2011年2月24日 星期四

Sonata Principle: Binary or Ternary?

Prelude: I taught the paper of LMusTCL 2002 May yesternight. There is a question about the structure of a short keyboard (for harpsichord or clavichord) piece. In the first sense, it is constructed in a such way that looks like binary, containing two main sections. However, the main theme recurs frequently in both Section with a few motives extracted from it. No obvious contrasting materials are found in B section . The tonal center just modulates to dominant key. As such, my preminliary observation tells me that it is an nascant sonata form in binary construction. I told the students to answer compound binary with modificaiton. But I think a better term for it, perhaps may be...............not sure...... because I am not the marker.


The work is structured in the nascant form of a monothematic sonata-allegro design in the small-scale instrumental works. True, the binary structure of this work shows some sonata principles which later was developed to the mature sonata form, which was widely used in the first movement in many classical sonata written by Haydn or Mozart. I think students answer as "mononthematic sonata-allegro structure (not form, but structure)" may score higher marks than that of the "compound binary". But on the other hand, students may like to say that the work is structured in binary form containing the design of using sonata-principle.

It is undeniable that the development of  the rounded binary form closely relates to the formation of the so-called classical sonata form used widely in many instrumental works later.  The continued expansion of formal components associated with rounded binary movements eventually produced a stylized procedure know as sonata-allegro form. While such forms are generally longer than rounded binary structures, tonal and structural elements of the binary principled are reflected consistently. Many works of  D. Scarlatti keyboard sonata written in Spainish court adopted such a structural design.

The structure of the monothematic sonata-allegro music usaully exposites the main theme in which several motives can be separated out for further 'developing' in the tonic key. The same theme then recurs in the second section with dominant key with or without slight modification. The crucial feature which differs to that of the binary and the sonata-allegro principles is the oppositional confrontation.  Of course, form and design of a musical work is hardly said to be a rigid, unchangeable framework. During the process of development, the theme will undergo a series of modifications, albeit how slightly it is. The Binary form, however, in many of the Baroqe dance works, just shows that the contrasting B section (or episode) begins with dominant key of new materials and gradually returns to the tonic key. But  listeners usually cannot hear the returning of the main theme materials in the second section.  The key scheme of the normal dance form in Binary design is : I -- V   ------ V --- I.

Interestingly, the structural design of the short work that we discussed yesterday is far more complex and ambiguous, the change of keys in particular. As we have observed, the works starts from the tonic key , then modulates to the dominant key with some new motivic materials, and reaches a section cadence in dominant key. This sectional structure reflects a somewhat binary principle. However, the larger section B, in the first sense that we have concluded yesternight, which starts from the bar 67 onward, restates the main theme in A section in dominant key. Then the motives are displayed in various keys, like a classical sonata's development section, going through a common modulatory scheme of cycle of fifth. The C major materials modulates to F major, then from D minor to G minor two times, and finally back to C major, though alternating between its parallel minor mode. Not until the final eight bars that the tonic key F major returns. Motives of the main theme is the first section are varied to more and less, by displaying in different key centers, tessituras, sometimes with embellisments to avoid monotunous. Since the recapitualtion of the first theme is absent in this work, to students, it may be one of the reasons why they choose to answer binary structure at preliminarly look. From this sense, the most problematic for us to classify this work into a clear catagory is the absence of the return of main thematic materials.

To conclude, the development of the sonata-allegro principle intimately associates with that of the rounded  binary form. The key centers change is always the significance of this form. Viewing from the key scheme , sonata-allegro form comprises the principle of binary. When the work is structured with monotheme, the form will be easily misunderstood as binary, since the second theme of contrasting materials are absent. In the historical evolution of such the sonata allegro form, however, it is not surprise for us to find such monothematic design in many instrumental works. As such, when students need to support their finding of such a nascant sonata-allegro form, the Baroque keyboard sonata form in particular, it is unavoidably to states clearly the key scheme of the work, more than that of the linear thematic design.


David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-02-24 (published)

2011年2月22日 星期二

LTCL Music Composition 高級文憑作曲考試之剖析-- (完)

前言: 真的不好意思。上一個星期為了回答不少新課程的查詢,花了我不少時間,這一篇談論LTCL 作曲文憑試的親身體驗,好應該完結了。

身為一個已有二十多年創作經驗的作曲家和樂理老師,我一直都想推廣這個 Trinity 舉辦的作曲文憑試。當然不是只為了有多一個教學機會,而確實我相信這個試可以是喜歡創作的朋友們學習過程中的一個踏腳石。當 1991 年我第一次考這個作曲試時,我的 Part A -- submitted composition 就拿了 90 分 (100分為滿分)。當時,對於我這個黃毛小子,從零開始,連 鋼琴也不懂彈,緊學了 music theory 和作曲大概七年左右就考到 part A 這個成績,確實是一大鼓舞。要知道,這個試是不容易考的,像是過三關一樣,當年就要考兩天。況且,90 分就是 distinction。一般來說,作曲科是很難拿到的。因為,評審樂曲好與不好是很主觀的。所以,我在這裡,特別解釋這個考試,讓喜歡創作的朋友略略了解這個作曲試是甚麼樣,當然也希望你們找 Leung Sir 我學習作曲。LTCL 的作曲班就快開始招生了。


同學們寫好了兩個作品,就可以隨時報名考試。因為這是作品提交部份,所以 Trinity 是沒有特定考試日期,考生全年皆可報考。在遞交作品時,考生須要簽一個declaration去證明這些作品是考生本人寫作的作品。當然,某程度來看,你是可以"請槍"的。根本沒有人 check 你,因為 LTCL 程度不須你做  viva voce,或 oral defense。可是,身為作曲家,我不會鼓勵這樣做。但在寫作作品時,老師是可以給你意見的。有些地方,可能是老師幫助你作出改正。在我看來,這是可以的。再者,如果你沒有足夠作曲技巧,寫不成 part A 的作品,也不可能在三年內考到 Part B 那三條題目。

