By R. H. Van Gulik
A heritage either musically and culturally, of the chinese language lute
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A historical past either musically and culturally, of the chinese language lute
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Extra info for The Lore of the Chinese Lute: An Essay in the Ideology of the Ch'in
In all sorts of mixed company the scholar could listen with delight to performances of popular music, and from time to time lustily chime in with some gay song; but when asked about his views on music, he could gravely point to the lutes hanging up in his library, and thereby definitely remove all doubts that might exist with regard to his elevated disposition. On the other hand, returning from a noisy banquet with some old friends, enlivened by the presence of some charming singing girls, the scholar could, in the silence of his library, *flocks of gulls were so used to him that he could pat them.
We have but to read through essays and poems of the T'ang period to see how immensely popular this so-called 'vulgar' music was with the gay and pleasure-loving people of that time. Yet, when one leafs through the scores of voluminous works on music referring to that period, one finds involved speculations on the absolute pitch of the ground-note, and other abstruse questions of musical theory, but not a word about popular, let alone about foreign, music. For this music was contrary to established literary principles, and there was no recognized precedent for it; so it was simply ignored.
56 That many handbooks for the lute also exclude Buddhist priests from lute music, and sharply denounce the music of foreign countries as 'barbarian', is doubtless to be interpreted as a reaction against the ascendency of the Indian and Central-Asiatic elements in secular music. In the next section of this chapter I shall discuss these rules in more detail. The examples given here may suffice to show that the break between real musical conditions and Confucian literary musical ideals was one of the factors that promoted the evolution of ch'in ideology.
The Lore of the Chinese Lute: An Essay in the Ideology of the Ch'in by R. H. Van Gulik