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Henan Province and Guqin 1
Themes, related qin handbooks2 and the Zhongzhou School3
Kaifeng honors Shi Kuang4    

Ancient capitals of China located in Henan include Luoyang5 (Loyang) and Kaifeng6 (compare the long-disappeared city of Ye7). These two cities have many associations with the qin, as do other parts of Henan such as the Songshan mountain range8 and the reputed Bamboo Grove of the Seven Sages sometimes said to have been near Shanyang. Many famous early qin players came from or lived in Henan,9 but the earliest surviving handbook published there was not until Fengxuan Xuanpin (1539). Compiled by Zhu Houjiao, Prince of the Hui region, southeast of Songshan, it seems to be a collection of old tablatures without any specific focus on Henan.

The first handbook specifically to refer to a local Henan qin style was published during the mid 18th century; the style/school was called Zhongzhou Pai (Zhongzhou Qin School). There soon followed several mid-Qing handbooks that also identified their melodies as being from this tradition. However, these versions did not survive to the present as part of an active repertoire. Now there is an effort under way to try to reclaim this name; to my knowledge this does not include trying to reconstruct the way melodies were played in these Zhongzhou handbooks.

I play the following melodies with connections to Henan province.10

  1. Dun Shi Cao
    Xu You goes into reclusion on a mountain in Henan

  2. Yao Tian Sheng He
    Wangzi Qiao rides off to immortality from a peak in the Songshan Mountain range in Henan

  3. Pei Lan (with He Wu Dongtian)
    A Clear Thinker in the Songshan Mountain range

  4. Kongtong Wen Dao (with Dalü Yi and Kongtong Yin)
    The Yellow Emperor and Guangchengzi on a mountain sometimes said to be in Henan

  5. Da Hujia
    Concerns the Xiongnu's abduction of Cai Wenji from her home near Kaifeng

  6. Qiuyue Zhao Maoting
    Connected to Cai Yong (Kaifeng) and Zuo Si (Luoyang)

  7. Guangling San
    Xi Kang, one of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove (in northern Henan), was executed at Luoyang after playing this melody;
    He has also been associated with the following melodies:

    1. Feng Ru Song,
    2. Xuan Mo,
    3. Chang Qing,
    4. Duan Qing, and
    5. Gu Guan Yu Sheng

  8. Jiu Kuang
    A melody connected to Ruan Ji, another of the Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove

  9. Gu Yuan
    The lyrics by Jiang Kui mention Jin Gu, a valley to the northwest of Luoyang

  10. Mozi Bei Ge
    Some sources say the philosopher Mozi was from Lushan in Henan

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Henan
A qin program featuring Henan could focus on melodies I play with themes connected to Henan, or it could also have melodies claiming a Henan style of play (e.g., 中州派 Zhongzhou School; these latter would have to be played by someone else.

2. Qin handbooks from Henan province
The last five of the eight qin handbooks listed here are said to be connected to the 中州派 Zhongzhou School. To my knowledge the stylistic aspects of the music in these guqin handbooks has not yet been established. The handbooks include:

  1. 風宣玄品 Fengxuan Xuanpin (QQJC II; 1539)
    A famous collection of 101 melodies, most of which seem to have been old tablatures; compiled by a prince in Henan, otherwise no known musical connection to the area

  2. 思齊堂琴譜 Sizhaitang Qinpu (QQJC IX; 1620)
    13 melodies, one her own composition; compiled by the concubine of a prince

  3. 一峰園琴譜 Yifengyuan Qinpu (QQJC XIII; 1709)
    20 melodies; 10 with lyrics (several are new); 10 with no lyrics (1 is new)

  4. 琴書千古 Qinshu Qiangu (QQJC XV; 1738)
    4 folios, 24 melodies (2 or 3 new; 3 with lyrics); compiler unclear; Zha Fuxi says clearly 中州派 Zhongzhou School

  5. 琴劍合譜 Qin Jian Hepu (QQJC XVIII; 1749)
    "Handbook of Qin and Sword"; earliest known book of the Zhongzhou School. All that survives seems to be an incomplete draft copy with only 11 of the original 23 melodies (ToC XVIII/299); it has one new title: 桃李園 Tao Li Yuan (XVIII/309).

  6. 潁陽琴譜 Yingyang Qinpu (QQJC XVI; 1751)
    This handbook, which has 12 pieces all with pre-existing titles seems, like previous, to be considered as a handbook of the Zhongzhou School apparently started by 李郊 Li Jiao of 溵州 Yinzhou.

