Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Idioms about music

Idioms about music
compiled by David Badagnani (rev. 30 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 [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.

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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. 13 December 2018)

《晋四厢乐歌》三首 其三 食举东西厢歌
作者:无名氏(
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。

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

《赠兄秀才入军》 (or 《四言赠兄秀才入军诗》)
作者:嵇康(三国 – 魏
by Ji Kang (Three Kingdoms:  Wei, 223-262)

〖《诗纪》并双鸾匿景曜一首为赠秀才入军十九首。并注曰:集云。兄秀才公穆入军。赠诗。旧抄本集作四言十八首赠兄秀才入军。注云。兄秀才公穆入军。赠诗。刘义庆曰:嵇喜。字公穆。举秀才。○逯案。此诗乃十八章。作十八首非是。并五言诗而曰十九首。尤谬。今据本集为此题。〗

鸳鸯于飞,肃肃其羽。
朝游高原,夕宿兰渚。
邕邕和鸣,顾眄俦侣。
俛仰慷慨,优游容与。

鸳鸯于飞,啸侣命俦。
朝游高原,夕宿中洲。
交颈振翼,容与清流。
咀嚼兰蕙,俯仰优游。

泳彼长川,言息其浒。
陟彼高冈,言刈其楚。
嗟我征迈,独行踽踽。
仰彼凯风,涕泣如雨。

泳彼长川,言息其沚。
陟彼高冈,言刈其杞。
嗟我独征,靡瞻靡恃。
仰彼凯风,载坐载起。

穆穆惠风,扇彼轻尘。
奕奕素波,转此游鳞。
伊我之劳,有怀遐人。
寤言永思,寔钟所亲。

所亲安在,舍我远迈。
弃此荪芷,袭彼萧艾。
虽曰幽深,岂无颠沛。
言念君子,不遐有害。

人生寿促,天地长久。
百年之期,孰云其寿。
思欲登仙,以济不朽。
缆辔踟蹰,仰顾我友。

我友焉之,隔兹山梁。
谁谓河广,一苇可航。
徒恨永离,逝彼路长。
瞻仰弗及,徙倚彷徨。

良马既闲,丽服有晖。
左揽繁弱,右接忘归。
风驰电逝,蹑景追飞。
凌厉中原,顾盻生姿。

携我好仇,载我轻车。
南凌长阜,北厉清渠。
仰落惊鸿,俯引渊鱼。
盘于游田,其乐只且。

凌高远盻,俯仰咨嗟。
怨彼幽絷,室迩路遐。
虽有好音,谁与清歌。
虽有姝颜,谁与发华。
仰讯高云,俯托轻波。
乘流远遁,抱恨山阿。

轻车迅迈,息彼长林。
春木载荣,布叶垂阴。
习习谷风,吹我素琴。
交交黄鸟,顾俦弄音。
感悟驰情,思我所钦。
心之忧矣,永啸长吟。

浩浩洪流,带我邦畿。
萋萋绿林,奋荣扬晖。
鱼龙瀺灂,山鸟群飞。
驾言出游,日夕忘归。
思我良朋,如渴如饥。
愿言不获,怆矣其悲。

息徒兰圃,秣马华山。
流磻平皋,垂纶长川。
目送归鸿,手挥五弦。
俯仰自得,游心太玄。
嘉彼钓叟,得鱼忘筌。
郢人逝矣,谁与尽言?

闲夜肃清,朗月照轩。
微风动袿,组帐高褰。
旨酒盈樽,莫与交欢。
鸣琴在御,谁与鼓弹?
仰慕同趣,其馨若兰。
佳人不存,能不永叹。

乘风高逝,远登灵丘。
托好松乔,携手俱游。
朝发太华,夕宿神州。
弹琴咏诗,聊以忘忧。

琴诗自乐,远游可珍。
含道独往,弃智遗身。
寂乎无累,何求于人。
长寄灵岳,怡志养神。

流俗难悟,逐物不还。
至人远鉴,归之自然。
万物为一,四海同宅。
与彼共之,予何所惜。
生若浮寄,暂见忽终。
世故纷纭,弃之八戎。
泽雉虽饥,不愿园林。
安能服御,劳形苦心。
身贵名贱,荣辱何在。
贵得肆志,纵心无悔。

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《咏筝诗》
作者:沈约南朝 – 刘宋、南齐、梁)
by Shen Yue (Southern Dynasties:  Liu Song, Southern Qi, Liang, 441-513)

秦筝吐绝调,玉柱扬清曲。
弦依高张断,声随妙指续。
徒闻音绕梁,宁知颜如玉。

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

《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。

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

《白纻辞二首》
作者:梁武帝萧衍(南朝 – 梁)
by Emperor Wu of Liang, personal name Xiao Yan (464-549)

朱丝玉柱罗象筵,飞琯促节舞少年。
短歌流目未肯前,含笑一转私自怜。

纤腰袅袅不任衣,娇怨独立特为谁。
赴曲君前未忍归,上声急调中心飞。

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

《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。

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

《奉和示内人诗》
作者:庾信(南北朝 – 梁西魏 北周
by Yu Xin (Northern and Southern Dynasties:  Liang, Western Wei, Northern Zhou, 513-581)

燃香郁金屋,吹管凤凰台。
春朝迎雨去,秋夜隔河来。
听歌云即断,闻琴鹤倒回。
春窗刻凤下,寒壁画花开。
定取流霞气,时添承露杯。

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《同会河阳公新造山池聊得寓目诗》
作者:庾信(南北朝 – 梁、西魏 、北周)

by Yu Xin (Northern and Southern Dynasties:  Liang, Western Wei, Northern Zhou, 513-581)

横阶仍凿涧,对户即连峰。
暗石疑藏虎,盘根似卧龙。
沙洲聚乱荻,洞口碍横松。
引泉恒数派,开岩即十重。
北阁闻吹管,南邻听击钟。
菊寒花正合,杯香酒绝浓。
由来魏公子,今日始相逢

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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。

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Thanks to Lin Chiang-san for assistance with this page.