January 12, 2007 at 9:38 pm #20425
Does music have a spiritual value? Can it be used for cultivation purposes, or is it just a pleasant distraction.
I’ve got to say, it would be somewhat heartbreaking to me if music were relegated to the “useless” category so I guess I answered my own question in a way, just curious to hear what others think.
thanksJanuary 12, 2007 at 11:06 pm #20426
I have utilized compositions from Masters Wang Rui Ting, Xie Yu Hong for the last 10+ years. The music is very traditional Chinese music & the tracks either relate to a correcting a certain pattern imbalance or they are written as a added feature to a stillness or movement practice.
When I first began to consider utilizing music for qigong, meditation & demostrations, I couldn’t find anything I liked; then I met a Master from Taiwan that gave me some samples. What attracted me was the research and hard work they put into it, which has turned out to be a specialty for healing in Taiwan. I just didn’t want some hoaky music just to play.
I feel music gives people a 1+1= 2 effect: a great practice and the vibration of carefully designed Qigong/meditation Music.
Music and practices can either be done great or very bad, I try music all the time and still go back to their compositions, nothing compares.
Spiritual Value: Music brings us to places either in past, present & future, think of a piece of music — and you will find that element. Music is very powerful to sooth the Mind, Body & Soul.
Master T. T. Liang was the first person I met ever to use Music & Tai Chi/Chi Kung, he thought of this back in the 1970’s, for the “western busy minds”. he stated that music is fun & enjoyable and will make Tai Chi more fun & enjoyable.
I dont think it will be viewed as useless either it is actually gaining alot of momentum in Music therapy/mind body therapies, with chi kung & tai chi.
I will try to find a link for the web, for future inquiries..SnowlionJanuary 12, 2007 at 11:50 pm #20428
snowlion, thanks for the reply.
music is mysterious, I really don’t know how it works, but I feel like it vibrates my energy field at a shen level.
Anyways, I’d be interested in hearing the music you recomend.
peaceJanuary 13, 2007 at 1:13 am #20430January 13, 2007 at 3:14 pm #20432
Please check out Gabriel Roth. She has a series of CDs that deal with the 5 rythms of the endless wave. The music is primal and integrated with 5 types of movements. These movements flow from one to the next with the music. The listener is encouraged to create their own personal dance based on each of the rythms. I enjoy creating my own dance each time, but I also enjoy listening to the music in the background.January 14, 2007 at 8:51 am #20434
Below are some very good links, just clip and past url into browser…enjoy snowlion
Multi-part series on Daoist ritual music of various sects and regions. From the Taoist Culture and Information Center site (Hong Kong).
“Daoist music originates from Shamans and Invocators, and inherits the tradition that ‘shamans make spirits descend by singing and dancing.'”
(2.) Aesthetics [guqin music]
This page from Christopher Evan’s (Shanghai Conservatory of Music) site on the guqin (Chinese zither) distinguishes between Confucian and Daoist views of music.
“Then there are pieces like Yu Qiao Wen Da (A Conversation between a Fisherman and a Woodman), which is said to reflect a dialogue between a Confucian and a Daoist, and Zui Yu Chang Wan (A Drunken Fisherman Singing at Night), said to convey the feelings not of a person who fished for a living but of a scholar eminently qualified but not selected for office, who fishes to fill time.”
(3.)”Music Has Neither Sorrow Nor Joy”
Essay by “Yun” (Singapore) from the China History Forum, subtitled “An Aalysis of Neo-Daoist Concepts in Ji Kang’s Philosophy of Music,” on the musical theories of one of the Seven “Virtuous Men” of the Bamboo Grove.
