When Wu Na returns to Beijing, later this summer, she hopes to develop a cross-cultural exchange that will bring traditional Chinese masters to New York and jazz and blues musicians to Beijing. She noted that audiences in Beijing have little grasp of African-American music in its classic, early-twentieth-century forms. And I realized that, while I had gone around Beijing looking for “authentic” Chinese music, she had been doing the same in New York, searching, with little success, for old-time jazz and blues.
So the reason why Mozi condemns music is not because that the sounds of the big bell, the sounding drum, the qin and the se and the yu and the sheng are not pleasant, that the carvings and ornaments are not delightful, that the fried and the broiled meats of the grass-fed and the grain-fed animals are not gratifying, or that the high towers, grand arbours, and quiet villas are not comfortable. Although the body knows they are comfortable, the mouth knows they are gratifying, the eyes know they are delightful, and the ears know they are pleasing, yet they are found not to be in accordance with the deeds of the sage-kings of antiquity and not to contribute to the benefits of the people at present. And so Mozi proclaims: To have music is wrong.
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