bā yīn kè xié 八音克谐
Harmonious Combination of Eight Sounds
Different sounds produced when eight musical instruments made of gold, stone, earth, leather, silk, wood, gourd and bamboo are played together create harmonious music. This term comes from The Book of History. The term, which stresses that different tunes produced by the eight musical instruments should be blended in a harmonious way to create beautiful melody, epitomizes the pursuit of harmony of ancient Chinese music. Music gives expression to people’s sentiments; the eight different sounds relate to people’s different frames of mind, and can become a way of enlightenment. The term means that people can achieve peace of mind by listening to different kinds of music and should think and act in keeping with what the rites and music require of them. The phrase also implies that different people and groups can all voice their views, but should abide by common rules so as to maintain harmonious ties among them.
Poems give expression to sentiments; songs are words for chanting. Undulation of tunes of five notes depends on chanting, and meter and melody must be in harmony with the five notes. If the sounds from the eight different music instruments create harmonious music without interfering with each other, such music enables both gods and man to enter a state of harmony. (The Book of History)