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59. Metamorphosis
- Shangjiao mode, standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, but played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 2
-- also called Diemeng Yin (Butterfly Dream)
神化引 1
Shenhua Yin

Shenhua Yin has the same basic theme as the other Shen Qi Mi Pu shangjiao mode piece, #60 Zhuangzhou Mengdie, with both titles being almost equally popular through 1802 (29 compared to 33 handbooks). However, whereas the Zhuangzhou Mengdie melodies seem to show a gradual development over the years, Shenhu Yin changed into (or was exchanged for) quite a new melody around 1600; after this the title refers almost exclusively to versions of this later melody.

In early handbooks Shenhua Yin is also called Diemeng You, Diemeng Yin4 and Quxu Yin;5 under all these names it survives in at least 32 handbooks to 1914.6 The first nine of these versions all have three sections and the melody may have originated as (or been shortened to be) a prelude for Zhuangzhou Meng Die.

However, starting around 1600 (see Zangchunwu Qinpu, 1602) a new and often much longer melody called Shenhua Yin emerged. As typified by the two versions in Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu, dated 1589 and 1609 respectively, almost all of these begin very much like the shangjiao modal prelude. Then, although the 1602 version has only two sections, its second section is very long, and in every other version with this opening these were broken up into smaller sections. These longer versions then had anywhere from five to 13 or more sections. They also had several titles in addition to Shenhua Yin. These include "Old Metamorphosis" (Gu Shenhua), in three handbooks;7 and "Autumn Waters" (Qiu Shui) in five handbooks.8 Most of these latter say that Qiu Shui is actually an alternate title for "Shenhua Qu"

Qinyuan Xinchuan Quanbian (1670), after its Shenhua Yin, included an Old Shenhua (Gu Shenhua) with 38 sections (QQJC XI/419). This is actually a version of a completely different melody, Yuhua Deng Xian.

Modally the Shenhua Yin in 1425 is somewhat ambiguous. As with other shangjiao mode pieces, the main note is do (1, gong), played on the open first string. However, it starts on a sharpened do, emphasizing that at the beginning the mode is based on la treated as do. It then switches to do natural still based on la before moving the tonal center to do. This is something lost in later versions.

Zhu Quan's preface to #60 Zhuangzhou Mengdie gives details of the famous story.

There is a recording by Xie Daoxiu of a standard later version of Shen Hua Yin, said to be from a now-lost Gugang Yipu.9 (Guangdong school).

Original Preface 10

The Emaciated Immortal says

the flavor of this piece has the idea of gracefully casting off the dust and dregs (of society). (The player's) spirit and body all transform, and he imagines himself floating unconsciously among trees, springs and large hills, where bees and butterflies flutter about, and in forgetting (oneself) beyond the realm of objective existence.

Music (Timings are from my recording)
Three sections; titles are from Zheyin Shizi Qinpu11

(00.00) 1. Gracefully
(00.30) 2. Cast off the dust (of society)
(01.05) 3. The body transforms (into spirit)
(01.58) Piece ends (no harmonics indicated)

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Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 神化引 Shenhua Yin references
25211.33 only 神化 shenhua: 變化神妙也. References are to the Yi Jing, Huainanzi, etc., with no mention of Zhuangzi.

2. Shangjiao Mode (商角調 shangjiao diao)
For further information see
Shenpin Shangjiao Yi and Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

4. 蝶夢吟 Diemeng Yin and 蝶夢遊 Diemeng You
34086.51 diemeng has the Zhuangzi story but nothing on music.
Zha Guide lists these only as variant titles of Shenhua Yin.

5. 籧栩吟 Quxu Yin (Zha Guide 19/--/--)
In the story Zhuangzi is xuxuran (栩栩然) butterfly then ququran (籧籧然) Zhuangzi; (33299.33 蘧蘧然 has nothing on music and 27379. 籧 has nothing). This title is used only in 1625.

6. Tracing 神化引 Shen Hua Yin (tracing chart)
Zha's Guide 9/95/146 lists most of the 32 handbooks from 1425 to 1914. The tracing chart shows clearly how around 1600 the melody changed significantly; some of the later versions were called Qiu Shui (see below).

7. Old Metamorphosis (古神化 Gu Shenhua) (Zha Guide 30/233/--)
This seems to be an extended version of the new Shenhua Yin. The version from 1812 makes this most clear, but the first six sections of 1609 and 1623 are also related to the new Shenhua Yin.

