Having learnt the concept of writing notes for instrument on score, I was inspired how to set up a music writing method and system of my own. I believe that writing music on score will not be a difficult task. As a commerical music production man, I understand that competition is very keen. The client offer me money and I must tailor-make to fulfill their demands as soon as possible. They do not accept my writing down of every note that I have composed and arranged, even as the professional players too. I need to play and review their expectations in real time everyday. So many different ideas promoted my ear training and improvise technique indeed. But as regard to the lack of writing score technique in the nowaday computer world, I can say that this working in realistic and cruel musical industrial circle is not enjoyable, although many music students may admire my present situation. Anyway, through the learning lesson yesterday, I will never give myself an excuse of writing as difficult task. I will read and write everyday from now on. Please forgive me for so many many questions in the class.
The following is my reply.
This is nothing new and special, as I always said so. Many of the great masters such as Beethoven, Mozart or Bach copied music from their predecessors so as to learn from them. As such, why not us, the modern man? Techniques can be learnt and trained and writing skill can be improved in some days. The rest remained is our talent. I don’t have doubt on it.
But it seems that the high technology , efficient equippments, and abundant of referenctial information through computers, networks, visual aids and books etc still have not guaranted our improvement of understanding and mastering music. That is what I have observed in the past ten years in the uiversities.
I can help 10 % and students have to do the rest of 90 %. This is what I also always emphasize in the class.
前言: 早前收到 Spencer Chan 的一個回應，覺得很有見地。 而且，他提及一部有關新詩寫作的新書。近日，我也收到蕭才子的簡單回應。查實我還以為他像 BT一樣消聲匿跡，早已忘記到我的網誌流灠。我想他是詩人，可能有看過這本新書，所以順道在這裡將陳 sir 的回應文章轉載，希望與各位朋友分享一下玩盡規則的樂趣。
Spencer Chan 已針對您的文章「玩盡規則 — 在寫作上應用修辭手法」留下新意見：
但「犯規」其實都有其「規範」的，若無止境的「犯規」，連最基本與讀者交流的作用都失效的話，這個「犯規」便是一個嚴重的破壞了。當然，有時，無止境的犯規都可表達一種藝術姿態，John Cage 的 4’33″就是一個很好的例子了。
