Monday, December 27, 2010

Bai Ya and Zhong Zi Qi 伯牙與鍾子期



The story of “Zhi Yin 知音- knowing (my) music” comes from the ancient book Lie Zi 列子:
Bai Ya was skilful in playing the qin 琴. Zhong Zi Qi 鍾子期 excelled in music appreciation. When Bai Ya played the qin with his mind on the lofty mountains, Zhong Zi Qi said, “Wonderful, mountains as lofty as Tai Shan.” When Bai Ya’s mind was at the gurgling waters, Zhong Zi Qi said, “Wonderful, flowing like streams and rivers.” Whatever that was in Bai Ya’s mind, Zhong Zi Qi read it accurately. When Zi Qi died, Bai Ya lamented that no one knew his music in the world anymore. He broke his qin tearing the strings and never played music anymore for the rest of his life.

Today, we use the term "Zhi Yin 知音" to describe a friend who can really understand us and appreciate what we do.


Simon said...

Wonderful, like a story that everyone should hear. :)

Joseph Yu said...


Antje said...

Hi Joseph, hi all,

A shorter version of that story might be the phrase "to be on the same wavelength" which is used in a lot of languages to describe they sympathy or better empathy between people.

Would be interesting to know if the Western saying has it´s origin in that story or vice versa.

BTW one online dictionary translated the term Zhi Yin 知音 as "bosom buddy" and the Google translator as "concert". A concert is also about the harmony of wavelengths/sound...

Happy New Year to everyone!

Best wishes