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Zheyin Shizi Qinpu 浙音釋字琴譜
Qin Handbook of Music from the Zhejiang [School] Elucidated through Lyrics 1 <1491
  The opening pages are missing2        
At the beginning of the second folio of the only surviving copy of this very significant handbook is the statement "edited and interpreted by Antiquarian Gong Jing of Nanchang"; the tablature itself is thought to have come from the collection of Ming prince Zhu Dianpei, grandson of the compiler of Shen Qi Mi Pu, Zhu Quan. This surviving copy, originally preserved in the Tianyi Ge book collection in Ningbo,3 was missing some pages including at least four at the front (see footnote with the image at right). The 42 remaining pieces include 28 with tablature identical to that of pieces of the same titles in Shen Qi Mi Pu. The other 14 are in a similar style, but all 42 have had lyrics added.4 My CD Music Beyond Sound consists of the 12 complete pieces which are new or different, plus one of the two fragmentary pieces. My transcriptions of these 13 pieces have also been published.

General information concerning the book and the music.

  1. Complete Table of Contents of Zheyin Shizi Qinpu (plus missing melodies?)
  2. Table of Contents for Music Beyond Sound, with timings.
  3. Introduction to Zheyin Shizi Qinpu
  4. Original preface by Zha Fuxi
  5. Chinese lyrics from Zheyin Shizi Qinpu that can be applied to Shen Qi Mi Pu melodies
  6. CDs with melodies from Zheyin Shizi Qinpu;

Zheyin Shizi Qinpu melodies not in, or different from those in, Shen Qi Mi Pu
All but Qiao Ge are recorded in my CD
Music Beyond Sound; the number in brackets refers to Zheyin Shizi Qinpu.5

  1. (#5) Guan Ju (Cry of the Ospreys)
  2. (#6) Nanxun Ge (Song of Southern Breezes)
  3. (#7) Tiantai Yin (Mount Tiantai Prelude; Sections 1-2 only)
    (#8) Qiao Ge (Woodcutter's Song; sections 1 to 5 are missing)
  4. (#9) Yu Hui Tushan (Emperor Yu's Meeting at Mount Tu)
  5. (#10) Si Shun (Thinking of [Emperor] Shun)
  6. (#11) Shi Xian (Respect the Virtuous)
  7. (#12) Shanju Yin (Living in the Mountains)
  8. (#14) Yuge Diao (Melody of the Fisherman's Song)
  9. (#15) Yu Ge (Fisherman's Song)
  10. (#23) Wu Ye Ti (Evening Call of the Raven)
  11. (#24) Zhi Zhao Fei ([Paired] Pheasants Fly in the Morning)
  12. (#41) Qu Yuan Wen Du (Qu Yuan Asks for Advice)
  13. (#42) Yangguan Sandie (Thrice [Parting for] Yangguan)


Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Qin Handbook of Music from the Zhejiang [School] Elucidated through Lyrics
This handbook apparently survived only as an incomplete handcopy in the 天一閣 Tianyi Ge (further
below), an ancient book collection in Ningbo, but it is no longer there. Its title may suggest that the lyrics were not necessarily intended for singing, but to help heighten appreciation of the music. The pairing of lyrics and music follows what appears to have been the standard pairing method (with variations) of one character for each right hand stroke. In some cases this works quite well, but here it often leads to passages that are not singable in any recogizably aesthetic manner (further comment).

2. Opening page of the surviving Zheyin Shizi Qinpu
Copied from
Qin Qu Ji Cheng, Volume 1, p.203, where the copy indicates it is from page 5 of the handbook. See also speculation on the missing pages.

3. 天一閣 Tian Yi Ge (Wikipedia)
5961.9/10 Tian Yi Ge (Heaven First Pavilion) of the Fan family in Ningbo was a famous book collection started by the scholar 范欽 Fan Qin during the Ming dynasty Jiaqing era (1522/67). Ningbo is in Zhejiang province, about 100 km east of Hangzhou. The library still stands, about half a block northwest of Moon Lake, but with no books. I read that at one time the books had been transferred to the main library in Shanghai, but I believe Wu Zhao says the original from which the available Zheyin Shizi Qinpu was reprinted is now lost.

As yet I have not seen a study of how the book came to be here. It is interesting to speculate whether there is any connection between this fact and the fact the several important qin players connected to the "Xu tradition of the Zhe School" lived at 四明 Siming, which was near Ningbo.

4. Lyrics in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu
The lyrics are generally attributed to Zhu Dianpei, said to have been an accomplished poet.

5. Original Chinese titles
These are as follows:

  1. (#5) Guan Ju 關雎
  2. (#6) Nanxun Ge 南薰歌
  3. (#7) Tiantai Yin 天台引
    (#8) Qiao Ge 樵歌 (第一、第二段
  4. (#9) Yu Hui Tushan 禹會塗山
  5. (#10) Si Shun 思舜
  6. (#11) Shi Xian 師賢
  7. (#12) Shanju Yin 山居吟
  8. (#14) Yuge Diao 漁歌調
  9. (#15) Yuge 漁歌
  10. (#23) Wu Ye Ti 烏夜啼
  11. (#24) Zhi Zhao Fei 雉朝飛
  12. (#41) Qu Yuan Wen Du 屈原問渡
  13. (#42) Yangguan Sandie 陽關三疊

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