在「犯規」與「規範」之間遊走，跟Leung Sir 在這篇文章所說的，實在有異曲同工之妙。是一個工匠(或技師)還是藝術家，就看他在rules 之上還可以怎樣雕花，怎樣加入個人印記了。
Leung sir 這兩篇文章實在寫得好，讀者若能用心地看，必能獲益良多。
轉載自陳 sir 的回應文章
前言: 朋友 KM 看過拙作四部和聲寫作要訣後，留言說這大件事了，因她寫作音樂完全是靠 feel。這裡，對懂音樂的朋友，就不期然產生了一個問題，究竟寫作音樂是靠 feel，還是熟練 rules 就可以。坦白說，只要我們肯面對一個很基本的問題，就是凡是任何一種學問，必需學的人付出個人的努力，才能得著這個基本原則，那麼，問題就迎刃而解了。因寫靠 feel 做事的人，大都只希望找得一個藉口去逃避付出努力鍛鍊這一個費時費力的過程，喜歡怎做就怎做嘛，又不是專業! 我覺得成就行啦! 不過話得說回頭，音樂是很抽象，一大堆 rules 又怎可能令音樂變成藝術呢? 我們聽起來 work 就可以吧。所以，KM 所說的情況，又值得深思一下。
有很多強調音樂寫作靠 feel 的人總喜歡拿 Mozart 作例子。這位三百年才一遇的天才，被喻為靈感一到，feel 一來，音樂就能如泉湧的湧出來。可是，朋友們，不如我們看看 Mozart 自己怎樣看別人視自己為天才這個看法。從 Mozart 的書信裡，我們看到他這樣評論自己: 如果別人認為我是天才，寫作音樂毫不費力，請想想，他們能一音不漏的背練 Palestrina 那五十多首 Mass 嗎? 從 Mozart 自己的評論，你可以看出，Mozart是以能熟背 Palestrina 的又長又悶的Mass 為榮。為何 Palestrina 的 Mass 跟寫作 Mozart 時代的 Classical style 的 主音音樂 Homonphony 有關呢? 原來當時代的作曲家，皆要學習對位法，這是寫作音樂，寫作和聲的基本技術。大師如Bach, Handel, Haydn ，以及貝多芬等無不精通十六世紀的古對位法。而這對位法就是從 Palestrina 的那五十多首 Mass 由 Zarlino 這位十六世紀的理論兼作曲家整合出來的，再由十八世紀的 Alfred Mann 改良整理成為今天名為 strict counterpoint 的對位法理論。今天，很可惜，已經很少人再肯花時間去學習這種 strict counterpoint 了。由此可見，我們所熟知的 Tonal Harmony，就是對位音樂和其法則演變而成的。無怪乎 Mozart 聲稱他曾付出極大的努力去熟習這很深很難的 Palestrina Mass，熟習對位技巧。可是，他的天賦才華背後所付出努力卻常為人所忽視。
因此，我們現在學習和聲，又怎能不理會和聲背後的法則 (rules) 呢。所以，我們稱和聲學習是 Harmony and Voice Leading。我們不單要學和絃和和絃之間這縱的關係，還要學和絃間進行這橫的 voice leading 關係。和聲法則，很多是從對位法則伸延變化出來的。如果你今天要學好。Schenkerian Analysis，你如果不懂 counterpoint，是很難明白這種分析法是如何運作的。
和聲法則，在樂曲中的作用，就好比語文的文法。你會寫文章不理會文法嗎? 你能只靠 feel ，美其名是靈感，來寫作嗎? 請想想，就算你只靠 feel 寫了一篇文章出來，卻文法不通，雖然你自己明白，但你的讀者會明白嗎? 所以，就算我們在初學和聲寫作時，要死背一些規則 rules，也是無可避免的。就如在英語的文法裡，你寫: If I were you ，I would kill you，而不是 If I was you, I would kill you. 這文法我們是要背的。但寫多了，不就記得嗎? 為何音樂上的 rules 就找藉口去逃避，說 : “我寫音樂是靠 feel 的，我覺得 work 就得了。” 坦白說，如果是這樣寫出來的東西，不懂的人就給你寫的嚇死，若是行家嘛，就給你笑死。所以在我的圈之裡，朋友還是朋友，身為行內人的我通常不會對朋友的寫作說些甚麼，但如是學生嗎? 我就會指出問題來。跟我學音樂理論的學生，都知我的教學風格。KM 是我認識多年的朋友，也知她的性格和其音樂造詣，不便多說。
同樣地，音樂創作，又或和聲的寫作，我們也不能光靠 rules。 就算你是熟習所有 rules，也充其量能寫出合乎法度，考試合格的音樂，但不能算是含有個人靈氣，神采的作品。所以我們也要靠 feel。嚴格來說，音樂不是拿來看的，而是拿來聽的，所以有時有些對音樂 sensitive 的朋友，就算不大記得 rules，當寫作時，他們也憑慣性將在記憶中曾聽過的音響，合乎法則的音響寫了出來，所以，也偶有遵守了和聲的法規，可是，這並不可靠。這好比，小孩子學講話，他聽過了，就能摹彷出來，與人成功溝通，但你總不會期望小孩子能寫出如 紅樓夢 這種偉大的作品吧。
我們要鍛鍊音樂的 feel，和聲運用的 feel，我們必需從 practical training 出發，多作 play by ear 的訓練。所以，大多學 composition 的人都識彈樂器，如鋼琴，雖然他們不是專業的表演者。可是他們也不能忽略多做音樂分析 — score anlaysis，學習了解前輩大師的作曲技巧，這也牽涉到學習音樂理論和音樂進行的 “文法” ，rules。如果你逃避不肯花時間去鍛鍊寫作技巧，又就能明白這些偉大作品背後的含義呢?
