Sunday, November 18, 2018

First International On-line Guqin Yaji

We had a very successful the first ever international on-line Guqin yaji by Skype group meeting. Many thanks to Ralph's suggestion of doing this, the technical testing and guidance. Thanks for everyone's participation, music sharing.

Time: Sunday the 18th, 2018 3:00 - 5:00 pm USA Eastern Time. 

我們成功的第一個國際在線古琴雅集 - 
2018年十一月18日星期日美國東部時間下午3:00 - 5:00。

The yaji started with everyone's self introduction, following by the Qin playing:

Peiyou from Vestal NY - 幽蘭 Yolan (Solitary Orchid), which is about 1400 years old, the oldest surviving guqin melody.
Joe from Washington State - 歸去來辭 Gui Qu Lai Ci (Ah, homeward bound I go!),Taigu Yiyin 1511 edition.
Ralph from New Jersey - 慨古引 Kaigu Yin (Lament of Antiquity), Madame Tsai's (1905-2007) edition
Sebastian from Austria - 秋風辭 Qiu Feng Ci (Ode to Autumn Wind), Mei'an Qinpu (1931) modified by Juni Yeung and Peiyou
Andre from Brazil - His own composition. ( ). Andre is a left handed qin player.

Culture Sharing

Ralph talked about Chinese paper shadow puppetry 皮影戲. He used "sharing screen" to have his ppt presentation which everyone can see very clearly and easily to follow:

Why Shadow Puppets now?
Found old set I gave to my kids when cleaning up
They are cool!

What are Chinese Shadow Puppets
Traditionally carved out of leather
Oil lamp cast their colored shadows on a darkened screen
Stories – religious overtones originally?  Now comedy and adventure more common. 

Been around since at least the Song but maybe Han Emperor Wu?
In steep decline in the 20th century – but still survive (Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity)

Performances in NYC
Chinese Theatre Works
Also lots of youtube examples are available.  (Emperor Wu) (Intangible video)

Around the world

Books in English
Fan Pen Li Chen - Chinese Shadow Theatre: History, Popular Religion, and Women Warriors
Fan Pen Li Chen - Visions for the Masses: Chinese Shadow Plays from Shaanxi and Shanxi
Grant Hayter-Menzies Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton
Also overviews and other traditions 
American Museum of Natural History has Laufer’s collection online. Also other traditions
Museum in China – maybe someday!  200,000 puppets
Also the Cui Yongping Shadow Art Museum in Peking

Working on performing
Making my screen and fake flame light
Bought Journey to the West puppets – more? 
Have a few more from other traditions
Plan to make my own using computer printer transparencies and plastic

Ralph showed the three  paper puppets he has that are the three major characters from Journey to the West, the Tang monk, the pig, and the monkey. Many thanks for Ralph's sharing. 

Peiyou learned from Ralph, using the "sharing screen" as well, and talked a little bit about the International Guqin Conference at SOAS, hosted by London Yolan Qin Society in August 2018. She focused on The Qianlong 乾隆 Emperor's Guqin: Craftmanship, Nostalgia and Virtue presented by Mr. Edward Luper (Chinese art specialist at Bonhams auction house) and showing the link from Sotheby's website of this "Clear Autumn Skies Above The Xiang River" which has nice pictures that one can enlarge each image to see details.

Question and Answer

Andre shared his philosophy of music composition after Joe raised a question after Andre's playing of his own composition on the guqin. Andre says that this piece is dedicated to one of his friend. When he composed this piece, he was not thinking music construction, but any feeling naturally came out of his body. 

Peiyou shared some information about the oldest surviving guqin melody Yolan, which is now store in Tokyo National Museum (please click 'Yolan' to see the original music sheets).  And the process of her studying of this piece -- 

First study the original "literal notation 文字譜" ( about 10 pages) phrase by phrase and write down the "abbreviated notation 減字譜" phrase by phrase, there is a lot of research of fingering techniques during this process . 

Making into three pages of music sheet.

Peiyou also mentioned about the film of R.H van Gulik's story, and the book "The Lore of the Chinese Lute" 

The meeting ended around 5:20pm. We plan to continue doing this periodically. The next time will be in mid January. (most likely on Sunday 1/20/2019, 2 - 4 pm or 3 - 5pm USA Eastern time)


I had collected some feedback:
A, 5-6 people is a good size, feel more intimacy.
B, individual questions can be control under given minutes.
C, more qin playing on melody comparison.
D, ppt presentation on sharing screen is a good way to do
E, Sound quality in general is pretty good, if using a better microphone and wearing a headphone, that should work.

Friday, May 18, 2018


琴緣真的是很微妙...今年, 戊戌年, 五月返台探親訪友. 於五月八日 在大安區首次會見了林嶽琴友及一位與林先生學琴的郭淑玲女士.  林嶽曾師從已故莊洗先生. 郭淑玲女士正與林嶽學習[鶴鳴九皋]. 林先生也彈絲弦琴. 在離家一周未曾碰琴的情況下, 能在此雅集彈上絲弦琴, 實乃一大慰藉. 我分享了[石上流泉] 與一點點的[廣陵散].

