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TGYY ToC   /   Tracing Wen Wang Cao/Si Shun 聽錄音 Listen here or on  / 首頁
09. Songs of King Wen
- Standard tuning:2 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
 
文王曲 1
Wen Wang Qu
 
This piece is often translated in the singular ("song" or "melody"); "songs" is chosen here because the setting is to three separate poems (or "songs", or "odes") in the
Shi Jing. On the other hand, its music is related to that of the single melody Si Shun in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu as well as to several later melodies with titles including Wen Wang Si Shi and Lü Wang Xing Shun.4 Here the music is paired to the text (title plus lyrics) of three poems from the Da Ya section of the Book of Songs (Mao edition numbers #236, 237 and 238). The poems seemed rather dry when I first read them, but the music really made them come to life, being quite evocative at appropriate places in the lyrics.

The background to the lyrics is Old Duke Danfu (gu Gong Dan Fu, see Tai Wang) taking the people of Zhou from Bin to Mount Qi; this story was related in #4 Qishan Cao. Danfu's son Duke Ji (also called King Ji) married Lady Ren, who bore Chang. Chang became Civil King (Wen Wang; 1152 – 1056). After marrying an unnamed lady, Wen Wang and a Lady Xin had a son, who became Martial King (Wu Wang). Wen Wang began the struggle against the Shang and Wu Wang finally defeated them and established the Zhou dynasty ca. 1046 BCE (the precision of all the early dates given here is disputed).

The only setting of these poems is here in Taigu Yiyin (1511). The tablature does not have punctuation or indicate divisions. They direct one first to sing the titles of each poem, with its brief explanation, then the lyrics.

The preface begins by mentioning the title of Shi Jing #235, "Wen Wang", as well as the three that are used for lyrics here. Heaven "restored its mandate to Wu Wang" because by the time the Shang dynasty was overthrown Wu Wang's father Wen Wang had died. In 1043, after Wu Wang died, his brother Zhou Gong served as regent, running the kingdom for several years on behalf of Wu Wang's son, Cheng Wang.

 
Original preface (translation latter part is tentative) 5

Such sections of Da Ya as "Wen Wang", "Great Brilliance", "Spreading", and "Oak Trees" all make clear the virtue of Wen Wang, so that Heaven restored its mandate to Wu Wang. Zhou Gong wrote them to caution (Wu Wang's son) Cheng Wang. Shi Xiang (who is said to have taught the melody to Confucius) clothed it as instrumental music in order to play it in the sacrificial temple. He offered it to ghosts and spirits, and used it for the flourishing of civil matters for a generation. Alas! "The Great Lord approaches. Do not be of two minds." Entrust to the hands, and you can get the body and mind. (?)

 
Music and Lyrics6
Three sections (i.e., three poems); the verses of each poem are marked here with Roman letters. None of these divisions is indicated in the tablature. The music largely follows a syllabic structure, but this is broken up occasionally by repeated phrases (indicated ....) and in many places by ornaments. The title of each section (here in bold) is also set to music.

(#236)
大明。文王有明德,故天復命武王也。
Da Ming. Wen Wang you ming de, gu tian fu ming Wu Wang ye.
Great Brilliance: King Wen had shining virtue, so Heaven reassigned its mandate to King Wu.

A.
明明在下,赫赫在上。
Ming ming zai xia, he he zai shang.......
(King Wen was) illustrious below, (while Heaven was) glorious above.

天難忱斯,不易維王。
Tian nan chen si, bu yi wei wang.
Heaven is difficult to count on: it's not easy to remain king.

天位殷適,使不挾四方。
Tian wei Yin di, shi bu jia si fang.
Heaven made for Yin an enemy, so they could not hold their lands.

B.
摯仲氏任,自彼殷商。
Zhi zhong shi Ren, zi bi Yin Shang.
From Zhi (country) was Zhong of family Ren, she was from the Yin Shang clans.

來嫁於周,曰嬪於京。
Lai jia yu Zhou, yue pin yu jing.
She came to get married in Zhou, and so became a wife in the capital.

乃及王季,維德之行。
Nai ji Wang Ji, wei de zhi xing.
Thus with King Ji, she joined in virtuous deeds.

C.
太認有娠,生此文王。
Tai Ren you zhen, sheng ci Wen Wang.
Tairen became pregnant, and gave birth to (the future) King Wen.

維此文王,小心翼翼。
Wei ci Wen Wang, xiao xin yi yi.
As for this King Wen, (he was) careful and reverent.

