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Shilin Guangji
Comprehensive Record of Affairs,1 compiled by Chen Yuanjing2

The qin section of the Comprehensive Record of Affairs (1269 CE) contains varied materials on the qin. Those reprinted in Qinqu Jicheng/I are here listed in numbered sections for convenient reference.
  Sample leaf from Shilin Guangji : 
right: qin diagram, with names of its parts
left: Confucius (with qin) at Xing Tan
  1. General Comments on Qin Tablature3 (I/17)
    This is divided into two essays (compare it with the same in Taiyin Daquanji, Folio 5, Part 1):

    1. Confucius' Household Sayings says,4

      When Zilu was playing the qin Confucius heard him and said, When the rulers of antiquity created sounds they relied on balanced tones to moderate them, thus a gentleman's sounds are temperate. While living flexibily, using a nurturing and fostering attitude, this is what is called an aura of providing peace.

      This is the method of making qin. Use wood based on yin and yang, selecting it based on how (the pieces) complement each other, so that they provide harmony. Tong wood is yang so it should be used for the top board; zi is yin so it should be used for the bottom board. The top is round, like the sky, the bottom is flat, like the earth. The length is 3 chi and 6 cun, like the 360 days days (of the year). The 13 harmonic markers (hui) correspond to the (12) music tones and 12 months, with the middle marker as the master, much like an intercalary month. Of old the Qin had only five strings to correspond with the five tones. The Zhou period added two strings, called the wen string and the wu string, thus making seven strings. As some people of Wu were burning wood for cooking, Cai Yong heard the sound of fire crackling and knew (the wood) was good material, so he asked if he could use it to make a qin. The result was that had a beautiful sound though the tail was scorched. As a result it was called the "Scorched Tail Qin".

    2. Chen Zhuo,5 as follows:
      The original text here in Shilin Guangji is almost the same as a passage in Taiyin Daquanji.

    3. Diwang Shiji (excerpt?)6 (I/17)
      A short essay introducing the illustration at right.7

  2. Illustration above right (I/17)
    See description above the image

  3. Finger technique explanations8 (I/18)
    1. Right hand explanations9
    2. Left hand explanations10
    3. Explanation of clusters (right and left hand directions combined)11.

  4. Tablature for Qin melodies12
    The five modal preludes here are quite different from the other surviving Song dynasty examples, the five modal preludes in the Qin tablature section of Taiyin Daquanji. All six melodies are short, especially Golden Oriole.

    1. Kaizhi (Prelude): Golden Oriole13 (I/18)
      It has lyrics, which translate as follows.14

      Golden oriole, golden oriole, golden cry bursting forth;
      Calling as a pair, peaches and almonds bring great benefit.
      And following beyond the mist where bees wander,
      we sing and dance wildly unrestrained.

    2. Gong Mode15 (I/18)
    3. Shang Mode16 (I/18)
    4. Jiao Mode17 (I/19)
    5. Zhi Mode18 (I/19)
    6. Yu Mode19 (I/19)

  5. Thirteen sets of rules for playing the qin.20 (I/20)

  6. Materials from the Taiding edition of Shilin Guangji   (I/22; includes the image below right)
    This includes mostly material the same or very similar to that in the Chunzhuang Shuyuan edition (see
    below), the most notable addition being the illustration at right of a gentleman playing the qin. In the original there is to its right a diagram of the front and back of a qin, as above.

Although the titles of Section 4, Numbers 2 through 6 give only the name of the mode, clearly these are modal preludes (diaoyi). Modal preludes generally served a group of melodies in that mode. This may be the only difference between them and kaizhi, which seem to have been preludes to specific melodies (as here with Golden Oriole). Unlike in Taiyin Daquanji, there are no lists here of melodies associated with the five diaoyi).

According to the introduction by Zha Fuxi, Shilin Guangji was compiled by Chen Yuanjing during the Southern Song dynasty, then was revised several times during the Yuan dynasty. Three editions survive:

  1. Part of the 泰定本 Taiding edition found in Japan, printed in 1699; has qin materials in the seventh volume;
  2. A re-print by the Zhonghua Shuju of the 椿莊書院本 Chunzhuang Shuyuan edition, originally printed during 1330-33;
  3. one in the Beijing University Library, compiled by the Zheng family and printed during 1335-41.

