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02. Song of Southern Breezes
- Zhi mode, standard tuning: 2 1 2 4 5 6 (1 2)
Nan Xun Ge
This piece, attributed to the famous filial Emperor Shun (or Yu Shun, said to have lived 2317-2208 BC), uses only strings one to five. This follows on the ancient story, as found in the Records of the Grand Historian and quoted in the preface below, that Emperor Shun played a five string qin.3 According to this tradition, the sixth and seventh strings were added by Wen Wang and Wu Wang.
Many early handbooks have one or two such five-string melodies,4 and at least 19 up to 1840 had one titled either Nan Xun Ge (as here), Nan Feng Ge (Song of Southern Winds) or Nanfeng Chang5 (Rhapsody of Southern Winds). However, the only one with a melody related to the one here is the Nan Xun in Longhu Qinpu (1571), which has almost identical lyrics as well.6
Comforting southern breezes are by tradition contrasted with those of the north, which are killing and those of the west, which bring war; those of the east are nourishing. Many poems mention this, including one by the famous Tang poet Wang Wei.7 The lyrics here quote from some of these.8
Zheyin Shizi Qinpu preface9
The Beyond-Sounds Immortal says
as for this melody, it originated with Yu Shun and later people added to it. The Royal Ancestor's Handbook doesn't have this melody. According to what the Records of the Grand Historian says,
A poem (Nanfeng Ge in Kongzi Jiayu),10 says,
Ah! This was a great society!
10 titled sections, lyrics throuhout 11
00.00 1. The southern (breezes) arrive in accord with the natural seasonal rhythm
00.00 2. Refreshing (breezes) come to the palace halls
01.34 3. (Everything on) heaven and earth (enjoys) virtue and grace
02.00 4. The common people can carry on their natural life cycles
02.24 5. Great prosperity resolves indignancies
02.46 6. (Shun) copies the old (style of Yao), making it current in his own day
03.17 Closing harmonics
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Southern Breeze references
2798.750 Nan Xun says it is a 詩歌名 poetic song name and gives several poetic references. See also 2798.340 南風 nan feng, which gives a long introduction and quotes numerous sources including 爾雅 Er Ya, 後漢書 Hou Han Shu, 梁簡文帝 Emperor Jianwen of Liang, 孫逖 Sun Ti (8th c.), 禮記，樂記 Annals of Music in the Book of Rites, 尸子，綽子 Shizi: Chuozi (by 尸佼 Shi Jiao of the Warring States period), 孔子家語 Kongzi Jiayu, 樂府詩集 Yuefu Shi and 琴操 Qin Cao. Further details are also given in the introduction to Nanfeng Ge, which quotes lyrics published in 樂府詩集 Yuefu Shiji.
Tuning and mode
Only the first five strings are used. Standard tuning is also considered as 5 6 1 2 3 (5 6). For information about zhi mode see Shenpin Zhi Yi. For modes in general see Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.
Appropriate image not yet found.
Nan Feng Ge in Shi Ji
The full original passage connected to Nan Feng Ge, from Chapter 24 (樂書 Music Annals) of the Shi Ji (史記 Records of the Grand Historian), is quoted below. (See also 262.783; neither quote is precisely as here.) Nan Feng Ge in Taigu Yiyin does not have this passage, though an extract is quoted in the Yuefu Shiji introduction to its Nan Feng Ge lyrics. The attitude conveyed by the Shi Ji is that during orderly times people are happy and music is appropriate to them.
Thus, when Shun played the five string qin and sang the lyrics of Southern Breezes, the world was orderly....(Translation not completed. The rest of this passage constrasts the music of Shun with that of the corrupt 紂辛 Zhou Xin.)
5. See Qin melodies that use only 5 strings. (Return)
Melodies on a southern breeze or wind
The Zha Guide entries 南熏歌 Nan Xun Ge, 南風歌 Nan Feng Ge and 南風暢; Nan Feng Chang are analyzed in a footnote to Nan Feng Ge. Note that the Chinese does not indicate singular or plural.
龍湖琴譜 Longhu Qinpu was not available to Zha Fuxi when he did his Guide. It is published in Tong Kin-Woon's 琴府 Qin Fu.
See below. I have not yet traced the source of many of these Zheyin Shizi Qinpu lyrics.
For the original Chinese text of the preface see 南熏歌.
孔子家語 Kongzi Jiayu
This is a post-Han collection of stories. The four lines (two doubled lines) of the poem are very similar to the last four lines of the Yuefu Shiji lyrics as found at the end of Nan Feng Ge.
Original section titles and lyrics
For the Chinese section titles see 南熏歌. The Chinese lyrics begin as follows,
The rest is not yet online, but see this .pdf file (from Zha Guide  189).
Return to the Zheyin Shizi Qinpu index or to the Guqin ToC.