The manifestation of Chinese philosophy and aesthetics in the performance of the pipa music

Wong, Ching-ping (1989) The manifestation of Chinese philosophy and aesthetics in the performance of the pipa music. (PhD thesis), Kingston Polytechnic, .


This thesis attempts to identify the philosophical and aesthetic concepts of pipa music. The discussion is approached from a performer's point of view and is supported by the author's demonstrations on the pipa, in conjunction with the discussion of artistic theories of other Chinese traditional arts. The introductory chapter involves an examination of thehistorical perspective of the pipa, a discussion of the problems of pipa notation and an explanation of the approach of this thesis. Part I (Chapters 1-6) concentrates on the discussion of theoretical matters. An investigation of the various meanings and the evolution of the concepts qi and yun is the first step to approaching Chinese philosophy and aesthetics. The “three levels of qi” involve playing technique, aesthetic and philosophical considerations. The capturing of “qi of intentional effort” is determined by “combined technique” and breathing methods. The articulation of timbre and “slide” are the essence of “yun”. The manipulation of “qi-yun” deals with the art of performance, interpretation and re-creation, as well as major aesthetic concepts and philosophical ideas of other traditional arts. The final approach of Part I (Chapter 6) probes in to the relationship of poetry and music. Pipa music shares a similar artistic appreciation of consummate beauty to that of Chinese poetry. The focus of Part II (Chapters 7 & 8) attempts to present a detailed analytical study of pipa right-hand “combined technique” and left-hand “slide” skills, accompanied by the study of their historical context. Apart from these matters, Part II acts as a support for the aesthetic and philosophical concepts of Part I.

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