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01. Cry of the Ospreys
- Zhi mode, standard tuning: 2   1 2 4 5 6 1 2
關雎 1
Guan Ju
An osprey 3          
The title of this melody comes from the title of the first poem in the over 2,500 year-old Book of Songs (Shi Jing), but whereas the Guan Ju Qu in Taigu Yiyin (1511) sets the whole poem (and the next four poems) word for word, here the lyrics are quite different. Here they form not so much the love song of the original first poem as they do as a political commentary, with the marriage of Wen Wang and his queen symbolizing the harmony of society under his rule.4

Here only section six directly quotes the Shi Jing poem, but it actually sets to music less than half the original (compare 1511, which sets the entire poem).5 What the present version includes is only as follows:

"Guan, guan," trill the ospreys,
On the island in the creek.
Modest is the gentle beauty,
Fine for the gentleman to seek.

He seeks but cannot get her,
he thinks of her day and night.
Twisting and turning in his plight.   (not "Sad and anxious thoughts")
Twisting and turning in his plight.

Other than these four-character phrases the lyrics are in phrases of irregular length.

It was common within the qin tradition to attribute Guan Ju to Zhou Gong, son of Wen Wang and younger brother of Wu Wang, first ruler of the Zhou dynasty (1122-255). However, this title does not seem to appear on early qin melody lists, and it is not at all clear from where the melody came when it started appearing in qin handbooks around 1500.

On the other hand, during the rest of the Ming and throughout the Qing dynasty Guan Ju was one of the most popular of all qin pieces, found in at least 54 handbooks from 1491 to 1894.6 About 10 of these (including the first four) have lyrics, mostly variants on the lyrics used here; only two seem to have the complete original Shi Jing lyrics.7 The 1511 version may actually have been intended for singing; the others perhaps add lyrics because this, the earliest known tablature, has them. Here they were perhaps included because of an old attitude that said, "if you play then you must sing it".

The last of the traditional handbooks to include a version of Guan Ju was dated 1894. Thus, any version heard today will be one not passed on through lineal descent but through a modern reconstruction from old tablature, such as my own versions from here (on CD) and from 1511.

Zheyin Shizi Qinpu Preface8

The Beyond-Sounds Immortal says,

as for this melody, it began with Zhou Gong; later people often added to it, making the current version. The Royal Ancestor's Handbook does not have this melody. It uses Guan Ju, as the first section of the Shi Jing, (from) the southern kingdoms influenced by the culture of Wen Wang, to allude to the enjoyment of peace in the happy marriage and happy relationship of Wen Wang and his queen, since (marriage is), in fact, the first among human relationships, and is essential to the fundamentals of society.

Ah! His happiness - could anything be so great!

Nine titled sections, all with lyrics:

00.00   1. The prince-like osprey finds a good marriage
01.06   2. Very gentle are (the wives of the royal family of) Zhou and Zhao
02.09   3. Using (a birdcall) as a metaphor for (the queen's virtue)
02.40   4. Praise (her) virtue and acclaim (her) conduct
03.26   5. (Like) the wind (, the queen) guides the world
04.00   6. They mutually call out in harmony to each other (in harmonics; has the original lyrics)
04.19   7. The correct (wedding) ceremony (leads to) a successful marriage
05.19   8. (The king and queen's) virtue (is) as great as heaven and earth
05.59   9.(The king and queen have) eternal worship in the Zhou family temple
06.37     closing harmonics
06.54     end

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Guan Ju references
42402.191 關雎 Guan Ju begins by saying it is the name of a bird, same as 魚鷹 yuying (fish hawk, etc.). It then mentions the Shi Jing poem; although the poems lyrics have been set to qin melodies such as Guan Ju Qu, the entry does not mention qin or music.

2. Zhi mode
Standard tuning is also considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 , but 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 seems to work better here. The music of this version of Guan Ju is more diatonic than pentatonic. The accompanying transcription, by treating the open first string as 1 (C) makes the tonal center here 5 (G), the equivalent of the open fourth string; the secondary tonal center is then 2 (D), the equivalent of the open second string. It is tempting instead to consider the open fourth string as 1 (transposing the tuning to 4 5 7 1 2 4 5). In this case the secondary tonal center would generally be 5 (G). However, 4 (F) would be more prominent than is common in qin melodies. And in this case the scale generally used would then become 1 2 3 4 5 6 7b 1 , with 3 often changed to flatted 3 and flatted 7 sometimes changed to 7. For more information about zhi mode see Shenpin Zhi Yi. For modes in general see Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

3. Image
See full image with further information

4. Significance of the lyrics (the complete lyrics are below)
Most versions with lyrics (listed below) focus on the virtues of Wen Wang and his wife. Likewise all the versions with commentary discuss these virtues. This was typical of classical Chinese commentary on the poems in general; it has only been in modern times that commentary has turned to the original romantic themes of many Shi Jing poems.