昭事上帝,聿懷多福。
Zhao shi Shang Di, yu huai duo fu.
(So) he illustriously served God on high, (thus) gaining many blessings.

厥德不回,以受方國。
Jue de bu hui, yi shou fang guo.
His virtue did not go astray, so he absorbed (neighboring) local states.

D.
天監在下,有命既集。
Tian jian zai xia, you ming ji ju. Heaven examined what was below, and had its mandate put into (King Wen's) nest.

文王初載,天作之合。
Wen Wang chu zai, tian zuo zhi he.
During King Wen's early work, heaven made for him a match.

在洽之陽,在渭之涘。
Zai He zhi yang, zai Wei zhi si.
(She was) from the He River's north side, on the Wei River's bank.

E.
文王嘉止,大邦有子。
Wen Wang jia zhi, da bang you zi.
King Wen admired her, the great country had a child.

大邦有子,俔天之妹。
Da Bang you zi, xian tian zhi mei.
The great country had a child, fair as heaven's sister.

文定厥祥,親迎於渭。
Wen ding jue xiang, guan ying yu Wei.
Wen fixed their lucky day, and welcomed her at the Wei river.

造舟為梁,不(=丕)顯其光。
Zao zhou wei liang, pi xian qi guang.
They made boats into a bridge, dazzling in brightness.

F.
有命自天,命此文王。
You ming zi tian, ming ci Wen Wang.
There came a command from heaven, with orders for this King Wen.

於周於京,纘女維莘。
Yu Zhou yu jing, zuan nü wei Xin.
In Zhou, his capital, "for succession (as queen) the lady must be (from) Xin.

長子維行,篤生武王。
Chang zi wei xing, du sheng Wu Wang.
Her being eldest child allows this act;" so it was she who bore King Wu.

保右命爾,燮伐大商。
"Bao you ming er, xie fa Da Shang."
"Safety and help are granted (Zhou), when attacking the Great Shang (dynasty)."

G.
殷商之旅,其會如林。
Yin Shang zhi lü qi hui ru lin.
Yin Shang's troops massed, so that (their lances) seemed like a forest.

矢於牧野,維予侯興。
Shi yu Mu Ye, wei yu hou xing.
When they arrayed at Mu Ye, (Wen) said, "We'll rise in timely fashion.

上帝臨女,無貳爾心。
Shang Di lin ru, wu er er xin.
God on high is watching you, let no second thoughts come into your hearts."

H.
牧野洋洋,檀車煌煌。
Mu Ye yang yang, tan ju huang huang.
Mu Ye's (fields) were very broad, the wooden war chariots were brilliant.

駟騵彭彭,維師尚父。
Si yuan peng peng, wei shi Shang Fu.
The teams of horses were powerful, as commander was Shang Fu.

時維鷹揚,涼彼武王。
Shi wei ying yang, liang bi Wu Wang.
At that time (Shang Fu) was powerful as an eagle, as he assisted Wu Wang.

肆伐大商,會朝清明。
Si fa Da Shang, hui zhao qing ming.
(So) they attacked Great Shang, and by dawn (victory was) clear.

(#237)
綿。文王之興,本由大王也。
Mian. Wen Wang zhi xing, ben you da wang ye.
Spreading: King Wen's prosperity originated with the Great King (DanFu).

A.
綿綿瓜瓞,民之初生。
Mian mian gua die, min zhi chu sheng.
Spreading and spreading were young melons, thus we (Zhou) first came alive.

自土沮漆,古公亶父。
Zi tu Ju Qi, Gu Gong Dan fu.
(We came) from the lands of the Ju and Qi (rivers), (of) old Duke Danfu.

陶復陶穴,未有家室。
Tao fou tao xue, wei you jia shi.
(He had us) build shelters (and) build caves, we did not yet have houses.

B.
古公亶父,來朝走馬。
Gu Gong Danfu, lai zhao zou ma.........
Of old Duke Danfu arrived early, galloping on his horse.

率西水滸,至於岐下。
Shuai xi shui hu, zhi yu Qi xia.
Leading (us) westward along the riverbank, we arrived below Mount Qi.

爰及姜女,聿來胥宇。
Yuan ji Jiang nü, yu lai xu yu.
Together with Lady Jiang, he had come to secure a home.

C.
周原膴膴,堇荼如飴。
Zhou yuan wu wu, jin tu ru yi.
The Zhou plain was fertile, (its) common plants (tasting) like sweet cakes.

爰始爰謀,爰契我龜。
Yuan shi yuan mou, yuan qi wo gui.
"Here we begin, here we plan, here we notch our tortoises (for divination)."

