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33. Tale of Clarity in Thought and Action 雙清傳 1
Commonly known as Paired Clarity of Gibbon and Crane (猿鶴雙清 Yuan He Shuang Qing)2 Shuang Qing Zhuan
- Standard tuning:3 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 Crane and Gibbon: Buddhist imagery? 4            

Today in China the gibbon ("yuan"; not ape or monkey: hou5) is almost extinct, found only near China's borders, not in its heartland.6 So we are speaking historically when we say that in China gibbons as well as cranes (he) were at one time very popular amongst the literati: desirable as household pets, and valued for their melodious calls and graceful movements. In addition gibbons and cranes were both noted for their longevity,7 as well as their perceived ability to inhale good qi.8 As for their "clarity", this is not discussed in the texts presently available, but perhaps it suggests a sort of Daoist awareness that a sensitive observer might note in both their mind/heart and their actions.9

R.H. Van Gulik has written considerably on the role of these two animals in the world of the literati.11 According to him, the painter Yi Yuanji (active 1060s)12 was the first painter known to have painted gibbons, and that after this it became a popular subject for painters. This might also suggest that it could be more than a coincidence that the title of this melody seems to survive for the first time from an apparently Song dynasty list of qin melodies, and early surviving tablature is usually credited to someone (often unnamed) from the Song dynasty.

Another early Song dynasty reference to gibbons and cranes comes from a book on landscape painting by the artist Guo Xi (1020–c. 1090).13 In his book, The Lofty Message of Forests and Springs, Guo mentions gibbons and cranes amongst the reasons for doing landscape painting:14

A virtuous man takes delight in landscapes so that in a rustic retreat he may nourish his nature, amid the carefree play of springs and rocks, he may take delight, that he might constantly meet in the country fishermen, woodcutters, and hermits, and see the soaring of cranes and hear the crying of (gibbons). The din of the dusty world and the locked-in-ness of human habitations are what human nature habitually abhors; on the contrary, haze, mist, and the haunting spirits of the mountains are what the human nature seeks, and yet can rarely find.

The present 1511 Shuang Qing Zhuan (Tale of Paired Clarity [in thought and action]) connects its gibbon and crane to forests and springs, as with Guo Xi above, but not to anyone by name. Likewise, most of the early surviving versions either say nothing or are quite vague about who created the piece. The first three (#s 1, 3 and 4 in the chart) attribute it as follows:

  1. 1511 Taigu Yiyin: "a Song dynasty upright official of forests and springs who enjoyed the Dao"
  2. 1525 Xilutang Qintong: "a Song dynasty recluse who was elevated and unassuming" (or was it "Gao the Unassuming"?) 15
  3. 1530 Faming Qinpu: "Song dynasty's Shi Yangxiu created it".16

Variations on these names are discussed further below, but the only person clearly named is the third, Shi Yangxiu, an attribution that became common beginning in 1573.

Shi Yangxiu (995-1057) was an early Song dynasty scholar official who had a reputation for being both upright and, according to his official biography, concerned about correct sounds. The biography went on to say he kept gibbons and cranes in his garden and enjoyed intoning and chanting. On the other hand, there is no surviving contemporary record of Shi having created music or written poems on the theme of gibbons and/or cranes. As a result it is possible that the main reason for connecting him to this melody (and or its lyrics) is this account in his official biography. Perhaps this was recounted in other contemporary sources as well. This is perhaps also the reason for the occasional connection made between him and some versions of the melody Cranes Dance in the Nine Marshbanks.

Further to this, as seen in the translation below of the 1511 preface, although the "upright Song dynasty official who enjoyed the Dao amongst forests and springs" could refer to Shi Yangxiu, as yet there is no direct evidence to support this; "enjoying the Dao amongst forests and springs" generally refers to anyone who has gone to the countryside to become a recluse. The only other introduction that may credit a person with a different name is the above-mentioned afterword in 1525, which is really quite vague in this (also discussed in this footnote).

It is also not clear whether any of the attributions refers to the words, the music, or both. The lyrics vary considerably within the versions that have lyrics, and I have not been able to trace independently the source of any of these versions. The variety perhaps suggests the lyricists were inspired by the idea, not by any agreed-upon original text.

Although this 1511 handbook has the first surviving version, its age at the time of publication is probably impossible to determine. The melody was apparently quite popular during the Ming dynasty,17 but almost always under the title Yuan He Shuang Qing (Paired Clarity of Gibbon and Crane); the latter title appears first in a Song dynasty list, then in the second surviving tablature, dated 1525. The melody largely disappeared during the Qing dynasty, with Zha Fuxi's Guide listing it in only two Qing dynasty handbooks. The great number and the variety within the Ming dynasty editions suggests a popular melody with an unknown but perhaps pre-Ming dynasty source. This is born out by the vagueness of many attributions as well as their inconsistency; and one might argue that the Song dynasty references above do suggest that during the Song dynasty there was a version of this melody that eventually led to one of the surviving Ming dynasty versions, with or without lyrics.

