Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Idioms about music

Idioms about music
compiled by David Badagnani (rev. 17 October 2018)

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

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● 长歌当哭 (cháng gē dàng kū)

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● 晨钟暮鼓 (chén zhōng mù gǔ)

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● 重振旗鼓 (chóng zhèn qí gǔ)

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● 吹吹打打 (chuī chuī dǎ dǎ)

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● 吹角连营 (chuī jiǎo lián yíng)

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● 吹弹歌舞 (chuī tán gē wǔ)

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● 吹箫乞食 (chuī xiāo qǐ shí)

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● 大张旗鼓 (dà zhāng qí gǔ)

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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

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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

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● 夫唱妇随 (fū chàng fù suí)

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● 改弦更张 (gǎi xián gēng zhāng) - (figurative meaning):  to cut loose from the past and make a fresh start

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● 高歌猛进 (gāo gē měng jìn)

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● 高山流水 (gāo shān liú shuǐ)

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● 歌舞升平 (gē wǔ shēngpíng)

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● 更弦易辙 (gēng xián yì zhé)

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● 黄钟大吕 (huáng zhōng dà lǚ)

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● 黄钟毁弃 (huáng zhōng huǐ qì)

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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

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● 剑胆琴心 (jiàn dǎn qín xīn)

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● 胶柱鼓瑟 (jiāo zhù gǔ sè)

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● 紧锣密鼓 (jǐn luó mì gǔ)

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● 金鼓齐鸣 (jīn gǔ qí míng)

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● 金声玉振 (jīn shēng yù zhèn)

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

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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 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 took the throne. He preferred to listen [to the yu players] one by one, so the reclusive scholar fled.

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

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● 鸣金收兵 (míng jīn shōu bīng)

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● 男唱女随 (nán chàng nǚ suí)

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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

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● 琵琶别抱 (pípá bié bào)

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● 琵琶别弄 (pípá bié nòng)

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● 琵琶胡语 (pípá hú yǔ)

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● 琵琶旧语 (pípá jiù yǔ)

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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 (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)

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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)

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● 敲锣打鼓 (qiāo luó dǎ gǔ)

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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。」、三

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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。

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● 琴断朱弦 (qín duàn zhū xián)

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● 琴剑飘零 (qín jiàn piāo líng)

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● 琴棋书画 (qín qí shū huà)

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● 琴瑟不调 (qín sè bù tiáo)

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● 琴瑟和好 (qín sè hé hǎo)

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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

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● 琴瑟失调 (qín sè shī tiáo)

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● 琴瑟调和 (qín sè tiáo hé)

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● 琴瑟相调 (qín sè xiāng tiáo)

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● 琴瑟之好 (qín sè zhī hǎo)

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● 琴心剑胆 (qín xīn jiàn dǎn)

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● 轻歌曼舞 (qīng gē màn wǔ)

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● 磬石之固 (qìng shí zhī gù)

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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).

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● 人琴俱亡 (rén qín jù wáng)

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● 笙歌鼎沸 (shēng gē dǐng fèi)

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● 笙磬同音 (shēng qìng tóng yīn)

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● 四面楚歌 (sì miàn Chǔ gē)

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● 弹丝品竹 (tán sī pǐn zhú)

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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。」

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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

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● 下里巴人 (xià lǐ bā rén)

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● 弦外之音 (xián wài zhī yīn)

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● 箫韶九成 (xiāo sháo jiǔ chéng)

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● 埙篪相和 (xūn chí xiāng hè) - (figurative meaning):  refers to a good relationship between brothers

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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.

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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

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● 阳春白雪 (yáng chūn bái xuě)

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● 一板三眼 (yī bǎn sān yǎn)

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● 一唱百和 (yī chàng bǎi hé)

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● 一唱三叹 (yī chàng sān tàn) - (literal meaning):  one song calls forth three exclamations of praise

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● 一鼓作气 (yī gǔ zuò qì)

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● 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:

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● 异曲同工 (yì qǔ tóng gōng) - (figurative meaning):  to use a different approach but achieve equally satisfactory results

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● 引吭高歌 (yǐn háng gāo gē)

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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.