The third edition is identical to the second, so Qinqu Jicheng prints only the first two. (QQJC I/17-21 are 9 folio pages from the Chunzhuang Shuyuan edition; I/22 has 2 folio pages from the Taiding edition.)

Perhaps because much of the surviving editions of Shilin Guangji were added during later editions, Zha spends some time describing characteristics of the tablature in Shilin Guangji, to show they do date from the Song dynasty.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
separate page)

1. Shilin Guangji 事林廣記 (QQJC I/15-22 [11-16 in earlier edition])
(244.xxx?) Zha Fuxi's preface says Chen Yuanjing (see next footnote) 編纂 compiled it. Zha does not discuss its possible relationship to another work attributed to Chen, 歲時廣記 Suishi Guangji.

An essay (.html from .pdf) by Wang Chenghua, Art and Daily Life: Knowledge and Social Space in Late-Ming: Riyong Leishu, says,

"The daily-use encyclopedias (日用類書 Riyong Leishu) form an altogether different collection of writings on everyday life during this period and appear to be more comprehensive and detailed than Zhangwuzhi (長物志 Treatise on Superfluous Things, by 文震亨 Wen Zhenheng, 1585-1645). (Daily-use encyclopedias) first made their appearance at the end of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279), and the inceptive Shilin guangji 事林廣記 continued to be re-edited and re-printed in later dynasties. (A footnote adds:) The first version of Shilin guangji has traditionally been attributed to Chen Yuanjing 陳元靚, an obscure figure of the late Southern Song period. To my knowledge, there are several versions of Shilin guangji collected in the libraries of China and Japan. The earliest one is very likely to have been printed in the late Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) since a note of 1325 indicates that new materials were added, including a list of Mongol characters of one-hundred surnames. See Nagasawa Kikuya 長澤規矩也, "Jieti," 解題 in Nagasawa Kikuya, ed., Hekeben leishu jicheng 和刻本類書集成, vol. 1 (Shanghai: Shanghai Guji chubanshe, 1990), pp. 3-4. See also Sakai Tadao, "Mindai no jitsuyo ruisho to shomin kyoiku," pp. 62-74.

A preliminary essay by Lowell Skar, "Charting a New Itinerary of Perfection in Medieval China: The Formation and Uses of the Diagram on Cultivating Perfection (Xiuzhen tu" (2000), says as follows,

"A final widely distributed depiction of what has become known as the Diagram of Cultivating Perfection appears in an expanded edition of an encyclopedia compiled by the late Southern Song scholar Chen Yuanjing with the hopes of rectifying the mores of the common people. Although no longer extant in it original form, there exists at least two expanded and illustrated editions of this work printed in the first part of the Ming dynasty. The earlier of these editions (dated to 1478) was the Newly Illustrated and Amplified Encyclopedia of the Hordes of Writings [known as] the Comprehensive Records of the Forest of Affairs (Xinbian Zuantu zengxin qunshu leiyao Shilin guangji), while the later edition (dated to 1496) bears the title Newly Compiled Comprehensive Record of the Forest of Affairs, an Illustrated and Amplified Encyclopedia of the Hordes of Writings (Zuantu zengxin qunshu leiyao Shilin guangji xinji)."

A backgammon website has an illustration from Shilin Guangji showing two backgammon players.

The FIFA website says that Shilin Guangji "gives details of the technical elements of conventional football", including a woodblock illustration.

Pian's Sonq Dynasty Musical Sources and their Interpretation transcribes, in addition to these qin melodies, the Seven melodies on popular notation from Shilin Guangui.

2. Chen Yuanjing 陳元靚 (1200 - 1266)
Chen (42618.105; Bio/1364; N.D.), according to the afterword by 劉純 Liu Chun (Bio/622? early Ming) to Chen's 歲時廣記 Suishi Guangji, was a reclusive gentleman. He signed himself 廣寒仙裔 Guanghan Xianyi (Lunar Descendant of Immortals?). 16686.67 歲時廣記 says Suishi Guangji had four sections divided according to four time periods. It is not clear how much of the book still exists, or whether Shilin Guangji was a part of it. (Return)

3. Shilin Guangji, General Comments on Qin Tablature 事林廣記,琴譜緫說
Consists of the two essays discussed in the following two footnotes. Compare this with Taiyin Daquanji, Folio 5, Part 1.