Part B 的三條題目可不容易考哩。考生需要有優良的作曲技巧,才可以在短時間內完成作曲和配器題。第一條作曲題,我不贊成考生選擇用十二音列寫作的題目。因為時間緊迫,如果你花了時間去寫一個 serial matrix,而且,寫 serial matrix 還需要你用數字才快。你又要將數字轉成音高 A, B, C 等,這樣你要花很多時間。雖然你可以說,在寫作 serial music 時,考生不須考慮音高,跟著 serial 的 tone row 就可以,但是,你所花在寫 matrix 的時間,也已經抵得上寫十多小節的 tonal music 的時間了。這條題目,我鼓勵考生寫兩個 piano variations。要記得,主題是試卷供給的。考生不須自行創作。因此,這條不太難的原因是考生一般已學了 theory 的 Harmony writing 一段時間,他們考八級樂課,又或 AMusTCL時,他們都寫作和聲,而且要寫作 piano style。再者,學習作曲的入門課程,就是要先學寫 piano style。所以考生就當這條題目為 theory 的寫作就可以。他們只需學習一下 theme and variation 的技巧,再熟習 piano 的寫作方式,就足夠應付這條題目。我們的 LTCL music composition 課程就包括變奏的寫作技巧討論。另一條可考慮選擇的是為 piano concerto 裡的 cadenza 的寫作。可是同學要緊記,如果練習寫的時候,你所花的時間很長,就不要選這條了。不竟 cadenza,華彩樂段要有很多 piano figurations 要寫,比起人般 piano 的 style 難寫一些。研究 Mozart 的 Piano Concerto 寫法是不可少的。而 Baroque 的 Passacaglia 那條題目,我也不推荐考生選擇。原因很簡單,就是學生一般的對位技術不夠。要掌握對位法,是要頗長時間去浸的。現實的是為考試而學習的人太多,現在已沒有幾人願意習寫 counterpoint 了。以我為例,當年就花了兩年時間習寫 16th century and 18th century 的ccounterpoint。我的經驗是,寫對位音樂,不是學一個  course 就可以掌握。所以,忘記這條題目吧!

第二條題目是為一個 piano reduction excerpt 去配寫管絃樂。就算考生沒有機會演出過任何器樂作品的經驗,西洋樂隊的配器也是有得學的。在一般的配器教科書裡,總有一課是講論如何將鋼琴曲編寫為管絃樂曲。當然,同學在學習作曲時,先學寫 singing 的旋律,即寫 vocal music,這是無可厚非的。可是同學也要學習寫作器樂曲,首先學的。就是鋼琴曲。然後,就學寫 string 和 woodwind,先由 solo開始。再學寫 ensemble。還得在 submit 作品時,學生是已經學習了寫作 string quartet。只要你不是'請槍'的,你已經有一定程度的絃樂寫作經驗。現在可以從學習 woodwind 的配器裡,學會控制 woodwind 的各支樂器。學習配器 (orchestration),我們總不免要多聽管絃樂和作 score reading。這是一個很好的訓練。你的 general musicianship (不是practical musicianship) 就是這樣培養出來的。西方樂器的寫作學習是頗科學化的。有時作曲家就算不懂得演奏這件樂器,但從配器的書本中記述和聆聽音樂和看總譜,學生就能夠寫作出管絃樂作品了。有趣的是,歷史上的配器大師,如 Wagner 或  Berlioz,就是不懂得彈鋼琴,更不是表演者 -- performer。Berlioz 是彈吉他的,而 Rimsky Korsakov 雖進過音樂學院學習,只是一位業餘的作曲家,他本身是化學師 -- Chemist。所以同學們不須害怕,就算你本身不是出色的樂器演奏者,配器法仍是可以掌握的。

至於第三條題目,我比較喜歡寫五重奏。因為以考試的角度來看,當然希望同學及格。用orchestra 來寫兩分鐘的 incidental music 比較冒險。要知管絃樂曲不是難寫,但要同時顧及多個聲部,所花的時間就多了不少。可是,五重奏只是五個聲部,而且很少地方需要五個聲部一齊奏不同的melodic line。有很多時,只三幾個聲部在奏,texture 真的沒有那麼複雜。考生大概寫三十多小節就夠了。更何況,不同於 incidental music 那條題目,是要考生即時跟所描繪的情節創作樂曲主題,現在考生不須思巧創作人的主題,因為題目是有提供了主題三幾個小節,然後跟著這幾小節的音樂風格接續寫不去的。所以,考生可以當是寫 Harmony 的方式去完成這條題目就可。也談不上很多原創的地方。

考試考試,有哪個考生想不及格? 可是在 Licentiate 的級數裡,同學如果 pass,也都是緊緊及格而矣。我的 Part B ,也只是 72 分吧了。時 passing mark 是 70分,現在是 60 分。所以同學們,加油啊! 應該是較以前容易及格的。

從在以上的考試策略分析。我們可以作人個總結,就是考生必須衡量時間和自已最熟悉的技巧。我們雖然學過不少音樂理訟和寫作訓練,可是,歸根結底,我們的 Harmony 寫作,仍應該算是最拿手,最熟練的。因為所有樂理學習,都不離調式和聲的分析和寫作,就算是考作曲題,也應是這些與和聲寫作有關的題目容易應付,時間按理說,亦是最能掌握的。坦白說,第二部份考試,要考生在短短五小時裡答三條大題目,根本談不上創意。現實的看,考生還是取易的好,留待考過試,及格了,才創作自已喜歡的樂曲,再向難度挑戰吧!

全文完.............  Completed..........

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-02-22 (published)

2011年2月18日 星期五

中國音樂的現代化綜論 (4) -- 中國現代化音樂的代表作品: 賀綠汀的"牧童短笛"

前言: 這篇文章接上一篇討論民國初年的中國音樂怎樣經歷現代化的經過。這次跟讀者談談第一首被介紹到在國際的音樂界上,並得以揚名的中國現代化鋼琴小品 -- 賀綠汀的牧童短笛。早前曾述說過陶傑所喜愛的一個中國歷史時代,也就是我所喜歡的同一年代 -- 民國初年。我也曾說過,民國初年 (五四之後至1937 年中日戰爭開始時),就像一位風華絕代的中年美女,充滿使人感到醇醉的千嬌百媚和風情萬種。只因這個時代是中華民族在藝術文化音樂的各個領域裡經歷真正現代化的時期,或者,更應該說是對峙著西方式的現代化 (western modernization) 衝激。在音樂發展上,是中國傳統音樂接受西方音樂的洗禮的里程埤。我所談及的風韻醇醉,就是從這個音樂現代化開始。賀綠汀的牧童短笛 就是用西方的和聲概念,套以中國民族的五聲音階,以變化了的對位技巧寫成的。敬請各同學留意,不要 copy-and-paste。但 idea 就不妨拿來參巧一下。