“Using the then-popular debating style of Pure Conversation (Qingtan), the Guest puts forward the traditional, Confucian view of music: that it carries the emotions of both the composer and the musician, and then instills these same emotions in the listener… Ji Kang, as the Host, argues instead that music does not carry any emotional meaning in itself, nor does it cause emotions in others. Rather, music stimulates and releases emotions that were already present in the listener…”
(4.) The Qin and the Chinese Literati
Interesting and well-written article by James Watt on the historical development of the qin (guqin), especially its appropriation by the literati. On John Thompson’s guqin site, reprinted from Orientations magazine (1981).
“To put it in simple terms, the Chinese literati assumed that if one was full of lofty thoughts, whether as a result of inborn genius or after having immersed oneself in the classics and literature, one was then capable of painting a nobler picture and playing music with greater refinement than the man without similar endowment or accomplishment… The validity of the assumption upon which the literati built their arrogance is open to question.”
(5.) Shen Qi Mi Pu [Handbook of Spiritual and Marvelous Mysteries]
Also from John Thompson’s site, translations of multiple selections from this 15th-century handbook of Daoist music, including “Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream,” and “Liezi Rides the Wind.”
Some of these selections include transcriptions, illustrations, program notes, and even sample recordings. And this page categorizes 24 of the compositions into four aspects of Daoism.
” It [the qin] is indeed the divine instrument of heaven and earth, and a most ancient spiritual object, thus it became the music used by Sages of our Middle Kingdom to control the government, and the object used by princely men to cultivate (themselves); it is only appropriate to stitched sleeves (i.e., scholars) or yellow caps (Daoists).”
(6.) Lo Ka Ping: Lost Sounds of the Tao
1970/71 recordings of the guqin master and Daoist priest Lo (1896-1980).
“What so casually endows Lo’s playing with profundity and depth is the philosophy behind the music, entering the sound through the Tao rather than displaying the fruits of a learned craft, for he was completely self-taught and thus freed from any burden of tradition.”
(7.) Lost Sounds of the Tao
Essays by Allan Evans and Dale Allan Craig tell the fascinating story of how Lo’s legacy was very nearly lost.
“The tapes seemed able to survive a playback, so the computer was readied to digitally copy its sounds. / There emerged a vibrant expressive art, its first impression the forthright spirituality of a Blind Willie Johnson (yes, some scales had the blue note intonation!)…”
(8.) Abing and His Music
Multi-page analysis by Jonathan Stock (University of Sheffield, UK, Music) of the “archetypal Chinese folk musician” Abing (Han Yan-jun, 1890-1950), and his music for erhu and pipa (classical Chinese instruments).
“…he was brought up as a Daoist musician… In early adulthood his sight declined and he took to performing songs and instrumental pieces in the streets, now using the name xiazi Abing, Blind Abing… remained a Daoist his whole life…”
(9.) Tan Dun – Composer Essay
The celebrated composer’s works include the Oscar-winning film score for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and the orchestral work “On Taoism,” “recognized as one of the most significant and controversial works ever written by a Chinese composer.”
“Influenced by John Cage and Taoist philosophy, Tan uses silence — and degrees of silence — both as ‘melody’ and to carry subtle thoughts and gestures. Sounds of nature and water fill the score.”
(10.) Tan Dun on the International Stage
Sinorama article from the Taiwan Headlines site gives interesting background on Tan.
“As a child, he… had a habit of following local Taoists around, reveling in the sound of chanting voices and tinkling bells. For a while, he wanted to become a Taoist priest when he grew up.”
(11.) Tan Dun
Biographical essay on Tan by Linda Wang (University of Southern California, Music) includes a list of his major works.
“On Taoism was composed following his grandmother’s Taoist funeral. A voice part, suggestive of a high priest or Beijing opera singer, seeks expression of Tan’s earliest memories of Chinese village rituals, theater and folk music through its vocalization of sounds — all non-words in performance.”
(12.) Lin Hwai-min puts Tai Chi in dance – “Moon Water”
Press release on the staging of “Moon Water” by the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan. The choreography for this “poetic rendering of Taoist philosophy” is based on Taijiquan movements.
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