4. (Confucius') Household Sayings (孔子) 家語 (Kongzi) Jia Yu
The original text here in Shilin Guangji is as follows (see also here):



Translation above. Note that many of its details are also elsewhere. Regarding the added passage, for example, elsewhere (e.g., in 高濂 Gao Lian?) the information about yin and yang wood is the same, but placed at the front, "琴取桐為陽木、梓為陰木。是以造琴之法。...." Regading the type of wood, translating 桐 tong and 梓 zi is problematic as they are uniquely ancient Chinese; the important factor is heavy (dense) wood vs light wood.

5. Chen Zhuo Canjun, Qin Shuo 陳拙參軍琴說
The original text is as follows (Taiyin Daquanji has an almost identical passage, changing its text after the * added near the end):

夫彈琴以和暢為事、清雅為本。琴聲出於木,而絃所以揚其聲。嵇康曰﹕ 摟批擽捋,縹繚瞥冽,所謂指法也。大要或高或下,或輕或重,亦湏看古人命,意作調弄之趣,下指或古淡、或清美、或悲切、或慷慨,変態無常,不可執一。故彈操弄者,舒張緩急。要成段節,若前緩而後急,乃妙曲之分佈。中急而後緩,乃節奏之停歇。或疾打則聲如擘竹。 緩挑則韻似風生。或聲正厲而以指按,響巳絕而意猶未儘。是以彈調引者,貴乎詳緩句讀,取子中有意思。 如孤雲之在太虛。因風舒捲,久而不散。此調引之妙操也。然彈不在多,以精為妙,使指與絃相契,得之於手,應之於心。不知其所以然者則善矣。* 南中李氏善作悲風曲時人號曰李悲風以此得名可謂精矣苟知聲而不知音彈絃而不知意雖多何益哉。

Not yet translated

6. 《帝王世紀》曰 Diwang Shi Ji says,
(The original text, as follows, is not yet translated:


7. Illustration 圖
The names for the parts of the qin are translated elsewhere on this site. This site also has other illustrations of Confucius playing qin for his students.

8. Finger technique explanations
There is no general title for this part, which has the three sections mentioned in the following three footnotes.

9. Right hand explanations 右手字譜 (QQJC I/12)
22 entries

10. Left hand explanations 左手字譜
20 entries

11. Explanations of clusters 琴譜直解 (QQJC I/12)
Five clusters intended to explain how the techniques are put together in clusters. There are printing errors in all five clusters, underlining the difficulty interpreting the ensuing tablature.

12. Tablature for Qin melodies 琴譜 (QQJC I/12-14)
The six short melodies are discussed in the following six footnotes.

13. 開指黃鶯吟 Kaizhi Huangying Yin: Prelude, Intonation of the Golden Oriole     (Listen to my recording 聽我的錄音; sung (lyrics)
The present melody survives only in Shilin Guangji (Zha Guide 1/---/4). Xu Jian discusses it briefly in QSCB, Chapter 6b1-8 (p.109), saying it "makes use of the song and dance of yellow orioles amongst flowering shrubs in order to express welcoming spring." "Song and dance" comes from the last line of the poem, perhaps suggesting it could have been a prelude to a melody for song and dance; if so, this would be very unusual for a qin melody.

Kaizhi are thought (there seems to be no available specific information on this) to have been preludes to specific melodies, in this way contrasting to diao yi, which more generally introduced modes (though some surviving ones seem to be attached to specific pieces). However, because none of the old qin melody lists includes a melody called Golden Oriole, it cannot be argued very strongly that this kaizhi was created for a specific melody.

As for Intonation of the Golden Oriole, intonations (吟 yin) are themselves often short melodies (see a list). And "Golden Oriole" itself seems to have been found in various artistic forms (I have not found any dance references). 48904.1346 黃鶯 huangying (golden oriole) has nothing about music, but 48904.1347 (also 12/1012) 黃鶯兒 huangyinger is 詞牌、曲牌名 the name of a cipai (poetry structure) and qupai (opera tune type), specifically a 南曲入商調正曲 southern tune in shang mode or a 北曲入商角隻曲 northern tune going into a shangjiao short song (?), 一名金衣公子 also called Golden Clothed Lord (41049.203 jinyi gongzi, another name for orioles). There are further references to ci poetry.

The surviving melody itself is short and simple, with the following lyrics applied one character for each note,

Yellow oriole in gold bursts forth,
Talking in pairs, peaches and apricots everywhere.
And following beyond the mist the wandering bees go,
Singing and dancing merrily.