Romanticize Buffalo Boy’s Pentatonic Flute

In 1934, just two weeks after winning the champion of the national Chinese composition competition by his piano work, Buffalo’s Boy’s flute (牧童短笛), He Luting boldly criticized the current situation of Chinese musical field. When criticizing the camp of guocui protectionism (national quintessence protectionism), He Luting (賀綠汀) wrote, “Chinese is stubbornly old-fashioned. They regard that everything must be adhered to antique, especially in music and painting. We believe that we have to model on antique. A work is said to be elegance and grace if it possesses old flavor.”[1] He’s precise but specific criticism vividly disclosed the conservative thought embedded in Chinese artist culture for a long time. After blaming for the lack of sufficient innovation in Chinese artistic creations, He Luting continued to denounce another extreme thinking – wholesale westernization – in the current musical scene. He asserted, “Since the western music has been imported into Chinese society, Chinese music has undergone a great change. Some composers completely despise Chinese music, accepting unconditionally the wholesale of westernization. On the contrary, the other composers attack western music fiercely, viewing it as a kind of barbarian music that is full of brutal dissonances. I believe that the both camps do not fully understand the real situation of Chinese music in the present time.”[2] As a Chinese composer, He Luting really understood that the continuous confrontation between these two opposite camps could not help improve the present predicament of Chinese music. The future of Chinese music was still gloom. He might think that what he learnt from his respectful teacher, Huang Zi, in National Conservatory of Music (NCM) about exploring a new type of Chinese music, perhaps, was a way out of the musical turmoil in the current time. As such, he wrote his first piano work, Buffalo Boy’s Flute, in the musical style of what NCM members greatly advocated for a few years.

  Indeed no one can step out of time into which one was born, as an artist or a composer.  It is neither an individual genius, nor the masses, nor the political, social, economic, religious factor singularly inaugurates a cultural environment in a particular place of a particular time.[3] The first few decades of the twentieth-century up to the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) was a great era for China in its socio-political dimension not only because it is a time when China was experiencing its westernized and modernized in all aspects, but also because it is an extraordinary time in its history as the Chinese individual could experience less authoritarian political control but more humanistic freedom in social and cultural dimensions. Although the warlords’ conquests led to great political insecurity and turmoil in many places, the lack of a powerful central authority, ironically, provided space a greater freedom of speech, thoughts and ideas in all aspects of society. Such kind of freedom has never been experienced in the recent history of modern China. When He Luting entered the NCM in Shanghai as a compositional student in 1931, the great era of China, he would not have known that his destiny as a Chinese new music forerunner was doomed to interweave with that of the new Chinese music.

待續.........To Be Continued.....

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-02-19 (published)

[1] He Luting’s criticism was published in the “Music Weekly (音樂周)” of Xinwanbao (新晚報) in December 11, 1934. See He Luting, “The Music Arts of Times (音樂藝術的時代性),” in The Anthology of Musical Essay of HeLuting (賀綠汀音樂論文選集) (Shanghai: Shanghai yishu chubanshe, 1981), 2.
[2] Ibid., 2.
[3] Curt Sachs, The Commonwealth of Art: Style in the Fine Arts, Music, and the Dance, (New York: Da Capo Press, 1990), 353.

2011年2月17日 星期四

LTCL Music Composition 高級文憑作曲考試之剖析-- (續)

前言: 身為一個已有二十多年創作經驗的作曲家和樂理老師,我一直都想推廣這個 Trinity 舉辦的作曲文憑試。當然不是只為了有多一個教學機會,而確實我相信這個試可以是喜歡創作的朋友們學習過程中的一個踏腳石。當 1991 年我第一次考這個作曲試時,我的 Part A -- submitted composition 就拿了 90 分 (100分為滿分)。當時,對於我這個黃毛小子,從零開始,連 鋼琴也不懂彈,緊學了 music theory 和作曲大概七年左右就考到 part A 這個成績,確實是一大鼓舞。要知道,這個試是不容易考的,像是過三關一樣,當年就要考兩天。況且,90 分就是 distinction。一般來說,作曲科是很難拿到的。因為,評審樂曲好與不好是很主觀的。所以,我在這裡,特別解釋這個考試,讓喜歡創作的朋友略略了解這個作曲試是甚麼樣,當然也希望你們找 Leung Sir 我學習作曲。LTCL 的作曲班就快開始招生了。

同學們既明白 LTCL Music Composition Part 1 -- 提交作品 -- 的考試範圍,所以他們就可以著手預備寫作第一個考試作品了,絃樂四重奏了。

垣白說,作曲同學最渴望的就是能夠有機會聽到自己 的作品演出,這樣,自己既可以了解作品實制的效果,不再是紙上談兵,而且,作品有演出機會,意味到作者可以與聽眾分享自己的創作與思想,這實在是每人個藝術工作者夢寐以求的。當年我寫現代音樂,幾乎 90% 都是自學的,因為當年的私人老師,大都是國內在1979年四人幫倒台後下來香港的。他們的音樂風格多是十九世紀浪漫派,寫 tonal music 的。由於經歷文化大革命,他們多沒有接觸到現代音樂。那麼,我又怎樣寫人一個含不定性的 chance music 呢?

答案就是,到 library 去看 score。有一定程度的 theory 學識,我們大概都可以明白score背後的理論原則。所以 theory是要不斷學習的。從我經驗,我看作曲是沒有得教,但可以學的科目。不過音樂理論卻是有得學,而且是可以相當有用的。有時我真的不明白,為何音樂學生可以很願意付1000塊學彈一堂一小時的鋼琴,卻不願意拿區區兩佰元去學一堂兩小時的樂理,這絕對是今日香港的音樂學生的怪現象。要知道, theory 是我們藝術工作者的修養氣質的本源,你的個人藝術修養,聆聽鑑賞音樂的能力,全是我們學過的音樂理論和歷史風格知識培養出來的。我還記得,當時我就選了 Lutoslawski 的第一絃樂四重奏作為摹彷對象。我有能力自已分析從沒有看過,聽過的樂譜,就是我的理論根基不差的緣故。

順道一提,我的作曲班是教同學怎樣分析不同的音樂作品,看看些作品背後的技巧與樂思的關係,然後教他們臨摹作品來學寫作音樂。當然,學生還是要先學二十世紀音樂理論與風格。如能夠明白音樂歷史之發展,就更能夠了解為何這類風格是這樣形成和演變的。我們有了這些知識,也就可以發展自己的風格,選擇自己 喜歡的樂曲內容和形式來進行創作了。有一次,有個音樂系的同學來問我,他想寫一個作品,以作入學試之用。我就問他喜歡寫甚麼作品,他就回答說,因為他是彈琴的,最熟是 sonata,所以他想寫一首 piano sonata。 我就這樣問他: "好! 可是你怎樣設計這個 sonata? " 他說只是想寫一個 classical sonata,即有第一,二主題那種。第一主題用 tonic key。第二主題就用 dominant key。

