Interview with Hu Zhihou: We must protect and inherit traditional Chinese folk music

203 views · Organized by 南丘 on 2022-03-31

Every morning, before 8 o’clock, the sound of the pipe will sound on time in the piano room 418 of the Qinfang Building of the Central Conservatory of Music. This is Hu Zhihou, a professor of the Folk Music Department of the Central Conservatory of Music, a pipe player and an educator, who is over 70 years old. "If you don't practice for one day, you know it, if you don't practice for two days, your peers know it, and if you don't practice for three days, everyone knows it. This is my specialty, and Kung Fu must not be lost." Hu Zhihou is strict with himself, 365 days a year, unless there are special circumstances. Guaranteed at least 4 hours of practice time every day. This is his "repertoire" that he has stuck to for decades.

As the first pipe teacher in my country, Hu Zhihou has been studying, living and working at the Central Conservatory of Music for 70 years since he was admitted to the Junior Class of the Central Conservatory of Music (the predecessor of the High School Affiliated to the Central Conservatory of Music) in 1952 (at the age of 11). Recalling the reasons for embarking on the road of music, he laughed and said that it was a "misunderstanding" and that studying Guanzi was a "misunderstanding", but music and Guanzi became the love of his life. He devoted his life to promoting the construction of the pipe major and established a relatively complete and scientific teaching system.Interview with Hu Zhihou: We must protect and inherit traditional Chinese folk music

On the road to wind music:

Inadvertently planting willows and willows

In 1950, Hu Zhihou entered the Shanghai Workers' Children's Primary School and became the school's little conductor because he directed everyone to sing the national anthem on the playground every morning. In 1952, the "Yangyin" youth class went to Shanghai to enroll students. After seeing the enrollment brochure, the leaders of the primary school for the children of workers thought that Hu Zhihou met the conditions and took him to apply for the exam. In the examination room, Hu Zhihou was admitted by the examiner, Mr. Huang Guodong, with a song "I am the soldier of the people, the soldier of the people".

On November 24, 1952, Hu Zhihou went from Shanghai to study at the "Yang Yin" Junior Class. "I am a child of a poor family and a 'Bai Ding' in music. I never thought about applying for the Central Conservatory of Music, let alone being able to pass the examination. The examination of Central Music is not because of love of music, but because the school does not have to pay tuition fees. There is an additional 2 yuan bursary every month.” At that time, the Central Conservatory of Music was still in a small courtyard in Tianjin, with only classrooms, dormitories, and canteens. Students in the junior class must learn the piano first. Professional after one year. Hu Zhihou was assigned to Professor Sheng Xue's class to learn the violin. "Professor Sheng Xue is the first generation of violin educators in China, and I'm very lucky to be able to learn the violin with him. However, I have no interest in playing the violin. Once a school organized a movie, I heard a screening of Rimsky- The symphony "One Thousand and One Nights" composed by Korsakov. There is a clarinet solo that describes the sea. I was fascinated by this instrument at once, and set the goal in my heart: I must learn wind music. But unfortunately Yes, there was no wind music major in the youth class at that time."

In the spring of 1955, Hu Zhihou learned the national wind instrument "pipe" by chance. Although there is a certain gap with the clarinet that he wanted to learn, it can be regarded as a realization of his dream of wind music. At that time, Lu Ji, the first party secretary and vice president of the Central Conservatory of Music from "Lu Yi" in Yan'an, attached great importance to the inheritance and development of national folk music. He not only offered folk music classes in the school, but also invited many folk musicians one after another. School performances and teaching. Since 1950, Yang Yuanheng, a folk artist in central Hebei, has been formally employed as a school teacher. Once, Mr. Yang Yuanheng went to Zhongnanhai to play for Chairman Mao. Chairman Mao praised it very much after hearing it, and raised the ardent hope of "letting him take apprentices". After the school leaders were instructed to "pass down traditional music", they went to the juvenile class to select students. Hu Zhihou was arguing about changing majors all day, so he was selected. In 1955, Hu Zhihou became a disciple of Yang Yuanheng's first-line single biography (also a closed-door disciple). Under the tutelage of Yang Yuanheng, Hu Zhihou has a new and in-depth understanding of national folk music, and it also strengthened his determination to continue on this road.

