Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Idioms about music

Idioms about music
compiled by David Badagnani (rev. 5 February 2020)

A list of chengyu (成语) and other idioms about music in the Chinese language.

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● 伯埙仲篪 (bó xūn zhòng chí)

Notes:

From 《诗经·小雅·何人斯》:「伯氏吹埙,仲氏吹篪。」


More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%BC%AF%E5%9F%99%E4%BB%B2%E7%AF%AA

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● 不知肉味 (bù zhī ròu wèi), also 三月不知肉味 (sān yuè bù zhī ròu wèi) - (literal meaning):  did not know the taste of meat for three months

Notes:

When Confucius was in Qi (齐, modern-day Shandong province), he heard the Shao music (shaoyue, 韶乐), and for three months he did not know the taste of meat.  He said, "I never knew music could reach this level of excellence!"

From the Analects of Confucius, Chapter 7 (Shu Er) 
《论语·述而》.

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%B8%8D%E7%9F%A5%E8%82%89%E5%91%B3

https://soundcloud.com/teacupmedia/s2e10-you-smell-that

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● 长歌当哭 (cháng gē dàng kū) - to sing loudly in order to give vent to one's grief

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%95%BF%E6%AD%8C%E5%BD%93%E5%93%AD

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● 晨钟暮鼓 (chén zhōng mù gǔ) - (literal meaning):  bell at daybreak, drum at dusk (symbolizing monastic practice); (figurative meaning):  encouragement to study or progress

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%99%A8%E9%92%9F%E6%9A%AE%E9%BC%93/80791

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● 重振旗鼓 (chóng zhèn qí gǔ) - (literal meaning):  to reorganize flags and drums; (figurative meaning):  to regroup after a setback; to prepare for new initiatives; to attempt a comeback

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%87%8D%E6%8C%AF%E6%97%97%E9%BC%93

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● 吹篪乞食 (chuī chí qǐ shí) - (literal meaning):  blowing the chi (transverse bamboo flute) and begging for food; refers to Wu Zixu (伍子胥, 559 BC-484 BC), a general and politician of the Wu kingdom in the Spring and Autumn period who, as a destitute refugee from the state of Chu in approximately 520 BC, played the chi (transverse bamboo flute) on the street in the city of Wu (modern-day Suzhou)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%90%B9%E7%AF%AA%E4%B9%9E%E9%A3%9F

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● 吹吹打打 (chuī chuī dǎ dǎ) - (literal meaning):  blow, blow [wind instruments], hit, hit [percussion instruments], referring to chuida (吹打) wind-and-percussion ensembles which traditionally perform for festive events in Chinese culture; (implied meaning):  to boast, tout oneself, or exaggerate one's deeds (compare the English-language idiom "toot one's own horn")

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%90%B9%E5%90%B9%E6%89%93%E6%89%93

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● 吹角连营 (chuī jiǎo lián yíng)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%90%B9%E8%A7%92%E8%BF%9E%E8%90%A5

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● 吹弹歌舞 (chuī tán gē wǔ) - (literal meaning):  blowing [wind instruments], plucking [string instruments], singing, and dancing; refers to entertainment activities comprising ensemble music, singing, and dance

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%90%B9%E5%BC%B9%E6%AD%8C%E8%88%9E

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● 吹箫乞食 (chuī xiāo qǐ shí) - (literal meaning):  blowing the xiao [flute] and begging for food; refers to Wu Zixu (伍子胥, 559 BC-484 BC), a general and politician of the Wu kingdom in the Spring and Autumn period who, as a destitute refugee from the state of Chu in approximately 520 BC, played the xiao (bamboo flute) on the street in the city of Wu (modern-day Suzhou)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%90%B9%E7%AE%AB%E4%B9%9E%E9%A3%9F

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● 大张旗鼓 (dà zhāng qí gǔ)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%A4%A7%E5%BC%A0%E6%97%97%E9%BC%93/33765


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● 对牛弹琴 (duì niú tán qín) - (literal meaning):  to play the qin for a cow; (figurative meaning):  to cast pearls before swine; to preach to deaf ears; to talk to a post; to whistle jigs to a milestone

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%AF%B9%E7%89%9B%E5%BC%B9%E7%90%B4/3490

https://soundcloud.com/teacupmedia/s2e03-stop-wasting-time

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● 二缶钟惑 (èr fǒu zhōng huò)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%BA%8C%E7%BC%B6%E9%92%9F%E6%83%91


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● 焚琴煮鹤 (fén qín zhǔ hè) - (literal meaning):  to burn a qin [as firewood] and cook a crane to eat; (figurative meaning):  to be unappreciative of art or beauty

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%84%9A%E7%90%B4%E7%85%AE%E9%B9%A4

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● 夫倡妇随 (fū chàng fù suí) - (literal meaning): the husband leads [the song], and the wife follows; (figurative meaning):  in traditional Chinese culture, a wife was supposed to be obedient and obey her husband; in this light, this idiom is a metaphor for harmony between husband and wife, or a couple getting along well

