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You Lan Finger Technique Explanations 幽蘭指法釋 1
"Wusilan zhifa" terms and techniques; 2 (use with pdfs: Wusilan book2020 transcription) 從「烏絲欄指法釋」(「烏絲闌...」) 
  Front page of Wusilan Zhifa Shi 3  
The heart of this page is the Appendix introducing the 94 terms explained in Wang Mengshu's Explanation of Wusilan finger Techniques, the source of which is a Japanese interpretation of a scroll or scrolls brought from China. Wang's own list of the references he quotes in his own comments on these explanations is here.

In the late 1970s, when I began to consider doing my own interpretation of You Lan ("Towering Rock Melody Secluded Orchid"), these finger technique explanations were available only in a handwritten form that had been mimeographed in 1955 by the noted scholar Wang Mengshu (1887-1969). In the 1990s I was given a better copy with a different front cover. Then since 2014 (I had completed my own reconstruction ca. 2004), a modern revised edition by Yang Yuanzheng (as well as associated publications in English) has made study of these techniques much more accessible. As a result this page has now been updated adding references to Yang's edition.

Just as the melody You Lan is the oldest surviving qin tablature (as well as the world's oldest surviving fully developed instrumental melody), the "Wusilan Finger Techniques Scroll" is said to contain the earliest extant explanations of the fingering techniques called for by qin tablature, in particular in its original, longhand form (文字譜 wenzi pu). These finger technique explanations are indeed an important source for understanding the fingering techniques not just in You Lan but also for gaining an understanding of early attempts to describe fingering techniques in general. Studying their source, through later copies of what is now called the "Hikone Manuscript", led Wang Mengshu to publish them (though only in a limited edition in mimeograph form) together with other related early finger technique explanations. A study of early guqin finger techniques begins with this document - and now its modern edition.

For this study there are four important sources to distinguish:

  1. The "Hikone Manuscript" (Hikone Museum [彦根城博物館] V633)4
        - image of the original scroll (Yang, p.44)
        - sample page (Yang, p.45)
        - inventory (Yang, p.63)

    The Hikone scroll is quite unusual in that it has writing on both the front (what Yang calls "recto") and back ("verso") sides. It is a long scroll that had 9 sheets attached to it. The recto side has all the finger technique explanations; the verso side (copied by a different scribe) has Japanese songs (saibara) and two sketches with Chinese poems; these are not mentioned here further as they do not relate to guqin. The scroll itself apparently had no overall title, so it seems most often to be referred to by the title of one of its constituent parts, 琴用指法 Qinyong Zhifa (e.g., see in Qinshu Cunmu). In fact, the finger technique explanations apparently come from several sources and include finger techniques by three different qin players. In Wusilan these explanations were re-organized into a unit, hence the order is different there.

    However, the separate finger technique explanations by these three people can be distinguished in this Hikone Manuscript Inventory, which locates in which columns (of 171 in all) in the original manuscript one can find them, as follows (Qinyong Zhifa; cols. 1-48):5

    1. 陳仲儒 Chen Zhongru (active ca. 519 CE), Finger Techniques Used for Qin (琴用指法
      These apparently are preserved only here.
    2. 趙耶利 Zhao Yeli (561-636 or 564-639), Right Hand Methods for Playing Qin (彈琴右手法 Tan Qin Youshou Fa; cols. 49-65, 90-127, 136-171 and perhaps 128-135)
      Zhao Yeli's explanations are mentioned in some early Chinese handbooks; were any of them included there?
    3. 馮智辨 Feng Zhibian (active 605-645), Terminology for Using the Hands on a Qin (琴用手名法 Qinyong Shouming Fa; cols. 66-89).
      Examples of these unique "neumatics2" can be seen below.

    These "Hikone" finger technique explanations are thought to have been brought to Japan from China around the same time the "Tokyo manuscript", containing the original You Lan tablature, was also brought over. In Japan the Hikone and Tokyo manuscripts both found their way into the imperial family, thence to the Koma clan. In the 20th century the You Lan scroll went to the Tokyo National Museum while the other document ended up in the Hikone Museum; its presence there was publicly announced only in 1994. Hence this latter document, now most precisely called the Hikone Manuscript V663, was studied very little until the work of Yang Yuanzheng, mentioned both here and below.

  2. The Wusilan Finger Techniques Scroll (烏絲欄指法卷子)
    Also called the Wusilan Scroll (烏絲欄卷子 Wusilan Juanzi), this document apparently developed from the Hikone scroll as follows. Around the year 1710 the well-known Japanese Confucianist 荻生徂徠
    Ogyu Sorai (1666-1728) gained access to what are now called the Hikone manuscript and the Tokyo manuscript. He then published these in a document called The You Lan Score Handcopy (幽蘭譜抄 Youlanpu Chao); in Japanese this is Yūranfusho so Yang usually refers to it as YRFS. YRFS has four chapters:

    1. Sorai's handcopy of the original You Lan score
    2. Sorai's handcopy of the Hikone scroll, combining the separate finger technique explanations
    3. and 4. Sorai's 33 Diagrams illustrating the finger techniques (later adapted by Wang Mengshu)
                  along with comments by Sorai about tuning the qin for You Lan (no content from the verso side)

    If my understanding of Yang (p.4 and Section 3.3, Sorai's Editorial Principles) is correct, one of Sorai's aims in rearranging the Hikone manuscript into YRFS was to show that, in You Lan, Japan was preserving the correct ancient Chinese music, now lost in China. To do this he didn't want to show that the finger technique explanations came from a variety of later Chinese sources. He thus conflated the content of the three separate sources of finger technique explanations without explaining what he was doing. Because of this, and because Sorai put the finger explanations together with the tablature YRFS, later scholar assumed the Hikone manuscript had been especially made to provide "commentary and explanatory illustrations" for the You Lan music score. They then assumed that the original documents became separated after Sorai.6

    As I understand it, in the 1880s a copy of Ogyu Sorai's version of the Hikone manuscript was found by Yang Shoujing and "brought back" to the court in China. There seem to be several copies of this document in either the 故宮圖書館 National Palace Library in Taiwan and/or the 故宮博物館 National Palace Museum in Beijing. One of these, said to have been found in the Beijing Library in the 1940s, formed the basis for the so-called Wusilan Scroll (烏絲欄卷子 Wusilan Juanzi) or Wusilan Zhifa Scroll (烏絲欄指法卷子 Wusilan Zhifa Juanzi),7 and its finger technique explanations formed the basis of the Explanation of Wusilan Finger Techiques, discussed next.

  3. Wang Mengshu's Explanation of Wusilan Finger Techiques (汪孟舒:烏絲闌指法釋 Wusilan Zhifa Shi, 1955)8   (pdf copy; front page shown above; cover below)
    In 1955 Wang Mengshu (1887-1969) combined the content of the Wusilan Finger Technique Scroll discussed in the previous paragraph with all the other You Lan-related finger technique explanations he could find, compiled these into a document, then made mimeographed copies for friends. He put the original text in large print; the small print has his own commentary together with all the other explanations he could find. If this latter is true, then several of the early techniques included in Wusilan Zhifa have no explanation. Some years ago I began translating Wang Mengshu's book, but then set it aside. In 2004, with assistance from Yuan Jung-Ping, I looked at it again, worked out some more of the meanings, and finally made my own reconstruction. A study of Wang Mengshu's book is essential to anyone wishing to do an independent reconstruction of You Lan. (This work is apparently what Liang Mingyue referred to as Wusilan Guqin Zhipu, but "guqin" is a rather recent name for the qin.)

  4. Wang Mengshu's work as edited and annotated by Yang Yuanzheng (楊元錚編輯:烏絲欄指法釋, 2013)9
    The handwritten and mimeographed nature of Wang Mengshu's work makes it very hard to follow, but in 2013 the Zhonghua Publishing Company published this new edition of Wang Mengshu's work on pp. 3 to 146 of Yang's compendium called the Valued Writings of Qin Studies by Mr. Wang Mengshu of Old Wu. In it Yang Yuanzheng rearranged and clarified the original text, as well as adding and expanding commentary and related references.

The finger technique explanations discussed on this page thus apparently originated in Tang dynasty China, but it is not yet clear to me whether or how they had been changed from when they were collected or compiled by Ogyu Sorai from the Hikone Manuscript until they were eventually transformed into the Wusilan scroll. On the other hand, although they were not compiled together with the earliest surviving You Lan manuscript, nor were they directly intended for use with You Lan itself, they are essential to reconstructing the actual melody of You Lan. Thus, although they include many techniques that are not used in You Lan, or have either different forms or interpretations from the way they are used in You Lan, their content remains essential. It should also be mentioned that even in the modern period finger technique explanations included in handbooks usually seem simply to be copying earlier explanations rather than limiting themselves to ones specifically referring to the way the techniques were used in the handbook to which they were attached.

Details of the Explanation of Wusilan Finger Techniques (烏絲闌指法釋 Wusilan Zhifa Shi)
This book has double pages so the front page is here called page 1.a.; the inside front page is thus page 1.b.. (The cover page is not numbered.)