  7. 研露樓琴譜 Yanlulou Qinpu (QQJC XVI; 1766)
    4 folios, 20 melodies (no new titles); Zhongzhou School; by 崔應階 Cui Yingjie, a student of 王受白 Wang Shoubai (王封采 Wang Fengcai)

  8. 龍吟閣秘本琴譜 Longyin'ge Miben Qinpu (QQJC XVIII; mid-18th c.)
    1 folio, 3 titles, none new but apparently here in style of Zhongzhou School (王受白 Wang Shoubai)

Other handbooks to consider:

There may be other handbooks to consider as well, but I have not seen such arguments. As for the latter four handbooks listed above, they introduce only one new melody title, 桃李園 Tao Li Yuan.

3. Zhongzhou School (中州派 Zhongzhou Pai)
76.179 中州 (literally Middle Region) says it can refer to all of China or specifically to Henan, since Henan is considered to be in the middle of China. There is also a region of Henan called Zhongzhou (新安 Xin An, near Loyang?).

This qin style, also called Zhongzhou Orthodox Style (中州正派 Zhongzhou Zheng Pai), is thus associated particularly with Henan; it was apparently started n the 18th century by 李郊 Li Jiao of 溵州 Yinzhou. Several handbooks around that time are said to document its style.

Details of the Zhongzhou style and of its later players is unclear, but it is said that the last known player of this style died mid-20th century, and Henan was not included in Zha Fuxi's guqin work of the 1950s.

On the other hand, since the revival of interest in the qin in the present century efforts have been made to revive a school of that name. In 2007 there was a Zhongzhou School Dapu Conference in Zhengzhou that featured reconstructions of old melodies. As part of this effort it seems that claims are made that that pretty much any qin player associated with the Henan region belonged to the Zhongzhou School, giving it a long history. I do not know what evidence there is of pre-Qing dynasty use of this term in connection with the qin, or of people specifically reviving versions of melodies as played in the Qing dynasty handbooks associated with Zhongzhou school of that time.

(As far as I can tell, the revival is led by players including 丁紀園 Ding Jiyuan (1942-; listed as Shu school), 韓廷瑤 Han Tingyao and 松大年 Song Danian.

4. Kaifeng honors Shi Kuang
Old photo: see details, including Shi Kuang's connection to Henan.

5. Luoyang / Loyang 洛陽
Old names include 東都 Dongdu, 西京 Xijing,司州 Sizhou, 河南府 Henan Fu

6. Kaifeng 開封
Old names include 浚儀 Xunyi, 汴州 Bianzhou, 東京 Dongjing and 汴京 Bianjing.

7. Ye 鄴 (also 40570.9 鄴城 Yecheng, etc.)
Today an "遺址 archeological site" between the modern 安陽 Anyang in Henan and 臨漳 Linzhang in Hebei, Ye was once a magnificent city, as described by Zuo Si in his 魏都賦 Wei Capital Rhapsody (See Nienhauser, Wen Xuan I, p. 429ff). Said to have been founded by Duke Huan of Qi around the time of Confucius, at the end of the Han dynasty Ye was first the headquarters of Yuan Shao (see Liu Bei), then from 210 to 220 the Wei administrative center (see Cao Cao). It was perhaps most famous for its 三台 three terraces built in 210 (金鳳臺、銅雀臺、冰井臺). However, the city eventually went into decline. For a later mention see Wang Jing'ao.

8. Song Shan 嵩山
This mountain range, associated with a number of qin melodies, runs east to west south of Luoyang.

9. Qin players of antiquity connected to Henan province
The most famous are Cai Yong, whose Qin Cao is the earliest known listing of qin melodies, and Xi Kang, whose Rhapsody on the Qin is the first known depiction of the qin in its modern form. Other pre-Tang people said to have been qin players from Henan included Cai Wenji, Chu Yanhui, Du Kui, Ruan Ji, Liu Kun, Liu Yuan, Sun Deng, Xie Kun, Yuan Zhun, Yuan Zizhi, Zhang Ji, Zhao Yuan and Zheng Shuzu.

10. Other qin melodies with some connection to Henan
Other related melodies that I do not yet play include:

  1. Juyou Cao
    Wen Wang in captivity in Youli (Henan province, seat of the Shang dynasty)
  2. Ou Cheng
    Lyrics by Cheng Hao or Cheng Yi, who lived in Luoyang
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