於是,我就回答: "這個設計沒有 originality,也很難表現 creativity。Beethoven 已經寫過三十二首 鋼琴 sonata 了,難道你的創作可以超越他嗎?" 這首作品不是習作,而是你的創作,是拿來幫助你入研究院學作曲的,所以這個作品是要能夠表現出你的藝術修養和理論與技巧才可。如果你一定要選擇 piano solo 的話,又一定要用 sonata 這樂曲形式來創作的話,你就寫一個不是 sonata 的 sonata。Title 可以仍用 sonata,讓這個 absolute 音樂 的 title,去 create 聽眾的期待,但實制聽眾不會聽到一個 sonata,而是另一種作品,就像 John Cage 的4分33秒 鋼琴曲一樣,可以說是非鋼琴作品的鋼琴作品。例如,你這個 sonata 可以用三首小品 (character piece)串成的。沒有 sonata 式的主題結構,但有 sound effect 和樂音 fragment。中間的一首,作用像是 sonata form 中的 Development section,可以安排有 pianist recites (不是唱) 幾句罕有語言,如 Latin 文,的詩句,即邊吟邊彈。Sonata 這個字,在 Italian 原文是 instrumental music 的意思,相反詞是 Acappalla ,無伴奏清唱劇,一種 vocal music。如果你想藉這首作品去 extend sonata 這種樂曲 ,genre, 的界限,你可以加進人聲 (但不是唱的 vocal music,是吟,製造像是樂器的聲音)。

就這樣,我表達了一些意見,讓他參巧,他也到 library 去找現代鋼琴音樂的樂譜作研究。作曲老師,不應阻外學生自己發展自己的 idea 和思想,但也不可能不將較弱的地方,不告訴學生。學生要明白我說這些提意,也不能沒有音樂理論知識和歷史風格的認識。例如,他至少要知道怎樣寫作 sonic effect 的 textural music writing。也要對 classical sonata form 有一定的認識,才可以將之變化,作為現在的三個小品 'sonata" 的結構安排。

當年我考 LTCL 試時,就沒有老師給我一些現代音樂的指引,更諻論 compositional techniques了。雖然,我這首絃樂四重奏拿了 90 分,評語也很好,可是,我一直沒有機會聽過其真正的聲響。直至1994年,在一個偶然的機會下,國內一個弦樂四重奏小組演奏了我這首作品。我才是第一次聽到這首拿了高分的考試作品,同場的陳永華先生和羅永暉先生 (後來是我在 HKAPA 時的 major 作曲老師) 就稱讚了我的嘗試。這首作品也幫助了我後來回到 HKAPA 作 mature student 時的入學試作品。


David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-02-17 (published)

2011年2月14日 星期一

LTCL Music Composition 高級文憑作曲考試之剖析

前言: 身為一個已有二十多年創作經驗的作曲家和樂理老師,我一直都想推廣這個 Trinity 舉辦的作曲文憑試。當然不是只為了有多一個教學機會,而確實我相信這個試可以是喜歡創作的朋友們學習過程中的一個踏腳石。當 1991 年我第一次考這個作曲試時,我的 Part A -- submitted composition 就拿了 90 分 (100分為滿分)。當時,對於我這個黃毛小子,從零開始,連 鋼琴也不懂彈,緊學了 music theory 和作曲大概七年左右就考到 part A 這個成績,確實是一大鼓舞。要知道,這個試是不容易考的,像是過三關一樣,當年就要考兩天。況且,90 分就是 distinction。一般來說,作曲科是很難拿到的。因為,評審樂曲好與不好是很主觀的。所以,我在這裡,特別解釋這個考試,讓喜歡創作的朋友略略了解這個作曲試是甚麼樣,當然也希望你們找 Leung Sir 我學習作曲。LTCL 的作曲班就快開始招生了。


Trinity 的作曲文憑試 Part A 部份是考生自由提交兩個指定樂種 (genre) 的作品。考生有三個選擇: 1. 絃樂四重奏。2. 無伴奏合唱 (至少四聲部) 一首,詩詞可以自由選擇,英語的或是非英語的詩皆可。3. 一個樂章的銅管四重奏或木管四重奏。考生如果通過了這一 part ,就可在三年內再考筆試,即 Part B 部份,分上下午舉行,時為五小時,答三條題目。

這個部份包括三條題目。1. 樂曲寫作: 考生可選擇寫 a. Passacaglia for Organ 。b. 根據指定主題寫二組變奏。c. 寫一段 cadenza of a concerto。 d. 用十二音列寫一個鋼琴曲。2. 十九世紀編制的管絃樂配器習題。3. 用管絃樂隊寫一段約兩分鐘的incidental music,情境音樂,又或跟據指定主題寫不少於三十小節的一個絃樂五重奏 episode。

對於 part A 的submitted composition ,我通常都鼓勵考生寫 string quartet 和 Acappella for SATB。可是,考生以甚麼風格去寫這兩個作品呢?

我認為現在已踏入二十一世紀好一段時間了,我們總不能再為那些十九世紀的浪漫風格的 tonal music了。還記得我曾撰文談及衡量作品好與壞的那篇文章嗎? 詳程請參閱電影音樂漫談的一系列文章。我曾說過,OCT 是三大標準去評論現代作品的好壞。O for Originality。C for Creativity。T for Techicality。所以同學可以嘗試以現代音樂技法,如 chance music 寫作一些含有不定性 Indeterminacy 的音樂。我拿了九十分的那個一樂章絃樂四重奏,就是用了aleatory 的技法寫成的。當然,除了chance music 之外,同學也可以寫 textural music,以音色變化為主的積體作品。另外,無伴奏合唱,也是頗容易處理的。因為有文字的樂曲,都可以從文字內容去引導樂曲的變化發展。我們稱此技巧為 text painting。我在前一系列文章都曾討論過這個技巧怎樣在十九世紀的藝術歌曲裡經常見到。再者,同學對於寫作歌唱性旋律,通常感到比較容易。因為我們學習作曲。大都首先學寫歌唱性的旋律,即 melody writing。而且,我們做學生時,在學習和聲理論時,也都是先學寫四部和聲,即 SATB 寫作。所以,無伴奏合唱,看來是比較易容入手的。當然我這裡不是說,木管或銅管四重奏是很難寫。

可是同學們想想,畢竟寫器樂曲,是要先學習那些樂器的演奏方法,我們稱為 instrumentation,樂器法。木管和銅管的樂器的吹奏法,不是三兩個月可以學得純熟的。不要忘記,傳統上我們還是要先學寫絃樂器 string。這是寫作整個樂隊的基礎。所以,同學們花時間先學用絃樂器寫成的絃樂四重奏,已經用了不少時間。然後,再寫自己已學過,有一定認識的 vocal music,這比較省時。同學先考過了第一關,然後,再修讀二十世紀 compositional techniques 和orchestration,熟習了,就可以應付第二部份的考試。

To Be Continued........待續........

