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48. Epic Virtue
- Huangzhong mode:2 1 3 5 6 1 2 3 )
大雅 1
Da Ya  
"Created by the Duke of Zhou" 3        
Da Ya, translated literally as "correct with beautiful virtue", is the title of part three of the four traditional divisions of the Book of Songs,4 a collection of 303 ancient song texts which Confucius and his school made so much use of (often by finding wild allegorical meanings to support their moral positions) that they came to be attributed to Confucius himself either as composer or compiler.

There are no early references to Da Ya as a qin melody. However, the title can be found in at least 43 handbooks to 1894, all in this huangzhong tuning.5 The first five, to 1539, are all very similar, but then (skipping Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu [1585] with its usual idiosyncratic adaptation to lyrics) from 1589 it becomes a vaguely related but new melody, the basis for all future surviving versions.

The Da Ya section of the Book of Songs has 31 song texts divided into three sections. In the translation by Xu Yuanzhong,6 the title Da Ya is rendered as Book of Epics. These songs record the historic deeds and comment on the lives of such people as the early Zhou heroes Wen Wang (Civil Prince), his brother Wu Wang (Martial Prince), and Wen Wang's son Zhou Gong,7 as well as many of their ancestors and descendants. Most of these events took place in the vicinity of modern Xi'an.

Because of the status of the Book of Songs, throughout later Chinese history various efforts were made to apply music to the lyrics in styles thought to be authentic. Zhu Quan may be referring to documents of such efforts made during the Tang and/or Song dynasties.

There seems to be a suggestion in Zhu Quan's preface to this piece that its music came from outside the qin repertoire, as though there was then in existance music (court music?) in separate Xiao Ya and Da Ya styles. To my knowledge there is no way to examine the significance of this suggestion.

One of Zhu Quan's Palace Poems,8 originally published in 1408, mentions Da Ya:

The orbiting Milky Way and Big Dipper hang above the distant window lattice,
A kingfisher on the window screen, the night has not ended.
Three times the qin plays Da Ya,
The screen and the bright moon come together in the middle of the palace.

In addition to my own there is also a recording of the SQMP Da Ya by Wu Wenguang.9

Original Preface10

The Emaciated Immortal says

this piece was created by Zhou Gong. In general, when Zhou Gong was building the basics of the nation, he put great value in people of the same clan; in order that all under heaven be one family, he used relatives to rule them. As a result a situation didn't arise where outsiders could cause an overthrow, and he was able establish a kingdom which lasted 867 years; this is why his reign was the longest one ever without collapsing. (A preface to) the Shi Jing says, "Ya (elegant) means zheng (correct)." Songs of correct music (in the Shi Jing) are divided into Da (Great) and Xiao (Small) Ya. At first the Confucians distinguished between zheng (correct) and bian (altered) (versions of Da Ya and Xiao Ya). Zheng Xiao Ya was Music of Inviting Guests to Dinner; Zheng Da Ya was (both) Music of Imperial Audience, and words for prayers in (royal) ancestral worship. The happiness and harmony fulfilled the emotions of all the king's subjects; the respectfulness and solemnity made known the virtue of previous kings. Because the lyric styles were not the same, and the musical rhythms were also different, hence there was a difference between Da Ya and Xiao Ya. I have thus cut off and discarded Xiao Ya's Inviting Guests to Dinner music, using only the music of Da Ya's correct sounds and editing them for publication.

Nine sections:

(00.00) 1. Respecting the Zhou (dynasty)
(00.36) 2. The king flourishes
(01.23) 3. Establishing the basics of a country
(02.04) 4. Valuing people of the same surname
(02.35) 5. His descendants last 100 generations
(02.56) 6. Meeting 100 palace officials
(03.35) 7. Assembling all the nobles
(04.02) 8. They come from the myriad territories
(04.39) 9. The Decree of Heaven is with the Zhou dynasty.
(05.31) -- harmonics (two notes)
(05.42) -- Piece ends

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Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Da Ya大雅
5960.1273 大雅, besides discussing its position in the Book of Songs, says "zheng er you mei de" ( 正而有美德 ).