Although two of the first three surviving versions of this melody have lyrics, the style of the music suggests a basically instrumental melody to which lyrics were added: it is difficult, for example, to imagine someone actually singing one syllable for each note of a gun (run down) over seven notes then singing another six syllables for the ensuing fu (run up) back to the seventh string (see further comment), as is done here in Section 5 of 1511.18 The fact that the second and fourth versions (1539), both without lyrics, seem a bit shorter than the others could suggest either that it was (or was based on) an earlier instrumental melody that was later elaborated to add lyrics, or a later one simplified by removing the lyrics, as well as perhaps some of the music associated with them.

Most of the versions with lyrics seem to end with lyrics saying that the crane and gibbon have inspired the writer to create appropriate lyrics. In this were they inspired by Shi Yangxiu? If so it would be most interesting to find someone who would actually state that, there being this melody but no lyrics, he was inspired by Shi Yangxiu's example to go ahead and create some.

Some versions of Yuan He Shuang Qing seem to share some musical motifs with Cranes Cry from the Nine Marshbanks (He Ming Jiu Gao) as published both here in Taigu Yiyin and also in 1425, but I have not compared them closely.

Starting with Buxuxian Qinpu (~1556), versions of this Shuang Qing often had as a prelude Shuang He Ting Quan (Yin). However, the latter eventually became an independent melody.19

As of 2021 a search for "猿鶴雙慶" turns up numerous online recordings of Yuan He shuang Qing but few give their source. Perhaps many follow the interpretation by Wang Huade published on his 1993 Hugo recording, apparently his own reconstruction; its source is also not yet clear.20 A similar search for "雙清傳" (Shuang Qing Zhuan) shows an interesting performance for qin, xiao and dancer, but it seems to be of other melodies, none recognizable as connected to either Shuang Qing Zhuan or Yuan He Shuang Qing.

Sectioning and structures in Taigu Yiyin
Generally speaking, reconstructing a qin melody surviving only in the original tablature, which does not directly indicate note values or rhythms, means searching for musical structures. And with this particular melody the search for structures begins with dividing the piece into sections. This can be a problem with melodies in Taigu Yiyin, because sections in that handbook are never numbered. Usually they are indicated only by starting them on separate lines or by the use of large unnumbered circles, as here.

The tablature here for Shuang Qing Zhuan uses only five such circles, thus dividing the melody into six sections. These sections are quite uneven in length (see the Roman numerals below), and this sectioning is also quite different from that in the other surviving versions. In this case, specifically, I felt the sectioning in Faming Qinpu better reflected the overall feeling of the melody, so for my reconstruction that sectioning is followed as much as possible.

In addition, although during my initial attempt to reconstruct this melody I wanted to follow the phrasing in the Zha Guide as much as possible, it seemed that the phrasing in the Guide was based purely on the meaning of the lyrics, and from my analysis of the tablature itself, the melodic structure is very different from the structure of the lyrics. Leaving aside the possibility that this is connected to the reason that there is so much variety in the surviving song settings, or that the instrumental versions arose out of dissatisfaction with the lyrical settings, is it possible to reconstruct this in such a way that it makes both musical sense and lyrical sense?

Here, although the punctuation does largely follow that added in the Zha Guide, many commas and full stops have been reversed and an occasional word has been changed (as indicated by parentheses). As for the sectioning, my own interpretation is different from that in Zha, as further discussed here. Caveat: I must add that in this I am in places hampered by an incomplete understanding of the lyrics.

Another problem in interpreting the melody is that it makes use of numerous repeats; this is indicated by writing in "再作 play again", but without directly indicating where to play again from. My decisions here are based on experiencing the same thing in numerous other melodies in both this handbook and elsewhere. In my copy of the text below the repeated passages are indicated thus: 「 」, with the repeat beginning at the symbol「 placed earlier according to my personal interpretation.

Although the 1530 melody and lyrics are in fact quite different from those here, up through the first two phrases of 1530 Section 11 it is easy to find the corresponding passages in 1511; after that the 1530 version adds much material (especially gunfu and other multiple stroke techniques, much of it repeating phrases that have occurred earlier).