David Leung (theorydavid)
2011-02-14 (published)

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。

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)

2011年2月11日 星期五

中國音樂的現代化綜論 (2) -- 中國音樂現代化的先鋒--蕭友梅先生

前言: 這篇文章接上篇討論民國初年的中國音樂現代化的經過。明眼讀者一看就知道以下文筆是 Academic English,近似論文的寫作手法了。早前曾跟讀者談過陶傑所喜愛的一個中國歷史時代,也就是我所喜歡的同一年代 -- 民國初年。我也曾說過,民國初年 (五四之後至1937 年中日戰爭開始時),就像一位風華絕代的中年美女,充滿使人感到醇醉的千嬌百媚和風情萬種。只因這個時代是中華民族在藝術文化音樂的各個領域裡經歷真正現代化的時期,或者,更應該說是對峙著西方式的現代化 (western modernization) 衝激。在音樂發展上,是中國傳統音樂接受西方音樂的洗禮的里程埤。我所談及的風韻醇醉,就是從這個音樂現代化開始。我這一系列文章,就是討論中國音樂的現代化的發展。其中各篇文章有的是以 Academic 英文寫成,也有用中文以隨筆方式寫成的。敬請各同學留意,不要 copy-and-paste。但 idea 就不妨拿來參巧一下。

New Chinese Music and Tradition (中國新音樂和傳統)

According to Maria Chow, modern China was zealously looking for a “new national musical style that, on the one hand could be dissociated from China’s imperial past and, on the other, would not be seen as western in spite of its being ‘modern’”.[1] A new, modern national music, powered by the advocacy of Xiao Youmei (蕭友梅 1884-1940) and his fellows such as Huang Zi from the National Conservatory of Music (NCM) in the first few decades of the twentieth-century, was exactly such music. It could be used not only to represent modern China but also to establish a new Chinese music tradition.

When discussing this new form of national music, Xiao provides a definition: “What is Guoyue (national music 國樂)? The music that expresses the spirit, thoughts and sentiment of Chinese people of a particular era can be regarded as Guoyue. Thus, the essences of Guoyue are Chinese spirit, thoughts and sentiment. The way to express such essences in music must be in accord with the trend of that particular era, as well as a composer’s personal predilection. There is no need to be confined to any particular instrument [western or ethnic instrument], or musical manner 樂曲形式.”[2] Xiao’s term ‘musical manner’ refers to the analysis of the three main factors of music: content, manner, and instrument. The essence of music lies in its “content – the expressive idea, emotion and mood of music. The manner of music, including melody, rhythm, harmony, and musical design, is its outer body. The musical instrument is only the tool to perform music.”[3]

In fact, Xiao’s idea of ‘western manner-Chinese content’ had already been germinating from his earlier days while he was pursuing the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Leipzig in Germany. The meanings of Chinese spirit and sentiment are elucidated in his thesis when he wrote, “The Chinese are a nation bestowed with rich musicality…..There will be a day that a unified notation and harmony system will finally be imparted and instituted. By then, the melodious Chinese traditional music will have a rebirth and turn into a new chapter, marching into a new era of brilliance and splendor. Under the premise of retaining its national sentiment and spirit, traditional music has been and will ever be a heritage among the Chinese people.”[4] Xiao believed that traditional music would be a valuable treasure for new Chinese music. And the national style (民族風格) lies in the “framework of a musical work”.[5] Chinese people would be able to preserve their own national character in musical content, even when the manner was western. Regarding this western ‘musical manner’, especially the theory of harmony, he further claimed that “the harmonic practice is not music itself. It is just the proper way of harmonizing a tune. We have to make use of this progressive theory of harmony to create our new music”.[6] Thus for Xiao, if the Chinese traditional music were reformed and renewed by applying the western compositional techniques, it would become the foundation of the new music for modern China.

From Xiao’s explanation, the relationship between music and nationality is similar to that of a bottle and its wine. While western technique is the bottle, the Chinese content is the wine. Since the overall trend of China’s modernization was in the spirit of wholesale westernization, it was natural for many composers to employ western techniques (the bottle) when they thought of new music. However, the problem lies in ‘Chinese content’ (the wine). What constitutes Chinese spirit, thought, and sentiment? How can they be expressed musically in a work? Ironically, to many local listeners, some Xiao’s compositional works sound more western than Chinese.

  During an interview for Music Monthly (音樂月) under the title “On Our New Music Movement”, Xiao
apparently had in mind the value of old traditional music when he said of the national quality of music: “…if
we desire to reform our traditional music or create our own Nationalistic School of Music, then we cannot
completely throw away our old traditional music.”[7] Xiao encouraged the collecting, rearranging and
harmonizing of the folk tunes,[8] reaffirming the value of Chinese traditional folk music. These, he believed,
were the keys in distinguishing the style of Chinese music from that of other countries.

待續..... To Be Continued.....… 

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-02-10 (published)

[1] Maria M. Chow, “Representing China Musically: A Chinese Conservatory and China’s Musical Modernity 1900-1937” (PhD Dissertation, The University of Chicago, The Faculty of the Division of the Humanities, 2005), 27.
[2] Xiao Youmei, “復興國樂之我見 (Restoration of Our National Music) 1939,” in Xiao Youmei yinyuewenji蕭友梅音樂文集 (Collection of Musical Essays of Xiao Youmei), Chen Lingqun et al. ed. (Shanghai: Shanghai Yinyuechubanshe, 1990), 540.
[3] Ibid., 539.
[4] This citation is quoted from Xiao Youmei’s doctorial thesis, “中國音樂考 (A Research of Chinese Ancient Musical Instruments)”, written in the University of Leipzig, Germany in 1916. See Xiao Youmei, Xiao Youmei yinyuewenji蕭友梅音樂文集 (Collection of Musical Essays of Xiao Youmei), Chen Lingqun et al. ed. (Shanghai: Shanghai Yinyuechubanshe, 1990), 8.
[5] Xiao Youmei, “音樂家的新生活 (The New Life of Composers) 1934,” in Xiao Youmei yinyuewenji蕭友梅音樂文集 (Collection of Musical Essays of Xiao Youmei), Chen Lingqun et al. ed. (Shanghai: Shanghai Yinyuechubanshe, 1990), 381.
[6] Ibid., 381.
[7] Xiao Youmei, “On Our New Music Movement,” Music Monthly, vol. 1, 4 (1938). The article has been collected in Collection of Musical Essays of Xiao Youmei . See Xiao Youmei yinyuewenji蕭友梅音樂文集 (Collection of Musical Essays of Xiao Youmei), Chen Lingqun et al. ed. (Shanghai: Shanghai Yinyuechubanshe, 1990), 466.
[8] Ibid., 466.

