T of C 
Home
My
Work
Hand-
books
Qin as
Object
Qin in
Art
Poetry
/ Song
Hear
Qin
Play
Qin
Analysis History Ideo-
logy
Miscel-
lanea
More
Info
Personal email me search me
You Lan home page     Guqin and Orchids My recording 我的錄音   /   首頁
Secluded Orchid, in Stone Tablet Mode,
A General Introduction
碣石調幽蘭 1
Jieshi Diao You Lan
- Jieshi mode;2 tuning: 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 Listen with my transcription  

This You Lan is by far the earliest substantial melody from any culture to have been notated with detail sufficient to give expectation of reasonably accurate reconstruction.4 Its original preface suggested that near the end of his life a recluse named Qiu Ming5 (493-590) transmitted it to Chen Shuming, Prince of Yidu.6 Modern research says that the manuscript copy of the tablature, written in the ancient longhand tablature7 and preserved in Japan,8 can be dated from at least the middle of the 7th century. It is not known when or how the manuscript left China and arrived in Japan, or when the melody left the active repertoire.

The title You Lan conveys the image of a flower of such beauty that it makes its surroundings seem plain by comparison. It thus tends to be lonely, perhaps content in its solitude. Mention of this orchid in poetry might suggest the image the author would like to convey of himself, or of the subject of his poem.

The theme is often considered to be the same as that of the Shen Qi Mi Pu melody Yi Lan, which is connected to the story of Confucius comparing himself, an upright minister not achieving proper recognition, to a solitary orchid in a field of common plants. However, the two pieces are melodically unrelated, and early references to You Lan do not mention the Confucius story, instead referring to the orchid's natural beauty and its use as a body ornament.9

For many years I did not do a detailed reconstruction of You Lan. The main problem was that a number of the finger techniques are not clearly explained, the biggest hurdle perhaps being the very first two notes.10 My usual methods for interpreting these problems had not worked to my satisfaction.

Then in January of 2004 Yuan Jung-Ping, president of the New York Qin Society, told me that for some months he had been working on You Lan from the original manuscript.11 He gave me his interpretation of a number of the difficult terms, and this both inspired and enabled me finally to do my own version. While doing it I tried not to pay attention to the rhythms worked out by other people.

In fact, many other people have worked on this melody, making both transcriptions and recordings. There is a lot of information online as well.12 On the other hand, many of these versions are based on people modifying earlier reconstructions, rather than on doing their own directly from the tablature.

Two major issues are the modality of You Lan and its intonation.13 As written, the modality is certainly different from what can be heard in modern guqin melodies, and it also seems rather different from the melodies I have studied in early Ming dynasty handbooks, the music of You Lan being even less pentatonic. On the other hand the melody does seem to move through structures similar to those in melodies preserved from the Ming dynasty: there are parallel phrases, repeated motifs, and variations on themes and motifs. Also, as with the later compositions, I find the best results come from putting the melodic lines into duple meter rhythms, then interpreting these rhythms freely.14

The You Lan tablature was first given modern publication in China in a collection called the Guyi Congshu (1884).15 From the beginning of the 1880s a Chinese scholar named Yang Shoujing spent several years in Japan looking for old Chinese books.16 In Kyoto he found what was an apparently early 18th century Japanese reproduction of You Lan that had been in the possession of the famous Japanese Confucianist Ogyu Sorai (1666-1728).17 This was immediately published in Japan and, based on this, in the Guyi Congshu. From there it has found modern publication in the first volume of the original series of Qinqu Jicheng (1963), as well as in Tong Kin-Woon's Qin Fu (1971).18

Later another copy of You Lan was found, also in Kyoto. Now in the permanent collection of the Japan National Museum, Ueno (a district of Tokyo), it apparently has been authenticated as a Tang dynasty-era original.19 In 1981 this version was printed in Qinqu Jicheng, New Series, Vol. 1.20

