,說真的,也真與大陸人,台灣人很不同,可說是 something-in-between 。既然正統灌輸的文化不能幫助我們找得我們自身的文化身份,我們還是多得流行文化的輸入。幸好,在六十年代,台灣的流行曲文化,經自由開放的英式殖民地政策傳送過來,又因我們 share the same language system,要禁也禁不來,結果,我們就 recreate,reshape 了不少所謂的中華民族的音樂風格。在那個年代,如果你聽用粵語所寫的流行曲,是低下低俗的,難登大雅之堂。而所謂的台灣流行曲,如青山的,姚蘇蓉的,就是正宗香港的中國人歌曲。垣白說,劉家昌這首晚安,並不是他最好年作品之一,開頭的兩句,就很像黃自先生在我們中國的音樂現代化時期,即二,三十年代所寫的最早期中國風格的藝術歌曲風格,如玫瑰三願等的旋律。我想,我們八十後的也不知道黃自老師的 "花非花" ,或是玫瑰三願 歌曲是甚樣。可能他就只知道林子祥的 "每一個晚上"。


真的,歌曲旋律的奧妙處,正如野人蕭公子留言,在於聽者的音樂修養,和作者的功力。兩者,皆缺一不可。

我看,老友所欣賞的舊歌和 "中國"風格的旋律,還是在歷史記憶中去找尋吧。就是這種特有的歷史記憶和社群印記,構成了我們這一代六十後的 Collective Memory,集體回憶,從而 reshape and reconstruct 我們的不中不西的中華民族音樂風格。


全文完

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-06-19 (published)

2011年6月9日 星期四

令人醇醉的八十年代歌曲的旋律

前言: 老友新郎哥中年結婚,一班弟兄姊妹和死黨準備為他在婚禮當日獻唱助慶。由於大家都有不同喜愛的歌曲,歌手們就最後就 concluding 歌曲有不同的提議。當然,我們希望所選的歌曲不能太難學,又要有意思,因為是最後一首表演的歌的緣故,最好與 goodbye 有關。可是,選來選去,也未有甚麼結論。新郎哥是中年成熟的人,歌曲口味,也比較接近本人這個五,六十後的老坑,大大 不同那些八十後和九十後的年青人。例 如,我們都喜歡 月亮代表我的心,這一類經典,以旋律為主的歌曲。所以,在表達了不同意見之後,新郎哥就提議 晚安 這首歌,並說雖然八十後的賓客雖會覺老套,但是,這首歌是曲詞俱佳,也很適合當晚的場合。我並不曾聽過這首歌,但既是新郎哥的提議,大家都沒有甚麼異議。我就請新郎哥 send 個 karaoke video 來聽聽。可是,第一次聽到這首歌曲的旋律時,就引發我寫了以下的文章 ..........

晚安 的 youtube demo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtcsO82XsRA

正文:

我急急下載了 晚安 這首歌曲後,就隨意打開 software 去 play,自已就走開了,沒有再看 monitor 和晝面的 credit 介紹。可是,我一聽到歌曲調子時,就 sense 到其曲調有一種令人感到縈繞不捨的深情和不吐不快的澎湃,很像七,八十年代鬼才劉家昌的創作。不是我自誇,七,八十年代在香港流行的國,粵語流行曲,我是有略有研究的。最後,我急急翻到前面,看看誰是作曲作詞者,正如我所料,這是劉家昌的作品。如個你不能意會我所說的 "令人感到縈繞不捨的深情和不吐不快的澎湃",可以試試聽聽 海鷗梅花,或是 在雨中 等歌曲,就可以 sense 我所說的是甚麼。晚安這首歌,就能營造激動中有深情,但同時流露出淡淡思情,難捨難離,帶有中國民間小曲的含畜蘊婉和流行曲的外展張力。