Contents of 烏絲闌指法釋 Wusilan Zhifa Shi (see pdf) Inside front page of Wusilan Zhifa Shi  
Regarding the page at right (page 1.b.), the vertical writing on the right side says, 圖注 Notes on the Wusilan Volume's Guqin Fingering, giving the date as 甲午冬 winter of 1954. On the left is the 目次 Table of Contents, then 本書內容介紹 an Introduction to the Contents, followed by an 附啟 Addendum saying where people can write for further comment. Because, as mentioned above, the rough nature Wang Mengshu's original manuscript made it very difficult to follow, I have now added, to the following translation of the table of contents for Wang's volume, and in the ensuing details on their content, references to the relevant pages in the Yang edition. Yang himself also added further comments, most extensively on pp. 136-143.10

    目次 Table of Contents (p.1b; Yang: this is in his general table of contents. page 1 of the front section of his book)
  1. Diagrams on the front (right hand strokes) and back (left hand strokes)
    Not in Yang11
  2. Contents of this book (p.1b, middle, after the list of contents)
    A short paragraph; Yang, pp. 5-6, has Wang's expanded version dated April 1957; Yang's own is on pp. 3-4.
  3. Melody list (p. 2; Yang, p.118)
    This is the list of 59 titles appended at the end of You Lan; #7 below expands on this.13
  4. Explanations for left and right fingerings plus footnotes and a checklist (pp.2-18; Yang, pp.18-19 [list] then 20-98)
    below (as part of the appendix): 94 terms for "left and right hand finger techniques", 55 for the right, 39 for the left; checklist at end of p.18. 14
  5. Finger technique diagrams (p. 19; Yang, pp. 99-115; right hand only; includes comments with diagrams)
    Folio page 19 (both sides) shows what look like fingernails demonstrating plucking methods for 35 right hand techniques (see). 15 These were apparently divised by Ogyu Sorai himself for his YRFS.
  6. Wusilan Addendum (p. 20; Yang, pp. 116-7)
    A translation into Chinese of brief comments in Japanese by Ogyu Sorai mostly about how to tune the qin to play You Lan.
  7. Additional Commentaries on the fingerings and on the melody list (pp. 20 and 25; Yang incorporated earlier)
    Back of page 20 has addendum to #5, back of 25 has addendum to #8.17
  8. Commentary on melodies listed (pp. 21-25; Yang, pp.119-135)
    59 entries introducing the 59 melodies listed at the end of You Lan.
  9. Annotated references for further research (19 footnotes on pp. 26-29; Yang, pp. 7-17 )
    Most of the 集釋 jishi come from one of these listed works. Details in a footnote under this related Shen Qi Mi Pu list.19

The back page has further hand diagrams. (view).20

The footnotes have further details about Wang Mengshu's work, with the most important part, the finger technique explanations, in the Appendix.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
  Kojima's tracing copy of You Lan (Yang, p.33)
1. You Lan finger technique references
The original preface to the You Lan scroll is translated
here. Dictionary references include:

烏絲闌指法、烏絲欄指法 16454.xxx; only 16454.289 烏絲欄 Wusilan ("black silk border"; 烏絲闌 is a variant writing): "謂絹紙類之卷册有織成或畫成之黑格線也。欄亦作蘭,或坐襽。 Refers to a black structural line stitched or drawn on a traditional folio page". (References given from the Ming dynasty 通雅 Tong Ya.)

These finger technique explanations are now generally referred to as "Wusilan finger techniques" (烏絲闌指法 Wusilan zhifa). "烏絲闌 Wusilan means "black border lining", referring to vertical lines between the columns of traditional Chinese books. These can be seen in the columns of the copy at right by Kojima Hosu (1797-1847). They are not so apparent on copies of the original You Lan tablature known as the Tokyo Manuscript, but whether they are there or not, they certainly are not on the original Hikone Manuscript - perhaps not even on other early copies. Thus the fact that Wang Mengshu refers to the content of the Hikone scroll as Wusilan hand techniques shows his misunderstanding of their origin, perhaps misled by Ogyu Sorai having appended these finger technique explanations to the earliest You Lan tablature

2. Terms and techniques from "Explanation of Wusilan Finger Techniques"
You Lan being written in 文字譜 wenzi pu longhand tablature does not mean that the writing is in standard Chinese. Instead, to express the playing techniques with precision the characters had to be given special meanings; in some cases they are even written in special ways. These terms, then, must be compared with the terms and the descriptions used in these Hikone documents as well as with the terms actually used in the eCopy manuscript of the original You Lan scroll in the Japan National Museum.

Three significant points of comparison are:

  1. Are the 94 terms for techniques in Wusilan (see Appendix) the same as those in the Hikone manuscript?
    Hikone apparently has multiple explanations for some techniques, but as yet I have not seen a complete version, and so far the only differences I can speak to are some differing forms of characters. If the Hikone/Wusilan explanations could be separated into their apparently original sources this could be helpful in a study of how the terminology devoloped.
  2. How many of the Wusilan terms for techniques are not used in the You Lan score?
    As outlined here, there are quite a few terms in Wusilan that are not included in You Lan, particularly the multiple stroke ones.
  3. How many terms in the You Lan score are not discussed among the Wusilan characters?
    As outlined here, there are a number of words without Wusilan explanations. However, in the longhand score it is not always clear if a word is being used just as a word and not as a term that needs special explanation. Thus perhaps"緩緩起 begin slowly" at the beginning of the second phrase may not need special explanation, but others might.

This would seem to confirm that, contrary to some earlier assumptions, the 94 terms in Wusilan were not explanations written to go along with the You Lan tablature. This is further confirmed through manuscript analysis by Yang Yuanzheng, who has shown that they are in fact two independent documents.

Two further things to consider are:

  1. You Lan is said to have been the fifth of a group of pieces (from this list?). Was the Hikone scroll intended to go along with either this group or a similar one?
  2. The documents in the Hikone scroll seem to have been collected from different sources. When were they combined to make this scroll, and how much was subsequently added or lost?

Some of the differences between the Hikone and Wusilan materials are discussed further in the Appendix. The typed versions of the 94 Wusilan entries in the appendix below and the typed version of the original score allows some quick comparisons; a searchable version of Yang's edition of Wusilan would help even more.

3. Front page of Wusilan Zhifa Shi (cover page at right; see pdf copy) Cover page of original edition    
The illustrations on the front (right hand strokes) and back (left hand strokes) pages are dated 乙未中秋 mid-autumn 1955. From the late 1970s I struggled trying to read my copy (bound photocopy?) of a mimeographed original of this work (one of 300?). I marked it up considerably struggling just to read it, not to mention understand it; for this and other reasons I never got anywhere with You Lan.

The cover page (at right), which comes directly before the front page above, comes from a much better copy, larger and more clearly printed. It was given to me in the 1990s by 王世襄 Wang Shixiang (1914 - 2009). I immediately photocopied that one so I could write in it while preserving the original (this is the version used for the attached pdf). This cover page has vertical writing. On the left side is the title; on the right side it says:

Further regardin the front and back pages, on the lower back page are the words "其陣凌", apparently referring to 凌其陣 Ling Qichen (? The character 凌 is inside a square); this perhaps suggests Ling Qichen (another noted qin player) was involved (with Yuan Quanyou?) in the copying, or perhaps designing and/or executing of the front and back pages.

To the right of those words, on the back page of the copy given to me by Wang Shixiang (the back cover is blank) there is, in what is now very faint handwriting, the words "1955.10.1 印本 6". My earlier copy did not have this, so perhaps it is Number 6 of a special edition. My earlier copy also did not have the front cover shown at right. This better version was of considerable use when, inspired by Yuan Jung-Ping, I finally worked out my personal interpretation of You Lan. When I play an old piece I always do my own reconstruction directly from the tablature rather than following the work of someone else.

4. 彦根城博物館 Hikone Museum manuscript # V633
Hikone is a castle town on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa. The manuscript's finger techniques are discussed further in the Appendix. These finger technique explanations as well as its essays and poems were long considered originally to have been published together with the You Lan tablature. V633 is the Hikone Museum accession number. To my knowledge no facsimile image of the original is available but a few tracing copies have been made.

5. Hikone manuscript: Finger technique explanations from three sources Feng Zhibian's tablature: "neumatics" (pdf from Yang, p.46)  
Wusilan Finger Technique Explanations arranged its 59 terms with no indication of source. Some terms (see listing in the Appendix) give alternate explanations, marked "又曰" (see #3) or simply "又". Could this mean that these particular alternate explanation came from a different one of these three sources? Or could "一名 also called" (as in #20) mean the same definition occured in another of the three sources?

Of these three, perhaps the most notable are those by 馮智辨 Feng Zhibian. Of him Yang on p.62 (see also the illustration at right) says Feng's treatise identifies him only as a Sui dynasty Imperial Temple monk. His tablature is filled with figures in red that Yang calls "neumatics" (neume is a term commonly used in Gregorian chant). Other scholars were skeptical that he actually existed, some even saying his neumatics were probably a Japanese invention. However, according to Yang's research, Feng was also a noted calligraphy copyist who worked in the imperial court during the Sui and Tang dynasties, and there is no reason not to believe his neumatics were not originally devised there. Unfortunately, though, they so far have not been found anywhere else and, to my knowledge, no one has deciphered them.

Further regarding Feng, his Terminology for Using the Hands on (i.e., playing) a Qin (琴用手名法 Qinyong Shouming Fa), said here to be in columns 66-89 of the Hikome scroll, may have been mixed in with the others in Wang Mengshu's work, but of so his "neumatics" were not included.

On columns 83 to 85 of the scroll there is the following colophon by Feng (translation by Yang, see pp.63-4):

....(12 characters missing?)....非為指(南)。此本大貴, 幸勿慢(傳) 。

Feng Zhibian, Priest of the Imperial Temple of the Sui court (581-618) created this [notating system]. [The stanza reads:] For places [that one] has not learnt about directly from [his/her] master, it should be possible to deliberate [and work them out through the notation]. ....   .... [therefore, this] is not a manual. [For] such a precious text, pray do not disseminate [it] casually.135

This text does not seem to be on any of Yang's images.