2011年2月8日 星期二

中國音樂的現代化綜論 (1) -- 中國文化面對現代化的衝激

前言: 早前曾跟讀者談過陶傑所喜愛的一個中國歷史時代,也就是我所喜歡的同一年代 -- 民國初年。我也曾說過,民國初年 (五四之後至1937 年中日戰爭開始時),就像一位風華絕代的中年美女,充滿使人感到醇醉的千嬌百媚和風情萬種。只因這個時代是中華民族在藝術文化音樂的各個領域裡經歷真正現代化的時期,或者,更應該說是對峙著西方式的現代化 (western modernization) 沖激。在音樂發展上,是中國傳統音樂接受西方音樂的洗禮的里程埤。我所談及的風韻醇醉,就是從這個音樂現代化開始。我這一系列文章,就是討論中國音樂的現代化的發展。其中各篇文章有的是以 Academic 英文寫成,也有用中文以隨筆方式寫成的。敬請各同學留意,不要 copy-and-paste。但 idea 就不妨拿來參巧一下。

China’s Cultural Modernization

China experienced its modernization at the time when the western culture was massively imported through the hegemony of imperialism in the beginning of the twentieth-century. From the present perspective, this modernization movement has proven to be an important phase in the entire progression of Chinese music culture. However, the cultural collision was so fierce that the seemingly unshakable traditional structure was seriously distorted. China had never experienced this before throughout its long history. In the Tang Dynasty, for instance, China was in a strong political and social position. Its indigenous culture was able to absorb, transform and assimilate the incoming foreign cultural elements, thus constructing a new, unique hybridized culture of its own without surrendering its original value system. The Indian Buddhism which was imported to Chinese community at this time was an exemplar of just such a successful cultural assimilation. However, the cultural transmission at the time of China’s modernization was totally different. Unlike the situation in the Tang Dynasty, modern China was in a seriously weak socio-political position. The transcultural process was carried out on the basis of neither a China-leading, nor a two-way equal exchange model.[1] On the contrary, it took the form of a strong, brutal conquest which aimed to fulfill a colonizer’s ambitious desire for exploiting greater economic and political advantages from the weaker colonized by destroying its ancient, historically valued socio-cultural structure.

The May Fourth Movement (1919), first appearing as a request for reform at political level and later spreading out to cover different socio-cultural dimensions, together with the New Cultural Movement (1915-1922) were regarded as the reactions to this great imbalance of east-west acculturation.[2] In July 1933, the Sheng Bao Monthly (申報月) in Shanghai published a special issue on “The Modernization of China”.[3] This publication showed that Chinese people used the term “modernization” to describe the cultural confrontation. As Chinese intellectuals and even the masses were forced to recognize the military power and political strength of western imperialism, there was a concomitant awakening of national consciousness. The western educated backgrounds of social elite also compelled them to acknowledge the serious backwardness of the country in areas such as democracy, science, and the military. With the aim of reconstituting a new Chinese culture through, paradoxically, wholesale westernization in order to save the country, Chinese intellectuals, thinkers, and educators, brought about a series of cultural reforms. Xiao Youmei’s notable contributions to institute a new music education system and promote the New Music Movement for modern China were some of the fruits of these cultural reforms.

[1] 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.
[2] On May 4, 1919, nearly three thousand university students protested in the street of Beijing against the decision that despite China being a victor in World War I, Japan – rather than Germany – could take control of the province of Shandong. For a comprehensive study of the May Fourth Movement, see Chow Tse-tsung, The May Fourth Movement: Intellectual Revolution in Modern China (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1964), “Introduction.”
[3] The headline of the Sheng Bao Monthly is cited from a secondary source. See Jiang Binghai, “The Cultural Tradition of China and Modernization,” in Chinese Cultural Traditions and Modernization: Chinese Philosphical Studies, X, Wang Miaoyang, George F. Mclean et al ed. (Washington D.C.: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 1997), 43.

To be continued............  待續........

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-02-08 (published)

電影音樂漫談 (5): 從電影音樂作品看音影分離法

前言: 接續上一篇文章 "電影音樂漫談 (4): 電影音樂作品的解構解讀" ,與讀者分享第二首電影音樂作品例子。這首電影音樂樂曲,如果抽離了電影中描繪的 images,還是可以用現代音樂作品的衡量準則 -- OCT -- 去分析了解。它大概六分鐘左右,長度比起 Woody 的 Banana 中的一幕更長得多。相信聽者會較容易接受這段音樂是一個獨立作品。這個例子是日本蜚聲國際的導演黑澤明的電影 "亂" (Ran) 的其中一段影片。


黑澤明的電影 "亂" (Ran) 的這一幕 episode,是描繪戰爭的殘酷。這個殘酷不單是因為雙方軍隊的互相砍殺,傷亡慘重,反影出戰爭的恐佈可怕。更因為這齣電影的內容是描為身為兒子的貪求權位,竟然反叛父親潘主,以下犯上,合謀造反,弒母殺父。這一幕就是述兩個兒子帶軍隊攻打父親的城郡,殺盡父親的內官妃嬪,以及所有大臣官員,迫父親走上絕路。其內容就活像 Sharespeare 的 King Lear 李爾王,的日本版。權力使人腐化,見盡人性之黑暗,這一幕便是一個明證。黑澤明的導演功力,從他運用鏡頭的方式,和邀請武滿徹譜上原創音樂,亦可見一斑。

觀眾看這一幕時,他們都感受到戰爭和戀棧權力的殘酷。不同一般的拍攝手法,黑澤明在處理這場戰爭時,就運用了動與靜的鏡頭交替刺激觀眾的官能感受。一方面我們看到千軍萬馬的奔騰,軍隊走來走去,一群一群人在 screen 上左右互相穿梭往來,動感十足。但在 screen 的正中點,觀眾卻可以看到鏡頭同時拍攝著一些已經戰死的士兵屍體,和他們各種死亡的姿勢,有些是平躺下來的,有些是掛在欄柵上的,有些是倚在城牆邊的。這些鏡頭所描繪的是靜態的,如硬照般的畫面。雖不是影像重疊,但仍看到畫面上像是有一層 still 的 image layer 擺放在 moving 的 image layer 前面。