In November 1999 I took part in a You Lan seminar in Tokyo. In honor of this seminar the Japan National Museum had on display the original Tang dynasty document. The total scroll is over four meters long, so they were able to display only a part. There was a lecture by a museum curator in which he said they have examined the ink, paper and writing style, and have concluded that it was copied by hand in the 7th century (with perhaps a few corrections made a century or so later).21

The earliest reconstructions of You Lan followed the edition published by Yang Biaozheng in Qinxue Congshu (1910).22 This edition put modern tablature alongside a copy of the longhand tablature. Since then, explanations have been found for more of the ancient finger techniques. New renditions may simply copy or slightly modify earlier versions. Others focus on strongly differing interpretations of a few of the finger techniques. Often a special effect comes from people taking advantage of the special sonorities allowed by playing the melody on metal strings.23

Many of the terms used in the original tablature, though out of use by the Ming dynasty, are explained in handbooks of that period, with the result that there is today explanations for almost all of the techniques.24 One of these handbooks is Qinshu Daquan, which includes finger technique explanations written during the Tang dynasty by Zhao Yeli and Chen Zhuo, and during the Song dynasty by Cheng Yujian and Yang Zuyun.25

The Wusilan Zhifa (Wusilan Fingerings) are another important source for understanding early attempts to describe finger techniques. Here there seem to be two important documents. One is the Wusilan Fingerings Scroll (Wusilan Zhifa Juanzi), apparently written or compiled by the abovementioned Ogyu Sorai (1666-1728).26 A copy of this found its way to the Chinese imperial court, thence to the Beijing Library.

Finger technique explanations in the Japanese Wusilan Zhifa Juanzi
Wusilan Finger Technique Scroll (烏絲闌指法卷子 Wusilan Zhifa Juanzi) is attributed to Mononobe Noke 物部茂卿 (1666-1728; Chinese pronunciation: Wubu Maoqing), also known as Ogyu Sorai (荻生徂徠 Disheng Culai). He was a well-known Japanese Confucianist who acquired a handcopy of the original You Lan tablature (further details), to which he apparently added and/or edited "commentary and explanatory illustrations" (see VG, Lore, p. 29fn). These are included in Wang Mengshu's Explanation of Wusilan Finger Techiques (1955). In 1955 Wang Mengshu published a mimeographed volume based on this called Explanation of the Wusilan Finger Techniques.27

In the You Lan manuscript what we know as You Lan is actually called "You Lan, Number Five." Some have suggested that this means either that this is the fifth section of You Lan, or the fifth melody in a suite. What it most likely means, though, is that it is the fifth melody in what was apparently once a larger collection of melodies. These are listed at the end of the You Lan manuscript, where the tablature is followed by a melody list with 59 titles.28 The list begins with the names of four modes, Chu, Qianjin, Hujia and Ganshen. After this the melodies seem to be arranged according to these modes. Thus, the first five melodies after the names of the modes (i.e., #5 to #9 on the list) are all in the Chu mode. The fifth of these is You Lan, hence, "You Lan, Number Five." Numbers 10 to 18 are in the Qianjin mode, 19 to 28 are in the Hujia mode, and from 29 to the end are melodies in Ganshen and some miscellaneous modes which might be sub-categories of Ganshen.

 
Original Preface29
Preface to You Lan (Secluded Orchid), also called Yi Lan (Relying on the Orchid), (a melody in the) Jieshi (Stone Tablet) Mode

Qiu Gong, style name (Qiu) Ming, was a native of Kuai Ji.30 At the end of the Liang Dynasty (502-557) he became a recluse in the Jiuyi Mountains (at the southern edge of the old state of Chu31), and was very good at (melodies in the) Chu mode. As for the melody You Lan, he was exceptionally skilled. He used its subtle sounds for his own lofty goals, but was unwilling to transmit them to others. In the third year of Chenming period (589) of the Chen Dynasty32 he did transmit it to (Chen) Shuming, prince of Yidu.33 Then in the 10th year of the Sui dynasty's Kaixing period (590) he died in Danyang34 prefecture. At that time he was 97 years old. He had no disciples to carry on his tradition, but his sounds were consequently transmitted.