淑玲是一位藝術, 音樂創作者與作家, 她曾寫過一本書: [創作之心- 點與線的謳歌]. 林嶽拿出這本書給我看, 我很快抄下了書名. 期望幾天後能在某個書店找到. 淑玲彈了剛學習的[鶴鳴九皋]. 林嶽也分享了[平沙落雁]與[鶴鳴九皋].

林嶽贈送莊洗先生的遺音[鶴鳴集]. 實感榮幸. 我只能等到回美時慢慢欣賞.

後話: 淑玲的書我在士林的市圖, 及市圖總館都沒找著, 也跑到了敦南誠品, 最後在信義誠品買到最後一本. 很是欣喜. 見書如見人. 是我可以好好認識淑玲的方法.

[鶴鳴集]在回美後第一個晚上就聽得如癡如醉. 以前都是聽莊老師現場彈, 當時並不知如何欣賞她的琴音, 可卻在聽了這張CD, 讓我感動萬分. 莊師琴音如其名, 洗鍊, 內斂, 洗盡鉛華, 塵定心平. 聽到[流水]時, 竟眼眶濕潤.  [山居吟] 非常喜歡.  [碧澗流泉] 很棒的詮釋. 此[鶴鳴集]專輯製作非常好. 一點也不覺得背景的其他聲音是干擾. 看來我的心境也不一樣了.

五月十二日 參加了百樂琴苑舉辦的[戊戌夏日操縵]古琴雅集. 


上半場除了[白雪]與[歸去來辭], 其餘均用鋼絲絃, 特別有感的幾位琴人之琴音我記錄如下:
來自瀋陽, 習琴川派的傅薪維彈[醉漁唱晚], 其琴音平和, 清鬆, 有種與世無爭之感.
黃雪婷彈[良宵引], 幽靜細緻
陳濬寬彈[酒狂], 加上古歌詞, 用自己的詮釋唱出, 很有風味.
朱育賢的絲弦[白雪] 打譜自"自遠堂", 的確有曲高和寡之古風

中場休息 飲用茶點

下半場 均用絲弦琴演奏
詹富銘彈[洞庭秋思] 打譜自[西麓堂琴統], 絲弦控制力道很足. 聲音入木有韻味. 
洪嘉吟彈梅庵派[平沙落雁] , 其左手有力, 綽上注下頗有野鴨鳴叫之感. 右手多處輪指處裡的很俐落, 使此曲特色展現分明. 
幽默的主持人 梁承忠彈[瀟湘水雲] 溫和, 不疾不徐.
陳昌靖彈[漁樵問答] 合參吳景略與琴學入門, 認為此曲有遺民, 隱逸之士,清苦複雜的心情. 枯木禪琴譜指示此曲宜簡靜為妙, 感覺陳昌靖先生有做到, 並有平和, 淡遠之味.
最後, 所有現場使用琴的斲琴師夏林余先生演奏[山居吟]
夏先生因右手中指受過傷, 無法用指甲彈, 於是以名指代替中指. 其琴音較為輕柔. 
夏先生指出一床好琴若要傳承, 須顧到此三大要素: 1) 漆 2) 結構/耐摔 3) 聲音
三分絃音, 七分木音, 而他對木音越來越追求
好的琴有三Jing: 乾淨/安靜/勁道
耐彈, 重不破, 輕幽遠
唐朝的雷琴就是厚重溫靜而雅 (話說我的WP琴就有這味)

最後夏師傅說一個人要有自己的堅持, 才不會迷失

後話: 北門現在變得很漂亮了. 以前那就快要攔腰撞上北門的高架道拆除之後, 並改建為紀念性公園, 確實讓市容美麗多了, 現在也可以進入北門看看那古老厚重的木頭城門. 紅色的北門與黃色的台北郵局, 古色古香. 很有歷史價值.


Monday, April 02, 2018

Attend the yaji at Bard College 3/30/2018

On Friday, March 30th, 7: 30pm, at the Chapel of the Holy Innocents, Bard College
me and my husband and two of my qin students,  attended this
Elegant Gathering (雅集) and Lecture Concert

Guqin: An Ancient Chinese Instrument and its Revival

presented by Zhao Jiazhen 趙家珍 and her son, Li Lingchen 李令晨

from the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, China

以下是與會的學者, 巴德學院音樂系主任, 及演奏者的簡介:

Stephen took this photo of Me, Brenda and Ralph is in the photo as well.

Introduction of the 5 scholars who will giving talks at the next day conference.

Guqin Performer: Zhao Jiaszhen (photo was taken by Brenda)

Mother and son performing together.

Someone present this teddy bear bouquet to Mrs. Zhao. 

This qin was made by WP with artificial lacquer cracks and was strung with metal/nylon strings.

演奏曲目四首古曲都是大曲, 趙女士的演奏技巧高超, 運指極快. 其兒也試圖朝這個方向走. 聽到最後反而會希望如果能來首慢的古琴曲, 會平衡整場演奏會的氣氛. 個人覺得似乎把古琴彈得越快, 越能表示中國音樂也能震撼人心. 但古琴最重要的本質"大音希聲"以及"輕微淡遠"就被忽略了. 這似乎是公眾古琴音樂會的兩難及矛盾.

最後一首琴蕭引為現代曲目 (1984 Zhao ShiJun 創作, 李令晨改編) 根據雲南少數民族音樂為靈感來源. 古琴與黑管重奏.

My report of the conference will be at my Guqin Study Journals page.