至於音樂方面,絕對可以是一個獨立樂曲,有六分鐘多長度。這個 pure western orchestral music,很有 impressionism 印象派的音樂風格味道。 音色以 string 為一個 background sonic layer,再加上冷漠的 oboe,muted horn 等管樂音色去做另一個前景 layer。這兩個 sonic layers 都是獨立的, independent,並以不同調式旋律 Modal melodies 作為骨幹組成的,並同時進行。 但 Takemitsu 的寫作比較自由,melodies 內含不少 chromatic 的不協和 dissonant 裝飾音。再者,兩個 melodic layers ,無論在旋律節奏方面,也是互不相干,不大協調的。這就產生了與鏡頭運用的很相似效果,就是兩層 melody layers 也動中有靜,而靜中有動。還有,一般學生在考試常被扣分的 melody going nowhere,即沒有方向的旋律進行,在這裡我們就聽到很多。Toru Takemitsu 很懂得以這種沒有目的方向的旋律進行,來表達戰爭的無意義,無目的,無建設,只有破壞,只有殘殺。查實這是一個很奇怪的音樂。跟一般樂曲不同,這裡的樂音根本就沒有很明顯的高潮和推進,但卻一樣能扣人心絃。

從電影的角度來看,這幕是沒有任何對白,和沒有任何 FX sound effects -- 即電影中常用的真實聲音配置 -- 就像默片一樣,只有音樂。可是觀眾從聆聽這外不協和的,怪異跳動的音樂本身,就可以明白劇情是在述說甚麼 。他們也感受到是樂和影像來描繪的不悅,殘忍,無奈與可怕。黑澤明的拍攝手法,是希望給觀眾一個錯覺,影像似是慢了一點點。因此音樂的速度也是中速偏慢 Moderato ma non troppa,一點也不快,沒有 energetic 的動感,一些也不似是慣常 express 戰爭場面的音樂。所以,這種音樂和影像的結合方法,有些電影音樂作家稱為影音分離法。坦白說,以純音樂的技巧而論 ,technicality,雖是非常精堪,但 creativity 和 originality 不算是最高的。現在很多電影音樂也運用近似的手法。不過,話得說回頭,黑澤明這齣 "Ran" 也算是很早運用到類似的音樂創作手法的電影了。如再以 劇情為一首樂曲的 programmatic references 來了解音樂,這首 "Threnody of War" (暫時的樂曲 title),也是一首達到八十分以上的現代音樂作品。

總的來說,有些電影音樂,雖是整個電影中的其中一幕,也算是獨立樂曲作品。我認為配樂二字,多少未能反影到它作為一首有研究價值的樂曲的地位。我希望能以此文章,拋磚引玉,讓電影音樂工作者,多吸收作曲理論知識,提升自己的寫作能力,不宜妄自誹薄,以商業流行之音樂無須以學院式學習為由,便塞忠諫之路。如真的是這樣,那麼,commerical popular music 貽矣。


David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-02-07 (published)

2011年2月4日 星期五

有關文藝復興的一點看法 (2)

前言: 我曾跟學生談到文藝復興在西方美術史中的地位。由於時間的緊迫,我講得很快,加上學生對一般西方通史的知識比較貧乏,所以未能跟得上我想表達的一些我認為是較新,較獨到的見解。下課後,有一位程度較佳的學生提議,我不妨在我的網誌裡再補充一下。雖然我曾為這個題目寫了文章的第一部份 (2011-01-05),但有些學生跟我說他仍然覺得 Le Goff 的 idea 很深。我是同意他們的看法。要學會和運用一些新的理論去看 History 這個大問題,也的確不容易。可是,如個我在這個網誌裡所討論的觀點是太平庸,我覺得我不須再化時間去寫下去了。因為,我們都可以買一本 textbook 自己學習就已經夠,學生們都不用交學費去上堂。我們做老師的哪裡會有工作可做呢?

正面的去看,如果老師教的東西,學生不是全都明白 (不是全不明白),這是好的。因為,這可以顯示,學生求學的態度是怎樣? 如果學生的求學態度是誠懇,認真的,他們一定會主動請教老師,也會作出努力,繼續追求答案,直至滿足為止。但很可惜,現今香港的學生,已被那些以搵快錢為教學宗旨的商業性補習社弄得不再懂得思巧,只懂坐在椅上等候 model answer,就連指頭都懶得一動了。

就是由於有一位同學再請教我上一篇 "有關文藝復興的一點看 (1)" 的文章,所以,我就在堂上再化了一些時間去講解一下。經過再講解後,相信同學們也都明白了很多,大概也有七, 八成了。不過,若要掌握一個全新的理論去思巧問題,我相信同學還要付出更多努力。畢竟,世間是沒有免費午餐的。因此,學問學問,先學後問,所以,問,是不可或缺的了。



I am not ready to write further on this topic at this site, since I have explained verbally in the class. However, what do the readers of the first article need, in my opinion, is some original explanations from the author about the relationships between time, rituals, innovation, collective memory and history, especially in the Reniassiance period. The following discussons are quoted from the book, History and Memory, written by the French historian and philospher, Jacques Le Goff for readers' references.  (David Leung's own comments)

Le Goff:

For the child, "to understand time is to liberate oneself from the present: not only to anticipate the future in relation to the regularities unconsciously established in the past, but to deploy a series of states, each of which is different from the others, and whose connection can be established only by a gradual movement without fixation or stopping point." (History, Le Goff, 3)

To understand time is essentially to demonstrate reversibility. In societies, the distinction between past and present (and future) also implies this ascent into memory and this liberation from the present, both of which in turn assume education, the constitution of a collective memory preceding and extending beyond the individual memory. (History, Le Goff, 3)

Since historical time is usually expressed in the form of a narrative, both in the historian's work and in collective memory, it includes an insistent reference to the present, an implicit focus on the present. This is obviously especially true for traditional history, which has long been primarily a story-history, a narrative. Whence the ambighity of even those historical discourses that seem to privilege the past, such as Michelet's program: history as the "integral resurrection of the past." (History, Le Goff, 7)

Through myths and rituals, primitive thought estalishes a particular kind of relation between past and present: " mythical history is paradoxically both separated from the present and conjoined with it...... Through ritual, the mythical 'separate' past is connected on the one hand with biological and seasonal periodicity, and on the other with the 'conjoin' past which links, from one generation to another, the dead with the living". (History, Le Goff, 7)

The past is defined as the period anterior to the events an individual remembers directly. Most societies consider the past as the model for the present. But there are interstices in this devotion to the past through which innovation and change slip in. What is the role of innovation in societies attahced to the past? Only a few sects succeed in isolating themselves in order to completely resist change.  The societies we call traditional, and particularly peasant societies, are not at all as static as they are thought to be. But if the attachment to the past can admit novelties and transformation, the direction of the evolution it perceives is usually that of a decadence or a decline. Thus innovation presents itself in a society in the form of a return to the past: that is the central idea of "renaissances." (History, Le Goff, 9)