曲調之所以能喚起人的感情反應,不單是屬個人的 (personal),還會是屬集體性的 (collective)。可是,這所謂的集體回憶,集體感情,也有時代的細分。比方說,我們這群六十後,就會特別感受到八十年代年歌曲,即現在被稱為老歌的風格和氣味。但八十後的年青人,就會對現今的流行歌有共鳴,舊歌嗎? 就難一點有感情反應。在這裡,我不得不指出我個人的意見,現今的流行歌著重節奏和 beating,以刺激聽者的 sensation 為主,但七, 八十年代的歌曲則著重旋律優美和雋永,以激動心靈和感情為主。能寫出流的優美旋律,而又有中國音樂的風味和格調,在當年,除了劉家昌外,就只有顧家輝,陳伯強,林子祥 (只有三幾首歌)等能做到。我看就連歌神阿 Sam 所寫的歌也不能。

劉家昌所寫的歌總有留給歌手發揮,充滿高潮張力的段落,這就拜他曾寫了不少電影音樂有關。我還記得,當年有一齣戲名叫 黃埔軍魂,由l甄珍和柯俊雄主演,其中的配樂和其劇情的推進,年青時的我就看得眼濕濕了。晚安 這首歌中的 Refrain 段落,聽者就 unexpectedly 聽到旋律突然從低音區轉到高音區盤旋,當我們還已為調子會走回主段旋律作再現時,(即以 A B A' 常用歌曲結構處理),卻只聽到主音在高潮停穩著,然後才不捨地慢慢悄然退去。原來整首歌曲的結構就只是 A B 的二段體。

老餅即是老餅,我和新郎哥的喜愛,大都是以旋律為主的歌曲。旋律可以永藏心中。回憶,不論是個人的,又或是集體的,當受樂音喚起時,也同時帶動我們的感情反應和美學經驗。使我們從中享受音樂曲調的美。這種美不是只帶我們動官能,而是牽動我們內心的感受和回憶。這是現今八,九十後的年青聽眾所喜歡節拍強勁的歌曲不能做到的。

歌曲,仍應是以旋律為主。


全文完

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-06-09 (published)

2011年6月2日 星期四

The Influence of 18th Century English Thoughts on the Librettos of Handel’s English Oratorios (Part 3)

前言: 韓德爾的神劇被視為同類型樂種的經典。但我們又是否知道,韓氏的神劇在當代音樂聽眾聽來,不單純是音樂美妙絕倫,非而且充滿愛國情懷和外在意義。皆因韓氏選擇劇本和處理音樂時,往往以樂音借喻,令聽眾能了解其中含意。雖說是巴羅克時期,當代英國的聽眾在聽音樂時,也慣於尋求音樂的表達意義。以下的學術文章,就簡論了韓德爾的神劇腳本和當代的英式思維的關係,讓讀者看出韓氏的神劇精彩奧妙之處。




Paper Continued:

The Influence of 18th Century English Thoughts
on the Librettos of Handel’s English Oratorios (Part 3)


Newburgh Hamilton’s libretto of Samson, written in its initial form by autumn 1741 and dedicated in the wordbook to the Prince of Wales, reflects the prince’s support of the war with Spain for which the Patriots had clamoured. But Samson contained more political context as time passed and even after its first performance, the political scene changed considerably. While Hamilton was writing his libretto the press was reporting the parliamentary ‘motion’ to remove Walpole, the ruling body of England, and commenting on the criticism of British foreign policy since 1725 with regard to the conflict in Europe, the attacking of the conduct of the West Indies War and the arraigning corrupt government at home. Here, Samson who was the Israelite hero, could well symbolize this Britain – native strength shackled by maladministration. At the same time, Samson might also represent an actual national hero, Admiral Vernon. He had achieved a few triumphs of the Spanish war and was a sharp and bold critic of that government as Member of the Parliament. His image forced to remind us the image of Hamilton’s hero, Samson, a figure of suffering the insults from his enemies and critical of his compatriots. As time passed, the symbolic role of Samson changed accordingly. In early 1743, Samson’s initial incapacity and eventual triumph over Philistines must have been seemed to represent the British fortunes in the war in the Continents and Low Countries. The allied navies of Spain and France invading the British Mediterranean fleet in 1744 undeniably reminded the English audience of the vivid image of the helpless Samson under his rival, Philistines’ hands. What would be the fate of the Great Britain? The patriotic oratorio audience might have been inspired much by the chorus in Act III, scene I of Samson:

How thou wilt here come off surmounts my Reach;
Tis Heav’n alone can save both us and thee.
With thunder arm’d, great God, arise;
Help, lord, or Isr’el’s champion dies:
To thy protection this thy servant take,
And save, O save us, for thy servant’s sake[7].