6. Ogyu Sorai's copies
Sorai apparently claimed these documents, the tablature in particular, had originally been copied by Confucius himself. For later misunderstandings see also this account as well as VG, Lore, p. 29fn.

The misunderstandings, however, do not mean that, if the finger explanations by the three different people were separated and available in full, this would lead to a major reinterpretation of the music of You Lan. Probably the most important effect would be to provide specifics for an analysis of how at that time various people were grappling with the problem of how to write down guqin music when no coherent system had yet developed. Without having seen either a complete copy of the Hikone manuscript, or a complete copy of Sorai's re-editings and revisions, it is difficult to analyse this further.

7. Wusilan Finger Technique Scroll (烏絲闌指法卷子 Wusilan Zhifa Juanzi)
The precise differences between the existing copies of the Japanese version and the surviving Hikone manuscript are not yet clear to me. Likewise, I am not clear about the sort differences there are in copies made from Ogyu Sorai's own copy or copies. For example, Wang Mengshu himself apparently had two hand copies available to him for reference. The basic one was in the National Library of Peking; the other, which he refers to as the "鄭本 Zheng volume", was a copy that had belonging to 鄭冰磬 Zheng Bingqing (i.e., 鄭穎蓀 Zheng Yingsun, 1893-1950).

8. Explanation of Wusilan Fingerings (烏絲闌指法釋 Wusilan Zhifa Shi)
As discussed on the present page, this volume is quite difficult to read.

9. Version edited by Yang Yuanzheng
Valued Writings of Qin Studies by Mr. Wang Mengshu of Old Wu includes a number of important reference materials by Wang Mengshu; for English references see these works by Yang.

10. Yang comments
Yang begins with an account of how Wang Mengshu spent over five years drafting and then writing several editions of this work.

11. Images (對面繪錄古譜左右手指法圖)
Similar images can be seen in a number of later handbooks (for example, here), but all not grouped together on one page, or two, as on the covers of this book.

12. Content (烏絲欄指法釋內容介紹)
At the bottom of 1.b. (not in the ToC) is the 附啟 Addendum about where to make comments.

13. 烏絲欄曲調目錄
In addition to the comments under #7, the list here has links to further commentary about the 59 titles.

14. 烏絲欄左右手法(附集注,釋文,檢目)
The three terms at the end seem to be what Yang has as 校注, 集釋 and 目錄.
Wang, pp. 2-18, puts original in larger writing, explanations in smaller writing;
Yang, pp. 20-98, begins each explanation on a separate line.
  - 集注   jizhu  (校注 jiaozhu): references from other sources
  - 釋文 shiwen (集釋 jishi): annotations, mostly by Wang
  - 檢目 jianmu (目錄 mulu): checklist (Wang, p. 18b; Yang, pp. 18-19)

15. 烏絲欄琴手法圖)Folio page 19a and 19b (right hand techniques only; source) Page/Diagram 2 (Expand)       Page/Diagram 1 (Expand)    
These two pages have only 35 diagrams in all (1-14 on the right, 15-35 on the left) but some cover more than one technique. What they convey other than the direction from which strings are struck, is at present somewhat elusive.

A comment at the lower left corner of the diagrams at right refers to Zequan Heshang's Rhythm and Finger Methods in Qin Yuan Yao Lü. The hand diagrams there include little holes that show where the strings are in relation to the fingers.

Next to that illustration a comment says, "袁荃猷綜繪手圖 Yuan Quanyou drew the hand diagrams". It is not clear if this refers to all the diagrams or only the one next to it, 叠蠲 die juan. 蠲 Juan, finger technique #20, is included on the same page in diagram #17 連蠲 lian juan, but the only die juan illustration is the one nearly identical to here on p.17b of Zequan Heshang's Finger Methods. It is in the style of but not included among the illustrations on the front page, as shown at top.

16. Addendum (烏絲欄後原跋鈸譯文)
The ToC mistakenly calls it "原跋鈸譯文"

17. Additional Commentaries on the fingerings and the melody list (指法集注補遺、目改補遺)
As best I can figure it out, the respective references (20, 25) are actually to 指法補注 20b and 目改補注 25b List list at the end of You Lan refers to further sources.

18. Annotated references (曲調目錄改)e
These 19 references refer to works cited in explaining the techniques.

19. 指法集注簡稱說明
This list of handbooks with finger explanations is quite similar to those made by Yuan Quanyou in connection with the printing of a facsimile edition of Shen Qi Mi Pu (see in footnote) around the same time.

20. Hand diagrams
Not in Yang.

Return to top

烏絲欄指法 Wusilan Finger Techniques

with reference also to the
彦根博物館《琴用指法》 Hikone Museum's "Finger Techniques Used on the Qin"

Source of the Wusilan finger techniques: the Hikone Manuscript   Beginning of the Hikone manuscript (conflated)a1     
This Appendix, which has its own footnotes, concerns the heart of the Wusilan scroll, the 94 Wusilan Finger Technique explanations. However, before going into the details of these explanations, reference should be made to their source, a scroll now kept in the Hikone Museum, Hikone, Japan. This so-called Hikone manuscript, the beginning of which is shown at right (and continued below), is discussed in detail in these two works by Yang Yuanzheng.

The Hikone manuscript, as outlined above, grouped the finger techniques based on their source. For his Wusilan explanations Wang Mengshu reorganized them to put similar explanations together. This appendix, after a few introductory comments, continues below by listing the 94 terms from the Hikone manuscript but in the order presented by Wang Mengshu. Each entry then adds the original explanations from Hikone. Gradually further explanation is being added, most of it based on the explanations Wang himself appended to each in his Wusilan edition.

At right is a conflated sample page from the Hikone manucript (from Yang, pp.53-4). The right side of the copy has finger technique terms 1-6 as found in an 18th century tracing copy of the original; the left side continues this with with figures 7-14, from a copy of a photo made of the original Hikone manuscript. As can be seen, the original Hikone scroll is quite badly damaged. (The image below continues the scroll, with Hikone entries 15-32.)

The sample page has, in order from right to left, terms and their explanations that in the Wusilan version below are (after the listing of string names) #s 1, 6, 3, 19, 37, 38, then 39, 11, 12, 20, 16, 7, 33 and 34.a2

.The text of each entry in the Hikone manuscript is organized as follows: a3

Both Wang's version and the Hikone original occasionally use non-standard characters. But, in addition to the order of explanations being different, some of the characters used are also different. For example, Hikone #s 2 and 6 in the image at right write the character 打 da in the standard form, while the Wusilan equivalents, #3 and #37 are written in quite an unusual manner (see #3 below). In other cases both versions use non-standard forms, and it is not clear why. For example, was it deliberate, perhaps to show that these characters had specific meanings when used in a musical context?a4

Process and limitations a5
This page began as a listing of all 94 terms for the left and right hand finger techniques from the original manuscript; this was done in order to simplify the task of finding out how these symbols are actually used in the You Lan score: do this by first copying a term listed below, then using that to search for its use in the "score" (the typed and punctuated text file of the original longhand tablature).a6

Differences between usage in the tablature and the explanationsa7
A computer search for such differences shows that,

It should be mentioned that this is true of the explanations that one finds printed together with tablature in most if not all later handbooks.

Later the original explanations for these terms were added, and the process of adding translations and explanations in English is ongoing. However, this is an intermittent process, inspired often if I happen to be reviewing a certain detail or am posed an interesting question.

Wang Mengshu's Wusilan Finger Techniques Explained (烏絲欄指法釋 Wusilan Zhifa Shi)

First page of the 琴左右手法 Qin right and left hand methods (folio page 2b is the back of folio page 2) Page 2b of Wusilan Zhifa        
On the page at right the characters across the top (挑、擿...) correspond to the entries below (1, 2...). These are in Yang, pp.18-19. The rest are in Yang, pp.20-98.

To the page at right I added numbers in color (if necessary, expand the image). The ones in red mark off the 集釋 jishi. As can be seen, Wang Mengshu's edition of the Wusilan explanations adds many explanations not in the Hikone Manuscript. These can be divided into two types, "校注 jiaozhu and 集釋 jishi. a8

The Wusilan finger technique explanations section
The explanations proceed as follows (from Wang, pp.2b-18; Yang, pp.18 and 20-98)
 - Where this work has a related
illustration it is linked by number, thus: 圖1
 - Explanations of the large print original definitions may reference additional sources consulted, especially 太音大全集 TYDQJ.
 - The varying amounts of detail reflects the ongoing process by which this work has been done.a9
 - 【】usually frames characters corrected based on Wang/Yang.

  1. 挑(圖 1): 右指申向上挑一絃。或頭,或中,二指通用。 (Wang, p.2b; Yang, p.20; 108 matches in You Lan.)
    Tiao, “poke"/"incite" (Diagram 1/#1): A right finger extends up and "pokes away" a string. Either the middle or index finger equally can do it.

  2. 擿(圖 1?): 無名挑一絃。(Wang, p.2b; Yang, p.21; 擿 or 剔: 0 matches in You Lan but new form 摘:13!)
    Ti, "knock"; "ring finger pokes a string outwards". Diagram 1 has no 擿 but to 挑 it adds "用無名曰擿 use the ring finger (outwards) and call it ti (knock)"
    The modern version of this, 摘 meaning "pick at", is usually pronounced "zhai". However, 摘 meaning "activate" is pronounced ti, suggesting ti as the correct pronunciation for the modern form. Perhaps "zhai" is used to distinguish it from 剔 ti: 3rd finger outward.