5. Shi Jing lyrics in Guan Ju compared to the original lyrics
The original Shi Jing poem has 20 four-character phrases arranged as five verses of four phrases (or two couplets) each each ([{4+4}x2] x 5). Here lines from this original poem can be found only in Section 6, as follows:

關關睢鳩,在何之洲。窈窕淑女,君子好逑。   (= verse 1 complete)
求之不得,寤寐思服。展轉返側,展轉反側。   (would be = verse 3 if the first 展轉返側 were 悠哉悠哉)
The repeated phrase is puzzling.

6. Tracing Guan Ju (tracing chart)
The chart below is based largely on Zha Guide 11/109/179 關雎曲 Guan Ju Qu. In all, at least 54 handbooks from 1491 to 1894 include Guan Ju or a related title.

Of these, nine early handbooks include lyrics:

Zheyin Shizi Qinpu (1491; present version)
Taigu Yiyin (1511), lyrics are Shi Jing poems 1-5
Faming Qinpu (1530); different new lyrics, but related to ZYSZQP
Xilutang Qintong (1539); Section 5 is set to the opening 4x4 verse
Longhu Qinpu (1571); like 1511, but sectioning is different
Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585): lyrics quite similar to those in ZYSZQP
Lixing Yuanya (1618): two versions, #1 like 1585, #2 like 1511 but only poem 1 and only for 5 strings (one of 13)
Lixuezhai Qinpu (1730): again new lyrics but still focused on virtues of Wen Wang's queen
Lüyin Huigai (1835); like 1618, #2

No later versions seem to have lyrics.

7. Differing lyrics
For versions with the complete original Shi Jing lyrics see 1511 and 1618 in the chart below. Those with partial Shi Jing lyrics usually place them in their Section 6. The quite varied similarity of the lyrics of these other versions might be accounted for by the likelihood that they were never actually sung. Someone would learn a version with lyrics but in the process of making it his or her own would change the melody. Changing the melody usually required changing the lyrics because, whether actually sung or not, they had to accord with the standard pairing method. This is probably one reason why 1730 has only the partial Shi Jing lyrics in its Section 6: it was revising an earlier melody, not creating a new longer one, and these other versions mostly have a short version of the Shi Jing lyrics in their Section 6.

8. Original preface
The original Chinese preface can be seen under 關雎.

9. Music and lyrics (compare 1511)
The original Chinese section titles and lyrics are as follows,

  1. 王睢善匹
  2. 大閒周召
  3. 即物興人
  4. 興德稱行
  5. 風化天下
  6. 相與和鳴 
  7. 禮正婚姻 禮正婚姻,禮正婚姻,優哉游哉,配匹之際,生民之始,萬福之原,萬福原,宜配君子焉。感於性,以發於情,而宰於心。成為詩,形於聲,響諸音樂,皆得乎和平。婚禮也宜其時,興於桃夭,形於江漢,其為誰,其為誰。
  8. 德侔天地
  9. 配享宗周

Not yet translated.

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Appendix: Chart Tracing 關雎 Guan Ju
Further comment
above; based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide, 11/109/179.