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%A4%AB%E5%94%B1%E5%A6%87%E9%9A%8F/1435443

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● 夫唱妇随 (fū chàng fù suí) - (literal meaning): the husband sings, and the wife follows; (figurative meaning):  in traditional Chinese culture, a wife was supposed to be obedient and obey her husband; in this light, this idiom is a metaphor for harmony between husband and wife, or a couple getting along well

Notes:

From 《关尹子·三极》:  
天下之理,夫者唱,妇者随。」

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%A4%AB%E5%94%B1%E5%A6%87%E9%9A%8F

● 改弦更张 (gǎi xián gēng zhāng) - (literal meaning):  change strings [of a musical instrument], restring one's bow; (figurative meaning):  to cut loose from the past and make a fresh start

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%94%B9%E5%BC%A6%E6%9B%B4%E5%BC%A0

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● 高歌猛进 (gāo gē měng jìn)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%AB%98%E6%AD%8C%E7%8C%9B%E8%BF%9B

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● 高山流水 (gāo shān liú shuǐ)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%AB%98%E5%B1%B1%E6%B5%81%E6%B0%B4/5587
https://soundcloud.com/teacupmedia/s2e06-i-love-you-man

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● 歌舞升平 (gē wǔ shēngpíng)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%AD%8C%E8%88%9E%E5%8D%87%E5%B9%B3/2100

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● 更弦易辙 (gēng xián yì zhé), also 易辙更弦 (yì zhé gēng xián- (literal meaning):  change strings [on a musical instrument], change path [while driving a cart]; (implied meaning):  to change one's method, attitude, behavior, practice, plan, or direction

Notes:

From The History of Ming 《明史.卷二○三.潘埙传》:「今春秋已盛,更弦易辙,此其时也。」

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%9B%B4%E5%BC%A6%E6%98%93%E8%BE%99

● 黄钟大吕 (huáng zhōng dà lǚ) - (literal meaning):  in the ancient Chinese 12-tone tuning system, huang zhong (the tonic) was the first in the yang series of six pitches, and da lü was the fourth in the yin series of six pitches; (implied meaning):  describes music or words as solemn, upright, subtle, and harmonious

Notes:

From Zhou Li Zhu Shu 《周礼注疏》卷二十二〈春官宗伯·大司乐〉


More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%BB%84%E9%92%9F%E5%A4%A7%E5%90%95

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● 黄钟毁弃,瓦釜雷鸣 (huáng zhōng huǐ qì, wǎ fǔ léi míng)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%BB%84%E9%92%9F%E6%AF%81%E5%BC%83%EF%BC%8C%E7%93%A6%E9%87%9C%E9%9B%B7%E9%B8%A3

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● 黄钟瓦缶 (huáng zhōng wǎ fǒu) - (literal meaning):  Yellow Bell and pottery fou [a vessel played as a percussion instrument]; (figurative meaning):  elegant and vulgar; wise and mediocre

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%BB%84%E9%92%9F%E7%93%A6%E7%BC%B6

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● 剑胆琴心 (jiàn dǎn qín xīn)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%89%91%E8%83%86%E7%90%B4%E5%BF%83/3161119

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● 胶柱鼓瑟 (jiāo zhù gǔ sè)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E8%83%B6%E6%9F%B1%E9%BC%93%E7%91%9F

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● 紧锣密鼓 (jǐn luó mì gǔ)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%B4%A7%E9%94%A3%E5%AF%86%E9%BC%93

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● 金鼓齐鸣 (jīn gǔ qí míng)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%87%91%E9%BC%93%E9%BD%90%E9%B8%A3

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● 金声玉振 (jīn shēng yù zhèn)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%87%91%E5%A3%B0%E7%8E%89%E6%8C%AF/81004

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● 开台锣鼓 (kāi tái luó gǔ) - (literal meaning):  to begin a theatrical performance with gongs and drums; (implied meaning):  to kick off an article, speech or event

Notes:

From the introduction to the revolutionary novel 
Lüliang Yingxiong Zhuan 《吕梁英雄传》 (The Heroes of Lüliang, 1945), coauthored by Ma Feng (马烽, 1922-2004) and Xi Rong (西戎, 1922-2001)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%BC%80%E5%8F%B0%E9%94%A3%E9%BC%93


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● 扣人心弦 (kòu rén xīn xián) - (figurative meaning):  exciting; soul-stirring; thrilling

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%89%A3%E4%BA%BA%E5%BF%83%E5%BC%A6/4324139

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● 滥竽充数 (làn yú chōng shù) - (figurative meaning):  to fill a position without having the necessary qualifications; to be a token member of a group; to masquerade as having an ability; to sell seconds at best-quality prices

Notes:

From a story in Han Feizi 《韩非子》 (c. 2nd century BC):

齐宣王使人吹竽必三百人。
Whenever King Xuan of Qi [r. 319 BC-300 BC] had men play the yu [a mouth organ used in ancient times], there had to be 300 men playing simultaneously.
南郭处士请为王吹竽,宣王说之,廪食以数百人。
A reclusive scholar by the name of Nanguo [lit. southern wall of a city], who was unable to play the instrument, asked if he could join the ensemble and play the yu for the king. King Xuan was delighted by this, and dispensed enough food rations for several hundred musicians.
宣王死,湣王立,好一一听之,处士逃。
Then, King Xuan died, and King Min [r. 300 BC-283 BC] took the throne. He preferred to listen [to the yu players] one by one, so the reclusive scholar fled.