  3. __(打, 圖 3):右指向下打一絃着面。頭、中、無名三指通用。 (Wang, p.2b; Yang, p.22; 120 matches in You Lan, but at least 7 are for left hand.)
    Da, "hit": A right finger "hits" a string downwards (i.e., inwards towards the player) along the surface; the index, middle and ring fingers all do it the same.)
    (In the illustration at right the figure on the left hand side is not in any dictionary; the closest recognizable character to it seems to be the grass script form of the standard character , at right, and so this is how it is interpreted here. Note that today "打" exclusively refers to the ring finger plucking inward towards the player, and "" ["xia, downwards"] means "inward". In the same context "上" ["shang, upwards"] clearly means "outwards". However, when applied to the left hand (together with "安") "上" simply means "on" the prescribed string. It thus seems that "打" da" would be written today either as "抹 mo", "勾 gou" or perhaps "擘 pi" depending on the finger actually prescribed. (Outward would betiao, 剔 ti, orzhai).

  4. 觸(圖 3):無名打一絃。 (Wang, p.3a; Yang, p.23; 0 matches in You Lan.)
    Chu, "collide": the ring finger "da" ("hits") a string (today "da" is always the ring finger inward: see also the explanation for #42: like the modern 打.)

  5. 雙打(圖 ?):(沒有) (Wang, p.3a; Yang, p.23; 0 matches in You Lan.)
    Shuang da (no illustration), "double hit": no explanation; some later lists do include this, still suggesting inward motions.

  6. 拘(圖 4):右指拘一絃向上,或頭,或中,或無名,三指(通)用。 (Wang, p.3a; Yang, p.24)
    Gou, "hook": page 1: A right finger "hooks" a string inward; the index, middle and ring fingers all do it the same.
    65 matches in You Lan: 14 solo (3 食指拘, 6 無名拘, 5 has finger unspecified [the first one is mysterious, four are 拘半扶]); #7 below adds the other 51.
    At I.1 the instruction "与拘俱下" seems to mean "with the hook do a long slide"
    "拘 gou" seems also to have been used at least six times in left hand instructions ("無名拘...起") to mean "推絃 tui xian" (or "推出", now "手山" or "拙", similar to 帶起 daiqi: see under this 末); see I.15 II.12, II.16, II.17, III.6, III.7)

  7. 間拘,一作間句(圖 6 更; "日勹" in my transcription): popular term; opposite of ban fu? See also #6 拘 gou.
    Jian gou, "set-apart hook": there are 51 matches in You Lan, 46 written "閒拘" and five (in the first two inserts) written "間拘" (no insert has a "閒").
    Compare #s 7 - 10 here with TYDQJ 8-12 (no 挑 but adds 大 and 小) See usage in motifs such as this one.

  8. 挑間拘(圖12):假令大約徴,食挑角,中安商上,食挑角,中、無名仍間句商宮,相搩拘布之。(Wang, p.3b; Yang, p.26)
    Tiao jian gou, "pluck set-apart hook": (6 of the 46 matches in You Lan (III.1, III.5 (3), III.6 and IV.4; see further; none for #9 or #10.)
    As suggested by the title, this is just #1tiao followed by jian gou; the 6 jian gou here can all be played with a similar rhythm.
      See #11 and 圖13   
  9. __ a11 間拘(圖13) :若假食安商上,中安宮上,食先拘商,中即打宮,中仍住商,次下無安宮上,中拘商,無即打宮,相連作之。(Wang, p.3b; Yang, p.26)
    (Fu?) jian gou, "repeat(?) set-apart hooks": (See image at right; 0 matches in You Lan.)

  10. 雙拘(圖 7 更):右頭指、中指相逐同拘一絃度。(Wang, p.3b; Yang, p.27)
    Shuang gou, "paired hooks": 0 matches in You Lan;compare TYDQJ 双勾

  11. 全扶 a12圖14 更):右頭指、中指相逐拘度二絃,無名即約前絃,絕余[餘]聲。
    Quan fu, "complete boost": 88 matches for "扶 fu in You Lan but none solo; 45 全扶 quan fu, 43 半扶 banfu (next), but no matches for the left hand 扶絃 fu xian (#70 below
    45 quan fu include 8 just plain, 4 節全扶 (#47), 1 即全扶 ji quanfu, 5 緩全扶 huan quanfu (#14) and 17 疾全扶 ji quanfu (#15) plus 10 急全扶 ji quanfu; see also #47(!) below).
    The index finger "boosts" inwards across two strings, then the middle finger does the same, then the ring finger stops the resonation of the first string.

  12. 半扶(圖15 更):右頭指急拘度二絃,中指【即】中約前絃便絕餘声。 【not 中】
    Ban fu, "half boost": (43 matches in You Lan if you include the four in the phrase "半(扶)、挾挑聲)"; only one is "緩半扶 relaxed", none "疾 urgent")
    The index finger "boosts" inwards across two strings then the middle finger stops the resonation of the first string (compare #17 qian)

  13. 緩半扶(圖15 更):假令食安宮上,食節拘過宮商,中節隨後安宮上。
    Huan banfu, "relaxed half-boost": for the 1 match in You Lan (I/1) 緩 probably refers to whole passage, not the one banfu, which is part of this motif.

  14. 緩全扶(圖14): 假令食安宮上,食節拘過宮商,中節隨後安宮上,中節拘宮商,中隨後安宮上,先後連調布之。
    Huan quanfu, "relaxed complete-boost": 5 matches in You Lan (I.8, II.5 [2], II.9 and IV.4).

  15. 疾全扶(圖14 更):假令食安宮上,食中似次疾度宮商,無名時(急)即隨後着宮,(手+色:挹a13)然之。 食中疾度晴,如似一声,有似先後。
    Ji quanfu, "urgent complete-boost": 17 "疾全扶" matches in You Lan, but also 10 急全扶, presumably the same.)

  16. 差馳(圖16):假令右頭指拘商,中指拘宮,各拘一絃度。 (compare #7)
    Cha chi "uncommon horse", but the "鄭本 Zheng volume" has it as the cha chi written 差池, but 0 matches in You Lan for 差, 池 or 馳.a14

  17. 牽(疑圖):"𠫓" is a short form found by WMS in a book about the 箏 zheng (otherwise 𠫓 is an ancient form of 育). No separate illustration or explanation, and none in later listing (though see next).
    Qian: pull: 25 matches in You Lan, including 1 雙牽 shuang qian (I.1), 1 全牽 I.9. To "疑圖 lost depiction" Wang adds, "或於「樓」字通 perhaps same as #19 lou"
    牽 is an inwards "pull", usually across two strings by the index or middle finger (compare #12 banfu).

  18. 長牽(疑圖):(No separate illustration or explanation, though "疑圖" says 曹柔,減字有「牛,牽也」。)
    Chang qian, "long pull": (0 matches in You Lan)

  19. 樓(圖17、18?):右指安絃煩拘,頭、中、無名,三指通用。
    Lou, "layer": a right finger on the string vexatiously (repeatedly?) strokes inwards; index, middle and ring finger all do it the same.
    0 matches in You Lan; also no 婁, 摟 or 婁 inside 囗, but its opposite, 逆樓 ni lou, is #28 歴 li
    Wang: "煩 fan = 頻 pin?" Compare #17-18 牽/長牽

  20. 蠲:圖16("一名令樓;also called 令樓 ling lou: cause layering"; compare #19 樓 and #22 圓婁 yuan lou; 0 matches for any with "lou")
    '假令右頭指拘羽,中指即遂拘度徴羽二絃,無名即(手+色:挹)前絃令斷後響。 For example, quickly run the index finger inward across the 4th string then the middle across the 4th and 5th, then use the ring finger to stop the 4th." (挹 yi: quit. (3 notes: compare this to 2 notes in ban fu and 4 in both quan fu and lian juan).
    補圖16又): "假令食指安宮(上),食指疾夕過宮商,中指隨後着宮(手+色:挹)然之,亦如似一声,又似先後。 Also, if index finger is on the 1st string, the index finger quickly goes across 1st and 2nd strings, then middle finger stops the first...." (圖16 adds comment; explanation from a second source?)
    "蠲" has 27 matches in You Lan (13 of them in the 4 microtonal passages) but the only matches as a combo for any of them are the very distinctive "五度蠲之。初緩,後急。" at the end of each movement.
    Juan, "purify, clarify"; some other early explanations seem to suggest juan can be done on one string (quick 抹勾 mogou, e.g., TYDQJ 3, which also writes juan as "厶", from "涓/㳙 juan "purify, select". Other early explanations, e.g., in TYDQJ 5c, TYDQJ 5f and TYDQJ 6a (long) are like here, but some, such as Cheng Yujian, seem to have a juan for one string. The instruction to stop the last note is problematic: I don't know how it can be done when playing quickly.

  21. 相接蠲(又曰連蠲;圖17+更):假令食指安宮上,食指疾度宮商,中指隨後着宮(手+色:挹)然之,似如停少指仍疾度宮商,無名隨後着宮(手+色:挹)之,一如蠲發面中指仍依次相接作指。
    Xiang jie juan, "mutually connecting clarity"; also called lian juan, "connected clarifying": "e.g., put index finger on 1st string, quickly run it over 1st and 2nd string, put middle finger on 1st string, as if to stop it (as in juan bu)" but then quickly run it over 1st and 2nd strings, then the ring finger stops the first string in the way the middle finger did it in juan." (0 matches in You Lan but it seems like quan fu.)