 
Music
Listen to my recording
           
by itself 聽我的錄音 or
            together with my transcription 聽錄音、看五線譜
Small numbers in the transcription correspond with Chinese numbers in my computer copy of the original manuscript

Four Sections, untitled (the original tablature, copied out here, indicates sections only by calling for a break between each one)35

00.00   1.
01.49   2.
04.23   3.
06.32   4.
08.00   End

 
Afterword36

This melody is relaxed; there is ebb and flow in playing it.

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. You Lan references
9411.431 幽蘭 says you lan is "an orchid growing in a secluded valley", "the name of a flower", and "the name of a qin melody". It gives the following references:

屈原,離騷 Qu Yuan's Li Sao; see Hawkes, p.74, line 210 "knotting orchids I waited in indecision," (結幽蘭而延佇) and p.75, lines 271/2: "they wear mugwort and cram their waistbands with it, but the lovely valley orchid they deem unfit to wear." (戶服艾以盈要兮,謂幽蘭其不可佩。) This theme is sometimes associated with the melody Pei Lan.
曹植,落神賦 Cao Zhi's Rhapsody on the Luo River Goddess; see Knechtges, Wen Xuan III, p.359: the Luo River goddess wears one;
宋玉,諷賦 Song Yu's Feng Fu (Rhapsody on Persuasion) and 謝惠連,雪賦 Xie Huilian's Xue Fu (Rhapsody on Snow; see Knechtges, Wen Xuan III, pp.22-23), both of which refer to Song Yu going to the home of a beautiful woman where he plays Bai Xue and You Lan on the qin.
4/446 adds a reference to 白居易,聽幽蘭詩 a poem by Bai Juyi (772-846) called Listening to You Lan 琴中古曲是《幽蘭》,     You Lan is one of the old qin melodies;
為我慇懃更弄看。         it makes me attentive the more I see it played.(? needs correcting)
Qinshu Daquan (see Qinqu Jicheng, Vol. V, p.426) has the whole poem, but the second line is somewhat different. 中古曲是《幽蘭》, You Lan is one of the old qin melodies;
為我清琴更弄看。 It makes my clear qin the more I see it played (?)
欲得身心歸靜好, I want my body and mind to return to a peaceful state,
自彈不及聽人彈。 And playing myself is not as good as listening to someone else play.
You Lan explanations make no mention of 猗蘭 Yi Lan (Flourishing Orchid; see 20945.22 猗蘭 a type of orchid, and 20945.24 猗蘭操,琴曲名 Yi Lan Qu, qin melody name). There are two related early qin melodies with this title: Yi Lan (猗蘭) in Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425), with no lyrics;
Yi Lan Cao (漪蘭操 this Yi meaning rippling) in Taigu Yiyin (1511), which has a similar introduction and melody to the 1425 version but is set to five poems in Yuefu Shiji (see pp. 839-841), the latter two of which are called You Lan.

David Ming-Yueh Liang, The Chinese Ch'in, Its History and Music
Some mention should also be made here of this book, in particular Chapter V (pp.208292): History and Analysis of "Yu-lan" ("Elegant Orchid"). Regarding the book book in general, Liang refers to it as a "thesis" as it was his M.A. thesis at UCLA. Unfortunately many of Liang's comments are clearly erroneous, but it is difficult to check on these because he has no footnotes and his Romanization is too often so hopelessly inaccurate that verification is difficult (e.g., "ming-chen" for "民間" - it should be "min-chien" or "minjian"). He often does not quote any sources for what are clearly second hand comments from a source or sources.