    (year; QQJC Vol/page)
Further information
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
  1.  浙音釋字琴譜
      (<1491; I/203 [here])
8+1; lyrics throughout paired in standard way
Section 5 (I/205): "關關雎鳩,在河之州。 窈窕淑女,君子好逑。"
  2. 謝琳太古遺音
      (1511; I/277)
Guan Ju Qu; 10, but marked by circles rather than numbered; music related but different;
different lyrics: first five poems of 詩經 Shi Jing, repeated
    . 黃士達太古遺音
      (1515; ___)
Same as 1511
  3. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/152)
8; related; for lyrics compare 1491
Lyrics here only in S5 (III/153): 關關雎鳩,在河之州。 窈窕淑女,君子好逑。
  4. 發明琴譜
      (1530; I/366)
8L; similar music, again different lyrics
  5. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/261)
10; related mostly to 1491 but no lyrics
  6. 梧岡琴譜
      (1546; I/430)
8; related to 1491 but no lyrics
Copied in 1561#2
  7. 步虛僊琴譜
      (1556; III/285)
9; related
  8. 太音傳習
      (1552; IV/134)
10; related
  9. 太音補遺
      (1557; III/376)
8; related
10a. 琴譜正傳
      (1561; II/494)
7; "yu mode"; related but quite different (compare next)
10b. 琴譜正傳
      (1561; II/503)
8; same as 1546
11. 龍湖琴譜
      (1571; 琴府/255)
9TL; lyrics = 1491 but music seems simpler
    . 新刊正文對音捷要
      (1573; #53)
Same as 1585?
12. 五音琴譜
      (1579; IV/231)
13. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/438)
10; related melody; lyrics of S1-S9 are like 1491;
14. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/56)
    . 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1589; VII/205)
10+1; not in 1589 edition
15 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1609; VII/205)
10+1; many differences but still related
16. 琴書大全
      (1590; V/504)
14+1; quite different but still related
17. 文會堂琴譜
      (1596; VI/237)
18. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/397)
Same as 1589?
19. 陽春堂琴譜
      (1611; VII/401)
20. 松絃館琴譜
      (1614; VIII/134)
21. 理性元雅
      (1618; VIII/246)
10; lyrics like 1585 but different section titles
    . 理性元雅
      (1618; VIII/309)
3; only standard qin setting using only the complete lyrics of Shi Jing #1? (compare 1739, 1745 and 1835)
New melody using only five strings
22. 樂仙琴譜
      (1623; VIII/382)
Guanju Qu; 10; related
23. 古音正宗
      (1634; IX/340)
24. 義軒琴經
      (late Ming; IX/432)
10 (#1 is missing)
25. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/145)
    . 徽言秘旨訂
      (1692; fac/)
Same as 1647?
26. 友聲社琴譜
      (early Qing; XI/184)
嚴譜; afterword
27. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/376)
10; compare previous
28. 大還閣琴譜
      (1673; X/397)
29. 澄鑒堂琴譜
      (1689; XIV/259)
30. 蓼懷堂琴譜
      (1702; XIII/249)
10; zhi yin
31. 誠一堂琴譜
      (1705; XIII/384)
32. 五知齋琴譜
      (1722; XIV/480)
33. 存古堂琴譜
      (1726; XV/255)
34. 光裕堂琴譜
      (~1726; XV/334)
35. 立雪齋琴譜
      (1730; XVIII/28)
關雎傳 Guanju Zhuan; "古譜新詞 old music new words" (music is related, "lyrics" are actually commentary ["傳"]);
Lyrics, which follow standard pairing, begin, 美哉,關雎之詩,其言文王后妃之德乎詩....
36. 琴學練要
      (1739; XVIII/138)
(治心齋琴譜); 3; gong yin; "元白伯新譜"
another new melody; lyrics = Shi Jing #1 but it is not a standard pairing: many more notes than words
37. 春草堂琴譜
      (1744; XVIII/252)
中呂均商音 ("4th string is shang"); 10;
Afterword by 晴峯先生
    . 大樂元音
      (1745; XVI/370)
Guan Ju Zhang; 3; Shi Jing lyrics;
Note names, no tablature
38. 琴香堂琴譜
      (1760; XVII/87)
39. 自遠堂琴譜
      (1802; XVII/373)
10; shang yin
40. 裛露軒琴譜
      (>1802; XIX/266)
10; "from 1722"
41. 響雪山房琴譜
      (>1802; XIX/390)
42. 琴譜諧聲
      (1820; XX/154)
10; "角商 jiao shang"; "S9 = S4 but change its ending";
Afterword: "from 將雲章l; also mentions 1614 and 1673
43. 峰抱樓琴譜
      (1825; XX/331)
44. 鄰鶴齋琴譜
      (1830; XXI/52)
10; #9 from #4; no mode indication but related
    . 律音彙攷
      (1835; XXII/192)
Seven in all: 173, 177, 180, 186 (qin), 192 (qin), 198 (se), 204 (聲字譜)  
173, 177, 180, 204 have Shi Jing lyrics and note names only (details)  
45. 悟雪山房琴譜
      (1836; XXII/327)
10; 中呂均商音
46. 張鞠田琴譜
      (1844; XXIII/332)
10; tablature + note names in popular notation
47. 稚雲琴譜
      (1849; XXIII/453)
10; includes phrase count
48. 蕉庵琴譜
      (1868; XXVI/55)
10; shangyin
49a. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/221)
10; shangyin yu diao; " = 1744"
49b. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/224)
10; shangyin; " = "1702"
50. 天籟閣琴譜
      (1876; XXI/160)
51. 響雪齋琴譜
      (1876; ???)
 originally part of 1807?
10; zhi yin (not in QQJC: info from Zha Guide)
52. 綠綺清韻
      (1884; XXVII/393)
10, but QQJC edition cuts off in middle of 7
53. 枯木禪琴譜
      (1893; XXVIII/90)
54a. 琴學初津
      (1894; XXVIII/276)
10; huangzhong jun shang yin
Long afterword
54b. 琴學初津
      (1894; XXVIII/340)
10; 關雎,復古譜 Guan Ju Fugu Pu ; "黃太調宮音 Huangtaidiao gongyin";
Standard tuning; long afterword speaks of "fu gu returning to old" by omitting lyrics

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