Zha Guide 30/233/-- lists four handbooks with this title:

The title suggests that this extended version of Shenhua Yin is older than the more common shorter one. This may be true, but I don't know of any evidence to support this claim.

8. Autumn Streams (秋水 Qiu Shui) (Zha Guide 32/245/--)
"Qiu Shui" is the title of Chapter 17 of the book of Zhuangzi This title can be found in an early Ming dynasty melody list, where it is said to be an alternate title for 雲竹偈 Yunzhu Ji. However, the earliest surviving tablature is the Qiu Shui published in 1647 (QQJC X/123); written under the title is "即神化曲 the same as Shenhua Qu". A reconstruction of this melody as published in 1647 is available in a silk string recording by Wang Duo. The Zha Guide 32/345/-- lists it in five handbooks from 1647 to 1876, but a related melody also exists throughout this period under the titles Shenhua Yin and Shenhua Qu, so in the tracing chart they are all considered together. There are some modern recordings of Qiu Shui, apparently based on the 1876 Qiu Shui, but I am not sure whether this version is a handed down one or a reconstructed one.

Qiu Shui, like Shenhua Yin is in shangjiao mode, and in fact the first section of the 1647 Qiu Shui is clearly a version of the 1425 shangjiao modal prelude, with the first two of its nine sections being very similar to Section One of the Shenhua Yin published in 1589. However, beyond this the overall musical relationship to Shenhua Yin is not yet clear.

This Qiu Shui has no connection to Qiushui Nong, given as an alternative title for Dao Yi and, in one case, for Yueshang Cao.

9. 古岡遺譜 Gugang Yipu

10. Original Chinese preface

11. Original Chinese section titles
These are:
    1. 飄然
    2. 塵脫
    3. 物化

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Appendix: Chart Tracing 神化引 Shenhua Yin
Further comment
above (compare the Zhuangzhou Meng Die chart)

This chart is based mainly on these entries in Zha Fuxi's Guide

神化引 Shenhua Yin (9/95/146; includes 神化吟, 神化, 蝶夢吟, 蝶夢遊)
神化曲 Shenhua Qu (38/--/--)
籧栩吟 Quxu Yin (19/--/--)
古神化引 Gu Shenhua Yin (30/233/--)