Liang's chapter on You Lan includes charts showing frequency of pitches, pitch relations, cadences and so forth, as well as a melographic analysis.
(Return)

2. Stone Tablet Mode (碣石調 Jieshi Diao
24896 and 7/1081 碣 have nothing about a musical mode. 7/1081 Jieshi means tombstone, as well as being a mountain in Hebei province overlooking the Gulf of Bohai. 24896.2 briefly discusses the Jieshi Diao You Lan published in the 古逸叢書 Guyi Congshu (see footnote below). 24896.4 Jieshi Guan 館 concerns a palace near Beijing, mentioned in Shi Ji 74 (see Nienhauser, VII, p.181). 24896.3 碣石篇 Jieshi Pian (Stone Tablet Essay) was the name of lyrics accompanying four music bureau (yuefu) dances from the Jin dynasty; the preface in Yuefu Shiji 55 (p. 790) says Jieshi was a poem written by the 魏武帝 Wu Emperor (unofficial title of 曹操 Cao Cao, 155-220) of the Wei Dynasty (north China, with its capital at Luoyang). It has four parts, each one having 14 four-character lines arranged into seven couplets. The names are 觀滄海 Looking at the Ocean (from Jieshi Mountain), 冬十月 The Cold Tenth Month, 土不同 The Ground is Different, and 龜雖壽. Although Turtles Have a Long Life. Jieshi Diao You Lan also has four sections, and as a result some people think that You Lan developed from settings of these old poems in the Jieshi mode. However, I have not been able to match the lyrics to any reconstructed version of the melody, and if there is in fact a connection here it is quite likely a very loose one. None of the Jieshi mode melodies makes any mention of orchids; perhaps there are some modal similarities, perhaps some musical materials were maintained, perhaps one of the characteristics of the Jieshi mode was that pieces in that mode were in four parts.
(Return)

4. Modern reconstructions
See also Historically Informed Qin Performance. Existing interpretations vary in length from about eight minutes to over 12 minutes.
(Return)

5. 丘明 Qiu Ming
Also called 丘子明 Qiu Ziming. 40.59 丘明 refers only to someone else, 左丘明 a minister of Lu during the Spring and Autumn period. The dates ascribed to him (493-590) appear to be based on the comments in the present preface. Bio.xxx.
(Return)

6. 宜都王叔明 (Chen) Shuming, Prince of Yidu
In 589 C.E. there was a 陳叔明 Chen Shuming (564‐616) who was prince of Yidu at the Chen court (Yang, p. 124). Chinese records have someone of this name as a qin player in the lineage of the qin master Liu Kun (271-318), but do not specifically mention the melody You Lan.

Thus, a commentary in Qinshu Daquan, Folio 10 (see QQJC, V/210, top left) traces a melody (or group of melodies) from Chen Yidu back to Liu Kun as follows:

The five melodies of Liu Kun such as Hu Jia (劉琨胡笳等五弄 Hu Jia Deng Wu Nong, which might better be translated as "five melodies of Liu Kun in the Hu Jia [mode]") were transmitted to his son-in-law 陳通 Chen Tong (nfi); Tong transmitted them to 柳進思 Liu Jinsi (nfi); Si transmitted them to 司馬均 Sima Jun (Bio 480: "Eastern Han"!), adding five musical sounds it was transmitted to 普明 Pu Ming (Bio 2347: Yuan monk!). Pu Ming transmitted them to 封襲 Feng Xi (nfi); Xi transmitted them to 陳宜都 Chen Yidu (i.e., Chen Shuming, prince of Yidu). When Yidu died, this all stopped.

The Qin Shi biography of Liu Kun (#90) does not mention any of the above people. It also refers to his 胡笳五弄 Hu Jia Wu Nong rather than 胡笳等五弄 Hu Jia Deng Wu Nong, listing them as:

In other words, none of them had the title Hu Jia (or You Lan) so this might have meant Hu Jia was the name of the musical mode. To this the biography adds that these were transmitted to 超耶利 Chao Yeli (of the Sui dynasty). All five of these titles are in the list of 59 melodies appended at the end of the You Lan manuscript, apparently grouped with the Hujia mode melodies. Wu Wenguang in an essay on You Lan presented at the 1999 You Lan conference in Japan suggests that Pu Ming was in fact Qiu Ming, and that this is evidence that in the 6th century You Lan was already an ancient melody. However, even if Qiu Ming learned the melody as a youth early in the 6th century, it is something of a stretch for there to be only four generations necessary to take it back 200 years to Liu Kun in the early 4th century.