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%BB%A5%E7%AB%BD%E5%85%85%E6%95%B0

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● 锣鼓喧天 (luó gǔ xuān tiān)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%94%A3%E9%BC%93%E5%96%A7%E5%A4%A9/4269312


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● 靡靡之音 (mǐ mǐ zhī yīn) - decadent or obscene music; cheap, low-class tunes; popular music

Notes:

From 《韩非子·十过》:「此师延之所作,与纣为靡靡之乐也。


More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%9D%A1%E9%9D%A1%E4%B9%8B%E9%9F%B3/4423669

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● 鸣金收兵 (míng jīn shōu bīng)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%B8%A3%E9%87%91%E6%94%B6%E5%85%B5/2294406

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● 男唱女随 (nán chàng nǚ suí) - (literal meaning): the man sings, and the woman follows; (figurative meaning):  in traditional Chinese culture, a wife was supposed to be obedient and obey her husband; in this light, this idiom is a metaphor for harmony between husband and wife, or a couple getting along well

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%94%B7%E5%94%B1%E5%A5%B3%E9%9A%8F

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● 能歌善舞 (néng gē shàn wǔ) - (literal meaning):  able to sing [and] skilled at dancing; (figurative meaning):  good at singing and dancing

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E8%83%BD%E6%AD%8C%E5%96%84%E8%88%9E


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● 琵琶别抱 (pípá bié bào) - (implied meaning):  a woman abandoning her husband and remarrying

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B5%E7%90%B6%E5%88%AB%E6%8A%B1

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● 琵琶别弄 (pípá bié nòng) - (implied meaning):  a woman abandoning her husband and remarrying

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B5%E7%90%B6%E5%88%AB%E5%BC%84
http://chengyu.t086.com/cy22/22447.html

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● 琵琶胡语 (pípá hú yǔ)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B5%E7%90%B6%E8%83%A1%E8%AF%AD

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● 琵琶旧语 (pípá jiù yǔ) - "the old saying [about] the pipa"

Notes:

From a story in the Song Shu:  Yuezhi 《宋书·乐志一》, a history of the Liu Song Dynasty (刘宋, 420-479) written in 492-493 by the historian Shen Yue (沈约, 441-513), during the Southern Qi Dynasty (479-502):

「傅玄《琵琶赋》曰:‘汉遣乌孙公主嫁昆弥,念其行路思慕,故使工人裁筝、筑,为马上之乐。欲从方俗语,故名曰琵琶。’」

According to "Pipa Fu" 《琵琶赋》 by the Jin Dynasty historian and poet Fu Xuan (傅玄, 217-278), Emperor Wu of Han (
汉武帝, r. 141 BC-87 BC), of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-9 AD) was concerned that Princess Liu Xijun (刘细君公主, d. 101 BC), whom he had sent to marry Liejiaomi (猎骄靡), the kunmo (昆莫, ruler) of Wusun (乌孙), an Indo-European semi-nomadic steppe people of Central Asia living between Karakol, near the eastern tip of Lake Issyk-Kul in the northern Tian Shan mountains in modern-day eastern Kyrgyzstan and modern-day western Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture (伊犁哈萨克自治州) in Xinjiang, based on the policy of heqin (和亲, the historical practice of Chinese emperors marrying princesses--usually members of minor branches of the royal family--to rulers of neighboring states), would grow homesick and despondent, so he sent craftsmen from Chang'an to build a bridge zither for her to play.  This new instrument combined aspects of both zheng and zhu, but was built smaller in size (and thus more portable), to match the habits of nomadic people, and held at an upright slant when playing (in the manner of a lute).  Because of the similarity in playing technique to the round-bodied pipa (an instrument that was later named Qin pipa秦琵琶, beginning in Tang-era sources), which was already popular in China during the Western Han Dynasty, this new zither was also given the name pipa, and it became popular among the Wusun people.  This instrument was eventually referred to more specifically in Chinese sources as hu pipa (胡琵琶) or Han pipa (琵琶), although it was never considered a Chinese instrument or played widely by Han Chinese.  Because the name hu pipa was later used to refer to lutes of Central Asian origin, for maximum specificity musicologist Mr. Lin Chiang-san prefers to call the zither played by Liu Xijun Wusun pipa (乌孙琵琶), although this term does not appear in any historical sources.