Stick to the traditional path:

Must have perseverance

The inheritance of folk music is mainly taught by word of mouth. Like many artists, Yang Yuanheng regards improvisation and flexibility as the life and soul of folk performance art. For a piece of "Little Erfan", Yang Yuanheng can not only play more than 20 different variations in a row, but also perform a variety of different emotional styles. Hu Zhihou recalled: "I remember a performance at the Tianjin Mass Art Museum. Mr. Yang played "Leaving the Donkey". Before he came on stage, he said to me, 'Live' a little, how do I play, how do you learn, don't just stare at the score." Every time he performs with his teacher, Hu Zhihou can gain a lot of things that cannot be learned in class.

Music is an emotional art, and good musical performance has the ability to empathize. And he really realized the artistic charm of "passing the world" in Chinese folk music when he went to the United States to perform in 1982. At a dinner party after a performance, an old American woman she didn't know lay on his shoulder and wept bitterly, a move that terrified Hu Zhihou, who was on tour in the United States for the first time. It turned out that her husband was killed in battle in the 1950s, and the feeling of longing for nearly 30 years was released in the song "Three Layers of Yangguan" played by Hu Zhihou that night. She told Hu Zhihou, "It was you who played oriental music with oriental musical instruments, which opened my heart, which was accumulated over the decades by an old western lady." Now that 40 years have passed, Hu Zhihou said that he is still unable to Forget the scene that night.

As Yang Yuanheng's only student at the Central Conservatory of Music, Hu Zhihou established a very deep teacher-student friendship with his mentor. At the end of 1958, Yang Yuanheng retired and returned to his hometown due to old age and illness, and unfortunately passed away soon after. Hu Zhihou was distraught when he learned that Mr. Yang shouted his name when he was dying. After returning to Beijing, he had a cold and high fever, and was in a coma for 3 days. He recalled: "The last piece of music that Mr. Yang taught me was "Hou Shanpo Sheep", a representative of northern folk art, who took Nankun Opera as his master and apprentice's 'final' work, which fully reflected his love for Chinese music has the tolerance and mind of all rivers."

After Yang Yuanheng's death, Hu Zhihou spontaneously followed Zhao Chunfeng and other teachers to study until the juvenile class graduated. Afterwards, because it was difficult to find a pipe majoring teacher, Zhao Feng, then secretary of the school’s party committee and vice dean, specially formulated a training plan for Hu Zhihou: go to study wherever there is a good family in the country, and the department should not interfere. Back to school for a presentation. Dean Zhao Feng arranged for Hu Zhihou to go to Shandong to learn suona with Wei Yongtang, a representative of the Wei family class in the southwest of Shandong, go to Guangdong to learn Chaozhou music, and go to Xi'an to experience the unique charm of local folk music such as Qin Opera, Confusion Opera, Wanwan Opera, and Shadow Play. Not only that, Dean Zhao also personally took Hu Zhihou to his hometown of Kaifeng, Henan Province to learn from his teacher.

"Folk music is produced in the folk and spread among the people. The rich life atmosphere is its most valuable feature. If you lose this element, you will lose its soul and survival value. Therefore, to learn folk music, you must take root in fertile soil and share with the people. 'Going out' and learning from the people is a very good tradition of Yangyin, and it has benefited me a lot." Hu Zhihou hopes to carry forward this good tradition.

The way of inheriting the tradition:

Teaching insists on "setting fire" and "steering the rudder"

Hu Zhihou not only likes to release to the fullest on the stage, but also enjoys the teaching and learning in teaching. While maintaining high-frequency performances, he also carries his professional attitude towards Guanzi throughout the classroom. There were as many as 12 students (in 1964) in his first class (in 1964) (covering junior high school, high school, and university), which made him feel the heavy responsibility of being the first pipe professional teacher in my country from the very beginning.