王叔明 may sometimes be referred to as Wang Shuming, but I have found no further information on any Wang Shuming from this time period. 3223.82 叔明 Shuming is a nickname for many people, but none from this period surnamed either 王 Wang or 陳 Chen.
(Return)

7. Longhand tablature (文字譜,看細節; wenzipu, see details)
Longhand tablature writes out in full characters all the details of performance. Shorthand qin tablature (減字譜 jianzipu) conveys the same information by combining abbreviated forms of several characters to make "clusters". One cluster usually defines one note, but there are also a number of multi-note clusters. This shorthand form is thought to have developed during the Tang dynasty. See, for example, Cao Rou.

Longhand tablature required a whole phrase to convey the same information as one of the shorthand clusters (see example). At least one source claims that longhand tablature was invented in the 3rd C. BCE by Yongmeng Zhou. The first surviving mention of written music may be in Ya Qin Zhao Shi (1st C. BCE). The only authentically ancient example of longhand tablature is that for the present melody You Lan. It can also be found in the 1552 publication of an introductory exercise called Caoman Yin, but this may have been a contemporary work written in this form to suggest antiquity.
(Return)

8. Original You Lan manuscript
The original is in the collection of the Ueno Museum in Tokyo, which has put the original manuscript online in its Emuseum website.
(Return)

9. This is particularly true of the melody Pei Lan. See also footnote 1 above.
(Return)

10. First two notes of You Lan
The eCopy of the original manuscript has controls for seeing the beginning close up. Here it can easily be seen that the melody begins with the instructions 耶臥 (yewo or xiewo, put down sideways) the middle finger at |半寸許 (about half an inch, or position, above or below |) on 商 the second string. Most people have interpreted the | (note that the middle of this stroke is missing in the original tablature) to be 十 with the cross stroke missing, and to be 上 (Yuan Jung-Ping suggests 下). A normal reading of 十上半寸 yields sol sharp, 十下半寸 sol flat. This is then played together with the open first string, do. Some people have argued that the resulting dissonance is intentional and beautiful. Others have tried to resolve the dissonance by retuning the instrument, suggesting that the modality was different at the time, and/or arguing that the positioning of the fingers was based on observation rather than theory (e.g., a stopped note indicated as being at position 7 must be played a little below 7 to give the same pitch as a harmonic played at 7). However, all of these solutions bring problems elsewhere which I cannot resolve. Personally I find that, although the dissonance can be appealing, I have followed two other possible interpretations. Although in this transcription I write out the interpretation of "above 10" as G#, in my recording I play it as a slightly sharpened G (relative note; it actually should be called so). I also sometimes play according to a different interpretation, one that draws on the fact that the two strokes of the Chinese number 8 (8 (八) are quite as similar to | as is the vertical stroke of the number 10 (十). The position 八上半寸 on the second string yields do (this also occurs later in the manuscript), so interpreting the | not as 10 but as 8 makes the opening two notes form an octave on C. This solution requires the least amount of change (if there is an error) or theoretical speculation (if the modality is to be considered to have some logic). It should be pointed out that the paper of the original manuscript was obviously damaged right in this area. Available copies (see again the eCopy) suggest that this theory still seems to require there to have been a copying error, but perhaps a close examination of the Ueno Museum original would yield further justification for the twisted paper theory.
(Return)

11. 袁中平 Yuan Jung-Ping has produced quite a few materials in connection with his reconstruction. However, this does not include a transcription into staff notation: he prefers to work from the simplified notation he made from the original longhand notation
(Return)

12. This includes a paper 吳文光 Wu Wenguang presented at the Japanese You Lan conference mentioned below; this paper was quite useful in writing the present introduction.
(Return)

13. Intonation in You Lan
Fundamental to my interpretation is the belief that the variations in indication of finger position (e.g. "down one inch" vs. down half inch") are not attempts to indicated special concepts of mode, but inconsistencies resulting from my belief that the manuscript was copied by more than one person, quite possibly during different generations. My experience with Ming tablature is that when an actively played melody is re-copied for a new handbook, much of the new tablature is a direct copy of the old. However, in parts where the melody has changed somewhat a different system may be used to indicated finger position (e.g., "above 8" instead of "between 7 and 8".
(Return)