因此，總的來說，我們寫作和聲，寫作音樂，是有 rules，也同時要有 feel，即靈感的。創作很重神來之筆，所以學生皆要接受以上兩方面提及的學習和培養，這是屬於不同的訓練和學習的範疇。如果學生能掌握音樂的文法技巧，又同時具有創意和靈巧，他們的音樂與和聲的寫作才算是被視為真正的 composition。
David leung (theorydavid)
Prelude: Continue the last writing on the topic of “borrowing” in the commerical field. This time I will look at a series of pictures that SCMP call it as Keanu Reeves’ Matrix Photos.
Readers can look at the pictures first before I start discussing the techniques and meanings behind these images. Please enjoy appreciating these pictures.
The first photo (at the very top), which shows a ragged man of a weary face, dressing a ragged coat, with a piece of bread holding in his tiny hand, is the primary image. The newsapaper calls him Keanu Reeves. He just looks like an outsider, perhaps an alien coming from other planets, without belonging to any today’s society. He is lonely, sitting on the border of this so-called civilized, high-tech, prosperious and wealthy world. He is eating, but without tasting. He is meditating, but without thinking. He is “living”, but without “life”. Everything surrounds him is cood, hard, and strange. In fact, there are many this kind of outsider concealed in every corner of our world. They are minority of the society, who are poor, hopeless, as well as being discriminated and neglected by the majority. How ridiculous the photo is when you find that Keanu’s image is sticked onto another images of a photo, somewhat like a pastiche.
Beside Keanus’ original photo, the rest are designed in the style of collage, consisting of Keanu’s primary image and other images, which may be taken from a news’ photo, adverstiment or movie poster. Similar to Wyneer’s poster, the collage of Keanus’ “Matrix photos” is also made from the technique of “borrowing”. However, unlike Wynners’ poster which only alludes to a style, this series of photo quotes directly the image of Keanus from its photo. So we usually call this kind of borrowing as “quotation”, instead of “allusion”. Since the outcome style of this kind of collage photo is not only funny but also a mode of black humour, we call it as “parodic quotation”. True, no readers will deny that Keanus’ matrix photos can bring along a picture of laughter and tear, inviting readers to think, to meditate, like 鄭君綿 ‘s parodic song in the years sixty of Hong Kong. For example, can we sense the meaning of the picture of the family portrait of Kim Ching Yat, the Chairman of North Korea? When we see Keanus, a ragged man with ragged coat, sitting beside Chairman Kim, how do we feel?
North Korea has already been a country notorious for its poverty, starvation, undeveloped, devastating human rights and freedom for many years. Keanus’ half-thinking half-upsetting posture, sad face, ragged appearance, just reminds the readers of his North-Koreanean ordinary, tiny, neglected, and hopless image, which is contrasted with the pride, authority, power and top image of Chairman Kim and his family. Now we may see how collage style can possess high potential of expressivity in an artwork. Readers can uncover more interesting meaning laid behind all other collage pictures in this Keanus’ Matrix series. How about the picture that depicits our small Keanus, who is just sitting on the gigantic hand of the giant-like “Black Knight” of Star War, how much do you understand of it?
In short, when an image from a picture is put in a collage with another image in a picture in order to create a new picture, there always comes up with a question: which one quotes another one? In the above collage pictures, it is hardly for us to discern which photo is the quoted one or which one quotes others. In fact, determining which image is the subject and which is the object is not that important. The far more important is to choose either one to start a reader’s interpretation. From the above brief discussion, it is clear that collage is a very important technique for an artwork to elicit an aura of black-humour. Indeed collage style is easily found in many contemporary artworks, including musical works. Readers should not forget that when objects of different styles, different times, different natures, albeit just a fragment, are collided (not mixing up) to each other in an artwork, there often a new meaning is bestowed to these objects. Next time, I will write more on the use of collage of quotation in contemporary music, in order to acquire more understanding of the so-called postmodern musical style.
