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Music of I Ching


The I Ching, also known as the Book of Changes, is one of the oldest ancient Chinese classics. It was initially introduced with a few graphics drawn by Fu Xi, which were later named 'Bagua,' translated as 'earlier heaven.' Bagua consisted of eight elements that symbolized formations and changes in the world. Bagua was further devolped into 64 hexagrams during the Zhou dynasty when King Wen introduced 'later heaven' and wrote texts and quotes attached to each hexagram. This compilation became the main document known as the 'I Ching,' considered the most enduring among three books. The other two, 'Guicang' and 'Lianshan,' were eventually lost; there are barely historical records of these books from the Han dynasty or earlier periods.


Later, during the later Spring and Autumn period, Confucius and his students recorded a series of commentaries known as the 'Ten Wings.' These commentaries serve as supportive translations of the I Ching, which has been used to explain and observe changes in the natural world, Earth, and human teachings. Beyond divination, the I Ching has been applied in various fields, including philosophy, cosmology, medical studies, morality, and more.


In this album, I used coin tosses and numeral divination to determine various aspects, such as the structures, contents, playing techniques, elements, time length, density, intricateness, and more. The album is divided into two main parts: the first part explores the changes of the Bagua, involving eight elements performed by eight individuals, and coin tosses are used to divine the musical motions, accompanied by graphics. The last track features a solo prepared piano performance, with numeral divination determining the prepared materials, notes, playing techniques, time length, silence, and other elements. These methods draw inspiration from one small section of quotes from Cage's book 'Silence. 


在這張專輯裡,我使用了金錢卦和數字卦的卜筮方式來占卜整個曲子結構、內容、技巧、元素、時間點、聲響上的密度、以及錯綜復雜的結果等等⋯ 整張專輯分為兩個部分,一大部分為八人(八卦)形成天地人之間的變化,藉由金錢卦的方式占卜出曲子的變化和錯綜復雜的未來變化,以圖形譜、元素、時間結構、演奏技巧等等的方式完成這整個作品。另一部分是加料(預置)鋼琴,以數字掛來決定,數字從John Cage的書”Silence”中的其中一篇擷取出來的句子轉變為運用的數字,預置於鋼琴內的材料、圖形(卦象)、演奏技巧、時間點、沈默等等都是由占卜出來的結果。


‘Music of I Ching’ was influenced by the concept of Indeterminacy as developed by John Cage, who was a pioneer in using chance operations in the subject of music. In this album, tracks 1-4 feature an ensemble of eight performers. The scores were originally composed and written in graphical structures, specific assigned time lengths, game-piece-like instructions and selections, and written playing techniques in selective boxes, which still allow for free interpretation by the performers. Each of the eight performers was assigned one of the characters from 'the earlier heaven, FuXi Bagua,' which include Heaven, Earth, Thunder, Water, Mountain, Wind, Flame, and Lake. These assignments were made using coin tosses (金錢掛), and the titles of the tracks were determined based on the results of these coin tosses. The track 'At random (interlude)' is a solo prepared piano piece that was composed using I Ching to determine the contents, including techniques, density, prepared materials, and overall structure of the piece. The theme and title were derived from an excerpt of quotes on page 64 of John Cage's book 'Silence.' These quotes were transposed into numbers and then subjected to numeral divination, resulting in elements of the Bagua. 


Piano/Prompter - Shinya Lin

Alto sax 1 - Ryan Siegel

Alto sax 2- Katie Webster

Bass clarinet - Arjan Singh

Violin – Myra Choo

Cello - YiMing Hsu

Guitar – Iñigo Fúster

Bass – Evan Palmer


Engineering – Joshua Lu

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