According to Mr. Lin, the generally understood implication of this story (and chengyu) is the humiliating position, caused by military weakness, which brought the Western Han rulers of China to curry favor with northern nomadic groups such as the Wusun in order to preserve a tentative peace with the Xiongnu, China's powerful rival to the north.  Via their alliance, however, over the next two centuries the Wusun did provide the Han great military assistance against the Xiongnu, and, along with the Yuezhi and the Kangju of the Ferghana Valley, supplied the Han army with many fine warhorses.


More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B5%E7%90%B6%E6%97%A7%E8%AF%AD

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● 旗鼓相当 (qí gǔ xiāngdāng) - (literal meaning):  the same number of flags and drums; (figurative meaning):  to be well-matched

Notes:

From a letter by Emperor Guangwu of Han (汉光武帝, r. 25-57), written in the early Eastern Han Dynasty.

More information:
https://archive.shine.cn/sunday/now-and-then/%E6%97%97%E9%BC%93%E7%9B%B8%E5%BD%93-qi2-gu3-xiang1-dang1-Uniting-flags-drums/shdaily.shtml


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● 千日管子百日笙 (qiān rì guǎnzi bǎi rì shēng) - [it takes] a thousand days [to learn the] guanzi, [but only] 100 days [to learn the] sheng

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● 千日管子百日笙,笛子吹响一五更 (qiān rì guǎnzi, bǎi rì shēng; dízi chuī xiǎng yīwǔ gēng) - [it takes] a thousand days [to learn the] guanzi [and] 100 days [to learn the] sheng; to make (literally "blow") a sound on the dizi [it takes] just one night

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● 千日管子百日笙,要学云锣一五更 (qiān rì guǎnzi, bǎi rì shēng; yào xué yún luó yī wǔ gēng) - [it takes] a thousand days [to learn the] guanzi [and] 100 days [to learn the] sheng; to learn the yunluo [it takes] just one night

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● 敲锣打鼓 (qiāo luó dǎ gǔ) - (literal meaning):  strike the gongs, hit the drums; (implied meaning):  to celebrate, to congratulate, describing the great momentum of vigorously promoting public opinion

Notes:

From Mao Zedong's 《做革命的促进派》


More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%95%B2%E9%94%A3%E6%89%93%E9%BC%93

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● 巧舌如簧 (qiǎo shé rú huáng) - (literal meaning):  [to have a] clever tongue, [producing "music"] like the reed [of a yu or other mouth organ]; one's tongue is dextrous [and can make a pleasant sound] like that of a reed [of a yu or other mouth organ](figurative meaning):  to have a glib tongue; this idiom carries the implication that the rhetoric produced by someone with this quality is possibly deceitful

Notes:

From the Shijing 《诗经·小雅·巧言》:  「巧言如簧,颜之厚矣。」

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%B7%A7%E8%88%8C%E5%A6%82%E7%B0%A7

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● 巧言如簧 (qiǎo yán rú huáng)

Notes:

From the Shijing 《诗经·小雅·巧言》:  「巧言如簧,颜之厚矣。

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%B7%A7%E8%A8%80%E5%A6%82%E7%B0%A7


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● 琴断朱弦 (qín duàn zhū xián) - (literal meaning):  a qin whose cinnabar/vermilion strings have broken (implied meaning):  a woman whose husband has died

Notes:

From the "Imperial Favor" (恩宠, Enchong) scene of the Kunqu play "Changsheng Dian" 《长生殿·幸恩》 (The Palace of Eternal Youth), written by Hong Sheng (洪昇 1645-1704) during the early Qing Dynasty:  
琴断朱弦,不幸文君早寡。」.

Zhuxian (
朱弦, "cinnabar/vermilion strings") were silk strings reputed to be of exceptionally high quality.

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B4%E6%96%AD%E6%9C%B1%E5%BC%A6

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● 琴剑飘零 (qín jiàn piāo líng)

Notes:

From 明·钱晔《赠周歧凤》:「琴剑飘零西复东,旧游清兴几时同?”」

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B4%E5%89%91%E9%A3%98%E9%9B%B6

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● 琴棋书画 (qín qí shū huà) - the Four Arts of the Chinese Scholar (Si Yi, 四艺):  the guqin zither, the strategy game of Go, Chinese calligraphy, and Chinese painting)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B4%E6%A3%8B%E4%B9%A6%E7%94%BB/3733279

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● 琴瑟不调 (qín sè bù tiáo) - (literal meaning):  qin and se [zithers], not tuned [together]; (implied meaning):  impropriety, lack of regulation, discord, a relationship (esp. between husband and wife) being out of balance

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B4%E7%91%9F%E4%B8%8D%E8%B0%83

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● 琴瑟和好 (qín sè hé hǎo)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B4%E7%91%9F%E5%92%8C%E5%A5%BD

