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11. Treading in the Frost
- Standard tuning:2 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
Lü Shuang Cao
Yin Boqi plays qin, making a lament3
Taigu Yiyin sets this melody to lyrics by Han Yu (768-824) in the voice of Yin Boqi. Yuefu Shiji, Folio 57, #21 has the Han Yu lyrics, but begins with lyrics attributed to Yin Boqi himself. The Yuefu Shiji entry is as follows.
Qin Cao says,6
The lyrics Qin Cao attributes to Yin Boqi are,7
A related story has him play a melody called Zi An zhi Cao
The title Lü Shuang Cao is found in ancient sources, such as Cai Yong's Qin Cao.8 As a qin melody it survives in six handbooks from 1511 to 1802.9 All explanations concern this same story, though the details vary.10 All are short settings of the lyrics by Han Yu in Yuefu Shiji, except the version in Xilutang Qintong (1525), which has 10 sections and no lyrics. Although the afterword in 1525 tells basically the same story as here, there seems to be no musical relationship between the two versions.11
There is a story that the famous northern Song statesman Fan Zhongyan liked to play this piece, but there is no evidence to suggest what version he might have played.12
(Translation not completed)
According to tradition, Lü Shuang Cao was created by Yin Jifu's son. Jifu's son was called Boqi. He was faultless, but his stepmother slandered him with the result that he was forced to leave. "The frost is bitterly cold; its determination so grievous." This is the person referred to in the stanza which goes, "Boqi complied with the order, and this respectful attitude was reported to the king." Later someone saddened by (Yin Boqi's) wretchedness made it into a poem.
Music and Lyrics: One section14
The setting is largely syllabic, following the structure of the Han Yu lyrics ([4+4] x 10)
Er zui dang chi, zhu er he wei?
Your son suffers from being beaten, what can a son who is driven off do?
Er zai zhong ye, yi su yi chu.
Your son resides in the wilderness, using it for lodging and for dwelling.
Si wu ren sheng, shei yu er yu?
All around there are no sounds of other people, who can your son speak to?
Er han he yi? Er e he shi?
When your son is cold, what can he wear? When your son is hungry, what can he eat?
Er xing yu ye, lu shuang yi zu.
As your son travels in the wilderness, frost is everywhere.
Mu sheng chong er, you mulian zhi.
Mothers give birth to all sons, and mothers feel compassion for them.
Du wu mu lian, er ning bu bei.
Alone without his mother's compassion; the son would rather not be in misery.
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Lü Shuang Cao 履霜操 (QQJC I/265)
7979.104 Yue Fu qin song. Yin Jifu is often cited as an examplar of filial loyalty. Chinese stories and myths of evil stepmothers are beyond the scope of this site; the other song in Taigu Yiyin about filial actions also features a bad step-mother but is a bit less grim: Thinking-of-Parents Melody (Si Qin Cao). There is a more gender neutral invocation of filial piety in Sheng De Song, Verse 4.
Tuning and mode
Taigu Yiyin does not group melodies by tuning or mode.
This image was copied from the website http://confucianism.nianw.com. The inscription underneath the image there says,
This couplet is also used elsewhere online (e.g.,
here) to introduce the Qin Cao Story, calling it Yin Boqi Picks Peartree (Blossoms) and plays the Qin (尹伯奇採楟撫琴 Yin Boqi Cao Ting Fu Qin).
周宣王 King Xuan of Zhou (r. 827 - 781)
A biography of the king's wife, Jiang Hou, is included in Lienü Zhuan.
There are other versions of this story.
Yuefu Shiji version of the story
The original Qin Cao text as quoted in YFSJ Folio 57, #21 (pp. 833/4) is:
The version in the Pingjin Guan edition of Qin Cao is much longer.
First set of lyrics in Qin Cao
Not yet translated. They are followed by the Han Yu lyrics.
The Song dynasty's 僧 居月 Seng Juyue (monk Ju Yue) listed it among the most ancient melodies. 蔡邕琴操 Cai Yong's Qin Cao does not survive directly. The version in 琴苑要彔 Qinyuan Yaolu (Yuan dynasty, Beijing reprint) tells the same story in different words, then adds the poem attributed to Yin Boqi himself. The one in 琴學叢書 Qinxue Congshu (1910; see Tong Kin-Woon's Qin Fu, pp.742-3) is much longer.
Tracing 履霜操 Lü Shuang Cao (tracing chart)
The chart below is based largely on Zha Fuxi's Guide 13/135/242. Of the known surviving versions of Lü Shuang Cao all but one (1525) are short settings of the lyrics by Han Yu in Yuefu Shiji.
The Taigu Yiyin explanation is somewhat different from that in Yuefu Shiji.
Version of 履霜操 Treading in the Frost from Xilutang Qintong (1525)
The 1525 afterword begins
This commentary was written in a form of grass writing and it was not included in the Zha guide.
As for the music of its 10 sections, the first section ends with a passage identified as"果聲", then sections 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 end with the instructions "入果聲" to play this same passage.
Version played by Fan Zhongyan
According to Lu You, Lü You Cao was the only piece Fan could play. On this basis one might guess it was a rather simple version, but perhaps this just means that from Lu's experience this was the only piece Fan would play for other people.
The original text begins,
The Chinese lyrics without translation are:
Appendix: Chart Tracing 履霜操 Lü Shuang Cao
Further comment above; based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide 13/135/242.
(year; QQJC Vol/page)
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
(1511; I/283 [more])
|1; lyrics; music begins and ends with harmonics
|10T; no apparent relation between its music and the others listed here;
|1; same lyrics as 1511 but completely different melody (no harmonics)
|Same as 1585?
|1; same lyrics as 1511; different but similar music;
|1; same lyrics but different music from the above;
Preface; 5 strings (one of 13 such)
|1; zhiyin; lyrics and music same as 1585
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