In the classroom, he not only inherits the traditional folk teaching method taught by oral and heart, but also constantly explores the new teaching mode of national instrumental music specialization. "Setting fire" and "steering the rudder" are the teaching concepts he always adheres to: "Teachers of main subjects should stimulate students' artistic potential through their own leadership and drive, rather than blindly pursuing technology. If students want to have 100% enthusiasm on stage As a teacher, they have to give them 180 degrees of heat, and only in this way can their enthusiasm for art be ignited." Hu Zhihou never cared about the length of his class, one or two hours. Once, a student learned to play "Jianghe Shui" , skills, rhythm are no problem, but not touching. In order to inspire him, Hu Zhihou not only gave a demonstration, but also shouted and shouted. After a class for two hours, Hu Zhihou was sweating all over. Finally, I finally heard the students say: "Teacher, I have found the feeling." "This is the joy of being a teacher. Only by doing this kind of 'setting fire' can students make progress in their profession."

In Hu Zhihou's view, the ultimate goal of students' learning is to throw away the "crutch" of the teacher and form their own artistic style. "One-size-fits-all, one-size-fits-all is not the true meaning of artistic development." But before throwing away the "crutch", you must first have a solid basic foundation, which is the foundation of the performance profession.

In teaching, in addition to "setting fire", he always insists on "steering the rudder" for students and consolidating basic skills. Mouth shape, gas use, hand shape, and pragmatic use of breathing methods are all issues that need to be treated rigorously and cannot be ignored. "Teach students to let them know what it is and why it is. For example: why does the mouth shape make a du? Because this can make the reed vibrate to make the best sound; when playing, find a good position for breathing, and the breath should not only reach the dantian, but also the back. The back must be inhaled to the end, and the stomach must be kept still when exhaling; the students must be able to flexibly use the chest, abdominal, and mixed breathing methods in the performance.” Whatever is required of the students to do, Hu Zhihou himself must first practice well. In the late 1960s, due to special reasons, Hu Zhihou suffered from tenosynovitis, which was undoubtedly a fatal blow to the performers who were active on the stage. He visited famous doctors all over the capital, and the treatment plan he got was "exercise". With his passion and tenacity for his profession, Hu Zhihou practiced the basic skills of raising his fingers on the pipe, with 3,000 strokes per finger and 30,000 finger lifts a day. After more than 3 years and more than 1,000 days of practice, not only did the tenosynovitis heal itself, but he also worked out the "reaction force raising fingering method for the opening of the tiger's mouth".

Explore the path of innovation:

Supported by veterans

Hu Zhihou believes that we must first protect and inherit traditional Chinese folk music, and then it is possible to carry forward and innovate. And any innovation must have a root to be found and a foundation that can be established.

In 1983, Dean Zhao Feng went to Hu Zhihou's house after completing the retirement formalities, and said to him earnestly: "You are the first generation of national wind music experts cultivated in New China. You must have an open mind, not only in performance, but also in theory. In terms of self-cultivation and self-cultivation, there must be systematic study.” Hu Zhihou has always kept this sentence in his heart.

Every school year, Hu Zhihou invites music theorist Lan Yusong to the concert and asks for his opinion. After a performance, Hu Zhihou was evaluated as "too simple", and he was puzzled: "Simpleness contains the most sincere and pure emotions. Is it still a problem that music should be emotionally moving?" Later, he gradually realized So, the problem is not "simple", but the word "too". Aesthetically, traditional Chinese art pays attention to artistic conception and charm. Sikong Tu, a poet in the late Tang Dynasty, once said: "Identify the flavor, and then you can speak poetry." The "flavor" in this one reveals the wisdom of the Chinese people and the charm of traditional Chinese culture. In order to blow out the artistic conception and play the charm of the pipe, it is necessary to have a solid foundation of traditional Chinese culture.

