Chou Wen-chung

Chinese Terms & Musical Terms


Pien (bian) tone:
Pien means change or transform. In music, it refers specifically to the interpolation of a minor third with a semitone below the upper tone. This interpolated tone is called a pien tone. (Towards a Re-Merger in Music)
P’u (Pu):
See “Tzu jan p’u wu wei”.
“I personally believe that traditions of Eastern and Western music once shared the same sources and that, after a thousand years of divergence, they are now merging to form the mainstream of a new musical tradition.”
(East and West, Old and New) See “merger or re-merger.”
Arts of humanity. Ren means people or human nature, and wen means the arts, knowledge or order. (from Wenren and Culture)
San lai (Sanlai):
Found in Chung Tzu, refers to the music of heaven, of earth, and of man, that symbolizes the harmony between man and the universe. (Asian Esthetics and World Music)
See “yin, yueh (yue), sheng.”
Single tone or aggregate of tones:
Is a musical entity in itself and a living spark of expression as long as it lasts. It is therefore… rendered meaningful by [its] acoustic attributes. (Single Tones as Musical Entities)
Tao (Dao):
The Way; nature or the universe. “He who links himself with Tao and Te is ‘using things as things, but not being used by things as things’.” —Chuang Tzu (Asian Esthetics and World Music)
Te (De):
The natural power that is inherent in any individual thing and in the universe as a whole (from East and West, Old and New). As expressed in Confucianist writing, e.g., Yueh chi, te also means spiritual cultivation. (Asian Esthetics and World Music)
Terseness in art:
See “Tzu jan p’u wu wei.”
The spiritual and the philosophical. Tien means heaven or the universe, and wen means the arts, knowledge or order. (Wenren and Culture)
Ti sheng (Disheng):
In music for the ch’in, …the sound of the earth, is represented by the open strings, while the sound of heaven, tien sheng (tiansheng), is represented by the harmonics, thus leaving all the stopped notes to represent the sound of man, jen sheng (rensheng). (Asian Esthetics and World Music)
Tonal brushwork:
The changing mood and the emotional content of the work are thus projected by means of a tonal brushwork extending over the entire orchestral spectrum. (program note to And The Fallen Petals)
“Tones are the image (i.e. the substance) of music, and melody and rhythm the ornament (i.e. the appearance) of tones.“
(East and West, Old and New)
Ts’ao shu (Caoshu):
Cursive calligraphy.
“…the musical qualities of ts’ao shu are undeniable. …in particular its supreme sense of rhythm, …the fluidity in its movement, …the play between deliberateness and swiftness, and the constant expansion and contraction in the relationship between ink and space. All of these qualities… are what make this uniquely Asian art so representative of all Asian graphic and performing arts. Like the Chinese language, it is at the root of Asian esthetics.”
(Asian Esthetics and World Music)
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