14. The original lyrics are:


15. 事林廣記﹕宮調 Gong Diao in Shilin Guangji       (Listen to my recording 聽我的錄音) (QQJC I/18)
The second half of this melody is quite similar to the latter half of the 1425 melody Zhao Yin. Perhaps this indicates that this Gong Diao was originally a prelude to Zhao Yin. Unlike the shorter Gong Yi in Taiyin Daquanji, Gong Diao has few phrases in common with the Shenpin Gong Yi of 1425. However, the modal characteristics are similar.

16. 事林廣記﹕商調 Shang Diao in Shilin Guangji       (Listen to my recording 聽我的錄音) (I/18)
This melody is quite different from the Shang Yi in Taiyin Daquanji, as well as the Shenpin Shang Yi of 1425. However, it shares with them similar modal characteristics, in particular the inclusion of both standard mi with flatted mi.

17. 事林廣記﹕角調 Jiao Diao in Shilin Guangji       (Listen to my recording 聽我的錄音) (I/19)
This melody is very similar to the second half of the melody Lienü Yin, suggesting that it perhaps was originally a prelude to that melody. Lienü Yin survives only in Xilutang Qintong (1525), but this is perhaps evidence supporting suggestions that some or many of the melodies of Xilutang Qintong were copied from Song dynasty sources. Jiao Diao seems unrelated to the modal preludes Jiao Yi in Taiyin Daquanji, and Shenpin Jiao Yi of 1425. Perhaps its modal characteristics are similar to those of Shenpin Jiao Yi, but on this see the comments under Lienü Yin.

18. 事林廣記﹕徵調 Zhi Diao in Shilin Guangji       (Listen to my recording 聽我的錄音) (I/19)
As with the Zhi Yi in Taiyin Daquanji, the tuning here seems to be considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6. However, in Shenpin Zhi Yi, as well as Zhi Yi and the three zhi mode melodies of 1425, my interpretation is 1 2 4 5 61 2. For me the zhi mode has seemed the most complex. (For more on this see Modality in early Ming Qin tablature.) Thus, although all three preludes end on the open 4th string, or open 2nd and 4th together, the modal characteristics do not seem to me to be quite the same. As for the melody itself, it is also very different from those of these other two preludes.

19. 事林廣記﹕羽調 Yu Diao in Shilin Guangji       (Listen to my recording 聽我的錄音) (I/19)
This prelude has more notes than any other modal prelude published in 1425 or earlier. The modal characteristics are similar to those of the Yu Yi in Taiyin Daquanji, and Shenpin Yu Yi of 1425, but otherwise the melodies seem unrelated.

20. Shilin Guangji: 13 sets of rules for playing qin (original text)
These rules are found in a number of early handbooks (see, for example, in Taiyin Daquanji, Folio 6, which seems verbatim but for some reason does not include #13). The entries are numbered here for convenience.

  1. 調琴指要
    一心不散亂 二審辨音律 三指法向背 四指下蠲凈 五用指不疊 六聲勢輕重 七節奏緩急 八高低起伏 九絃調平和 十左右朝揖

  2. 彈琴五功
    指法合宜 敲擊不雜 吟猱不露 起伏有序 作用有勢

  3. 十善
    淡欲合古 取欲中矩 輕欲不浮 重欲不麄 拘欲有權 逸欲自然 力欲不斍 縱欲自若 緩欲不斷 急欲不亂

  4. 五能
    坐欲安 視欲專 意欲閑 神欲鮮 指欲堅

  5. 九不詳
    不撫正聲 泛按失度 不調入弄 五音繁雜 指曲不直 緩急失度 不辨吟猱 不察草草 不按法度教人

  6. 五病
    布指拙惡 挑摘渾殽 取予不圓 節奏不成 走作猖狂

  7. 十疪
    太淡而拙 多取而雜 其輕如摸 其重如攫 其拘如怯 其逸若蹶 用力而艱 縱指而闌 其緩若昏 其急若奔

  8. 五繆
    頭足搖動 妄肆瞻視 錯亂中輟 精神散慢 下指疏懶 右彈琴者當立五功行十善習五能去九不詳治五病洗十疵戒五繆然後可與言琴矣

  9. 五不彈
    疾風甚雨不彈 廛市不彈 對俗子不彈 不坐不彈 不衣冠不彈 右五者所以尊其道而盡琴之理也

  10. 大病有七

  11. 小病有五

  12. 論十二病揔括

  13. 整琴要訣

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