  22. 圓婁(一竹員接【一作員婁】;圖18):右頭指中指無名三指相逐【遂】拘度三絃也。
    Yuan lou, "circle layer"; (圓、員、婁、接 all 0 matches in You Lan; compare #19/20 樓); explanations from two of the sources?

  23. 輪(圖19):右中指、無名,遞相拘度二絃,無【定】數。
    Right middle then ring finger pass over (and 相拘 come back over?) two strings, an unspecified number of times (?)
    Lun, "cycle": (0 matches in You Lan; definition makes it seem more like a modern lun on other instruments)
    You Lan has nothing like the modern lun (摘、剔、挑一絃 ring, middle then index go outwards over a single string).
    Both the wusilan and the modern explanations can be found in other early handbooks.

  24. 逆輪(圖20): 假令右無名、中指相逐彈武文度,頭指仍相逐歷武文,或歷全四絃五絃,無定數。
    Ni lun, "reverse cycle": 0 matches in You Lan, and 逆 ni is only in 逆閒拘 ni jian gou

  25. 彈(圖 8):右指屈着大母發彈。或頭,或中二指通用。
    Tan, "play": (2 matches [one tripled] in You Lan, both in II.12)

  26. 并彈(no 圖):分開彈? No comment or diagram.
    Bing tan (should be fen kai tan? "split play"? : (0 matches in You Lan)

  27. 雙彈(圖11):中、食二指逐彈一絃也。
    Shuang tan, "double play" : (One 雙牽 but 雙彈 has 0 matches in You Lan)

  28. 歴(歷;一作櫟:圖21):右頭指向前逆樓二絃,或過七絃。 (又)曰:假令食挑武,仍依次向前挑過武文,大即約着武。
    Li, "sequence"; li, "attack". (歷 has 35 matches in You Lan, always over 2 strings except at IV.4. but no 歴 or 櫟.
    "Right index goes out as an "opposite lou" over anywhere from 2 to 7 strings."

  29. 長歴(also 長櫟; 圖22): No commentary
    Chang li, "long sequence" : 長 has 0 matches in You Lan

  30. 擗(圖 1):右大母向前折一絃起也。 (折 zhe: break off.)
    Pi, "cleave": thumb goes forward (sic.) over a string; 圖 1 挑 tiao (poke) lists it with other outward strokes (擘、剔、摘).
    Neither Wusilan nor You Lan mentions the other basic stroke for thumb, 托 tuo, and You Lan always uses pi as an inward thumb pluck!
    Not 擗 but 擘 has 8 matches in
    You Lan: I.8, I.9, I.12, II.5 (twice), II.12, II.13 and IV.3. It always seems to call for an inward thumb stroke.
    Although early fingering explanations tend to have pi as an outward stoke, at least one version in Taiyin Daquanji has it inwards. Confusion on the two thumb strokes is also found later. An early Ming example is in Taigu Yiyin (1511; QQJC I/273)

  31. 捻(no 圖):(一作指)右大母頭指,固揲一紅起巴。 (舒:同搓:一絃起也)
    Nian, "pinch"; (捻 has 0 matches in You Lan)
      bo? See #32 and 圖 2     
  32. 揆(撥)(圖 2):斜挑為撥。("揆 bo" actually looks like 揆 kui but with 开 instead of 天 at lower right.)
    Bo? "broadcast"; ("Doing tiao at an angle makes bo?" 撥 & 斜 have 0 matches in You Lan (compare at right and #67 for left hand below.)

  33. 㧙(圖23): 假令右頭指挑武,中指打文應。
    Bi, "tap" : 0 matches in You Lan

  34. 搶(圖24) :假令右頭指歷徴角,大母仍約徴,然余声,若五拆然時声也。
    Qiang, "grab": 0 matches in You Lan

  35. 轉指(圖25):假令無着商,又安中宮上,先名勾商,中隨後即打宮作商,又安名宮上,中即勾商,無即打宮,連作之。
    Zhuan Zhi, "turn fingers"; (3 matches in You Lan (III.1, III.6), IV.4; 1st & 3rd 轉指聲.) Compare Liu Ji and Chen Zuo (V/175: 打商、勾宮、勾商、打商?)
    4 notes inwards; here: 抹 mo 5th, 勾 gou 4th-5th, da 4th (then 4th string damped? Also on 3rd and 4th; all have similar rhythm). Original explanation says "da" and "gou" but (unlike later) they do not specify which fingers.
    Note that #36 is opposite in the sense that there the fingers pluck outwards, but because they still start on the inner string they can make six sounds. For zhuang zhi to make six sounds it would have to play the outer string first (e.g., 抹一、二、勾一,二、打一,二), like an expanded 全扶 quanfu, but there seems to be no such term or technique.

  36. 却轉(一作緩却)(圖26 更):假令稍捲食、中、無名三【指】,先無名挑過武,着文,【亦】無即摘文;中指仍挑過武,亦着【文】,即挑文;食指即挑過武着文,即挑文;【大】指隨後即約煞武。若声勢須急者,即相接急作之。莫問緩急,皆須依次拘調。若却轉後,食指【因】勢歷三五七。隨時當声勢所【宜】長短指。
    Que zhuan "reverse turn"; 2 matches as "卻轉" (轉=却), at I.5 and IV.4; both have similar rhythm.
    "一作緩却 "also called huan que: slow reverse"; and "may be followed by 歷 li over 3, 5 or 7 strings"
    4 notes outwards: e.g., 摘 zhai 7-6, 剔 ti 7-6. After I.5 there is 食指節過徴, like 歷 over 2 strings; after IV.4 there is 歷 over 4 strings.
    Chen Zuo (V/176, 6 sounds: 摘七、摘六、剔七、剔六、歷 七、挑六)
  37. 三鎖([金+巢]: 41749 = 鎖 suo, also shown here as 鎖, but in You Lan always 璅, as at right):右頭指挑打一絃作三声。
    Compare san suo ("thrice chain") with #54 below (written 三璅: 玉 radical, but probably same.)
    Here san suo is usually "抹挑抹 mo tiao mo" (see also TYDQ, other suo); I learned it as 抹勾剔 mo gou ti (may become too fast?).
    璅 has 6 matches in You Lan, three 三璅 san suo and three 打璅 da suo, which is da + san suo; here all suo have the same rhythm. One of the former and all the three latter occur in this motif

  38. 打鎖( #3 + #37 suo )(圖10):右頭指先打一絃,停,仍即依三鎖法。
    Da suo, "hit + chain" (see previous); 3 matches in You Lan

  39. 長鎖(長 + #37 suo )(圖 5):右頭指挑打一絃,無定數。
    Chang suo, "long chain"; compare #55 below; 長 has 0 matches in You Lan)
      ? See #40/41 and 圖27     
  40. 節發剌(圖27 更):假令食指,中指,中依次疾共拘宮,中指仍着商,即節摘宮。
    Jie fa ci, "send stab"; compare 撥刺/潑刺 boci/poci under 撥剌 bola (scribes confuse ci and la)
    In Wusilan actually written as at right ( has no 節), but "發刺" has 3 matches in You Lan (all included under #41, next)
    "節 jie" is in the title of three techniques: #40 (here), #47 and #91; always written 艹 over the left side of 即 in WMS, it is changed to 節 in Yang.
    Further on jie (節 118/7 but no 140/7; my computer cannot seem to copy the form of jie at 26674, or distinguish between 節 and 節), it occurs 13 times in my typed copy. usually appearing to have 艹 but occasionally 𥫗 but occasionally the bamboo. The occurrences are: I.5, I.6, I.7, I.10, I.14, II.4, II.14, III.2, III.4, III.6, III.8 (twice) and IV.4, is sometimes but not always used in the You Lan manuscript, but not listed as an alternate)

  41. 疾發刺(圖27 更): 與節發剌同。唯相接摘宮為異。
    Ji fa ci, "urgently send stab"; (You Lan has 2 matches for 急發刺 [II.10 and II.11] and 1 for 疾發刺 [II.13]; all on only 1 string!)
    Difference between 刺 and 剌 is seen more easily at right (發 very different)

  42. 揭("恐當作搊/㨨 afraid it should be called chou" [hold]; 圖28):
    Jie, "expose"; "假令右無名指宮,頭指挑徴,一時撥声。 e.g., 打1 挑4 together?"
    揭、搊、㨨: all 0 matches in You Lan)

  43. 撮(圖29): 假令右無名觸商,大母擗武,一時法声。
    Cuo, "pinch"; "right ring finger 'collides with' the second (e.g.) string while the thumb 'cleaves' the seventh (e.g.) string, sounding in unison."
    This image pairs cuo with #s44-6 齪 chuo; by 1425, cuo (as "早") had almost completely replaced chuo (as "足").
    (11 matches in You Lan, 7 of them 齊撮 qichuo, all in the dramatic octave harmonic passage of Movement IV.5; compare 27 for chuo, next.

  44. 齪三(圖30 更): 假令大指約徴、無名打宮,食指挑商,令攏,有前後為齪,一時為撮。
    Chuo san, "grind teeth 3 (strings apart)" ; (齪 has 27 matches in You Lan; 6 (including 5 of first 6) followed by 煞;
    All are for two strings, including 2, 3, 4 and 6 apart; 13 are 前後, i.e., not played in unison; "三" never mentioned. No "齪聲".