14. Fixed rhythms interpreted freely
This is discussed further elsewhere.
(Return)

15. 3308.331 古逸叢書 Guyi Congshu (A Collection of Lost Ancient Writings), published 1882-4
Guyi Congshu consists of books that had been found in Japan by two bibliophiles, 黎庶昌 Li Shuchang (1837 - 97), who was then the Chinese ambassador to Japan, and Yang Shoujing (1839 - 1915). Li and Yang had searched extensively for such works. What they found they then reproduced for publication. GYCS is a source for the biographies of Pei Ni and Qiu Ming, and the GYCS publication of You Lan is discussed in QSCM, #29.
(Return)

16. 楊守敬 Yang Shoujing (1835-1915) and his trip to Japan
See Lore of the Chinese Lute, page 29n. R. H. van Gulik wrote that when "the Chinese scholar and bibliophile" Yang Shoujing was in Japan from 1880 to 1884 he bought a copy of the manuscript.
(Return)

17. Ogyu Sorai 荻生徂徠 ("Disheng Culai"; 1666-1728)
Ogyu Sorai, also known as 物部茂卿 Mononobe Noke ("Wubu Maoqing") was a Japanese Confucianist. Of his You Lan manuscript Van Gulik, op.cit., wrote as follows,

"The question arises whether Ogyu Sorai faithfully followed the Chinese original, or whether he wrote out in full a manuscript originally in (simplified tablature), for his own purposes."

Van Gulik's skepticism, along with the problem of the first two notes, are the main reasons I did not work on this melody for a long time. As it turns out, though, it seems that in fact Ogyu Sorai's copy was remarkably identical to the original and what he edited (re-wrote or simply re-arranged) was commentary on the manuscript and its finger techniques.
(Return)

18. Modern published versions of You Lan
See the bibliography. In Tong Kin-Woon's 琴府 Qin Fu it is on pp. 1-9. Its main difference with the original seems to be the addition of marks separating the notes. Otherwise it was copied line for line: even the characters added between lines and trailing around towards the end are left in that position.
(Return)

19. Authentication and source
It is apparently considered likely that the scroll was brought from China, but it has not been proven it was not actually copied in Japan. It is also not clear to me whether the whole document has been authenticated, or only the upper right corner. There seems to be some indication that the rest of the document may have been added on later.
(Return)

20. Beijing, 1981; p.1. I have not yet translated the introduction written by Zha Fuxi in Qinqu Jicheng, but it does not seem to make it clear that this is not the 18th century reproduction as well.
(Return)

21. It was preserved at a monastery in Kyoto until the 20th century, when it was brought to the museum in Ueno.
(Return)

22. 楊表正,琴學叢書 See Tong Kin-Woon's 琴府 Qin Fu, p. 838ff.
(Return)

23. Other interpreters make much of their attempts to play the melody according to certain concepts of mode. I have never seen any of these concepts explained very clearly, and so have not found them very convincing. For more on this see You Lan Mode.
(Return)

24. For some techniques there is more than one explanation. These explanations are not all consistent, so differing interpretations can be legitimately debated.
(Return)

25. The relevant section of Qinshu Daquan is in Qinqu Jicheng Vol.IV, pp.149-194. Within this it is not always clear to me the attributions of the explanations. Some say Zhao Yeli (565-639) was the person most responsible for adapting the long hand tablature into simplified tablature, so perhaps the others are based on his explanations. The following shows where names are actually mentioned.

p.149, not clear (Zhao Yeli 趙耶利 ?)
p.151, Master Chen 陳居士 (= 陳拙 ?)
p.153, Yang Zuyun 楊祖雲
p.155, Cheng Yujian 成玉澗 (written 石+間)
p.156, Collection 諸家指法拾遺
p.160, Chen Zhuo 陳拙,
p.177, illustrations 指法手勢圖
(Return)

