T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
33. Celestial Air Defining Jiao Mode
- standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 ;2 when referring to a note 角 is usually pronounced "jue"
神品角意 1
Shenpin Jiao Yi 3 

Jiao modal preludes may have a variety of names. The ones covered here are listed above the chart tracing these preludes. They include a number of melodies intended to introduce characteristics of jiao mode or, in some cases, the modal characteristics and melodic style of the pieces following it.4 These range from those almost identical to the one here, to ones with melodies that seem unrelated. There are jiao modal preludes in at least 25 handbooks from 1425 to 1670, but after this there are very few.5 The later ones include several repeats from Ming handbooks (usually grouped together rather than placed separately at the beginning of their respective modal sections) and the new Yuyin Chudiao published in 1876. Several of the preludes have lyrics.6

Although there is quite a variety of melodies within these preludes, the tonal characteristics seem generally consistent throughout the Ming dynasty;7 some exceptions are noted in the tracing chart below. For more information on such modal characteristics see also Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

The primary tonal center in Shen Qi Mi Pu jiao mode melodies is the relative pitch gong (1, do); the secondary tonal centers are jiao (3, mi) and yu (6, la). The open third string plays the note gong; this string is named "jiao". It is tempting to think that there is a connection between the fact that these melodies are placed in the jiao mode and the fact that their primary tonal center is on the string called jiao, plus a secondary tonal center is the relative note jiao. However, I have never seen any other commentary to this effect. Instead, some later melodies seem to be included under the jiao mode simply because they end on the string jiao, even though the note jiao does not seem to have played a significant role.

At present I have learned six melodies in this mode:

From Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425):

#33 Shenpin Jiao Yi (compare 1525 #52)
#34 Ling Xu Yin (compare 1525 #57)
#35 Liezi Yu Feng. (compare 1525 #58)

From Xilutang Qintong (1525):

#52 Jiao Yi
#53 Mengji Yin
#54 Cangwu Yuan

Two other Xilutang Qintong melodies listed under jiao mode that I have reconstructed seem to fit better into zhi mode (see comment). These are:

  1. #63 Lienü Yin
  2. #64 Cai Zhen You (as previous)

As yet I have not found an explanation as to why these two particular melodies were classified as in jiao mode rather than zhi mode melodies (comment).

Although the two Shen Qi Mi Pu pieces seem to have been quite popular in the Ming dynasty, the mode was not used very much otherwise. The above Xilutang Qintong melodies are found only in that handbook.

Only two Ming dynasty handbooks list more than three or four jiao mode melodies:

  1. Xilutang Qintong (1525) lists 13 entries (#s 52-64) under jiao. These can be grouped as follows:
  2. Guyin Zhengzong (1634) lists six entries (#s 24-29). However, quite of few of these also seem to be in a different mode (e.g., #24 Yan Luo Pingsha seems to fit better the yu mode).

Two other significant melodies included within jiao mode are:

Jishan Qiu Yue
Ba Jiu Wen Yue (a song)

To sum up, the main reason for confusion on jiao mode melodies seems to be the fact that, although for most of the melody the note jiao may not be important, they often end on the jiao string played as do (1).

Original preface8

One section

(00.33) -- harmonics
(00.48) -- Modal prelude ends

Return to the Shen Qi Mi Pu ToC or to the Guqin ToC.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Shenpin Jiao Yi 神品角意
35831.43 角音 jiao yin says "spring dream sound" but has no jiao diao.

2. Jiao mode (角調 jiao diao) characteristics
See also Qin Tunings, some theoretical concepts and Van Gulik's comments in Lore, pp.86-7. Here Van Gulik says the diaoyi include all the basic playing techniques used in that mode, but I have not found this to be the case.

As for the pronunciation of 角 , my teacher Sun Yü-Ch'in pronounced this "jiao" and this is the way I usually pronounce it, though most people today say "jue". Its original meaning is "horn".

