Wen Yang
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02. North of the Wen
- shang mode ( 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 ) 2
Wen Yang
This melody, the second of
five surviving from Wusheng Qinpu (1453), is generally said to have been created by the handbook's author/compiler, the Lazy Immortal. However, there is no commentary accompanying the present tablature (the only one with commentary is #3 Xian Shan Yue), and there is evidence that at least some other melodies may have been copied from earlier tablature.4

Wen Yang literally means "North of the Wen", a river in Shandong province running east to west, with Mount Tai to the north and Qufu, the hometown of Confucius, to the south. On the south side of the river, within the state of Lu, there was also a place called Bi.5 On the north side, where there is today a Wenyang distict, was the state of Qi.

However, the use of Wenyang as the title here does concern any of the physical features of the place of this name. Instead it is used an allusion to making a clever excuse to avoid office and go into reclusion. This allusion comes from the following passage in The Analects (Lun Yu, Book 6, Section 9, original text here).6

The Ji family wanted to appoint Min Ziqian custodian of Bi. Min Ziqian said, "Politely decline on my behalf. And if they come for me again, I will certainly be on the other side of the Wen River.

Because the Wen River formed the boundary between the states of Lu to the south and Qi to the north, Min Ziqian was saying that he would move to another state so that he could not be called to office by someone he considered as an illegitimate or corrupt ruler.

Original Preface
None (but see the story above).

Music (transcription)
Eight Sections (untitled)

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 汶陽 Wen Yang references
For references see :

Min Ziqian 閔子騫 Min Ziqian was one of Confucius' favorite disciples, original name Min Sun 閔損 (Wiki). There is also an account of him in Qin Shi, where he is called simply Minzi.

2. Shang mode (商調 shang diao)
Standard tuning is usually considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6. There is further information on shang mode under Shenpin Shang Yi and Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature. However, the mode here seems somewhat different. In particular it does not have the flatted mi that are common in other early Ming dynasty shang mode melodies. A number of phrases end on re (shang), however most sections end on sol (zhi) and the entire piece ends on do (gong).

4. Earliest?
See comments on #1 Chun Yu and #3 Xian Shan Yue.

5. 費 Bi
37565 fei is "wastrel" but pronounced Bi it is 地名 the name of a place in Lu.

6. It seems to be Section 9 in some editions. (Return)

Return to the Wusheng Qinpu ToC or to the Guqin ToC.