    (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/172 [here])
3; "also called Diemeng Yin"; no closing harmonic coda;
Begins 無名十一勾五,大十一勾六....1# 3 3 3, repeat, 5 6 5 3 2 6 3....
  2.  浙音釋字琴譜
      (<1491; I/227)
3TL; "also called Diemeng You";
music same as 1425 but adds lyrics ("神化飄然,風月神仙。鶴氅蹁躚....")
  3. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/126)
"籧栩吟 Quxu Yin"; similar to 1425
Begins 大十勾五,大十一勾六....2 3 3 3, repeat....
  4. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/221)
3; "also called Diemeng Yin";
same as 1425
  5. 步虛僊琴譜
      (1556; Facs #23
3; similar to 1425
Begins 無名十二勾六,大十勾五....1 3 5 3, repeat....
  6. 太音傳習
      (1552; IV/108)
3; like 1425 but omits a few ornaments
  7. 太音補遺
      (1557; III/355)
3; 神化吟; same as 1552
   . 新刊正文對音捷要
      (1573; #44)
Meng Die; same as 1585?
  8. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/416)
3T; "also called Die Meng You"; titles diff. from 1591 but lyrics almost same;
music quite diff.; begins 無名十三勾三,大十跳五....5 2 5 2
  9. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/69)
3; SHY; music still related but rather different;
Music begins 中十勾五,無名十一勾六.... 2 3 3 343 4 2 1 5....
10a. 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1589; VII/165)
Shenhua Yin; 7; S1 starts like 1602 S1 (compare SPSJY) but then very different;
Begins, "大九急跳五,食九急跳二,省,急大圓....36 36363 6 1 1,...."
10b. 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1609; VII/214)
Gu Shenhua Yin; 13; preface "是曲已鐫 already cut off"; this version is not in 1589;
S1-S3 similar to the piece before it (p.165); S4 to S6 missing but see 1623
11. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/418)
2 (S2 very long); S1 very much like SPSJY;
2nd section begins 中七勾五,無名七勾六,大六七六,.... 6 1 2 3 3 5 6 6 6,....
12. 陽春堂琴譜
      (1611; VII/421)
5; also starts like SPSJY: compare 1602;
13a. 松絃館琴譜
      (1614; VIII/156)
"Shenhua Yin, 5 duan, Shou Duan" (1st of 5 sections?)
Like Section 1 of most long Shenhua Yin (compare next)
13b. 松絃館琴譜
      (1614; VIII/157)
"Shenhua Yin"; 5 sections; combine with p.156 & compare 7 section Shenhua Yin of 1673;
Begins 散拂一至六,大六七抹七 124561 336(?) 33 3 3 3333....
14a. 樂仙琴譜
      (1623; VIII/405)
5; Shenhua Yin; compare 1602/1611
14b. 樂仙琴譜
      (1623; VIII/413)
13; Gu Shenhua Yin;
Preface and tablature almost same as 1609
15. 太音希聲
      (1625; IX/216)
7TL; music related to these later versions;
Lyrics begin rather like 1491, "神化飄然風月仙,飄飄鶴氅蹁躚...." then are much expanded
16a. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/125)
9; 1st of 5 秋水 Qiu Shui: "即神化曲 same as Shenhua Qu", or "a piece about metamorphosis";
Begins "大九跳五,不動,中九綽勾二,省,大圓七聲....6 3 63 6 3 6 ...."
16b. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/128)
5; Shenhua Yin; compare 1614#2;
Begins 散拂一至六,大六半綽抹七,省.... 124561 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3....
    . 徽言秘旨訂
      (1692; facs/)
Copies of 1647 Qiu Shui and Shenhua Yin?
17. 愧庵琴譜
      (1660; XI/37)
9; related
no image
18. 臣奔堂琴譜
      (1663/5; XI/102)
Shen Hua; 13; related
19a. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/424)
9; "originally 7 sections...."
"afterword: avoid open 3rd, which is not gong....(q.v.)"
19b. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/427)
Gu Shenhua; 37!!!; short sections; forward and afterword; not related;
Post-afterword comments on making it, says also called Yuhua Deng Xian
20. 大還閣琴譜
      (1673; X/430)
1614 Shou Duan + Shenhua Yin
21. 德音堂琴譜
      (1691; XII/579)
8; related
22. 琴譜析微
      (1692; XIII/123)
7; related
23a. 誠一堂琴譜
      (1705; XIII/413)
12; Shenhua Qu; compare 1647#1
23b. 誠一堂琴譜
      (1705; XIII/416)
5; Shenhua Yin; compare 1647#2
24. 五知齋琴譜
      (1722; XIV/549)
10; related;
"熟派 Changshou School"; "by Zhuangzi"
25. 臥雲樓琴譜
      (1722; XV/116)
7; related
26. 琴學練要
      (1739; XVIII/130)
13; "gong yin", but related;
治心齋琴譜; afterword begins, "譚子曰...."
27. 春草堂琴譜
      (1744; XVIII/227)
16; 秋水 Qiu Shui; 黃鐘均 Huangzhong Jun; "用中呂均彈,宮音" but related;
Afterword says also called Shenhua Yin; 徐太珍 Xu Taizhen of Hangzhou played it
28. 蘭田館琴譜
      (1755; XVI/270)
9; lowered 3rd string tuning but related;
Afteword says originally standard tuning
29. 琴香堂琴譜
      (1760; XVII/149)
9; shangjiao; related
30. 自遠堂琴譜
      (1802; XVII/364)
10; gongdiao zhiyin; related
31a. 小蘭琴譜
      (1812; XIX/441)
7; shangjiao; related
31b. 小蘭琴譜
      (1812; XIX/441)
13; Gu Shenhua;
Begins with section 8, saying 1-7 are same as Shenhua Yin
32. 琴譜諧聲
      (1820; XX/168)
16; 秋水 Qiu Shui; 變宮宮 Biangong, gong;
"Originally began 大九跳五,中九勾二,大圓...."
33. 悟雪山房琴譜
      (1836; XXII/434)
10; shangjiao; related;
"From Gugang Yipu"
34a. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/293)
5; Shenhua Yin; "= 1705"
34b. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/394)
16; Qiu Shui; "= 1744"
35. 詩夢齋琴譜
not in Qinqu Jicheng

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