  45. 齪四(圖31): 假令大母約文,無名打商,食指挑羽。
    Chuo si, "grind teeth 4 (strings apart)"; "齪四" 0 matches in You Lan but see #44

  46. 齪六(圖32):假令老名打宮,大指商內發文。
    Chuo liu, "grind teeth 6 (strings apart: octave)"; "齪六" 0 matches in You Lan but see "齊齪" in IV.6 and 前後齪宮文 in III.3III.3.

  47. 節全扶(圖32):節午扶、節歷、節逆輪,節分樓。若似其本并煩,暫停,便有節。
    Jie Quanfu, "controlled complete assistance"; here 節 has 艹 on top (but 0 matches in You Lan; for matches see #11-15).
    Not same as the 即全扶 above and near end of You Lan III.5; further under 劉籍,琴義

  48. 歴擗(歴=歷;圖33 補);假令右頭指歷武文,大母仍相逐擗武。
    Li pi, "sequence cleaving" (擗 is #30 above but in You Lan it is always 擘. Both 歴擘 and 歴擗 have 0 matches in You Lan

  49. 摘歴(歴=歷;圖34 補) 假令無名挑商,食仰武,無名先摘角,食指即歷武文,大指約煞武。
    Zhai li, "pluck in sequence"; 摘 does not have a separate entry here but it has 13 matches in You Lan, always by ring finger

  50. 度絃;(圖35 補):假令摘歷託,大仍約武,無名即打宮,小停,無名即打角,挑文應,凣摘歷度絃多相隨。
    Du xian, "cross over the strings"; 度絃 has 0 matches in You Lan; 度 has 5 matches, but always in "五度蠲之 do chuo 5 times".

  51. 擘摘歴度絃(歴=歷;no 圖):假令大指約武,無名挑角,大指即擘武,仍摘角,歷武文,仍作度絃。
    Pi zhai li du xian (for 擗 see #30 above; 擘摘歴度絃 has 0 matches in You Lan

  52. 打挑間句摘歴齪擘声(打 as in #3 above;歴=歷; no 圖):假令大指約武,無名打角,即舉無名,食指即挑文,中指即案徴,使挑案一時着,食指即挑文,中指先案徴不動, 又下無名案角,即間句徴角,無名着徴,食指挑文應,仍摘角,歷武文,即前後齪角文,擘武(應)。
    Da tiaojiangou zhi li chuo pi sheng; 0 matches in You Lan.

  53. 挑間挑應轉指挑應擘歷度絃声(no 圖):假令大指約武,即於羽徴角二絃作挑閒勾,挑文應,無名着徴,即於徴角轉指挑文應,仍擘摘歷度絃。
    Tiao jian tiao ying zhuan zhi tiao ying pi li du xian sheng; 0 matches in You Lan.

  54. 三鎖(鎖 was 金+巢 as in #37 above):若假食安商上,食先向外撥宮,(斜)挑為撥,食即向內斜打宮,食即疾外撥宮,連作指。似書人作屈律,皆用大指羕食指璅之。 (圖 9
    San suo, "thrice chain"; compare #39 above; 璅 alone has 5 matches and 三璅 san suo has 3 matches in

  55. 長鎖(鎖 was 金+巢 as in #37 above) (圖 5): 若便食先向內斜打宮着商,食即外撥宮,又即向內打宮,又外撥,相續長作之,初緩後急,去來恒着商,文指羕食,食即疾外撥宮,相接作。似書人作屈律,皆用大指羕食,食指璅之。
    Chang suo, "long chain": see previous; 長 chang has 0 matches in You Lan.

    㔫手法 Left hand terminology/techniques (39 : #56 - #94; no 圖 diagrams; 㔫 zuo is a variant of 左)
    【徽】名:一,二,三,四,五,六,七,八,九,十,十一,十二,十三 ("徽" mistakenly written "徵")
    Names of the hui (harmonic markers): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ,8 ,9 ,10, 11, 12, 13
    一名)逸[徽:徽外 【泛】也。(徽:mistakenly written 徵;泛:mistakenly written 汎)
    Yi hui: "Evasive markers", also called "dark markers": "Below the markers", i.e., fan (harmonics)a16

    None of the left hand terms below has its own finger technique diagram

  56. 中   (弱   半寸之半): a comment with the definition ("not quite"; "half inch")? Perhaps this means align the finger somewhere near the hui position, not directly at it.
    Zhong, "middle"; 0 matches in
    You Lan, where "中" is always "中指 (middle finger)"

  57. 散(㔫【左】手不安絃,名為散)
    San, "scatter, open": the left hand does not press down on the string (80 matches in
    You Lan)

  58. 按(或作安:按絃着木,四指通用。 0 matches for 按 or 安 in You Lan, but 139 for 案
    An, "press down, also called 'peace'": "press down to touch the wood; any of the four (left hand) fingers can do it."

  59. 汎:㔫指當【徽】浮絃上,取清声,四隻通用。 113 matches in You Lan
    fan, "float": "a left finger at the hui lightly touches a string, getting a clear sound; any of the 4 fingers (play a harmonic this way).
    Further regarding the harmonics at #s 59-61, the standard format for indicating how to play them is, However, the You Lan score is not always precise about following these guidelines.

  60. 覆汎:大指汎也。(34 matches in You Lan)
    Fu fan, "contrary float": the thumb does the "float" (for some harmonics only the thumb will do)

  61. 互汎:無名先汎,大指後汎。 the ring finger first plays the harmonic, then the thumb does (on another string: should be further up that string).
    Hu fan, "reciproal float": 11 matches but sometimes must be 大 then 無名, e.g. at
    I.4, or the finger positions much be reversed, e.g. in IV.2 and IV.4 (3 times each)

  62. 仰汎:No description. 26 matches in You Lan
    Yang fan, "look up to float"; its use here may simply mean use the ring finger

  63. 柏 (拍):右一手覆【打七絃】:last three characters questionable but .
    Bo/pai, "cypress" or "beat". 4 matches in
    You Lan, each marking the end of a movement. Some people interpret this to mean you stop the strings by putting a hand on the strings. (Further comment.)

  64. 蹵 (蹴、蹙):安一絃着面,向【上】取聲。 "Put a finger on a string, along the surface, then slide up, making a sound.("蹙" is a variant form)
    Cu, "tread" : like the modern upward slide (上 shang?)? "蹵" is not in You Lan but 蹴 has 2 matches (
    I.5 and I.7), then 蹙 has 8, starting from later in I.7 (i.e., two forms of same character in same phrase!).
    See also #91. Compare ty5d 蹵, ty5d 蹙, ty5f 蹴, etc.)

  65. 末:安一絃向上起,絕【餘】聲。 Press down on a string then lift up, making more sound. (Compare #70, "扶絃 fu xian".)
    Mo, "end, peripheral"; 4 matches in You Lan: I.1, I.4, II.1 and III.3, all played as 帶起 daiqi.
    Unrelated to 抹 mo ("rub"), now one of the modern basic strokes; 帶起 daiqi is written 巾 or 巾 over 己 .
    As for 抹 mo, You Lan has 17 "食指打... index finger 'hits' inwards...."; in my transcription all "食指打" are written "木".

  66. 捋:安一絃着面,向下取聲,四指通用。
    Luo, "rub": like the modern downward slide "下 xia"? 0 matches in
    You Lan.
  67. 外【撥】(see at right): "㔫中指按一絃向前招出取聲。The left middle finger put on a string goes forward and provokes a sound".
    Wai (bo?), "(to) outside broadcast"; "bo" looks similar to
    #32 揆 bo but with 开 instead of 天 at lower right, but being for the left hand it must have a different meaning.
    (Here it says 撥 is 招, but it could also be the same as 推 (see in #32 揆 kui, or as in either tui chu or 拓 ta.
    For all these, 0 matches in You Lan but perhaps an action similar to #65.

  68. 縮:㔫中指安一絃,向後句取声,無名亦得。 Left middle finger put on string binds back to get a sound; the ring finger can also do it.
    Su/suo, "bind": 4 matches in You Lan:
    I.15, II.11 (2) and III.8, always telling a thumb on one string to move so it presses down on an adjacent string at the same time.

  69. 槄起(搯起):㔫大母、無名同安一絃,大母拘取聲,中指(亦)得。 (illustration; also here, here and here)
    Tao qi, "knock (then) lift": the left thumb and ring finger are placed on a string; the thumb then hooks up to make a sound. The middle finger (can replace the ring finger).
    0 matches for 搯 tao but 34 for 掐...起 tao...qi in You Lan: between 掐 and 起 28 of them name the string played.

  70. 扶絃:作頭指扶絃向上着四【徽】;中指【據面立】。 Compare the right hand 扶 fu at 11-15 above
    Fu xian, "boost string": 0 matches in You Lan or later explanations other than suggest here "扶" might be a mistake for "抹", as in #65, "抹 mo".

