Chou Wen-chung

From Discipline to Creativity

“Like the Chinese calligrapher and painter, I have always regarded the technique of a composer as a spontaneous manifestation of his gradually crystallizing esthetic concepts. This is perhaps in agreement with the Confucian concept: Music is ‘born of emotion’; tones are the ‘substance of music’; melody and rhythm are the ‘appearance of tones.’ Greatness of music lies not in ‘perfection of artistry’ but in attainment of ‘spiritual power inherent in nature…”

“Technique is merely the catalyst — indeed the momentary and illusory vehicle, as the Buddhists say — that precipitates the necessary sensory stimulation. As the material evaporates — that is to say, as that auditory sensation fades away in the listener”s ear — a crystallization of perception emerges; a transitory condensation of a transitory experience. Therefore, in discussing the catalyst, the material that is immaterial, it will serve us well not to lose sight of the immaterial that is material, the condensation itself.”

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