Theory Of Music In Ancient Chinese Philosophy — страница 3

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music was closely related to agriculture, and changes of the agricultural calendar were said to have engendered changes in music. Furthermore, folksongs were collected and reperformed before the ruler in order to track public opinion. Music (yue) was also employed as a way of parading the emperor’s success symbolically. Along with dance, music was made a required subject for succeeding princes. This was based on the belief that “yue” encompassed poetry, songs, and dance, that it was a valid measure to read the public opinion, and moreover that and singing and dancing could exert incantatory power in warfare. Due to this, the duty of music officials was very important politically. Their duties included the measurement of climatic changes (Book of pre-Han Dynasty, Book 21 ),

the estimation of an enemy’s morale in warfare (Spring and Autumn Annals, Ranggong 18) , the education of the offspring of the aristocracy (Book of Documents, Shundian ch.), assessing the justice of specific policies, gathering samples of public opinion and transmitting it to the emperor, the composition of musical scores glorifying the dignity of the ruler, and even the manufacture of musical instruments (Tales of the States, Guoyu). Certain music officials, called both “gu” and “shi” thus helped to observe the Way of Heaven and extend its mandates. While cumulating scientific information via objective observations of natural phenomena, these music officials analogized these phenomena (a subjective process) to shifts in society, then using these analogies to predict

significant events. For the sake of illustrating the functions that music served more concretely, the following points are in order. In 555 B.C., the Spring and Autumn Annals (Ranggong 18) states: “Shiguang blew the flute and predicted its country’s loss in warfare. The people of Jing dynasty were told that Chu Dynasty would invade in the forseeable future. At this time, Shiguang said: ‘They could not hurt us. I blew the northern tunes via this luguan, and also southern tunes. But southern tunes were lacking in vivacity and they were dying sounds. Chu Dynasty would fight us but never prevail over us.’” In order to understand this historical folklore, some knowledge of the science and civilization of the time is required. According to Needham, at the time people believed

that each military army had its own unique “qi,” and this qi hovered over the heads of soldiers as kind of energy field. As an attempt to measure and assess the qi of an entire army, music officials were required to blow speically-made luguan, thus exercizing special incancatory music. When the produced sound of this flue was muffled and unclear, it was believed that it showed the qi of the soldiers to be incomplete and unstable, which in turn meant great losses or defeat. There was also a belief that the oft-found incantatory power of pitch-pipes, dance, and bell could form a qi energy field, and even that a certain state of mind could be transmitted via instruments. This was based on a simplistic sort of understanding of the nature of qi. In fact, this form of incantatory

belief in music (Yue) was used as a significant standard for judgement. According to Needham, the blowing of pitch-pipes signified the beginning of a military campaign for an army, and the readiness of its adversary to attack. In keeping with the divinatory music of magicians, they were also used to issue the command to charge or withdraw. Thus, tens of thousands of solidiers’ lives depend on the content of magicians’ music. This belief in the supernatural power of magic and incantation, however, grew weak and eventually collapsed along with the collapse of the ruling system that was based on rites or rituals. The rise and fall of a nation did not draw on the commandment of Heaven anymore, and rather the power struggles among human beings for hegemony in real situations were

perceived to be the determinant of the destinty of a nation. This new perception gained currency among intellectuals and ruling classes and, as a result, they no longer sanctified the existing li (rites) and yue (music). Following this new perspective, rulers then demanded a new interpretation of the existing yue (music) and insisted upon changing its form. As a consequence, a new ruling class began to exploit the symbolic image of the emperor and thus made free use of all the imperial titles and “wuyue” (martial music) I-B. Confucius’ thesis on music as a vehicle of political virtue. Confucius himself respected the politics and culture of the Zhou dynasty. He also worshipped the virtues of the Yao-Shun era, thus he took a rather reactionary attitude toward the old ways.