Many revolutinary movements take a return to the past as their motto and ambition: .......
(one example that David Leung quotes here) Nationalist movements, including Nazism and fascism, which tend to inaugurate a completely new "order", present themselves a traditionalist, as returning to the past.
(History, Le Goff, 9)

Individuals composing a society almost always feel the need to have ancestors, and one of the roles of great men is to fill that need. The customs and the artistic taste of the past are often aped and adopted by revolutionaries. (Hisotory, Le Goff, 10)

Collective attitudes toward the past, the present, and the future can be schematically expressed as follows: in pagan antiquity, the valorization of the past predominated along with the idea of a decadent present; in the Middle Ages, the present is trapped between the weight of the past and the hope of an eschatological future; in the Reniassiance, on the contrary, the primary stress in on the present, while from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, the ideology of progress turns the valorization of time towards the future. (History, Le Goff, 11)

In fact, medieval time confines the present between a retroorientation toward the past and a futuro-tropism that is particularly strong among millenarians. Just the Church restrained or condemned millenarian movements, it privileged the past. (History, Le Goff, 11)

S. Stelling-Michaud has maintained that the men of the Middle Ages, tossed back and forth between the past and the future, tried to live the present non-temporally, as an instant that was supposed to be a moment of eternity. (History, Le Goff, 12-13)

...... medieval artists, caught between the attraction of the past, the mythical time of Paradise, and the search for the preogative moment that is oriented toward the future, whether salvation or damnation, sought above all to express the atemporal. (History, Le Goff, 13)

The present is further diminished by the tendency of medieval man to constantly actualize the past, especially the biblical past. The man of the Middle Ages lives in a constant anachronism, ignoring local color, and attributing to ancient people medieval costumes, feelings, and modes of behaviour. The Crusdaers believed that in Jersusalem they were punishing the true tormentors of Christ. But one can say: "the past is not studied as past, it is relived, brought into the present"? It is not rather that the present is eaten away by the past, for only the past gives the present its sense and its significant? (History, Le Goff, 13)

Nevertheless, at the end of the Middle Ages, the past is increasingly understood in relation to the time of the chronicles, to progress in dating, and to the measuring of time brought about by mechanical clocks. "Present and past are distinguished in the consciousness of the late Middle Ages not only in terms of their historical aspect, but also through a painful and tragic sensiblity". The French poet Villonn was tragically aware of this flight of time, of the irremediable passing away of the past. The Reniassance seems to be caught between two contradictory tendencies. On the one hand, progress in measuring, dating, and chronology permit the past to be put in perspective. On the other, the tragic sense of life and death, can lead to epicureanism, to the enjoyment of the present, expressed by poets from Lorenzo and Magnificent to Ronsard:

But gentle ladies, handsome youths,
Who sing and play upon your lutes,
Drink the joy of every days,
For hour by hour it slips away. (History, Le Goff, 13)

(David's comment) From the above statements cited from the writing of Le Goff, one can easily understand why we admit that Medieval men have no historical awareness of the past. They lived in an atemporal sense of time without clear distinctions between the past, the present and the future. But, on the contrary, the Renaissance society was perhaps the first one in the history, possessed with the sense of historical consciousness. Reniassiance people caught their sight on the tragic present, and at the same time, glorified the past with deep passion.

If anyone who does not really understand the above citation (the important statements and arguments) of Le Goff 's idea on time, collective memory and history, you can are welcome to write your questions to me.


David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-02-04 (published)

2011年2月2日 星期三


前言: 除夕將近,一般世俗工作都擱下來,讓各人靜靜地休息一下。看來我也要寫一些感性點的散文以應景。前一陣子的學術性討論文章,只好遲兩三天才繼續寫下去。不過,這一篇散文,也不是全新寫作的。我在多年前已經在一本雜誌發表過,但由於它是我最喜歡的一篇文章,所以我就在此網誌重新發表。希望讀者也可分享一下我的感情世界。


每年的大除夕,我們一家人,總是開開心心的聚在一起吃團年飯。當然,也少不了可以一嚐婆婆親手做的小菜  -- 清蒸大鯉魚。

婆婆的菜燒得真巧手,就連一些酒店大廚子都承認自愧不如。可是,婆婆從來不會在平時做菜的。但每逢過年過節,她的菜就一定能出現在桌上,更不層令我們失望過。我們若問她原因,她只含笑答道: "若我常常做這些菜,你們就不會感覺到特別珍貴,也不能令你們在節日時,回家一起吃飯的了。"

婆婆很注重一家人在一起吃團年飯。她常常教訓我們道: "國家之所以謂國,就在於團結兩字。若連家也不能團結在一起,何以立國? 我也不奢望你們為國為家作些甚麼,就只希望你們到時到候,能準時回家一聚,不會遲到。"

記得有一次,姊姊因為加班工作,未能趕及回家團年。婆婆吩咐不要開飯,要整家人一直等到姊姊回來才可吃飯。過不多時,飯菜已冷,我們各人的內心也同時感到陣陣寒意。可是,當姊姊匆匆回來後,婆婆出乎意料地沒有像平時的她,但卻聽得婆婆喃喃自語道: "想當年,你祖父南征北戰,為國請命,足足抗戰了八年光景,及至殉國,也未能有一次機會回家團年。現在你們是身在福中不知福。唉! 真是........。" 我們聽過這一番話後,心裡很是難過,從此,每逢過年過節,再也不敢遲歸了。

大約在五年前 (1981年),婆婆就結束了她那平凡的一生。就像其他平凡的女人一樣,她的心中只愛她的兒女,她的家庭,一生只為家人的團結而操心,直到她生命的路走完,到最後的一息為止。

自婆婆去逝後,家中的景況也就越來越變得冷清。姊姊遠赴國外工作去了,又加上爸媽都是個隨便的人,所以我們一家人大都沒有一起過年過節。今年除夕,爸媽更是連團年飯都不吃,到外地旅遊去。我不禁想起了婆婆臨終時的一番教誨: "你們應要立下決心,從始貫終,小而團家,大而團國,要像婆婆學煮這味清蒸大鯉魚一樣,一定要做到最好為止,才能罷手。你母親樣樣都好,就是性急,不能專心致志地學燒菜。學學這味,學學那樣,到頭來就連一味清蒸大鯉魚也弄得不好了。"


David Leung (theorydavid)

1986 (published)

2011-02-02 (re-published)