2. Huangzhong Tuning/Mode
Zhu Quan repeats the tuning method here for some (or no) reason. This is, for Wuyi (or Huangzhong) mode tuning, slacken 1st, tighten 5th strings each a half step. For more details on this mode see Shenpin Wuyi Yi. For more on modes in general see Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

3. Image: Zhou Gong
The image is from Sancai Tuhui. It is not clear how the authors came up with their "historical" images of people.

4. Four sections of the Book of Poems
These four, following the standard order, are (see also a footnote below),

  1. Book of Lyrics (Guo Feng 國風 ); 160 poems in 15 sections;
  2. Book of Odes (Xiao Ya 小雅 ); 74 poems in 7 sections;
  3. Book of Epics (Da Ya 大雅 ); 31 poems in 3 sections;
  4. Book of Hyms (Song 頌 ); 40 poems in 5 sections.

In addition there are various prefaces and other commentaries never translated. One such preface is the source of the quote given by Zhu Quan, "Ya means Zheng (雅者正也)." His next sentence seems to be sayin that sections two and three are together considered "Songs of correct music (正樂之歌)".

5. Tracing Da Ya (tracing chart)
See Zha Fuxi's Guide 8/80/131; two have lyrics. My comments about the "vague relationship" between the first five versions and those beginning in 1589 is based on a casual examination of the later versions: more research is needed to explain more precisely how close or how distant the early and later versions were, not to mention the need for better descriptions of the differences in the later versions.

6. An Unexpurgated Translation of the Book of Songs, Translated, Versified and Annotated; Beijing, Panda Books, 1994. See Introduction, p.24.

7. 周公 Zhou Gong (Wiki)
12th c. BCE; brother of Wu Wang, generally considered to have been the first ruler of the Zhou dynasty.

8. Zhu Quan's Palace Poems
A modern edition includes 70 poems.
(Original lyrics: 銀潢斗轉掛疏櫺,翡翠窗紗夜未扃。三弄琴聲彈大雅,一簾明月到中庭。)

9. Recordings
The program notes on the CD (Liezi Yufeng, ROI RA-001005C) say he did the reconstruction in 1980.

10. Preface
For the original Chinese text see 大雅.

11. Music
For the original Chinese section titles see 大雅.
(Return) Return to the top

Appendix: Chart Tracing 大雅 Da Ya
Further comment
above; based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide, 8/80/131.

