According to the Record of Music, a famous music theory monograph of Chinese Confucian, all music is derived from human hearts, which is the result of the influence of external things. People are excited by external objects and they would like to extend their feelings through voice. Voices echo with each other with the result of changes and theses changes generate the order, this is called the sound. These sounds are combined to be played and singed with dance, so it is called music. To conclude, music is produced by two factors—the external objects and the inner spirits.
The external things are the original incentives, which can be expanded into the area of social life, including external objects as romantic themes, sun rising and moon down and the human activities like production and living. Things become different when they refracted by mind. Comparing with the view of the west, traditional Chinese put more emphasis on the emotions rather than “imitating” the authenticity of the external things. Consequently, in Chinese traditional philosophy, music, as an art of heart, the center of which is emotions of human.
Music is the not only a creation of the human mind, but also an expression way of emotions rather than images. Different music has different methods to express emotion, and the impressive power of music just comes from the emotions it tries to express. Music cannot tell us what a man looks like, what the color of a flower, what an object looks like, or the context of the entire event. Music, as a way to express feelings for things, connects the authors and listeners, works and listeners, listeners and life. Music expresses emotions, and the musical notes develop in the process of emotional fluctuations.
Since music expresses emotions, emotional changes of people can be felt from the changes of music such as rhythm, tone, and melody. Emotion changes because of the stimulus of things, so the subtle and rapid music makes people feel anxiety; gentle and mild music makes people feel peaceful; moving and forceful music makes people feel strong; solemn and dignified music makes people feel respectful; plentiful and sufficient music makes people feel charity; bawdy and giddy music makes people feel frivolous. So, music makes an influence on people’s emotions, and people’s emotions change with the changing of music. On the contrary, people in different emotions would like to listen to different types of music. For example, when one feels happy, he may rather listen to some cheerful music instead of those sorrow ones.
The relationship between music and emotion is the foundation of the perception of music in Chinese traditional philosophy, because it discusses the origin of music, which is the primary issue that should be talked about. Besides, the traditional Chinese music also emphasizes the social function of music, which means that the music is considered as a moral issue.