"The Superior Man tries to create harmony in the human heart by rediscovery of human nature, and tries to promote music as a mean to the perfection of human culture... " 

From The Analects, as attributed to Confucius

Confucius also says: "The foundation of all music is Harmony, in the absence of which all the chimes, strings, bells and drums produce mere noise."

Chinese music in particular is traditional, songs are much loved and passed from generaton to generation, just as the occasions for playing music are woven into the patterns of social life.

As has often be remarked, the core of the Analects is Confucius's advice on the importance of following traditions and rituals. One section there starts by reminding us that Confucius, speaking about an aristocratic family of the time, warned: 'He has eight rows of dancers in his court. If he does this, what will he not do?'

And Confucius's treatment of ethical issues via descriptions of the 'Superior Man' are rather like Aristotle's later account of the 'Great Souled' or 'Magnanimous' Man. However, where Magnanimous Man offers great banquets for fear of being considered stingy, Confucius tell us in Analect 1:14 that: 'When the Superior Man eats he does not try to stuff himself', while at rest he does not 'seek perfect comfort' and in general that he is diligent in his work and careful in speech. 'He avails himself to people of the Tao and thereby corrects himself. This is the kind of person of whom you can say, 'he loves learning.''

In a following passage, we are reminded that when Tzu Kung asked Confucius: 'What do you think of a poor man who doesn't grovel or a rich man who isn't proud?' the Master said, 'They are good, but not as good as a poor man who is satisfied and a rich man who loves propriety.'

'The Superior Man takes Rightness as the essence', Confucius says. 'He actualises it through propriety, demonstrates it in humility, develops it by truthfulness. This is the Superior Man!' And Confucius explains: 'The Superior Man stands in awe of three things:'

* He is in awe of the decree of Heaven.
* He is in awe of great men.
* He is in awe of the words of the sages.

On another occasion, when he was asked: 'What do you think of the saying: Repay harm with Virtue?' Confucius replied, 'Then how will you repay virtue? Repay harm with Justice and repay Virtue with Virtue.' If this seems contradictory, it is here that the example of the 'Superior Man' is needed. 'When you see a good person, think of becoming like them. When you see someone not so good, reflect on your own weak points.'

But more often, the Master is simply enigmatic. During a discussion of the quality of becoming 'humane' which Confucius sees as the key to the philosophical character of the sage, Confucius explains: 'The wise enjoy the sea, the humane enjoy the mountains. The wise are busy, the humane are tranquil. The wise are happy, the humane are eternal.'  

Confucius (551-479 BCE) was the essence of the ancient Chinese sage, a social philosopher, an educator, and the founder of the Ru School of Chinese thought.

It is recorded that altogether he had 3,000 disciples and 72 of them were influential. Confucius presents himself as a transmitter who invented nothing and his greatest emphasis may be the one on learning from the ancient sages. In this respect, he is generally respected by Chinese people as a Great Teacher or Master. His teachings, preserved in the Analects, form the foundation of much of subsequent Chinese speculation on the education, government and comportment of the superior man. Confucius' influence in Chinese history can be compared with that of Socrates in the West.