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首页 > 英语娱乐 > 西方文化 >Jazz And The Essence of America 爵士乐与美国精髓

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Jazz And The Essence of America 爵士乐与美国精髓

[西方文化]      来源:
how jazz is transcribed in Chinese (jueshi),you may be misledsintosassuming that it is an aristocratic cultural form. Nothing could be further from the truth. It originated among black Americans at the end of the 19th century,at a time when they occupied the very bottom of the American social heap.  So how has something that was created by a once downtrodden and despised minority acquired a central place in today's American culture? Mr Darrell A Jenks,director of the American Center for Educational Exchange,and also a drummer in the jazz band Window,analyses the phenomenon for us here. Jazz: the soul of America   

说到美国的爵士乐(jazz),你可能从它的中文译名而推断为那是属于贵族的音乐。殊不知恰恰相反,它源于19世纪末的美国黑人,那时他们处于社会的最底层。然而,来自当年被奴役受歧视的黑人的音乐如今却进入到了美国文化的主流地位,原因何在呢?美国驻华使馆教育交流中心主任(也是《天窗》爵士乐队的鼓手)金大友先生为我们分析了这一现象。  

Perhaps the essence of America is that you could never get two Americans to aGREe on just what that might be. After thinking about it for a while,we might chuckle and say,“Hmm,seems like being American is a bit more complicated than we thought.” Certainly things like individualism,success (the “American Dream”),innovation and tolerance stand out. But these things come together because of our ability to work with one another and find common purpose no matter how diverse we might be.  Some,like African-American writer Ralph Ellison,be-lieve that jazz captures the essence of America. For good reason,for in jazz all of the characteristics I mentioned above come together. The solos are a celebration of individual brilliance that can't take place without thesgroupsefforts of the rhythm section. Beyond that,though,jazz has a connection to the essence of America in a much more fundamental way. It is an expression of the African roots of American culture,a musical medium that exemplifies the culture of the Africans whose culture came to dominate much of what is American.  

说起美国的精髓,恐怕你找不到哪两个美国人有着相同的看法。在对这个问题考虑一会儿之后,我们可能会笑起来并且说:“嗯,看来身为美国人比我们当初想的要复杂一点儿。”当然了,强调个性,获取成功(即“美国梦”),创新以及包容是美国人突出的方面。但这些特点集中在美国人身上是因为我们有彼此协作的能力,而无论我们彼此会怎么不同,我们都可以找到共同的目标。  有些人,例如美国黑人作家拉尔夫-埃里森,认为爵士乐抓住了美国的精髓,这么说是很有道理的,因为我上面提到的美国人的种种特征在爵士乐中都体现了出来。爵士乐中的独奏是对个人才气的颂扬,但若没有整个乐队的节奏伴奏,个人才气也无法展现。然而,除此之外,爵士乐还在更基本的方面与美国的精髓有着联系,它表现出美国文化植根于非洲,通过音乐媒介证明了非洲人的文化已经支配了美国人的文化。  

That's right,in many respects America's roots are in Africa. Read Ralph Ellison's perceptive description of the transformation of separate African and European cultures at the hands of the slaves:  “…the dancing of those slaves who,looking through the windows of a plantation manor house from the yard,im-itated the steps so gravely performed by the masters within and then added to them their own special flair,burlesquing the white folks and then going on to force the stepssintosa choreography uniquely their own. The whites,looking out at the activity in the yard,thought that they were being flat-tered by imitation and were amused by the incongruity of tattered blacks dancing courtly steps,while missing com-pletely the fact that before their eyes a European cultural form was becoming Americanized,undergoing a metamor-phosis through the mocking activity of a people partially sprung from Africa.” (Ralph Ellison,Living with Music,pp 83-4).  

的确,在很多方面,美国的根是在非洲。请读一下拉尔夫-埃里森关于非洲与欧洲各自不同的文化在当年奴隶手中加以改变时所做的敏锐描述:  那些在院子里跳舞的奴隶们,透过庄园房子的窗户,模仿着里面主人们的庄重舞步,然后就把他们自己独特的舞蹈才华加进去,以滑稽的动作讽刺白人,之后他们继续将这些舞步加到他们独有的舞蹈中。那些白人,看着窗外院子里的黑人,觉得被模仿是受到了恭维,那些衣衫褴褛的黑人跳着不协调的宫廷舞步让他们感到好笑。此时,他们完全没有看到这样一个事实:就在他们眼前,一种欧洲的文化形式已经美国化了,它正通过来自非洲的一个民族所进行的嘲笑白人的活动而经历着质变(节选自拉尔夫-埃里森的《与音乐共生》第83-84页)。  

Jazz brought together elements from Africa and Europe,fusing themsintosa new culture,an expression unique to the Americas.  

而爵士乐则是把来自非洲与欧洲的音乐成分交融到一起,形成了一种新的文化,一种美洲所独有的表现形式。  

Out of this fusion came an idea that we Americans be-lieve central to our identity: tolerance. Both cultures repre-sented in Ellison's passage eventually came to realize each other's value. Americans acknowledge that in diversity is our strength. We learn every day that other cultures and peoples may make valuable contributions to our way of life. Jazz music is the embodiment of this ideal,combining elements from African and European culturesintosa distinctly American music.  Jazz reflects two contradictory facets of American life. On the one hand it is a team effort,swheresevery musician is completely immersed in what thesgroupsdoes together,lis-tening to each of the other players and building on their contributions to create a musical whole. On the other hand,the band features a soloist who is an individual at the extreme,a genius like Charlie Parker who explores musical territoryswheresno one has ever gone before. In the same sense,American life is also a combination of teamwork and individualism,a combination of individual brilliance with the ability to work with others.  

源于这种融合而产生的一个观念就是包容,我们美国人认为这是我们特征的核心。在埃里森所写的片断中提到的两种文化最终都实现了各自的价值。美国人承认多样化是力量所在;我们每天都在获悉,其他文化、其他民族,都可能对我们的生活方式做出贡献。爵士乐是这种观念的化身,它把非洲和欧洲文化的内容结合到一起,成为了独特的美国音乐。  爵士乐反映了美国生活相互对立的两个方面,一方面爵士乐是集体行为,每一名乐手都完全沉浸到整个乐队的演奏中,细心聆听着其他乐手的演奏,并以每个乐手的演奏为基础而创造出整体音乐;另一方面,一个乐队又以独奏手为特色,他是极具个性的,是像查理斯-帕克那样的天才,他开创了前人从未涉足的音乐领域。在同样的意义上,美国人的生活是团队与个体的结合,是个人才气与和他人合作的能力的结合。  

We hope that many Chinese friends can bring their own unique contributions to our music,adding their own culture to our American heritage. As Ralph Ellison said of the US,“We have the Bill of Rights,the Constitution,and we have jazz.”  

我们希望众多的中国朋友能够将其独特之处带进我们的音乐,把他们的文化加入到我们美国人的文化遗产中,正如拉尔夫-埃里森说到美国时,“我们有民权法案和宪法,我们还有爵士乐。”
Jazz And The Essence of America 爵士乐与美国精髓文章来源头牌英语[西方文化]
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