In order to explore the core essence of Chinese traditional culture, Hu Zhihou calmed down and read a lot of books. At that time, Professor Fang Chengguo, an expert in Chinese studies of the school, opened a class on "Ancient Chinese", which lasted 3 academic years from the "Book of Songs" to Song Ci. Hu Zhihou listened to 3 reincarnations in 10 years. In every class, he sat in the middle of the first row and carefully wrote down every word the teacher said in his notebook.

Classic works ranging from traditional theories to philosophical books are all Hu Zhihou's desk books. He not only pays attention to reading himself, but until now still maintains the habit of giving a "Outline of the History of Chinese Aesthetics" as a gift to every incoming master's student. In addition to leading students to "make up lessons" in traditional Chinese philosophy, aesthetics, literature, etc., Hu Zhihou himself also attaches great importance to absorbing nutrients from traditional music, especially religious music. He believes that only the excellent national music culture has the world. Over the years, he has spared no effort in the protection and promotion of Zhihua Temple Music, one of China's four ancient music, and Hengshan Taoist music in Yanbei area, making it a national intangible cultural heritage. Especially for Beijing Zhihua Sijing Music, which is known as the "living fossil" of ancient Chinese music. For three years, he led the teachers of the Wind Music Teaching and Research Section of the Department of Folk Music to study in depth, and established the "Beijing Buddhist Music Troupe" to rescue, inherit and perform the music of Zhihua Temple and Beijing, so that the notes in the ancient music can be "lived", and also let People have re-understood Chinese traditional music.

Protection, inheritance, development and innovation are the music beliefs of Hu Zhihou throughout his life. He has been on the road of professional music for 70 years, and he has always been doing his best for the development of Guanzi. On October 25, 2020, Hu Zhihou played "Three Layers of Yangguan" again at the "Autumn Waters and Long Sky" Beijing Chinese Orchestra's Double Ninth Festival concert at the National Centre for the Performing Arts. At the age of 79, he also performed his masterpieces in solo form, which was regarded as a good talk by the industry. In this regard, Hu Zhihou said: "This stemmed from an agreement between me and myself. Shortly after the 'Cultural Revolution', I listened to a concert at the Palace of National Culture, and that night, a 72-year-old Japanese horn player made a deep impression on me. He played the "Mozart Concerto" very rigorously, which shocked me greatly. I vowed to surpass him. God is very kind to me. Not only did I persist until I was 73 years old, but I have been performing since then. Until 2020, I am very fast. At the age of 80, I can continue to use music to talk to the audience on stage, and I am very satisfied." Hu Zhihou used music as a medium to communicate with the audience like a confidant. So far, his performance has already surpassed the technical level. The inner monologue of development and innovation. The innovation of Guanzi lies in performance and creation. Hu Zhihou not only made outstanding achievements in professional teaching, performance, scientific research, etc., but also drew inspiration from Chinese classical literature, and adapted and created "Three Stacks of Yangguan", "Li Sao", "Eighteen Beats of Hu Jia", "Wu Ye Cry" and "Wu Ye Cry". Drunkard's Play" and other new pipe works.

One year to cultivate crops, ten years to cultivate forests, and one hundred years to cultivate people. As a teacher, educating people must first educate oneself, teaching cannot be conservative, and knowledge must always be new. Hu Zhihou said that although he has entered his old age, he still insists on reading and practicing the piano. "You give good nutrition to students, and they will absorb it. Only when they behave correctly and have knowledge will students be convinced and willing to pass on this art."

Reference materials and contributors

Involving the artist

Hu Zhihou, member of the Academic Committee of the Central Conservatory of Music, director of the National Wind Music and Percussion Teaching and Research Section, and concurrently the vice president of the National Wind Music Research Association of the Chinese Musicians Association.
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Involving musical instruments

Guanzi (pinyin: guǎn zi) is a wind instrument. In ancient China, it was called "筚篥" or "Luguan". Its structure consists of three parts: the whistle, the intruder and the cylindrical body.

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