3. No image yet selected

4. Intention of the modal preludes
Some modal preludes may have been created specifically for the pieces they precede; such preludes, according to some definitations, should have been called kaizhi.

5. Tracing Jiao modal preludes
See chart below. Of the versions available after 1670, those in 1715 and 1871 seem to copy Ming editions while the Jiaoyin Chudiao published in 1876 is a new melody.

6. Lyrics for jiao modal preludes
Zha Guide copies the lyrics from several handbooks, including:

Compare the latter with this ci poem attributed to 秦觀 Qin Guan,

香篆暗消鸞鳳,畫屏縈遶瀟湘。    (寶篆...?)

See also another poem.

7. Traditional examination of mode
The comment about modal consistency is a tentative statement based mainly on looking at Ming dynasty handbooks. In the Qing dynasty there is often discussion of 調 diao as well as an 音 yin, or a 均 jun as well as an 音 yin. These presumably concern the two basic aspects of diao, tuning and mode, but my preliminary observations suggest these terms are not used consistently, and as yet I have not played or examined a sufficient number of Qing melodies given these attributes to know precisely how the terms are used.

One possible problem is that over the years the musical characteristics of a piece might change but the old mode name is kept.

8. Preface to the jiao modal prelude
Although SQMP modal preludes have no prefaces, those in Zheyin (which all have identical music) do. Those in Zheyin are almost identical to those in Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585), and so the latter can be used to reconstruct the former when they are missing. Thus the preface to the jiao modal prelude was probably as follows:

考之角數六十有四聲,陰中之少陽,清濁之間也。 位於三弦專之,而為角調。有清寂之音。
Jiao Mode:
(Not yet translated)

9. Music for the jiao modal prelude
Timings follow my recording. Note that the lyrics from the version in 1585 can be sung here, suggesting this prelude might also have been in the original edition of Zheyin Shizi Qinpu (see also the further comments on missing pages).

Chart Tracing 角 Jiao Modal Preludes

This chart covers the following entries from Zha Fuxi's Guide:

Shenpin Jiao Yi (5/55/--)
Jiao Yi (1/7/8; includes Jiao Yi Kao)
Jiao Diao (1/-/5)
Jiaoyin Chudiao (42/274/--)

All treat tuning as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 , but 3rd string is called "jiao". Some have lyrics, as indicated.