Also of note is that fact that both 1511 and 1530, as well as all the other early versions I have examined (through 1539), have near the end a passage that begins with repeats of the note 5 (sol; G in my transcription; 1511 begins its rather short "Section 12" with this phrase). This passage goes up from 5 to 2 (re> D), then back down to G, passing through a flatted 7 ("B flat") each time. This seems to change the mode, giving a feeling that might be compared to changing from G major to G minor. However, it then suddenly stops at C, ending the main body of the melody there. The harmonic coda is then solidly on C.

Original preface21

According to tradition this melody has the sound of an upright Song dynasty official who enjoyed the Dao amongst forests and springs. Its sound is cool in order to be clear, its mode is aloof and pleasantly expansive. Perhaps it is like an old crane calling out to the wind, or a mysterious gibbon calling to (the moon?). It causes people who hear it suddenly to forget their desire to take advantage of things, and instead to think about leaving the dust of society. Thus they call this paired clarity.  
Music and lyrics: Twelve sections22 (see transcription; timings follow my recording)
This is a largely syllabic setting of lyrics that are in phrases of irregular length. The original tablature had no punctuation and an apparently incomplete arrangement into sections. The division here into 12 sections largely follows Faming Qinpu (1530), which has the third surviving version (the second to have lyrics). The first sheet of this pdf file with the lyrics of seven versions uses Roman numerals to show the sectioning the 1511 version had marked using large zeros. The Arabic numerals show how I divided it for my reconstruction (following the 1530 version, as shown on sheet two of the pdf.)

  1. 00.01 (I; In harmonics)
    The translated lyrics from 1511 begin as follows (compare
    sheet 1 of the pdf with my layout):

    Gibbon and crane have an uncommon life force.
    Now on the surface , friendship connects them like brothers.
    Where there is wind and moon, they have paired clarity, both becoming beautiful....(translation incomplete)
  2. 00.46
    Ends with harmonic phrase that
    1546 marks as from "風 wind" to "月 moon"; sections 5, 7 and 8 end with "play wind to moon" (compare 7, 9 and 10 here)

  3. 01.20 Harmonics

  4. 02.00 (II)
    Repeat at end doesn't specify where to repeat from (other repeats same)

  5. 02.34
    Opening phrase similar to opening of Section 4

  6. 03.22 (III)
    Begins the same as Section 5

  7. 04.09 (IV)
    Begins with three parallel phrases each starting with a glissando down and up ("滾拂
    gunfu"); no closing harmonics

  8. 05.04
    Begin slow and free' compare opening of Section 11

  9. 06.08 (Ends with harmonics)
    Compare with opening of Section 12

  10. 07.28 (V; ends with harmonics)
    A passage marked "入慢 become slow" is said in
    1525 to be "猿啼鶴淚聲 the sound of gibbons calling and cranes crying".

  11. 08.04 (VI)
    Compare opening with that of Section 8

  12. 08.38
    Opens like Section 9 but then has feeling of G minor? See comment

 Coda 09.15 (in harmonics)
   End 09.42

Perhaps this melody could be played in conjunction with the later prelude called Paired Cranes Hear a Spring or with the qin song Crane and Gibbon Pay Respect to the Elderly.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Tale of Paired Clarity (雙清傳 Shuang Qing Zhuan)
According to the present definition (see also this preface but compare 心跡 below), the 清 clarities being 雙 paired are 心 xin (heart, mind) and 行 xing (action). None of the prefaces associated with this melody goes into the philosophical issues potentially involved.

43067.177 has only 雙清 Paired clarity: "存心與行事俱清之意 the idea of clarity in thought and deed." It then has two quotes

  1. 楊羲《九華安妃詩》 a poem by Yang Xi (330—386) in 10 couplets that ends,


  2. 杜甫《屏蹟》 the second of two poems by Du Fu called Hiding Tracks. The complete poem is,


    This "octave" has been translated by Poetry Hack as follows,

    Clumsily I keep my own way
          Secluded living near creatures’ thoughts
    Hemp and mulberry deepen in rain and dew
          Swallows and sparrows – half new-born, half grown
    Village drums the hours hurry
          Fishing boats glide lightly one by one
    Goosefoot cane, white-haired I follow
          Mind and tracks joyously matched in purity

    The translator adds, “Mind and tracks matched in peaceful silence” 心跡雙寂寞 was a line that the great poet Xie Lingyun wrote in his retirement. This high-minded declaration, coming so unexpectedly after the first octave, unravels in the next." The relationship between pairing "心行 mind/heart and action" and pairing "心跡 mind and tracks" is not yet clear. Perhaps the latter refers to the results of the action?

There is nothing about music. 11/854 adds a few later quotes. See also Yuan He Shuang Qing (next).