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● 琴瑟和鸣 (qín sè hè míng) - (literal meaning):  qin and se [small and large zithers] sound together; (figurative meaning):  refers to a harmonious relationship between husband and wife

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B4%E7%91%9F%E5%92%8C%E9%B8%A3/7854761

https://soundcloud.com/teacupmedia/csp-s2e09-whole-lotta-love

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● 琴瑟失调 (qín sè shī tiáo) - (literal meaning):  qin and se [zithers], improperly tuned; (implied meaning):  impropriety, lack of regulation, discord, a relationship (esp. between husband and wife) being out of balance

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B4%E7%91%9F%E5%A4%B1%E8%B0%83



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● 琴瑟调和 (qín sè tiáo hé)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B4%E7%91%9F%E8%B0%83%E5%92%8C

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● 琴瑟相调 (qín sè xiāng tiáo)

More information:

https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B4%E7%91%9F%E7%9B%B8%E8%B0%83


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● 琴瑟之好 (qín sè zhī hǎo)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B4%E7%91%9F%E4%B9%8B%E5%A5%BD

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● 琴心剑胆 (qín xīn jiàn dǎn)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%90%B4%E5%BF%83%E5%89%91%E8%83%86/2136776

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● 轻歌曼舞 (qīng gē màn wǔ)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E8%BD%BB%E6%AD%8C%E6%9B%BC%E8%88%9E

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● 磬石之固 (qìng shí zhī gù)

More information:
https://www.zdic.net/hans/%E7%A3%AC%E7%9F%B3%E4%B9%8B%E5%9B%BA

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● 曲高和寡 (qǔ gāo hè guǎ)

Notes:

From the writing of Song Yu (宋玉, fl. 298 BC-263 BC).

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%9B%B2%E9%AB%98%E5%92%8C%E5%AF%A1

https://soundcloud.com/teacupmedia/s2e01-too-rich-for-my-blood


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● 人琴俱亡 (rén qín jù wáng) - (literal meaning):  both man and qin have been lost; (implied meaning):  a dear friend has died

Notes:

From a story about the grief of Wang Huizhi (王徽之) at the untimely death of his younger brother 
Wang Xianzhi (王献之, who was a fine qin player), which appears in the Book of Jin 《晋书·王徽之传》 (《晋书.卷八○.王羲之传》), which was compiled in 648:  「取献之琴弹之,久而不调,叹曰:‘呜呼子敬,人琴俱亡。’

The same story is also mentioned in "Shi Shuo Xin Yu" 
《世说新语·伤逝》 (A New Account of the Tales of the World), a book of anecdotes from the Jin Dynasty (266-420), which was compiled during the Liu Song Dynasty (420-479), the first of the Southern Dynasties during the Northern and Southern Dynasties period

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%BA%BA%E7%90%B4%E4%BF%B1%E4%BA%A1/395079
https://www.zdic.net/hans/%E4%BA%BA%E7%90%B4%E4%BF%B1%E4%BA%A1
https://chinesesayings.libsyn.com/s2e07-double-sorrow

https://soundcloud.com/teacupmedia/s2e07-double-sorrow


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● 如埙如篪 (rú xūn rú chí)

Notes:

From 《诗·大雅·板》


More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%A6%82%E5%9F%99%E5%A6%82%E7%AF%AA



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● 三月不知肉味 (sān yuè bù zhī ròu wèi) - see 不知肉味 (bù zhī ròu wèi)

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● 山崩钟应 (shān bēng zhōng yìng) - (literal meaning):  the bells tolled as the mountain collapsed

Notes:

From 南朝·宋·刘敬叔《异苑》第二卷:「此蜀郡铜山崩,故钟鸣应之耳。」


More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%B1%B1%E5%B4%A9%E9%92%9F%E5%BA%94


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● 笙歌鼎沸 (shēng gē dǐng fèi) - describes singing accompanied by musical instruments, lively and extraordinary

Notes:

笙歌 (shēng gē), literally "sheng (mouth organ) song," is an ancient term referring to singing accompanied by sheng (mouth organ) or other instruments; 鼎沸 (dǐng fèi), literally "cauldron boiling," is a metaphor meaning "clamorous"

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%AC%99%E6%AD%8C%E9%BC%8E%E6%B2%B8

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● 笙磬同音 (shēng qìng tóng yīn)

Notes:


From 《诗经·小雅·鼓钟》

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%AC%99%E7%A3%AC%E5%90%8C%E9%9F%B3

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● 四面楚歌 (sì miàn Chǔ gē) - (literal meaning):  songs of Chu [coming from] [all] four directions

Notes:


In 206 BC, after the fall of the Qin Dynasty, a war broke out between Xiang Yu, the king of the Chu state, and Liu Bang, the king of the Han state.  In history, this was called the Chu-Han Contention.  At first, Xiang Yu's side was winning, but later Liu Bang gradually gained the advantage.  In 202 BC, Liu Bang surrounded Xiang Yu's army in what is now Anhui province.  At that time, Xiang Yu had few soldiers and they were running out of food.  Liu Bang thought of a clever strategy, now called "Songs coming from all directions."