    (year; QQJC Vol/page)
Further information
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
  1.  神奇秘譜
      (1425; I/164 [here])
9T; HZD; only Sec. 1 has harmonics;
Begins (harmonics) 七徽勾二、四、五、二 ....   (3 6 1 3, 6 5 3 6, 1 3 3....)
  2.  浙音釋字琴譜
      (<1491; I/246)
9TL; identical to 1425 but adds lyrics
Preface copies 1425 then adds an exclamation at the end
  3. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/216)
9T; a bit different: "corrected" version of 1525?
Two section titles are different: #1 is 尊周室; #7 is 合百辟
  4. 發明琴譜
      (1530; I/374)
9; HZD; same as 1425 but no section titles
  5. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/357)
9; HZD; same as 1425
  6. 新刊正文對音捷要
      (1573; #27)
Same as 1585?
  7. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/433)
9TL; HZD; Begin in harmonics; lyrics = 1491 (q.v.) but music diff; first three notes unreadable;
Related to but very different from previous and later versions; only first section is in harmonics
  8. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/73)
8; HZD; begins 七徽勾二、四、四、三、二、四 .... 3 6 6 5 3 6, repeat...;
Begins S2 w/ a gunfu; gradually more diff from 1425; harmonics for S1 & S4
  9. 琴書大全
      (1590; V/520)
10; HZD; also very diff., but as with many later versions:
S1 and S4 are in harmonics, S1 begins gun 7 to 3, S2 begins with a gunfu
10. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/423)
Identical to 1589
11. 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1609; VII/219)
HZD; 11; not in 1589 edition; like 1590 but:
S1 begins zhai 7 to 3, S2 begins fu then gunfu, S1 & S4 still harmonics
12. 陽春堂琴譜
      (1611; VII/437)
太古正音欽佩; 9; HZ;
Begins like 1589
13. 樂仙琴譜
      (1623; VIII/420)
11; HZD; like 1590
14. 太音希聲
      (1625; IX/212)
10TL; HZD; like 1590
15. 古音正宗
      (1634; IX/351)
10; HZD; afterword;
like 1590 but harmonics in S1 and S5
16. 義軒琴經
      (late Ming; IX/451)
9?; HZD; compare 1589;
S6 - end are missing; S2 & S3 combined; harmonics S1 and S3
17. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/209)
11; HZD; like 1609
18. 徽言秘旨訂
      (1692; fac/)
Same as 1647?
19. 友聲社琴譜
      (early Qing; XI/160)
11; HZD; "奠譜" => "鄭譜 Zheng tablature"
S1 opens differently; S2 begins in middle of former S1; harmonics at S1, S4 & S9
20. 臣奔堂琴譜
      (1663/5; XI/109)
11; HZD;
Structure like previous but not identical
21a. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/410)
9T; HZD; preface; comments in sections;
Like 1590
21b. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/526)
9T; HZD; forward and afterword; section titles same as p.410;
"音研本"; music related but different; harmonics in S1 & S5
22. 松風閣琴瑟譜
      (1677?; XII/448)
10; HZD; "tablature of Zhou Wen Wang"; se tablature p. 452
S1 starts like 1585; harmonics only in S1
23. 澄鑒堂琴譜
      (1689; XIV/349)
10; HZD; compare 1590
24. 德音堂琴譜
      (1691; XII/581)
12; HZD; compare 1590
25. 琴瑟合璧
      (1691; XIII/16)
11; HZD; adds gongche as well as se part;
Compare 1677
26. 誠一堂琴譜
      (1705; XIII/418)
12; HZD; compare 1590
27. 東園琴譜
      (172?; XV/174)
12; HZD;
S1 & S4 harmonics
28. 琴學練要
      (1739; XVIII/199)
11T; 無射均 WYJ (HZD?); harmonics S1 & S5
29. 春草堂琴譜
      (1744; XVIII/278)
12; WYJ; begins dayuan 4th and 2nd strings; harmonics S1 & S4
30. 穎陽琴譜
      (1751; XVI/133)
13; HZD; S1 begins zhai 7-3; harmonics S1 & S5
31. 研露樓琴譜
      (1766; XVI/519)
10; HZD; compare 1590
32. 龍吟閣秘本琴譜
      (n.d.; XVIII/342)
10; HZD; compare 1590
33. 自遠堂琴譜
      (1802; XVII/486)
10; 徵調,宮音 but p.479 says old name HZD;
compare 1590
34. 小蘭琴譜
      (1812; XIX/460)
13; 黃鐘音 HZY; harmonics only 1st part of S1
comments with some sections
35. 鄰鶴齋琴譜
      (1830; XXI/62)
12; tighten 5 lower 1; harmonics S1 and S5;
begins 2nd string, 4th string, repeat
36. 二香琴譜
      (1833; XXIII/172)
10; tighten 5 lower 1 宮音; harmonics S1 & S3;
begins dayuan 4th and 2nd strings
37. 律話
      (1833; XXI/471)
10; wuyi gong HZD;
copy of 1833, adding note names
38. 悟雪山房琴譜
      (1836; XXII/398)
12; WYJ GY; compare 1590
39. 稚雲琴譜
      (1849; XXIII/376)
12T; HZD; harmonics S1 and S5
begins li 7th to 3rd
40. 蕉庵琴譜
      (1868; XXVI/94)
10; HZD; compare 1590
41. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/601)
"From 1702" but not there; 12T; 無射調 wuyi diao;
music & section titles like 1739 but splits 1739 #11 in two; many diff. in music
42. 天籟閣琴譜
      (1876; XXI/210)
10; HZD; compare 1590
43. 琴學初津
      (1894; XXVIII/387)
仲呂變調宮音; each section has comments about its theme/significance;
Made by consulting 1802 and listening to 桐先生 Mr. Tong

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