2. Yuan He Shuang Qing 猿鶴雙清 (see also above)
21054.13 猿鶴 gibbon and crane has two parts:

  1. "猿與鶴也。(宋史,石揚休傳)平居養猿鶴。 Gibbon and crane; (Song History, Shi Yangxiu biography) He lived in quiet retirement, raising gibbons and cranes."
  2. 周穆王南徵,一軍盡化。君子為猿為鶴,小人為蟲為沙。 (Translated from Van Gulik below.
There is nothing about music. See also Shuang Qing Zhuan above. And for another melody with gibbon and crane see Crane and Gibbon Congratulate the Elderly (below.

3. Tuning and Mode
Although Taigu Yiyin does not group pieces by tuning or mode, later handbooks consistently place it in shang mode. Shang mode uses the first string as do (gong, 1) as its primary tonal center, with shang (re, 2) alongside zhi (sol, 5) as a secondary tonal center. The modal characteristics here align with that, with the note sol often played in connection with do (down a fifth) while shang may be connected to sol (again down a fifth) or as a leading tone for do. (See however this comment about the "G minor" passage at the end.)

Note that there is a completely unrelated three section melody in Yijinglu Qinxue (1845; XXII/80) called Yu Jue Shuang Qing" ("Paired Clarity of Shang and Jue" [notes? modes?]). It is said to be in "Turbid/Corrupt Shang Mode" (宮調濁商音 Gong Diao Zhuo Shang Yin), details of which have not been explored.

4. Images: Crane and Gibbon Another image (source: Freer website)                  
The image above has on the right side a gibbon mother cradling her child. The image is two parts of a tryptich called Guanyin with Gibbon and Crane by the Song dynasty monk 法常 Fachang (ca 1210 - after 1269; his 號 nickname was 牧谿 Mu Qi or Mu Xi; Wiki). The original belongs to the Daitokuji (大德寺 Temple of Great Virtue), a Buddhist temple in Kyoto. Considered a "national treasure", it is also featured on the Wikipedia page for the temple (q.v.).

Another well-known painting is Landscape with Gibbons and Cranes, a long horizontal scroll (10 7/8" x 106 3/4") in the Freer Collection of the National Museum of Asian Art in Washington, D. C. This image, from the right end of the scroll, shows the two cranes and two of the 18 gibbons depicted in the original scroll. The complete scroll can be found online here together with the statement "Formerly attributed to Qiu Ying 仇英 (ca. 1494-1552)", and commentary that includes the following,

Gibbons and cranes have a long history as auspicious symbols in Chinese literature and art. Since the Zhou dynasty (1100-221 B.C.E.), gibbons have been associated with wise men, although in many famous poems the shrill calls of gibbons were said to induce deep melancholy in weary travelers. This handscroll features a total of eighteen gibbons, frolicking in a colorful forest and shown with two cranes. This fanciful depiction of gibbons is rendered in the opaque "blue and green" style that prevailed in landscape painting during the Tang dynasty (618-907) and was later revived from time to time owing to its decorative appeal.

Curiously, the number 18 is more commonly associated with cranes, not gibbons, as discussed further here in connection with "18 Scholars Ascend Yingzhou."

5. Gibbon vs monkey in China
The word "猿 yuan" has often been translated as "ape" or "monkey", though the better Chinese word for those is "猴 hou". Perhaps reason for this confusion between gibbons and monkeys/apes can be seen in the results of internet searches, which suggest a great interest in differentiating crane from gibbon has to do with contrasting martial arts techniques: crane style vs what is often called "ape style". (See next footnote for comments by Van Gulik about gibbons.)

As for "猴 hou" (also "猴子 houzi", as "monkey" it is hugely popular through stories told in the classic novel Journey to the West (西遊記 Xi You Ji).

6. Disappearance of gibbons from China's heartland
Van Gulik documents this to a certain extent, listing places where poets and artists over time wrote about gibbons. For the current situation a good place to start is this article, The Gibbon's Tail by James Dinneen. It focuses on the gibbons surviving in conservancies on Hainan island.

7. Longevity in cranes and gibbons (tablature from IV/499)
Lyrics of the melody Crane and Gibbon Pay Respect to the Elderly (鶴猿祝壽 He Yuan Zhu Shou; Qinshu Daquan, 1585 [27/--/418]) underline the connection between longevity and both gibbon and crane. The lyrics are as follows:


Cranes (sound as if) playing the flute, and see that gibbon knocking its head (in respect)
For their master it wishes a thousand year life.
Serve up the longevity wine, express wishes for life as long as heaven and earth.
Gibbon and crane, with their master through the years there is mutual protection.
Cranes rely on the wind to rise up; gibbons make use of clouds to kneel.
Crane and gibbon have wind-cloud meetings, gibbon and crane act as a pair.
Mutually they make obeisance again and again, wishing unaging long life.
Longevity like the southern hills, wealth vast as the eastern seas.
(translation tentative; pu had no commentary).