One night, Xiang Yu heard sounds all around him, and he awoke with a start. The sounds were the songs of the Chu state, Xiang Yu's home.  The lyrics were sad and filled Xiang Yu with homesickness.  The sound of the songs spread through the whole army, reminding the soldiers of their home.  They couldn't help joining in the songs.  Some soldiers were moved to tears and none of the soldiers felt like fighting anymore.

Xiang Yu wondered if Liu Bang had already captured the Chu state.  If he hadn't, why was his army filled with Chu soldiers?  When Xiang Yu thought of this, he felt certain that he would lose the war.  He ordered his men to set a banquet for him in his tent and said goodbye to his beloved concubine Yu Ji.  He said sadly, "Yu Ji, how shall I provide for you?"  Later, he asked Yu Ji to do the sword dance with him.  As they were dancing, Yu Ji suddenly thrust the sword into her stomach, and died instantly.

Xiang Yu was overwhelmed with sorrow, and led his few hundred soldiers to break through Liu Bang's army.  But the Han army continued to follow them closely until they arrived at the Wu River.  Xiang Yu had no way to escape and could think of no way to redeem himself from his failure. There was no way he could face his family after this defeat, so he took out his sword and killed himself by the riverside.

"Songs coming from all directions" comes from this story.  The "songs" in the idiom are the songs of the Chu state.  This refers to being surrounded by obstacles on all sides with no one to turn to, and to being in a state of extreme isolation.

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%9B%9B%E9%9D%A2%E6%A5%9A%E6%AD%8C/465

https://soundcloud.com/teacupmedia/s2e04-surrounded

https://chinesepod.com/community/conversations/post/4353

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● 弹丝品竹 (tán sī pǐn zhú) - (literal meaning):  to pluck silk [strings] and blow bamboo [flute], meaning to play a musical instrument and be familiar with music

Notes:

From the following sources:

Song Dynasty:  宋·无名氏《张协状元》戏文开场 (《永乐大典戏文三种.张协状元.第一出》):  「但咱们,虽宦裔,总皆通。弹丝品竹,那堪咏月与嘲风。

Ming Dynasty:  明·杨柔胜《玉环记·皋谒延赏》(《玉环记.第一○出》): 尽称我弹丝品竹,沉李浮瓜,此处当追赏。

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%BC%B9%E4%B8%9D%E5%93%81%E7%AB%B9


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● 同工异曲 (tóng gōng yì qǔ)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%90%8C%E5%B7%A5%E5%BC%82%E6%9B%B2


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● 铜琶铁板 (tóng pā tiě bǎn)

More information:

https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%93%9C%E7%90%B6%E9%93%81%E6%9D%BF

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● 瓦釜雷鸣 (wǎ fǔ léi míng) - (literal meaning):  earthen pots make a thundering noise [rather than the classical bells]; (figurative meaning):  mediocre or uncultured people are in power; good men have been discarded in favor of bombastic ones

Notes:

From a passage in the "Bu Ju" section of the Chu Ci 《楚辞·卜居》:  「黄钟毁弃,瓦釜雷鸣。」

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%93%A6%E9%87%9C%E9%9B%B7%E9%B8%A3


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● 五音不全 wǔ yīn bù quán - (literal meaning):  the five tones are incomplete; (figurative meaning):  tone deaf; unable to sing in tune

More information:
http://www.chengyuw.com/doc-view-4390.html

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● 下里巴人 (Xià Lǐ Bā Rén) - (literal meaning):  villagers from the countryside of Ba (巴国 or 巴州), an ancient state located in modern-day eastern Sichuan and western Hubei; (implied meaning):  simple and crude folk songs; later, the term was extended to apply to popular literature or art (tongsu wenyi, 通俗文艺) in general

Notes:

From a story about the late Warring States poet Song Yu (宋玉, fl. 298 BC-263 BC), which appears in "Dui Chu Wang Wen" 
《对楚王问》 (Responses to Questions from the King of Chu):

「楚襄王问于宋玉曰:“先生其有遗行与?何士民众庶,不誉之甚也?”宋玉对曰:“唯!然!有之。愿大王宽其罪,使得毕其辞。客有歌于郢中者,其始曰《下里》、《巴人》,国中属而和者数千人;其为《阳阿》、《薤露》,国中属而和者数百人;其为《阳春》、《白雪》,国中属而和者,不过数十人;引商刻羽,杂以流征,国中属而和者,不过数人而已。是其曲弥高,其和弥寡。故鸟有凤而鱼有鲲。凤凰上击九千里,绝云霓,负苍天,足乱浮云,翱翔乎杳冥之上;夫藩篱之鷃,岂能与之料天地之高哉?鲲鱼朝发昆仑之墟,暴鬐于碣石,暮宿于孟诸;夫尺泽之鲵,岂能与之量江海之大哉?故非独鸟有凤而鱼有鲲也,士亦有之;夫圣人瑰意琦行,超然独处,世俗之民,又安知臣之所为哉?”」

