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    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.

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