The surviving tablature has no commentary and the source of the lyrics is unknown.

8. Good qi
See, for example, in Wikipedia.

9. qing: clarity? purity?
Modern science says there is no evidence to suggest gibbons (or cranes) have a self-awareness as normally thought of in humans. Perhaps the idea is that they engage in a sort of "pure thought" that is beyond the reach of humans, though that might better be described as instincts so pure that they transcend ordinary thought. Another aspect could be that, although humans may ascribe emotions such as sadness to their cries, they themselves are not expressing such emotions. (as in this line of a poem by Su Shi: "猿吟鶴唳本無意 The gibbon's wail and the crane's call have no inherent intent")

11. Van Gulik on the gibbon in China
Van Gulik's The Gibbon in China: an essay in Chinese animal lore (1967) is a fascinating book. In it he wrote that the gibbon was, "a symbol of the unworldly ideals of the poet and the philosopher, and of the mysterious link between man and nature”. The book is discussed in Hin-cheung Lovell, Van Gulik's Gibbon in China, A Dossier of Facts and Fancies, Orientations 12/11 (November 1981). Although out of print, The Gibbon in China may be partially available through Google books.

In the following passage (pp. 38-39) Van Gulik discusses the crane as well as the gibbon (romanization modified).

Another animal credited with longevity because of its long limbs was the crane. Its long neck and legs were believed to enable this bird to absorb large quantities of qi and thus live to a thousand years. The Chinese also admired its cries, and its beautiful black and white plumage; the red spot on top of its head was believed to be a receptable of the elixir of life. Thus the crane, often referred to as xian he 仙鶴 "immortal crane" became the traditional companion of Daoist saints and mountain recluses. To this very day the crane is still one of the most popular symbols of good luck and longevity in China, Korea and Japan.

Both the crane and the gibbon owing their longevity to their long limbs, and famous for their melodious cries and their graceful movements, they became a fixed pair, yuan-he 猿鶴 "gibbon and crane" figuring largely in Chinese art and literature. The pair is frequently mentioned in the qinpu 琴譜, the old handbooks for the qin 琴 ... that has been the favourite musical instrument of Chinese artists and literati. It is said that if the player regularly watches the graceful movements of gibbon and crane, his finger technique will improve. Many qin players kept therefore gibbons and cranes in their garden. It is significant that playing the qin is recommended as a means for concentrating one's thoughts and for regulating the breath, and thus conducive to good health and long life....

(After referring to the crane and gibbon in hand gesture illustrations such as In the manner of a crane dancing as a result of being startled by a breeze and In the manner of a howling gibbon climbing a tree, Van Gulik continues:

A famous reference to the pair gibbon-crane occurs in the works of the 4th century Daoist philosopher Ge Hong (葛洪 283 - 343), better known as Baopuzi 抱朴子. The passage is not found in the text as we have it now, but it is quoted in the 10th century encyclopedia Taiping Yulan. It says,

When King Mu of the Zhou dynasty made his expedition to the south, his entire (routed) army was transformed. The "gentlemen" among his troops changed into gibbons or cranes, the "small men" into insects or grains of sand. (TPYL, P.4032)

...Thus the passage quoted, which is cited in nearly every essay about the gibbon in later literature, sets up the gibbon as the gentleman among the primates - a position he has kept till the present day.

Van Gulik goes on with more examples, ending on p.54 with this couplet from the poem 明月山銘 by 庾信 Yu Xin,

On frosty mornings the cranes cry out,
      On autumn nights the gibbons sing.

Van Gulik's list is quite lengthy but not complete. See also, for example, this verse from a poem by Yelu Chucai.

12. 易元吉 Yi Yuanji (ca. 1000 - ca. 1064; Wiki.)
Well-known for painting animals, gibbons in particular. Maybe not the first to do so, but the first to make it popular to do so.

13. Guo Xi (郭熙; 1020– c.1090)
The Wikipedia entry on Guo Xi gives examples of his art and mentions his book The Lofty Message of Forests and Springs (see next footnote).

14. The Lofty Message of Forests and Springs (林泉高致集 Lin Quan Gao Zhi Ji)
The original text by 郭熙 Guo Xi is as follows:


The translation above, from a University of Washington website, rendered 猿 yuan as "monkeys" (猴 hou; see comment).

Regarding Forests and Springs, 14858.197 林泉 linquan does not mention it as anyone's name; it could also be translated as "woods and springs". 14858.198 林泉生 is a Yuan dynasty official named Lin Quansheng; 14858.199 林泉侯 ("marquis of forests and springs) says this means a woodcutter. 14858.200 林泉高致集 discusses Guo Xi's book. None of the entries makes any connection with Shi Yangxiu (see next footnote).

