Rich and beautiful music


Confucius said: “What rich and beautiful music fills my ears when Zhi, the master of music, is conducting – right from the opening passage through to the finale of the Ospreys!”

I have commented on Confucius’s love of music before. Master Zhi was a famous court musician of the state of Lu; the Ospreys is the first poem in the Book of Songs.

Translating this passage made me wonder what Confucius himself would have thought of how the Analects were “composed”. Although it does have certain themes, at heart it’s like a collection of pearls scattered in the sand and lacks the cohesion and rhythm that are the hallmarks of a great piece of music.

There are times when I wish it was more like a symphony with separate movements exploring each theme more deeply before moving on to the next one. Instead you find you find yourself rushing from one topic to another without ever hearing the crescendo.

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