  71. 【打】安取声:【左】無名自【打】一絃取声,大母亦得。(打 still written like right hand da, #3 above
    Da an qu sheng, "hit down to get sound: the left ring finger by itself hits a string to get the sound; the thumb can also do it." 0 matches in You Lan: 取聲 qu sheng usually seems to mean some sort of pause. Here is seems to mean "get a sound", while "打安 da an" seems to mean "打 da used to 案 an". "案", today usually "按 an", simply means a left finger is placed in the indicated position; here it instead "hits down" in the indicated position so as to get a sound. "打安取声 da an qu sheng is thus a left hand technique similar to what is usually called 罨 yan (usually describing a situation where the left ring finger is already stopping a string and the thumb comes down to make a sound above that) or 虛罨 xu yan (the latter also written 虛掩 or 虛奄 xu yan (where the left thumb or perhaps another left finger makes this sound on an emptry string). There are xu yan explanations in later sources such as here and elsewhere. 掩 yan by itself is mentioned below under yi. (See also the explanation under xu yan.) You Lan itself thus uses several ways to indicate hitting a string with a left finger:a17 da by itself (occurrences enumerated here)
    yi, as described below
    作勢 zuo shi: see here.
    As part of 槄起 tao qi" (#69): strokes here are in fact like the "tao" without the "qi".

  72. 抑:㔫無名屈安絃着面。27 matches in You Lan, all 上
    Yi, "restrain"; left ring finger curved goes on the surface

  73. 斗折:㔫大指案絃,急下急上。 0 matches for 斗 or 折 in You Lan.
    Dou zhe, ""; left finger on a string goes quickly down then up.

  74. 竪(= 豎):以【左】中指急下至竪。 2 matches for 竪 in in You Lan, both "當十竪案商".
    Shu, vertical (竪 lan: view); "middle finger quickly put down vertically ("quickly" after previous pluck or before subsequent pluck?);
    竪 has two matches, I.2 (contrasting with the opening 耶臥?) and and I.14.

  75. 唈(或【曰】掩又作罨):㔫大指打琴以取声。當十一唈武抑上。 Not 四
    E, yi, "throb": A quick
    followed by slide up?
    唈 has 2 matches in You Lan, both "當__唈__。抑上..."; not like

  76. 彎:㔫指屈名「砍」取声兒。 Left finger curves and "cuts" to get a sound (was 研 but should be "砍 cut" or "斫 chop": see #87 and #93)
    Wan, "curve" so finger is pointed where it touches string: 0 matches in You Lan;

  77. 並案:(No description, 0 matches)
    Bing an, "also press down" ? Chen Zhuo reference
    QSDQ VIII/170: press down and play two strings.

  78. 對案:(No description); one match: I.10 plus 4 more 對 including 2 對無名案
    Dui an,

  79. 抑上:(No description; see #72 抑; all 27 matches are 上 )
    Yi shang, "restrain upwards"

  80. 退下:(No description); two matches for 退, both downward: one 退至八 I.7, one 退下 at I.8, the
    Tui xia, "restrain downwards": see previous.

  81. 還:(No description)
    Huan, "also, return"; 10 matches beginning
    I.6 (not a slide return but others are).

  82. 雙上: (No description)
    Shuang shang "double upwards"; 0 matches; the only 雙 is for a right hand pluck at

  83. 雙曘:(No description, no matches: same as 再曘, i.e., 再臑 5 matches? 曘 14546 ru [暗 darken, 日色 color of sun])
    Shuang ru "double pull,

  84. 曘:No description and 0 matches here; You Lan does have 5 matches (listed next) for 臑 (all of them 再臑), but again no unexplations
    From appearances "臑 nao" could perhaps be considered a forerunner of the vibrato technique 猱 nao. However, Yang Zongji (III/114 suggests it should be a small 撞 zhuang (slide up and down).
    Dictionaries actually give three pronunciations for " 臑", each with a quite different meaning: Those who prefer the first pronunciation say the term refers to the part of the finger that touches the string. However, all of the 5 matches in You Lan involve slides, all of which would normally be played on the part of the thumb closer to the nail. Several early finger technique explanations that describe 曘 nao are,
    1. Li Ji (QQJC I/91; 臑 but not 再)
    2. Cheng Yujian (QQQJ V/158/9: no 再 or 臑)
    3. Chen Zhuo covers five types including a 再猱. He begins as follows: (QQQJ V/163)
        猱有五(臑皆一類: "5 猱; with 臑 it is the same")
      1. 正猱(又名聲後猱)
      2. 上猱(又名倒猱,亦名聲前猱)
      3. 下猱
      4. 夾徽猱,二法
      5. 丹猱聲(再猱聲!)
      These include nao before the note, nao after the note and (zai nao) nao going up twice.
    It is not clear why there are the two (or more) terms. Some say an early version was written 獳 21225 (nou or ru, the latter being the name of an animal, the former an angry dog or other animal names). Once again, though, this vibrato would normally not deliberately be played away from the fingernail area. On the other hand, 猱 nao literally refers to a type of gibbon. One might fantasize that the original meaning of "heating up" developed into "angry dog", but then people realized the gibbon in a tree was more refined. In this regard, see the image with this explanation of the classical 猱 nao.

    Also see next.

  85. 再曘 Zai nao or zainao: "again nao" (heat up)"? It has been said that this is the same as 再猱 zai nao ("again slow vibrato"), but here there is no description (elsewhere see the fifth 再猱 zai nao type). 再曘 has 0 matches, but it is part of a motif that occurs five times as "再臑 zai nao" in You Lan. These five are, in order,
    1. II.2 (挑武。大指再臑(上)六七閒。)
    2. II.7 (打璅武,向四再臑。)
    3. II.11 (大指向七,再臑。又抑上六七間。)
    4. III.3 (大指再臑文至六。取聲。)
    5. III.4 (打武。再臑於三四閒。).
    Yang Zongji suggested playing 再臑 zai nao as 雙撞 two small zhuangs, but my current method is to play it rather like the technique 撞猱 zhuang nao (usually written 立 over 犭; see further): a quick slide up and down then a slow vibrato. Such an interpretation can be made to fit all five of these examples. Without specific explanations it is difficult to know the accuracy of such descriptions. In this regard, it seems that zai nao can occur before, during, after or without a slide. On other hand, they all occur during the recurrence of one of melodies distinctive motifs, so they could all have the same actual usage. They also are all associated in some way with upward slides. Existing descriptions of zai nao suggest they could also mean something like vibrato going up twice, but according to my understanding of these passages that does not work very well.

  86. 連福:(No description; 0 matches)
    Lian fu, "connect blessings": "In the Tang they shouldn't such an instruction: "進復 forward and back"?)

  87. 研:(No description; 0 matches): (should be 砍? see #76 and #93)

  88. 吟:(No description)
    Yin, "hum"; 4 matches beginning
    I.6/ "微吟" by ring finger; others just 吟 by thumb.

  89. 吟下: (No description; 0 matches)
    Yin xia, "hum down";

  90. 吟上:(No description; 0 matches)
    Yin shang, "hum up";

  91. 節蹵:徒下蹵上,或一位二住無定,,遠近節分取韻聲。
    Jie cu, a slide like
    #64? 0 matches with 節蹵 or 節蹙.

  92. 琭?搦:㔫大母安一絃,右指打,即蹵上,次更右指挑,㔫大母更向本处蹵上,如此漸漸急作,周而【復】始,無定數。
    Lu nuo, 0 matches

  93. 再捴:㔫無名安一絃蹵上,更蹵【下】研。 (should be 砍? see #76 and #87)
    Zai zong, 0 matches for 捴, 摠 or 揔

  94. 却捴 (卻):㔫無名安一絃向下【捋】,還上【本】处,取声。
    Que zong, 0 matches; see also

Footnotes to the Appendix
  The Hikone manuscript, continued from above        
a1. Sample sections of the 彦根琴用指法 Hikone finger techniques
The sample section at right (from yiheqinshe.com) follows directly on the sample above (Hikone #s 1-14, as discussed further in the next footnote). The corresponding equivalents to the ones here at right are (again right to left): #s 10, 23, 22, 24, 25, 28, 30, 31, 2, 4, 42, 43, 48, 47, ?, ?, 63, 64 (蹵)? The last two are left hand techniques; I cannot read the two just before them. A more detailed study will require a better copy of the complete Hikone manuscript. (N.B. Note the use here of 打, as discussed in next footnote.)

a2. Order for terms in the Wusilan scroll and Hikone manuscript
As mentioned above, the finger explanation entries that here are 1 - 14 are in the Wusilan scroll #s 1, 6, 3, 19, 37, 38, then 39, 11, 12, 20, 16, 7, 33 and 34. The reason for this is apparently that originally the techniques were ordered based on which of the three sources they came from; presumably the 14 terms in the above image all came from Chen Zhongru. As for the content, however, the image shows that they are basically the same as in Wusilan, the latter mainly having made a few changes in the form of some characters (see below).

a3. The original Hikone manuscript (pdf of inventorary)
To my knowledge a complete copy of the original Hikone manuscript is not yet available. I have also not seen a tracing copy, though Yang, p. 105, does list two said to be in China and includes an image from a third, said to have been traced by 藤原常雅 Fujiwara no Tunemasa. Though Yang wrote it was not available, he included an image from it, shown here comprising the right side of the image above.

  1. In the 中央音樂學院圖書館 Library of the Central Conservatory, Beijing
  2. In the private collection of 王世襄 Wang Shixiang, Beijing (copied by Wang Mengshu himself)

Based on the inventory, as outlined in Yang, pp. 34/5 (see pdf from Yang, p.63), a complete copy should allow one to find the sources of the Wusilan terms. Having done that we could, for example, find which terms are common to all, and perhaps also get new insights into the process by which the tablature developed.

a4. Form of the characters
For some easily seen non-standard characters see the images with #3, #9, #39 and perhaps #37 below. So far I have only seen a few segments of the Hikone manuscript and these do not include the forms they used for #9, #37 and #39. Other examples of differences between the two manuscripts are still pending, as are any conclusions about the significance either of the differences or for the reasons for the use of non-standard character forms.