15. 宋處士高太素 Song chushi Gao Taisu (Song dynasty recluse Gao the Unassuming?)
5965.297 defines 太素 taisu as 質之始 the original substance and 質樸 plain and unadorned ("unassuming"?); it then gives it as the style name of several people; none of them is surnamed Gao, but here "taisu" reads like a nickmame, especially because "處士 chushi" (retired scholar or reclusive scholar) is already being used as a descriptive".

16. Shi Yangxiu (石揚休; 995-1057)
What is Shi Yangxiu's connection to this melody and/or its lyrics? To begin, here are three Chinese historical references. The first two concern his career.

The first two references say that Shi Yangxiu, literary name 昌言 Changyan (compare 溫言 Wenyan?), was from 眉州 Meizhou (south of Chengdu in the direction of the 峨眉山 Emei Mountains; this region produced many important government and literary figures). Orphaned as a child, he studied hard and in 1038 achieved his 進士 jinshi (top scholar degree). A 累官 hard working official, he became 刑部員外郎 Ministry of Punishments Official (Outer Official) and 知制誥 Administrator of Making Mandates, then 同判太常寺 sub-prefect in the Court of Sacrificial Worship (in Luoyang). He memorialized the emperor strongly, requesting a widening of channels of communication, honoring Confucian practices, opposing secrecy, strengthening the imperial family, encouraging mulberry farming and forbidding extravagance; all this benefited the country, so that people 稱之 esteemed him. To this Bio/367 added something like, In order to be pure, faithful and respectful to people he thought of himself in terms of the ordering of musical tones.

Meanwhile, the third of these references, quoting the Song history (also the main source for the first two) says,

"Yangxiu enjoyed relaxing. At his cottage he raised cranes and gibbons, amused himself with sketching and books, and would "hum and chant" to suit himself."

Here it is interesting to speculate on what exactly was meant by 吟詠 yin yong, at present rendered somewhat arbitrarily as "hum and chant". As indicated elsewhere, "yin yong" could also be "hum and sing", but perhaps "intone" and/or "chant" would also work. It is also worthy of note that this source makes no mention of qin. But does it suggest that Shi Yangxiu liked to sing about cranes and gibbons? Did he write any poems or lyrics on this topic?

As yet I have found no contemporary record of Shi Yangxiu as a qin player (for example, his biography did not include that amongst his leisurely activities and he is not mentioned in the Qin Shi of Zhu Changwen [1041 - 1100]). Nevertheless, it has become popular of late to write of Shi as a "古琴大師 qin master", always giving the melody Yuan He Shuang Qing as its evidence (especially this quote from 1589).

He also seems to be credited with very few poems, though one of them, a poem about listening to the qin played by the monk Wen Ying, is included in 琴書大全 Qinshu Daquan Folio 19B, #87, and discussed in Folio 17, #36.

In addition to the present Shuangqing Zhuan Shi Yangxiu is also associated with the melody He Ming Jiugao (especially the 1511 version?). There seem to be some melodic motifs in common to the two melodies (perhaps i later versions). Perhaps this led later commentators to suggest that the recluse attributed in earlier versions must have been Shi Yangxiu.

As to the possibility of his being referred to as an "upright Song dynasty official who enjoyed the Dao amongst forests and springs", or as a "Song dynasty recluse who was elevated and unassuming (as here), not to mention the person connected to the Lofty Message of Forests and Springs above, this all seems very speculative.

17. Tracing Shuangqing Zhuan (see also the chart below)
Zha Guide 14/151/268 has 16 entries from 1511 through 1618 (misses those of 1546, 1552, ca. 1556, 1571 and 1573), then has another two from the Qing dynasty, dated 1802 and 1884, with all the later ones except 1556 and 1571 called Yuan He Shuang Qing. The chart below has the complete list.

I have written out a transcription of my reconstruction from 1511, but have not yet learned it fluently enough to record it.

18. Pairing lyrics to runs such as gun and fu (滾拂 gunfu)
For Taigu Yiyin (1511) see, e.g., QQJC I/296, bottom right, lines 3 and 4 as well as the text below. The same passage in Faming Qinpu (1530; I/336 top left 3rd and 4th lines) has fewer characters but is quite vague about the pairing.

