In the evening of 8th March 2017 the third lecture of “The Concept of Music” called “Musical life from all aspects” was held in the multifunctional hall of the Lianxing building. The speaker of the lecture was Prof. Chen Shuhua, vice dean of the Faculty of Arts and deputy director of the General Education Center at Xiamen University. At the beginning of the lecture Mr. Chen briefly summarized the progress of “The Concept of Music” in the last three-four years. He pointed out that since its launch the topic of “The Concept of Music” varies by semester, every semester having its own series. Some of these series introduced the concept of the musical profession, e.g. from the point of view of the conductor, the pianist or the composer. Some of these series was based on different historical styles, e.g. the concept of music during the Baroque, Classicism and Romanticism. The topic of this semester is “Musical life from all aspects”, hence different aspects of living a “musical life” will be revealed. In this lecture the main aspects and manifestation of musical life were summarized and combined with the last couple of lectures, information about the classical musical scene was provided in particular.
Following this, Mr. Chen asked his audience what is the most important function of music from their point of view. Some students said it is a way to express themselves, a visible form of their sentiments, some said it is an art form based on transmission of sound frequency to convey meanings, some said music is like “a lubricant of life”. According to Mr. Chen the foundation of music is twofold, namely listening to sounds and creating sounds, hence in order to live a musical life we need to learn listening to music attentively and creating music logically and aesthetically. Mr. Chen invited the students for an experiment and demonstrated that even stamping with our feet and clapping with our hands can give us a lot of joy and can fill the audience hall with cheerful voices and laughter. As Mr. Chen said, this is the joy of creation, imagination and cooperation. Therefore, before discussing particular musical activities, we should make clear what kind of art music actually is.
According to Mr. Chen, musical life at first can be divided into two main categories, namely experiencing music through an intermediary and experiencing music on the spot. Concerts are nowadays the most common way of on-the-spot music experience. Without doubt, the content of concerts varies greatly, many people dividing them into classical music, world music (also called folk music) and popular music concerts. The form of music concerts also shows a great variety and apart from concerts, musical life also includes music contests, musical recitals, musical dramas, etc. Some forms are present around us all the time, it is really easy to get in touch with them and they are fascinating indeed.
In this lecture, Mr. Chen introduced the main forms and types of classical music. During the first lecture of this semester’s series, the audience had the chance to find out more about the musical concept of chamber music and listen to a chamber music performance. On the second week, the audience had the opportunity to enjoy a symphonic concert, while on the third week Prof. Li took everyone to an impromptu musical journey. These are all forms of musical activity, manifestations of musical life. Summarizing the last couple of lectures, Mr. Chen thoroughly explained the development, history and cultural background of the most common types of music concerts, namely that of symphonic, chamber and solo concerts. Mr. Chen cited many interesting details on how the development of music concerts relate to social intercourse. For example, as he pointed out, formal elements of music concerts, such as the menu-like arrangement of the repertoire are remnants of ancient ceremonial acts.
Mr. Chen also provided basic introduction about what types of music are performed on classical music concerts. Starting from Baroque (main composers include Bach, Handel, Scarlatti), through Classicism (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven) and Romanticism (Chopin, Liszt, Schumann, Brahms) to modern era composers like Debussy, Schoenberg and Stravinsky, Mr. Chen introduced the basic characteristics of all these eras in a lively and easily comprehensible way, accompanied by piano demonstrations.
Finally, Mr. Chen revealed some of the highlights of this semester’s series: heavyweight music experts will share their knowledge with the students face-to-face, fascinating music contests, touching musical plays, charming jazz, vibrant TV music and elegant folk music will all be presented. This way we hope every student will have the chance to experience all aspects of musical life, as music is indeed a charming and lovable form of art.