Since the original source does not use the word "and" to separate the several pairs of song titles mentioned in the passage, it is likely that "Xia Li"  
《下里》 (Lower Village) and "Ba Ren" 《巴人》 (Man from Ba) were actually the names of two separate songs.
More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%B8%8B%E9%87%8C%E5%B7%B4%E4%BA%BA

http://www.silkqin.com/09hist/qinshi/songyu.htm
http://www.silkqin.com/02qnpu/07sqmp/sq07yc.htm



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● 弦外之音 (xián wài zhī yīn)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%BC%A6%E5%A4%96%E4%B9%8B%E9%9F%B3/15412


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● 箫韶九成 (xiāo sháo jiǔ chéng)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%AE%AB%E9%9F%B6%E4%B9%9D%E6%88%90

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● 埙篪相和 (xūn chí xiāng hè) - (literal meaning):  xun (ocarina) and chi (transverse bamboo flute) [playing] together in harmony (figurative meaning):  refers to a good relationship between brothers

Notes:From the Shijing 《诗经·小雅·何人斯》

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%9F%99%E7%AF%AA%E7%9B%B8%E5%92%8C

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● 掩耳盗铃 (yǎn ěr dào líng) - (literal meaning):  "cover ears, steal bell"; (figurative meaning):  to fool oneself; to bury one's head in the sand

Notes:

From a story in Lüshi Chunqiu 《吕氏春秋》 (compiled c. 239 BC):

「范氏之亡也,百姓有得钟者,欲负而走。则钟大不可负,以椎毁之,钟况然有音。恐人闻之而夺己也,遽揜其耳。」

When the Fan family was wiped out, there was a thief who wanted to carry the bell on his back and leave.  Since the bell was too big for him to carry, he smashed it with a hammer, but the bell clanged loudly.  For fear that people would hear it and take it from him, he quickly covered his ears.

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%8E%A9%E8%80%B3%E7%9B%97%E9%93%83

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● 偃旗息鼓 (yǎn qí xī gǔ) - (literal meaning):  lower the flags and silence the drums; (figurative meaning):  call off the army maneuvers; cease all military activities and lay low

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%81%83%E6%97%97%E6%81%AF%E9%BC%93/1489373


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● 阳春白雪 (yáng chūn bái xuě) - the names of two songs:  "Yang Chun" and "Bai Xue"

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%98%B3%E6%98%A5%E7%99%BD%E9%9B%AA/84775
http://www.silkqin.com/02qnpu/07sqmp/sq07yc.htm

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● 一板三眼 (yī bǎn sān yǎn)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%B8%80%E6%9D%BF%E4%B8%89%E7%9C%BC

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● 一唱百和 (yī chàng bǎi hé)

Notes:

From 清·曾朴《孽海花》第三十五回:  「哪一个不是宋诗呢?那也是承了乾嘉极盛之后,不得不另辟蹊径,一唱百和,自然的成了一时风气了。


Also:  《野叟曝言.第五二回》:  「项挂百八念珠,手执九龙锡杖,一唱百和,宣卷谭空,铙钹钟鼓,声喧若沸。」

More information:https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%B8%80%E5%94%B1%E7%99%BE%E5%92%8C

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● 一倡百和 (yī chàng bǎi hé), - (literal meaning):  [when] one leads [a song], hundreds [of others] join in; (implied meaning):  [when] one person makes a proposal, hundreds [of others] agree; to meet with general approval

Notes:
From 清·江藩《汉学师承记·惠周惕》:  「郢书燕说,一倡百和。

Also:  桓宽《盐铁论.结和》:「人罢极而主不恤,国内溃而上不知,是以一夫倡而天下和。」


More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%B8%80%E5%80%A1%E7%99%BE%E5%92%8C
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● 一唱三叹 (yī chàng sān tàn) - (literal meaning):  one song calls forth three exclamations of praise

Notes:

From 《荀子·礼论》 (c. 3rd century BC)


More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%B8%80%E5%94%B1%E4%B8%89%E5%8F%B9

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● 一鼓作气 (yī gǔ zuò qì) - (literal meaning):  the first drumbeat (figurative meaning):  to get something done in one vigorous effort; to press on to the finish without letup while energy is high (compare the English-language idiom "strike while the iron is hot")

Notes:  from a story from the 7th century BC, during the Spring and Autumn period, which is recounted in the Zuo Zhuan 《左传·庄公十年》 (c. late 4th century BC), in which it explained that it takes courage to fight a battle:  the first time the drum beats, the courage of the soldiers is aroused, but the second time it beats, the soldiers will have weakened; the third time the drum beats, the courage of the soldiers has dried up entirely

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%B8%80%E9%BC%93%E4%BD%9C%E6%B0%94/1727

● 一琴一鹤 (yī qín yī hè) - (literal meaning):  "one qin, one crane"; (figurative meaning):  describes simple equipment or light baggage, characteristics of an honest and incorruptible official

Notes:

Based on the story of Zhao Bian (赵抃, 1008-1084), an official of the northern Song Dynasty who is said, on a trip to Sichuan, to have taken with him only one qin and one crane.