In the this example from 1511 the tablature says to gun 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 then fu 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 , pairing each with a character except the last one (7) (because the fu is paired to two 3-character phrases I don't pair the fourth character, shifting down the final three so that 7 gets its needed character). On the other hand, later in 1511 (see, e.g., I/297, top right, lines 5-6), there is a gun fu paired to two characters, with no strings indicated; the next cluster is a stopped position on the seventh string, again paired to one character; here it seems clearly intended that one character is to be paired on the whole run from 7 to 1, the second on the run back up from 1 through 6, with the third character paired to that 7th string. If within 1511 this is not an inconsistency in pairing but rather an attempt to indicate how the music might actually be sung, this should mean that the first gunfu is done slowly enough that characters could be sung with it, whereas with the second gunfu it should be played at a more normal speed, i.e., too fast for singing. When I try to play this I do try to make this distinction, though there is no separate evidence that this is not, in fact, a simply sloppy inconsistency on the part of someone. If I cannot make that musically satisfying then I either give up the melody altogether, or assume that the pairing was done for totally ideological reasons, not musical ones, and thus interpret the melody as a purely instrumental one. This latter is what I mostly did with my Zheyin Shizi Qinpu reconstructions.

19. Shuang He Ting Quan 雙鶴聽泉 (Paired Cranes Hear a Spring; see earliest tablature)
Zha Guide 27/221/-- does not mention the earliest surviving version, listing it only in 12 handbooks from 1596 through 1884. The first four are as follows:

  1. ~1556 雙鶴廳泉吟 Shuang He Ting Quan Yin (one section; shang mode; facs/16)
    Prelude to ninth version of 猿鶴雙慶 Yuan He Shuang Qing called 雙清 Shuang Qing
  2. 1596 雙清之引 Shuang Qing zhi Yin (two sections; shang mode; VI/219)
    Prelude to 19th version, called 雙鶴 Shuang Qing; expands the previous, changing mode and forming two sections
  3. 1673 聽泉吟 Ting Quan Yin (two sections; gong mode; X/352)
    Still seems related to 1596, but here used as an independent melody
  4. 1689 雙鶴廳泉 Shuang He Ting Quan (gong mode; XIV/216)
    Independent melody in 宮音 gong mode; seems unrelated to others

The last version (1884) has two sections and still seems related to the earlier ones.

20. Other recordings of Yuan He Shuang Qing
Program notes for the Hugo CD recording (王華德,蜀中琴韻,1993) translate the title as Absolute Quietness of Apes and Cranes; it does not mention the tablature used. Its preface is as follows (the original translation is modified here):

Published in Xie Lin's "Music Bequeathed from Antiquity ", this melody is traditionally attributed to SONG Gao Shi (SHI Yangxiu) having enjoyed the Dao of forests and springs; its artistic conception lies in achieving the Dao amongst forests and springs. Its sounds are sad in a clear way, its melody high and free. Through it those sensitive enough can experience cranes calling in the wind and gibbons whistling at the moon. As soon as one finishes listening to it, one will forget all desires, wishing only to flee the dust of present society. Thus it is called "paired clarity".

Although this preface mentions the version in the 1511 Taigu Yiyin, and its text largely copies the preface there, that melody clearly is not the version Wang was using: it begins like the 1589 Taigu Yiyin version, and throughout uses motifs from there, but still is overall very different.

21. Original preface
The original preface is as follows,


All the prefaces (see pdf) can be found in the Zha Guide. It adds punctuation and occasionally seems to change a few characters from the version in the handbook.

22. Original lyrics (timings follow my recording)
Sectioning and phrase structure is discussed above. Punctuation below for the 1511 lyrics comes from the beginning of this pdf file made from pages in the Zha Guide that have typed and punctuated versions of the original lyrics for most of the versions with lyrics (those dated 1511, 1530, 1585 (with 1618; 1573 is same?), 1597 (1611 is the same), and 1589 [Yang Lun]). However, the actual phrasing here is quite different, being based as much as possible on music structures.


  1. 00.01 (泛起)

  2. 00.46

  3. 01.20
    「 」。(泛止)

  4. 02.00
    「 」。
    無春秋,家住嵯峨                           original: 無春秋夏("無論春秋"?)
    「 」。

  5. 02.34
    「襯錦茵兮鮮花,                             (1530: 蘿鮮花; 1567 & 1609: 苔鮮花)
    (「 」,)                                        (1530: see also Sections 4 and 6)
    古松陰下,玉昆金友兩交加,      (

    朝雲樹,暮雨花,結社,              (拂)
    一長嘯,一彈牙。                             (雅? 20364/13)
    「聽其自然,「 」,喬木蒼藤,聽其所以然。

  6. 03.22
    「霜露天,商飈動。「 」,
    猿鶴空山寂寞,冷淸淸,夜沉沉。             1530; original: 猿與鶴,山寂寞,冷淸淸。

  7. 04.09.  
    蜃氣樓臺,見水雲生,龍鱗百萬里,         original: 見蜃氣樓臺,水雲生,龍鱗百萬里。
    山河錦鏽,仙名美淸哉,猿鶴雙淸,         original: 山河錦鏽,淸仙名美哉,猿鶴風月
    風月結成一對,並娉婷。                             original: 雙淸,結成一對,並娉婷。
    「 」。(?)