Further regarding #37 (also #38 and #39), on the copy here I cannot see clearly how the top of 巢 has been written.

Note also that "頭指" (touzhi: same as 食指 shizhi: index finger) is never used in the melody (where it is always 食指 shizhi), but touzhi often appears in the explanations.

a5. Process and limitations
I began to study Wang Mengshu's work before I had a computer and I have several notebooks with my efforts understand his work. Now with the help of the work by Yang this task has much more potential.

a6. Searching for differences: part of the study process
Before disccusing differences between the Wusilan/Hikone explanations and the actual usage in the You Lan tablature one must first distinguish between "terms" and "words", as follows,

A7. Differences between usage in the tablature and the explanations
Mention is made
above of the results one can get from a computer search comparing the 94 wusilan terms and explanations with the text of the You Lan score. Here are some further details:

This is not yet a complete list of either words or terms.
There is also some more detail on this in footnotes to my transcription.

a8. 校注 jiaozhu and 集釋 jishi
These terms, discussed further under the explanation above of big vs small characters, are used in Yang, pp.20-98, but it is not clear where this distinction was originally explained.

a9. Reconstruction process
This work began back in the 1970s, when Tong Kin-Woon provided me some of the Wusilan materials and helped be begin my interpretation. For many years I periodically returned to it, unwilling to give up but not ready to copy other people's interpretations: almost all my reconstruction work has been done with the idea that the process of reconstructing early guqin music requires people doing independent interpretations and only then comparing their work with that done by others. I did quite a lot of the work on notepads and photocopies. This work focused on studying my copy of the Wusilan explanations together with the interpretations that were in smaller print (校注 jiaozhu then 集釋 jishi), particularly if they are quoted in other available early handbooks, in particular,

After I came to a basic understanding, I would play my reconstruction, then reexamine the explanations to see if they were being done with consistency. Eventually I made the present recording and transcription, but I have continued to try to refine my interpretationn by periodically going through the process again.

However, I never felt confident enough actually to make my own version of the music until 2004, when Yuan Jung-Ping gave me his explanation of some of the more troublesome terms. By 2005 I had done the transcription and recording of my interpretation. However, the research that went into this realization of the musi remained in jumbled form as I then went back to my reconstruction of melodies in Ming dynasty sources.

Some years later, in particular after I Yang Yuanzheng gave me a copy of his new edition of Wang Mengshu's work, I decided to try to put the details of my own interpretation onto my website. This is an ongoing process, and as I have done it the present pages have gradually changed and expanced in accordance with new understandings. Some material, nevertheless, remains in handwritten and/or fragmentary form.

The aim is to do put this information into a coherent enough form that it can fully convey to others my understanding and appreication of this awesome example of early music creativity. I am flattered when someone tells me this material has helped them learn my interpretation. It would be perhaps better, though, if someone can use these materials without reference to my recording, and then come up with an independent interpretation of the melody, perhaps finding different structures and creating interpretations of even more surpassing beauty.

a10. Basic strokes (today: 托 tuo、擘 pi、抹 mo、挑 tiao、勾 gou、剔 ti、打 da、摘 zhai)
Today the eight basic strokes in order (as above) are: in and out for thumb then index, middle and ring fingers. At first glance it seems that five of these have equivalents in the You Lan score. However, the following shows that in actual use it is not so straightforward:

Note that #65 末 is not today's 末/抹 but 帶起 (short form 巾 over 己). In sum, for almost all single stroke techniques it is necessary to look at the context, not just the name/term.

Finger names
Because later handbooks had to give shorthand forms for the terms they used, they usually began with, or had charts explaining, the finger names and giving their shorthand forms. See, for example,
here (and the related footnotes); these shorthand forms were arranged into clusters.

The finger names are:

Thumb: 大指 da zhi (big finger)
Index finger: 食指 shi zhi (food finger)
Middle finger: 中指 zhong zhi (middle finger)
Ring finger: 無名指 wuming zhi (unnamed finger)
Baby finger: 禁指 jin zhi (forbidden finger)

Here the index finger is often called the "頭指 tou zhi (head finger), the ring finger is often called simply the "名指 ming zhi" (named finger) and the character "指 zhi" (finger) is often omitted.

From this it can be seen that there are many problems in interpreting the fingering of the You Lan manuscript. However, with perseverence it is possible to come up with consistent and arguably correct interpretations.

a11. Figure #9, first character: __間拘 (see original and in 圖13)
     The first character has 木 on left and 甘 over 攵 on right;
     In the diagram this is 禾 and 隻 on the right.
I cannot find either character in my dictionaries. Speculation as to what it should be includes "復", "複" and "覆" (all "fu").

a12. #11 全扶 quanfu; also 扶 fu in #s12-15 (also see in 圖14)
Fu occurs 88 times in the You Lan score but never by itself: 45 of these are 全扶 quanfu; 43 are 半扶 banfu. However, three of these banfu need some futher explanation.

In the opening phrase of the first movement (I.1) there is the sequence "兩半扶挾挑聲"; this sequence clearly describes a repeat of the previous sequence (compare in my transcription mm. 3/4 with mm. 2/3). After this the same sequence appears three times, but in each case (once in II.12 [mm. 172-4] and twice in III.6 [mm. 283-5 and 285-7]) the 扶 is missing: it has become 兩半挾挑聲. Neither "半挾 half jia" nor "挾 jia" appears by itself either in the score or among the explanations; likewise there also seems to be no 扶挾 elsewhere in the tablature.

"扶" by itself is "boost", "go along with", etc.; "挾" by itself is usually xie: "squeeze" or "hold", with "扶挾 fuxie" being a phrase meaning "support, back up". Note also that "扶" can also look like a shorthand way of writing "挾". Here, however, "挾" has the same meaning "夾 jia", meaning "insert between".

The full sequence in the first occurence of this can be organized as follows:
The right hand strokes in the third line here clearly repeat those of the first line.

In light of this, the musical context makes it clear that even though the "扶" is missing from the latter occurences of these four phrases, they should all be played with a banfu, the same as in the first occurrence; the similarity in appearance of 扶 and 挾 perhaps also had a role in this.

a13. 手+色:挹?
If 挹 yi, yi quanfu (pour out) (挹然: sadly). Both 手+色 and 挹 occur elsewhere in the explanations, but not in the score.

a14. 差馳 or 差池 cha chi
Here Wang has two literary references:

  1. 詩經(邶風) Shi Jing 28: "燕燕於飛,差池其羽 Swallow swallow on your flight, uneven are your wings."
  2. The poem 白沙度 White Sands Crossing by 杜甫 Du Fu ("差池上舟楫 In a book with an uneven shore get on a boat to row"

It is not clear how "差池" meaning "uneven" would apply to a qin technique. Reference is also made to illustration 圖 6 (for 間拘).

a16. Left Hand Terminology/Techniques
Regarding "dark markers" (闇徽 An hui):
[徵]: In all three places for 徵, the text incorrectly had 徵. Wang Mengshu says the meaning here is unclear, then references "陳拙,琴籍 Chen Zhuo's Qin Ji, in Qinshu Daquan (QQJC V/130), where there are diagrams and a discussion of bright markers (明徽 ming hui) vs dark markers (闇徽 an hui (see two images.) The diagram shows 13 bright hui (in black on the diagram) and 23 dark ones (white centers in the diagram), which suggests that the bright hui are the correct ones, i.e., the 13 you can see, and the other 23 are weaker ones not played at the positions where you can get clear sounds.

a17. Left hand technique "cover" (掩 yan) and its relation to 作勢 zuo shi and "hit" (作勢 da)
The "da" in #71 打安取声 da an qu sheng seems to be the same as 掩 yan (hide; cover up), which in You Lan appears three times, though once apparently out of mistake written as 案 an. These are generally done on an open string, as compared to the 槄 tao of 槄起 tao qi, which is done with the thumb while the ring finger is stopping the string.

This sort of left hand sound initiating actually occurs under somewhat different names in several places ):

  1. "作勢案 Zuo shi an" also seems comparable, although it also has no separate explanation. The text there begins, "無名從第七作勢案羽,急下過十三下一寸許,The left finger at the seventh (position on the fifth string) "postures/has influence" then quickly slides down past the 13th position one increment". Only at:
    II.12 (m.171)
  2. 【打】da by itself: seven examples (but note sixth example)
        I/11 m.46
        II/1 m.071
        III/5 m.280
        III/6 m.292
        III/8 m.311 (open string: like "虛罨 xu yan"?)
        IV/6 m.365 (followed by 大指散搯文起, which seems to be same, each followed by 起)
        IV/6 m.374
  3. yan: with left ring finger on string, thumb forcefully "covers" the string at a higher position; You Lan three examples:
        II/8 m.124 (mistakenly written 案)
        III/5 (m.276)
        III/7 (m.299).
  4. yi: A quick followed by slide up? Two matches:
        I/10 (m.44)
        II/16 (m.204)

This 掩yan was also (and/or later) written 罨 ("net"/"cover") or 奄 ("cover"). These latter yan have no match in You Lan, nor are they mentioned in the Wusilan explanations. However, later explanations give more specifics.

Since doing the yan requires having a finger already on the string, it can only be done with the thumb. Because for xu yan any finger can do, perhaps the left hand da is the closest equivalent.

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