More information:

● 异曲同工 (yì qǔ tóng gōng) - (literal meaning):  different songs can be performed equally well; (figurative meaning):  to use a different approach but achieve equally satisfactory results

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%BC%82%E6%9B%B2%E5%90%8C%E5%B7%A5/1638672

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● 易辙改弦 (yì zhé gǎi xián) - (literal meaning):  change path [while driving a cart]; change strings [on a musical instrument]; (implied meaning):  to change one's method, attitude, behavior, practice, plan, or direction

Notes:

From 
清·王韬《〈火器略说〉后跋》:  若一旦易辙改弦,以其材力聪明置之于有用之地,安见其必逊于西人也哉?」

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%98%93%E8%BE%99%E6%94%B9%E5%BC%A6

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● 引吭高歌 (yǐn háng gāo gē)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%BC%95%E5%90%AD%E9%AB%98%E6%AD%8C/8672676

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● 引商刻羽 (yǐn shāng kè yǔ) - (figurative meaning):  to compose or play strictly according to the rules of the tune

Notes:

Shang (商) and yu (羽) were two of the notes in the ancient Chinese pentatonic scale.

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%BC%95%E5%95%86%E5%88%BB%E7%BE%BD

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● 莺歌燕舞 (yīng gē yàn wǔ)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E8%8E%BA%E6%AD%8C%E7%87%95%E8%88%9E/1636039

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● 有板有眼 (yǒu bǎn yǒu yǎn) - (figurative meaning):  methodical; orderly; rhythmical; measured

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E6%9C%89%E6%9D%BF%E6%9C%89%E7%9C%BC


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● 余音绕梁 (yú yīn rào liáng) - (literal meaning):  reverberates around the rafters; (figurative meaning):  sonorous and resounding (esp. of singing voice)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%BD%99%E9%9F%B3%E7%BB%95%E6%A2%81/1639144

https://soundcloud.com/teacupmedia/s2e02-i-cant-get-it-out-of-my

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● 郑卫之曲 (Zhèng Wèi zhī qǔ) - "popular" music used for entertainment or pleasure, which was disparaged by some conservative Confucians as immoderate or lascivious; Zheng (卫) and Wei (郑) were states during the Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%83%91%E5%8D%AB%E4%B9%8B%E6%9B%B2


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● 郑卫之声 (Zhèng Wèi zhī shēng) - "popular" music used for entertainment or pleasure, which was disparaged by some conservative Confucians as immoderate or lascivious; Zheng (卫) and Wei (郑) were states during the Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%83%91%E5%8D%AB%E4%B9%8B%E5%A3%B0


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● 郑卫之音 (Zhèng Wèi zhī yīn) - "popular" music used for entertainment or pleasure, which was disparaged by some conservative Confucians as immoderate or lascivious; Zheng (卫) and Wei (郑) were states during the Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period

More information:

https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%83%91%E5%8D%AB%E4%B9%8B%E9%9F%B3

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● 钟鼎人家 (zhōng dǐng rén jia)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%92%9F%E9%BC%8E%E4%BA%BA%E5%AE%B6

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● 钟鼎之家 (zhōng dǐng zhī jiā) - (literal meaning):  house of zhong (bells) and ding (bronze cauldrons)(figurative meaning):  living an extravagant life

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%92%9F%E9%BC%8E%E4%B9%8B%E5%AE%B6


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● 钟鼓之色 (zhōng gǔ zhī sè)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%92%9F%E9%BC%93%E4%B9%8B%E8%89%B2

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● 钟鼓馔玉 (zhōng gǔ zhuàn yù)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%92%9F%E9%BC%93%E9%A6%94%E7%8E%89

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● 钟鸣鼎列 (zhōng míng dǐng liè)

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%92%9F%E9%B8%A3%E9%BC%8E%E5%88%97

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● 钟鸣鼎食 (zhōng míng dǐng shí) - (literal meaning):  when zhong (bells) ring, food is served in a ding (cauldron); (figurative meaning):  living an extravagant life

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E9%92%9F%E9%B8%A3%E9%BC%8E%E9%A3%9F


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● 煮鹤焚琴 (zhǔ hè fén qín) - (literal meaning): to cook a crane [to eat] and to burn a qin [as firewood]; (figurative meaning): to be unappreciative of art or beauty

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E7%85%AE%E9%B9%A4%E7%84%9A%E7%90%B4

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Thanks to Jim Binkley, Tak Kwong Ko, Lin Chiang-san, Laszlo Montgomery, Daniel Sund, Juni Yeung, and Zhang Yanchen for assistance with this page.