David Leung (theorydavid)
Prelude: A student sent me the poster and asked me about the technique of the propaganda laid behind Wynners’ concert poster. By chance I read a series of another interesting pictures in SCMP. The technique behind this series of pictures are very similar to that of Wynners’. Hence, I start my writing……..
Let us look at the poster of Wynners’ concert progaganda first.
What comes up in your mind as you watch such a poster? It is not that difficult for the old Hong Kong people to recall the ridiculous, however poignant and tragic, experience of the ten years Cultural Revolution in China. The dresses of Wynners are an evocative source, even more shocking than the red printed statements: “To Serve the Fans” and “The Great Leap Forward Concert”. Indeed they wear in the style of Red Army Guard uniform., which is widely known as a symbol of the Cultural Revolution. Although the Red Army Guard comprised of people of different ages, coming from different social classes and backgrounds, one common feature they beared was their almost blindly upholding of every treaty of Chariman Mao’s teachings. Under the propelling force rendered by the Red Army Guard, the whole country was immersed in a fervent, albeit unreasonable, politicial movement that upheld the slogan “To Serve the People”. Tragedy then occured. Industry collapsed, production collapsed, farming collapse, economy collapsed, education collapsed, cultures collapsed, arts collapsed, the society collapsed, then the whole system collapsed, and finally, all the people collaped too. They collapsed because they were served, — served with starvation, poverty, unedcuated, materials scarcity, and perhaps, also served with innumerous nothingness and emptiness. Even though some older generations have not been directly suffered from this politiical and socio-cultural disaster, they hardly forget the devastating effects that the “evolution” has brought forth. They suffered from its impacts in the years of sixty when Hong Kong was in the time of riot. However, for the younger generation, the shockings and impacts of Cultural Revolution are lesser. Perhaps, young people may know something about the terrifying tradegy from the mouths of their grand parents, but they did not really feel such kind of pains. This is because nowadays youngsters did not study history, think deeply of it, learn seriously from it. Maybe we have to say “thanks” to the present government because of rendering such a successful education policy that tends to marginalize the Chinese history of this notorious period of time, though, even the officials are not refused to accept the fact that cultural revolution is a very mistake.
The style of Wynners’ poster, therefore, dispersing an aura of black-humour, consisting of somewhat laughter and tears. Laugter comes from the joyful occasion of a concert, of the funny look and of the postures of Wynners. However, tears do not disappear if your mind is conjured up with the abundant meanings behind such images. No question that the design of Wynners’ poster involves the technique called “stylistic allusion”, a kind of borrowing technique. Since the aethetic meaning the poster brought with is a mode of black-humour. We can also specify such stylistic allusion to be called parodic allusion. When artists allude to a style for satirical expression, we call it as parodic allusion. Instead of alluding to a pre-existing style, artists borrow, or quotes, materials from a pre-existing work, incorporating into their own works, we term it as parodic quotation. Parody, hence, is an important expressive meaning of Wynners’ poster. When speaking of the postmodern style in his book Music Since 1945, Schwartz Godfrey also points out that pardoy is one of the ten particular features found commonly in postmodern artworks, especially in musical works. However, readers have to be reminded that 20th century parody in music is different from that of Renaissance. Renaissance parodic mass is a polyphonic musical work consisting of a secular theme set as cantus firmus in the tenor voice, whereas, the postmodern parody consists of stylistic allusion borrowed from the other works in order to express a form of humour. For example, a famous Cantonese parodic song with quoted melody is sung by 鄭君綿 的 “帝女花”。The first phrase is sung as : 落街冇錢買麵包，借錢又怕老婆鬧。This parody is expressed in a form of satire or black-humour. When this song was first published, it was a harsh time for Hong Kong people. The economy of the late 50s of Hong Kong is still developing. Poverty was a common soical problem. Great majority of the laymen were struggling for their life. This is why the song became so popular and were widely spread out when it was first released by 鄭君綿 .
To Be Continued……..
David Leung (theorydavid)