  8. 05.04
    「 」。

  9. 06.08

  10. 07.18
    「閑暇時淸秋無事,「 」。
    「匡廬彭蠡宜所止,唫遞嘹唳,「 」。

  11. 08.04

  12. 08.38

    09.15 泛音
    09.42 曲終

Some punctuation in particular is tentative, awaiting further study of both the music and the text.

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Appendix: Chart Tracing Shuang Qing Zhuan / Yuan He Shuang Qing
Based mainly on Zha Fuxi's
Guide, 14/151/268; further comment above
Also see pdfs from the Zha Guide: all commentary; all lyrics, then section titles

    (year; QQJC Vol/page)
Further information
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
     . 太音大全集
      (Song dynasty? I/102)
猿鶴雙清 Yuan He Shuang Qing; grouped with shang mode melodies
List only - no tablature (further comment; not on other early melody lists)
  1. 謝琳太古遺音
      (1511; I/313)
雙清傳 Shuang Qing Zhuan; circles seem to divide it into 6 unnumbered sections;
Here the lyrics are divided into 12 sections, mostly as in 1530.
  2. 黃士達太古遺音
      (1515; not included)
Identical to previous; after this, if title is not indicated it is Yuan He Shuang Qing
  3. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/118)
10 sections, titled; no lyrics; quite different from others (earliest to be called "Yuan He Shuang Qing")
Afterword attribs "宋處士高太素 Song dynasty recluse who was high but unassuming", or "...Gao the Unassuming"?
  4. 發明琴譜
      (1530; I/357)
12 sections; lyrics and melody similar to 1511 (further comment); no preface;
Comment in front (illegible in most editions) says "宋石揚休 Song dynasty's Shi Yangxiu created it"
  5. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/129)
10 sections; no lyrics, commentary or attrib.;
Sec. 1-4 like 1511; Sec. 5 compare 7; 6-10 similar material but shorter
  6. 梧岡琴譜
      (1546; I/418)
9 sections; no commentary or attrib.;
Not in Zha Guide but identical to 1561
  7. 琴譜正傳
      (1561; II/418)
Identical to 1546
  8. 太音傳習
      (1552; IV/69)
12 sect., titled; preface attrib. only 宋隱君子 Song recluse
Not in the Zha Guide
  9. 步虛僊琴譜
      (1556±; Facs/17)
Called Shuang Qing); no commentary or lyrics; 9 sections;
Prelude: Shuang He Ting Quan
10. 太音補遺
      (1557; III/336)
9 sect; preface as 1552
11. 龍湖琴譜
      (1571; 琴府/242)
"Shuang Qing"; 12 sect, titled but unnumbered; preface has no attribution
Not indexed in Zha
12. 新刊正文對音捷要
      (1573; #15)
Earlier version of 1585, close but not identical;
Not in Zha Guide; attrib. 石揚休字溫言 Shi Yangxiu, literary name Wenyan
13. 五音琴譜
      (1579; IV/217)
14 sect; no commentary or attribution
14. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/376)
12; lyrics; attrib. Shi Yangxiu; Sec. 1-4 comparable to 1511; Sec. 5 compare 7;
Sed. 5-12 uses much of the same material as 1511 but very differently
15. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/34)
9; no lyrics; preface says, "「宋石揚休所作。月白風清,猿嘯鶴唳, 山間林下,當策杖閒行, 或據床而坐,時聞其聲, 不滅敲金擊玉也;猿鶴對舞,情狂無涯也。故作是曲。」The source of this quote is unclear but see comment.
16. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/344)
9; identical to Yuwu Qinpu
17. 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1589; VII/83)
12, titled; the part of Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu called Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin;
Attrib. Shi Yangxiu; "異類和同"?; lyrics (but later copied without them)
18. 琴書大全
      (1590; V/479)
19. 綠綺新聲
      (1597; VII/27
12; lyrics
Has prelude
20. 琴適
      (1611; VIII/34)
12; identical to 1597
21. 理性元雅
      (1618; VIII/215)
12; lyrics almost same as 1585
22. 裛露軒琴譜
      (>1802; XIX/254)
12; titled; "太古遺音" (i.e., 1589):
Music and section titles seem to have been copied from 1589
23. 雙琴書屋琴譜集成
      (1884; XXVII/343)
12, titled; "from 中屏先生處"; “removed common 太古遺音 lyrics then edited";
Music and section titles same as >1802, hence also same as 1589

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