From: Sixteen Rules for the Tones of the Lute by Leng Qian. Translated by R. H. van Gulik

From: Sixteen Rules for the Tones of the Lute by Leng Qian. Translated by R. H. van Gulik

The Lute masters of the present time aim at charming the ears; they insist upon producing captivating sounds, thereby greatly sinning against refined elegance. This is because they do not know that the basis of Lute music is simplicity. I, on the contrary, tune my Lute to simplicity, therefore the great mass does not understand my music. Where is it that simplicity dwells? I love its sentiment, which is not extravagant nor contending. I love its flavour, which is like snow or ice. I love its echo, which is like the wind blowing over pines, like rain on bamboo, like the bubbling of a mountain stream, or like lapping waves. It is only with great musicians that one can talk about simplicity.