    (year; QQJC Vol/page)
Further information
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
  1.  事林廣記
      (Song/Yuan; I/19)
角調 Jiao Diao; melody related to closing of Lienü Yin; begins 3 4 6 6 6, 5 3 (3 4 6 6 6?), 3 4 2 3 3 3 5 3 2 1....; longer, but still no harmonic coda; emphasizes 3 and 6, but ends on 2
  2.  太音大全集
      (Song/Yuan; I/102)
角意 Jiao Yi; begins 6 6 6 6, 4 6 4 6 , 1 2 6 2 6 6 61 2....; generally avoids 3 and 3rd string; no harmonic coda; "jiao because ends on 3rd string (called jiao)? See further comment.
  3.  神奇秘譜
      (1425; I/148 [here])
神品角意 Shenpin Jiao Yi; quite different from above: begins 1 3 6 1 1 2 3 3 3, 1 1 3 5 1 3.... other two phrases end on 1 then 6; harmonic coda has 2 phrases, ending on 2 then 1. So main note = gong (jiao string); the note jiao (mi) is also important
      (<1491; I/--)
Was probably in original edition but is missing: lyrics of 1585 fit 1425 melody using the normal pairing method (see comment)
  4. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/129)
角意 Jiao Yi; begins 1 3 5 6 6 1, 1 2 3 1 5 3 3 3....;
More elaborate (and melodic?) than 1425 (listen to my recording)
  5. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/214)
神品角意 Shenpin Jiao Yi; Starts 3 1 31 3 1 3, 1 7 (?) 6 6 6, 3 5 6 1 1 1 1 2 3....;
Tonal center still do, with jiao important, but very different from the above
  6. 梧岡琴譜
      (1546; I/424)
神品角意 Shenpin Jiao Yi; quite similar to 1425;
(Adds a few notes, takes away a few others; omits indication of 3 harmonic notes)
  7. 步虛僊琴譜
      (1556; III/--)
角意 Jiao Yi; in Facsimile edition #19
Folio III; another variant on 1425
  8. 太音傳習
      (1552-61; IV/103)
角意 Jiao Yi
Like 1546
  9. 太音補遺
      (1557; III/352)
角意考 Jiao Yi Kao
Same as 1546 but adds preface
10. 琴譜正傳
      (1561; II/430)
神品角意 Shenpin Jiao Yi;
Identical to 1546
11. 龍湖琴譜
      (1571; 琴府/252)
神品角意 Shenpin Jiao Yi; lyrics same as 1585; musically very different from 1425 (and 1585);
Begins 5 1 3 2 1 1 7 62, 3 5 6 5 66.... (see next)
12. 五音琴譜
      (1579; IV/226)
神品角意 Shenpin Jiao Yi; begins 5 1 51 5 1 5 3 2 1 1 7 6 3 5 5....
Compare beginning of 1571; later quite different
13a. 新刊正文對音
      捷要 (1573; --)
See in ToC: identical to 1585?
13b. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/412)
角意 Jiao Yi; preface; starts 5 5 5 5 1 5__5 , 1 2 3 5__5.... (__ = 吟上下);
Lyrics could be used for 1491? Mi not important; no apparent relation to earlier ones .
14. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/46)
神品角意 Shenpin Jiao Yi; starts like 1539;
Stronger emphasis on mi
15. 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1589; VII/98)
角意考 Jiao Yi Kao; lyrics very similar to 1585;
Music closer to 1425 (begins 1 5 6 1 1 2 3 3 3....)
16. 琴書大全
      (1590; V/500)
神品角意 Shenpin Jiao Yi;
Quite different again; partial decimal system!? (6.2 on 7th)
17. 文會堂琴譜
      (1596; VI/232)
角意 Jiao Yi;
Another interpretation (starts open 3 stopped 7th at 9)
18. 綠綺新聲
      (1597; VII/12)
角意 Jiao Yi; lyrics begin "東風吹拂輕揚...." (diff from 1585 etc but same rhymes);
Music seems like new composition (1 1 2 7 6 5 5....); no apparent emphasis on mi
19. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/359)
神品角意 Shenpin Jiao Yi.
Identical to 1589
20. 三才圖會續集
      (1607; VI/474)
角意 Jiao Yi; lyrics almost same as 1585: music also seems almost same;
21. 陽春堂琴譜
      (1611; VII/390)
角意 Jiao Yi
Music begins 1 3 5 6 1 1 2 3,.... (similar to earlier versions)
22. 琴適
      (1611; VIII/20)
角意 Jiao Yi;
Same music and almost same lyrics as 1597
23. 樂仙琴譜
      (1623; VIII/369)
角意考 Jiao Yi; same preface, lyrics and music as 1589
(except that preface begins "白門泗泉曰...." instead of "白門桐菴曰....")
24. 義軒琴經
      (late Ming; IX/429)
角意 Jiao Yi
Very similar to 1546 (but has the harmonic indication missed there)
25. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/363)
神品角意 Shenpin Jiao Yi
Like 1425 but not identical; afterword ("角為民...")
26. 琴學正聲
      (1715; XIV/54)
角調 Jiao Diao; lyrics almost same as 1585;
Music almost same as 1425 and 1670
27. 青箱齋琴譜
      (~1866; XXIV/387)
Jiao Yi; lyrics same as 1597
Music also from 1597
28. 白菡萏香館琴譜;
      (1871; XXIV/430)
Jiao Yi
Seems to be from 1611 Jiao Yi
29. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/313)
角音初調 Jiaoyin Chudiao; see comment
New unrelated melody  

Return to the Shen Qi Mi Pu ToC or to the Guqin ToC.