曰止曰時,築室於茲。
Yue: "Zhi", yue: "Shi, zhu shi yu zi."
(These) said, "Stop"; (and) said, "Now build houses in this place."

D.
迺慰迺止,迺左迺右。
Nai wei nai zhi, nai zuo nai you.
So we made homes, so we stopped (to rest), so (we lived to) left and right.

迺疆迺理,迺宣迺畝。
Nai jiang nai li, nai xuan nai mu.
So (we made) plots large and small, so we reclaimed land and opened fields.

自西徂東,周爰執事。
Zi xi cu dong, Zhou yuan zhi shi.
From west to east, Zhou thus managed our affairs.

E.
乃召司空,乃召司徒。
Nai zhao si kong, nai zhao si tu.
So (Danfu) gave orders to the Building Master, (and) orders to the Lands Master.

俾立室家,其繩則直。
Bei li shi jia, qi sheng ze zhi.
So when they built homes, their plumblines would be straight.

縮版以載,作廟翼翼。
Suo ban yi zai, ...., zhuo miao yi yi.
Tying up boards to contain (the earth), we made a temple that was majestic.

F.
捄之陾陾,度之薨薨。
Ju zhi "reng reng", du zhi "hong hong".
Hauling earth sounded like "reng reng", shoveling like "hong hong".

築之登登,削屢馮馮。
Zhu zhi "deng deng", xiao lü "ping ping".
Beating walls sounding like "deng deng", shaping them went "ping ping".

百堵皆興,鼛鼓弗勝。
Bao du jie xing, gao gu fu sheng.
In all, 100 cubits were raised, and the drum beating was drowned out.

G.
迺立皋門,皋門有伉。
Nai li gao men, gao men you kang.
So when we raised the outer gate, the outer gate was lofty.

迺立應門,應門將將。
Nai li ying men, ying men jiang jiang.
So when we raised the inner gate, the inner gate was strong.

迺立冢土,戎醜攸行。
Nai li zhong tu, rong chou you xing.
So we raised a mound of earth, (from which) enemies could be attacked.

H.
肆不殄厥慍,亦不隕厥問。
Si bu tian jue yun, yi bu yun he wen.
Although this did not end our hardships, we also did not lose our reputations.

柞棫拔矣,行道兌矣。
Zuo yu ba yi, xing du dui yi.
Oak forests were rooted up, roadways were cleared.

混夷駿矣,維其喙矣。
Kun Yi dui yi, wei qi hui yi.
The Kun and Yi tribes rode away, and so their numbers declined.

I.
虞芮質厥成,文王蹶厥生。
Yu Rui zhi jue cheng, Wen Wang gui jue sheng.
(When the) Yu and Rui broke their allegiance, King Wen drove them away.

予曰有疏附,予曰有先後。
Yu yue: "You shu fu"; yu yue: "You xian hou".
I say, "We made alliances;" I say, "We ordered things properly."

予曰有奔奏,予曰有禦侮。
Yu yue: "You ben zou"; yu yue: "You yu wu".
I say, "Some worked urgently;" I say, "Some chastised the insolent."

(#238)
棫樸。文王能官人也。
Yu pu. Wen Wang neng guan ren ye.
Oak Trees: King Wen has the ability to promote good people.

A.
芃芃棫樸,薪之槱之。
Peng peng yu pu, xin zhi you zhi.
Luxuriant (grow the) oak trees, we dry them and burn them.

濟濟辟王,左右趣之。
Ji ji pi wang, zuo you qu zhi.
Magnificent is our king, left and right they rush to serve him.

B.
濟濟辟王,左右奉璋。
Ji ji pi wang, zuo you feng zhang.
Magnificent is our king, left and right people raise scepters.

奉璋峨峨,髦士攸宜。
Feng zhang e e, mao shi you yi.
They raise scepters solemnly, as eminent men it is befitting.

C.
淠彼涇舟,烝徒楫之。
Pi bi Jing zhou, zheng tu ji zhi.
"Pi" go those Jing river boats, vigorous are those who row them.

周王於邁,六師及之。
Zhou wang yu mai, liu shi ji zhi.
The Zhou king going forth, (has) six battalions with him.

D.
倬彼雲漢,為章於天。
Zhuo bi Yun Han, wei zhang yu tian.
Clear is the Milky Way, making its display in the sky.

周王壽考,遐不作人。
Zhou wang shou kao, Xia bu zuo ren.
King of Zhou: "Long life!" How could he not make renew us?

