Thursday, November 29, 2007

Guzheng and Tang Poetry

In the evening, when all is quiet, I play guzheng – that long, quaint instrument in the photo. Why do I play into nothingness while my family is asleep?

For "cultivating the body, developing the temperament," as an old adage says. The day world is too much a hullabaloo. The ethereal sound of guzheng is ideal to quell anxiety, to rediscover tranquility.

There's description of guzheng music in a short story titled "Snow Line," if you are interested in knowing a bit more.

These days I'm practicing the playing and singing of an ancient poem set to music, "Three Folds at Sunny Pass," or "yang guan san die" in Chinese. The lyrics are based on a poem by Tang Dynasty's Wang Wei. Here's my faint attempt at a translation:

Dust thinning, moist from Wei Town's early rain
Guest houses black, willows a new green
Down another cup, my old friend
West of Sunny Pass no acquaintance to be seen

Improvements anyone? One rule is that the first, second, and fourth lines must rhyme. Better yet, can you keep seven and only seven phonemes in each line? That is surely hard.