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● 莺歌燕舞 (yīng gē yàn wǔ)

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

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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)

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● 郑卫之音 (Zhèng Wèi zhī yīn)

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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)

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● 钟鼓之色 (zhōng gǔ zhī sè)

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● 钟鼓馔玉 (zhōng gǔ zhuàn yù)

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● 钟鸣鼎列 (zhōng míng dǐng liè)

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● 钟鸣鼎食 (zhōng míng dǐng shí) - (figurative meaning):  living an extravagant life

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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

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

Friday, October 5, 2018

Poems about music: Six Dynasties

Poems about music: Six Dynasties
compiled by David Badagnani (rev. 8 October 2018)

《晋四厢乐歌》三首 其三 食举东西厢歌
Anonymous (Jin Dynasty, 265-420)

天命大晋,载育群生。
于穆上德,随时化成。
自祖配命,皇皇后辟。
继天创业,宣文之绩。
不显宣文,先知稼穑。
克恭克俭,足教足食。
既教食之,弘济艰难。
上帝是佑,下民所安。
天佑圣皇,万邦来贺。
虽安勿安,乾乾匪暇。
乃正丘郊,乃定冢社。
廙廙作宗,光宅天下。
惟敬朝飨,爰奏食举。
尽礼供御,嘉乐有序。
树羽设业,笙镛以间。
琴瑟齐列,亦有篪埙。
喤喤鼓钟,枪枪磬管。
八音克谐,载夷载简。
既夷既简,共大不御。
风化潜兴,如云如雨。
如云之覆,如雨之润。
声教所暨,无思不顺。
教以化之,乐以和之。
和而养之,时惟邕熙。
礼慎其仪,乐节其声。
于铄皇繇,既和且平。

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《咏史诗八首》 其四
(Yong Shisi Ba Shou)
作者:左思(西晋)
by Zuo Si (Western Jin Dynasty, 250-305)

济济京城内,赫赫王侯居。
冠盖荫四术,朱轮竟长衢。
朝集金张馆,暮宿许史庐。
南邻击钟磬,北里吹笙竽。
寂寂杨子宅,门无卿相舆。
寥寥空宇中,所讲在玄虚。
言论准宣尼,辞赋拟相如。
悠悠百世后,英名擅八区。

More information:
https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%92%8F%E5%8F%B2%E5%85%AB%E9%A6%96/5744437

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《思归叹》
作者:石崇西晋
by Shi Chong (Western Jin Dynasty, 249-300)

登城隅兮临长江。
极望无涯兮思填胸。
鱼瀺灂兮鸟缤翻。
泽雉游凫兮戏中园。 
秋风厉兮鸿雁征。
蟋蟀嘈嘈兮晨夜鸣。
落叶飘兮枯枝竦。
百草零落兮覆畦垄。 
时光逝兮年易尽。
感彼岁暮兮怅自悯。
廓羁旅兮滞野都。
愿御北风兮忽归徂。 
惟金石兮幽且清。
林郁茂兮芳卉盈。
玄泉流兮萦丘阜。
阁馆萧寥兮荫丛柳。
吹长笛兮弹五弦。
高歌凌云兮乐馀年。
舒篇卷兮与圣谈。
释冕投绂兮希鼓聃。 
超逍遥兮绝尘埃。
福亦不至兮祸不来。

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《凤颂》
(Feng Song)
作者:薛综(三国时期吴国人)
by Xue Zong (Eastern Wu Dynasty/Three Kingdoms period, c. 176-243)

猗与石磬,金声玉振。
先王搏拊,以正五音。
百兽翔感,仪凤舞麟。
在昔尧舜,斯磬乃臻。
宗庙致敬,乃肯来顾。
赞扬圣德,上下受祚。

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