26. Wusilan Finger Technique Scroll (烏絲闌指法卷子 Wusilan Zhifa Juanzi)
The collection of finger technique explanations in the Japanese Wusilan Zhifa Juanzi is attributed to Mononobe Noke (物部茂卿 1666-1728; Chinese pronunciation: Wubu Maoqing), also known as Ogyu Sorai (荻生徂徠 Disheng Culai). He was a well-known Japanese Confucianist who made a personal handcopy of the original You Lan tablature (further details above), to which he apparently added these "commentary and explanatory illustrations" (see VG, Lore, p. 29fn). A copy of this from the Chinese imperial court (brought there by Yang Shoujing?), found in the Beijing Library in the 1940s, later formed the basis for Wang Mengshu's Explanation of Wusilan Finger Techiques (1955), discussed in the following footnote. I don't know the present location of the original Wusilan Zhifa Juanzi.
(Return)

27. Explanation of Wusilan Fingerings (烏絲闌指法釋 Wusilan Zhifa Shi)
In 1955 Wang Mengshu published this as mimeographed copies of a manuscript he had written based on the Wusilan Finger Technique Scroll discussed in the previous footnote (this is apparently the work referred to by Liang Mingyue as Wusilan Guqin Zhipu, but guqin is a rather recent name for the qin). If I understand correctly, Weng Mengshu put the original original text in large print; the rest is his commentary. If this is true, then a number 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 and worked out some more of the meanings. A study of this book is essential to anyone wishing to do an independent reconstruction of You Lan.
(Return)

28. You Lan as the 5th melody
The information in this paragraph was given me by 袁中平 Yuan Jung-Ping. On the melody list the modes discussed are 楚調 Chu Diao (Mode of the Chu region, 千金調 Qianjin Diao (Mode of Wealth), 胡笳調 Hujia Diao (Mode of the Hu nomads) and 感神調 Ganshen Diao (Mode of Spirits Thanking).
(Return)

29. 碣石調幽蘭序一名倚蘭

丘公字明,會稽人也。梁末隱於九疑山,妙絕楚調。於幽蘭一曲尤特精絕。以其聲微而志遠,而不堪授人,以陳禎明三年授宜都王叔明。隨開星十年於丹陽縣卒。年(齡?)九十七。無子傳之,其聲遂簡耳。
(Return)

30. The Shaoxing area, east of Hangzhou.
(Return)

31. 九疑山 Jiuyi Shan is connected to the melody Fan Canglang
(Return)

32. The 陳 Chen dynasty (557-589) had its capital in Nanjing. In 589 Nanjing was captured by Yang Jian, founder of the Sui dynasty.
(Return)

33. 宜都王 Prince of Yidu (For his name, 叔明 Shuming, see above)
For 宜都 Yidu 7263.76 says it refers to the region also called 宜昌 Yichang, on the Yangzi river in Hubei province.
(Return)

34. 101.179 Danyang mentions a number of places, including a Chu city in Hubei.
(Return)

35. You Lan, 4 sections
The sections are not numbered. The endings of Sections 1 and 2 are each indicated by the statement 拍之,大息 (Melody finalizes, Long rest); Sections 3 and 4 each end with 拍之 (Melody finalizes). As yet I have not seen instructions like this in any other qin tablature. The melody begins and ends with the statement 幽蘭第五 You Lan, the Fifth. This could mean either The Fifth Section of You Lan, or that You Lan was the fifth in a series of melodies.

Walter Kaufmann, in his Musical Notations of the Orient, p.462 (1967 edition), says the four sections concern the following:

  1. Mentions the emperor's travels eastward to Jieshi and the vastness of the ocean from which the sun and moon rose and into which sun and moon set;
  2. Mentions how, after work in the fields was accomplished, the merchants became active;
  3. Explains how the shape and climate of a region influence its inhabitants
  4. In praise of the brave man.

Of the source for this information Kaufmann rather audaciously writes only that it comes from a "copy in possession of this writer". I have not yet found this explanation of the four sections elsewhere.
(Return)

36. 此弄宜緩;消息彈之。
(Return)

Return to the annotated handbook list or to the Guqin ToC.