The political ideology in the text is clear and, perhaps, this is the charm of Samson, of Hamilton’s libretto, of Handel’s oratorios.

As we have examined before the main idea of the Handelian oratorios is Patriotism, it is not surprising that the text of the Handel’s oratorio was conveying the ideal of self-scarifice whenever the conflict between public and private interests occurred. In Morel’s Jephtha (1737), the author chose the biblical version of the classical topic concerning the offering up of a daughter for the sake of national success, instead of the private interest. In the story of Jephtha of the Old Testament, Jephtha vows that he will sacrifice to God the first being he encounters on his return from battle if God grants him the victory. His daughter, unfortunately, is the first one he met. He is shaken but his daughter accepts the fate and keeps alone for her whole life to serve God. Morell, undoubtedly, conveyed a message of a patriot king, Jephtha and a patriot daughter. He writes:

True, we have slighted, scorn’d, expell’d him hence,
As of a Stranger born; but well I know him;
His generous Soul disdains a mean Revenge,
When his distressful country calls his Aid –
And, perhaps, God may favour our Request,
If with repentant Hearts we sue for Mary[8].
     (Part I Scene I)

How godlike is it to be great!

When Greatness, free from private ends,
The Good of all Manking intends!                 ( Part III Scene II)

Morell here expresses the Patriot King’s noble aspiration to a public life guided by moral principles. ‘Virtue my Soul shall still embrace; goodness shall make me great’ shows that Jephtha ‘s whole family shares his moral principle. Jephtha’s daughter, also, put the national interests above her personal favorite. Therefore, the whole libretto, main characteristic of Patriot drama uses predominantly family relationships, rather than those of lovers as a source of trial, pain and tenderness[9]. This gives more touching aptness and can immensely attract the oratorio audience. Besides the charm of the text, the patriotic theme is again obvious. We can conclude that the Handelian oratorios not only reflect certain moral teachings of the 18th Century English, but also promote an image of a Patriot King of England, or an ideal Government, with its patriotic standards set in Miller’s Joseph and his Brethren, Morell’s Judas Macchabaeus, Joshua and Solomon that the general English people had long been expected.

Undeniably, 18th Century English thoughts have a tremendous impact on the librettos of Handel’s oratorios. Although it is rather difficult to assert that the ideas influence the texts more or vice versa, one important point is that the oratorios possess more meanings to the audience in Handel’s days than to the modern audience. The oratorio and the theatre were the essential centres of conveying messages, both of religious and political affairs. Oratorio audiences habitually accepted the allegorical meaning of the wordbooks. Christianity defending and the Patriotism were the hot topics in 18th Century England and linked the daily life of the people. What the 18th Century English people interested were mainly religion and politics. There was no conceptual separation between issues of Church and state, religion and politics. Handel’s oratorios could probably fulfill the necessities of the people, the government, and the country in his day. The plentiful meanings conveyed in Handel’s oratorio were valuable and essential to them. Therefore, this is the secret of the dramatic success of Handel’s oratorios to the 18th Century English people, or perhaps, to some extent, to the oratorio audience in the present.


[1] Smith Ruth, Handel’s oratorios and eighteenth-century thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp146-147.

[2] Smith Ruth, Handel’s oratorios and eighteenth-century thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, p149.

[3] Smith Ruth, Handel’s oratorios and eighteenth-century thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp10-11

[4] Smith Ruth, Handel’s oratorios and eighteenth-century thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp175-176

[5] C.V. Palisca, A History of Western History, 3 ed., W.W. Norton, New York, 1981, p443.
[6] Smith Ruth, Handel’s oratorios and eighteenth-century thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, p220

[7] Smith Ruth, Handel’s oratorios and eighteenth-century thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, pp298-299

[8] Smith Ruth, Handel’s oratorios and eighteenth-century thought, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995, p341

[9] Smith Ruth, p341


Paper Finished

David leung (theorydavid)

2011-06-02