E.
追琢其章,金玉其相。
Dui zhuo qi zhang, jin yu qi xiang.
Chiselled and carved are his regalia, gold and jade in substance.

勉勉我王,綱紀四方。
Mian mian wo wang, wang ji si fang.
Working and working is our king, netting all of the lands.

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
separate page)

1. Wen Wang Qu 文王曲
13766.xx; 13766.36 Wen Wang Cao refers to #7.
(Return)

2. Mode: 徵調 Zhi diao?
Taigu Yiyin does not group melodies by tuning or mode. However, Si Shun is grouped with zhi mode melodies, and the way this melody also shifts tonal centers from gong (do to zhi (sol) is similar to that of other zhi mode melodies.
(Return)

4. Tracing the Wen Wang Qu melody (Tracing chart)
Early in the present melody one can easily here its connection with the melody of the Si Shun in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu; later on it is difficult to notice, seeming to consist only of motifs if at all. The third surviving version, published in 1525 as Wen Wang Si Shi (III/154) is closer to 1491 than it is to 1511. Later versions have not yet been examined carefully.
(Return)

5. Original preface
The original Chinese preface is as follows,

按大雅「文王」、「大明」、「錦」、「棫樸」等篇皆所以著明文王之德,而天復命武王。皆周公作之以戒成王者也。師襄被之管絃所以奏之郊廟。薦之鬼神,以為一代肇文之盛。於戱!「上帝臨汝,毋貳爾心。」寄乎指者,得之身心可也。

The translation above is not finalized.
(Return)

6. Original lyrics
The translation above is sometimes awkward, as it was designed to run under the text on my transcription, and so it tries to go word for word.

The original Shi Jing lyrics are included here separately to show more clearly the structure, which is:

(#236) Great Brilliance: King Wen had shining virtue, so Heaven reassigned its mandate to King Wu.
([4+4] x 28 [except that the third couplet is 4+5])

 
(#237) Spreading: King Wen's prosperity originated with the Great King (i.e., Duke Danfu)
([4+4] x 21, then [5+5] x 1, then [4+4] x 2, then [5+5] x 3)

 
(#238) Oak Trees: King Wen has the ability to promote good people.
([4+4] x 10)

(#236)大明。文王有明德。故天復命武王也。
明明在下,赫赫在上。天難忱斯,不易維王。天位殷適,使不挾四方。
摯仲氏任,自彼殷商。來嫁於周,曰嬪於京。乃及王季,維德之行。
太認有娠,生此文王。維此文王,小心翼翼。昭事上帝,聿懷多福。厥德不回,以受方國。
天監在下,有命既集。文王初載,天作之合。在洽之陽,在渭之涘。
文王嘉止,大邦有子。大邦有子,俔天之妹。文定厥祥,親迎於渭。造舟為梁,不顯其光。
有命自天,命此文王。於周於京,纘女維莘。長子維行,篤生武王。保右命爾,燮伐大商。
殷商之旅,其會如林。矢於牧野,維予侯興。上帝臨女,無貳爾心。
牧野洋洋,檀車煌煌。駟騵彭彭,維師尚父。時維鷹揚,涼彼武王。肆伐大商,會朝清明。

(#237)綿。文王之興,本由大王也。
綿綿瓜瓞,民之初生。自土沮漆,古公亶父。陶復陶穴,未有家室。
古公亶父,來朝走馬。率西水滸,至於岐下。爰及姜女,聿來胥宇。
周原膴膴,堇荼如飴。爰始爰謀,爰契我龜。曰止曰時,築室於茲。
迺慰迺止,迺左迺右。迺疆迺理,迺宣迺畝。自西徂東,周爰執事。
乃召司空,乃召司徒。俾立室家,其繩則直。縮版以載,作廟翼翼。
捄之陾陾,度之薨薨。築之登登,削屢馮馮。百堵皆興,鼛鼓弗勝。
迺立皋門,皋門有伉。迺立應門,應門將將。迺立冢土,戎醜攸行。
肆不殄厥慍,亦不隕厥問。柞棫拔矣,行道兌矣。混夷駿矣,維其喙矣。
虞芮質厥成,文王蹶厥生。予曰有疏附,予曰有先後。予曰有奔奏,予曰有禦侮。

(#238)棫樸。文王能官人也。
芃芃棫樸,薪之槱之。濟濟辟王,左右趣之。
濟濟辟王,左右奉璋。奉璋峨峨,髦士攸宜。
淠彼涇舟,烝徒楫之。周王於邁,六師及之。
倬彼雲漢,為章於天。周王壽考,遐不作人。
追琢其章,金玉其相。勉勉我王,綱紀四方。
(Return)

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