雅乐 – Chinese philosophy and culture

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yǎyuè 雅乐

Fine Music

典雅纯正的音乐。是古代帝王祭祀天地、祖先,举行朝贺、宫廷宴享及其他重大庆典活动时所用的音乐。“雅乐”多歌颂朝廷功德,音乐中正平和,歌词典雅纯正,其奏唱、伴舞都有明确的礼仪规范。历代朝廷都将雅乐作为推行教化、感化民风的重要手段。雅乐作为宫廷音乐,有保守的一面,但在实际历史发展中也注意吸收民间歌舞、异域歌舞的成分而不断创新,因而代表着不同时代的音乐最高水准。唐以后雅乐传入日本、韩国、越南等国,成为这些国家的乐舞文化的重要组成部分。

The term refers to a kind of classical music in China. Noble and pure, it was the music used by kings in ancient times when worshipping heaven, earth, and ancestors, receiving congratulations from other quarters of the world, or holding feasts and major ceremonial activities. Chinese classical music often eulogized the royal court’s accomplishments; its melodies were tranquil and stately, its wording elegant and tasteful, and its performance of song and dance followed explicit codes of etiquette. Rulers of all dynasties used this kind of music as an effective means to instruct their people and promote civic virtue. As a courtly tradition, the music was necessarily conservative. However, throughout history the assimilation of elements of folk song and dance, as well as the music and dance of foreign lands, inevitably led to innovation. Thus, it maintained throughout the ages the highest levels of musical excellence. After the Tang Dynasty, this kind of music spread to other Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, becoming a constituent part of their musical culture.

引例 Citations:

◎子曰:“恶紫之夺朱也,恶郑声之乱雅乐也,恶利口之覆邦家者也。”(《论语·阳货》)

(孔子说:“我厌恶用紫色取代红色,厌恶用郑国的音乐扰乱雅正的音乐,憎恶伶牙俐齿而使国家倾覆的人。”)

Confucius said, “I detest replacing red with purple and interfering refined classical music with the music of the State of Zheng. I loathe those who overthrow the state with their glib tongues.” (The Analects)

◎是时,河间献王有雅材,亦以为治道非礼乐不成,因献所集雅乐。(《汉书·礼乐志》)

(当时,河间献王有很高的才能,他也认为治国之道如果没有礼乐就不完备,于是就把他所收集的雅乐献给了朝廷。)

At the time, Liu De, Prince Xian of Hejian, was an exceptionally talented man, and he believed that music and ceremony were essential to the proper governing of the state. As a result he donated all the documents of classical music he had collected to the court. (The History of the Han Dynasty)

◎荀勖善解音声,时论谓之暗解。遂调律吕,正雅乐。(刘义庆《世说新语·术解》)

(荀勖善于辨音,时人认为他有音乐天赋。于是朝廷让他负责调整音律、校定雅乐。)

Xun Xu had a sensitive ear for musical tones. Some, recognizing his musical gift, recommended him for a position overseeing musical rules and revising classical music. (Liu Yiqing: A New Account of Tales of the World)

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