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22. Hymn of Grand Moral Virtue
- (Zhi mode:2 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 )
Sheng De Song
Tablature issues 3
Tablature for this title can be found in only two surviving handbooks, Faming Qinpu (1530) and Longhu Qinpu (1571).5 The version in Faming Qinpu has eight untitled sections, while the Longhu Qinpu version has ten titled sections, having divided Faming Qinpu's Section 8 into three. The lyrics are basically the same in both, but the music is very different, perhaps unrelated. The Longhu Qinpu version also includes a brief preface.6
The melody and lyrics of this Sheng De Song are unrelated to the melody and lyrics of the Sheng De Song meaning Hymn of Holy Moral Virtue.7 This other Sheng De Song title is also in at least one early list, but tablature can be found only in Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585).
Although I have written out a complete transcription of the 1530 song into staff notation, translated almost all of it, and selected note values that work quite well, I do not yet consider this reconstruction finalized. The main problems are some passages where I do not understand the lyrics well enough to be confident that my musical phrases fit the apparent phrasing of the lyrics. This problem is compounded by the fact that, as in the sample image at right, the original tablature is mostly lacking punctuation for either the lyrics or music.8 Another problem is dealing with mistakes and/or inconsistencies in the tablature.9
On the other hand, there are structures within the music that help solve some of these problems. Thus, after their opening phrases Section 5 largely repeats Section 1, but one octave higher; then the opening of Section 6 repeats the opening of Section 2, after which most of the rest of Section 6 repeats Section 4, in both cases again one octave higher.10
As for pairing the phrasing of the music with the phrasing of the lyrics, my initial impression is that perhaps the 1530 editor paid insufficient attention to making clear how the music and text should fit together. For example, perhaps the lyrics and music originally did fit in performance, but the lyrics were copied down separately from the tablature. The editor (who perhaps could not sing or even play the music) might then have tried to pair the lyrics and music in the usual manner, but in some places couldn't quite figure out how to do it. As a result there are places where there is tablature but no words, others where there are words but no appropriate tablature. Other attempts to explain the problems are equally speculative.11
As for mistakes and/or inconsistencies in the tablature, this seems to be a common problem in certain Ming dynasty handbooks, thus contrasting notably from handbooks such as Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425) and Xilutang Qinpu (1525): although 1425 and 1525 also indicate numerous non-pentatonic notes, they do so in a consistent manner that suggests they were intentional.
None (but the Longhu Qinpu version has one12)
Music and Lyrics13
Eight Sections, untitled (but the Longhu Qinpu version has section titles14)
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Hymn of Grand Moral Virtue (盛德頌 Sheng De Song) (compare
23537.167 has only 盛德 but its quote from the Great Preface (大序 Da Xu) to the 詩經 Shi Jing also mentions "頌 Song", saying that such a hymn is a description of the beauty of grand moral virtue: 「盛德，謂天德之盛行者也。（詩、大序）頌者美盛德之形容。」 5960.366 大序 writes out the Da Xu; it says it comes before the first poem, 關雎 Guan Ju, but doesn't say when or by whom it was written. In my Chinese edition of the Shi Jing it comes before the hymns (頌 song), which are Shi Jing Mao numbers 266-305. I haven't found a textual relationship between any of those hymns and the lyrics here.
23537.167-.173 all concern 盛德 sheng de, but none mentions the qin and the reference just quoted is the only one to mention 頌 song. .171 盛德舞 concerns a Han dynasty shengde dance. 7/1430 adds nothing.
Online I have found a few direct references to 盛德頌 Sheng De Song:
My opinion from reconstructing the melody is that it is more coherent than the patched-together lyrics, and so probably came before it.
Faming Qinpu does not mention the mode, but Longhu Qinpu includes it among its zhi mode pieces. Tonal centers are on zhi (5, so) and shang (2, re). as would be expected from zhi mode melodies.
Image: Tablatures issues (at end of the Sheng De Song tablature from Faming Qinpu)
For much of the tablature there is little problem working out the pitches; at the end, though, there are serious interpretation problems. In the sample above there are two main issues:
There is further related comment below.
My general practice is to avoid changing notes: even if non-pentatonic notes originally seem odd, they may eventually prove interesting. However, throughout this piece the tablature has too many such passages, often unplayable, and intermediate positions on stopped sounds are rarely indicated, except on slides. To me this suggests careless editing in the original.
A Song dynasty melody?
For the qin melody list of 僧居月 Seng Ju Yue see Tong Kin-Woon, Qin Fu, pp.1695-6. The presence of this title in the Less Ancient section of this list suggests that it existed during the Song dynasty, but does not establish whether it was a close or distant version of the present melody or was instead a musically unrelated one with the same title. Many if not most of the lyrics seem to draw on various old sources, but some them do refer to a specific event at Yashan that marked the end of the Song dynasty, and these have led me to the following speculative attempt to show how the present version might nevertheless have at least partially originated in the Song dynasty.
The lyrics at the end of Section 3 of the 1530 tablature have several references to events at 崖山 Yashan/Yaishan, the scene in March 1279 of the last battle of Song resistance to the Yuan conquest. However, just here in the tablature there is a gap in the lyrics, so that tablature that would normally have 17-19 characters paired to it (according to what was then an apparently obligatory strict pairing method) instead has none; such a gap in the middle of a melody is very unusual. Some of this can be fixed by taking 10 characters from a repeated melodic passage (beginning "安南..."; at the time, repeated tablature often did not have words paired to it) and moving them plus the ensuing Section 3 phrases down. However, this still leaves 7 to 9 notes unpaired. To my ears the most natural place to add this text would be in the middle of the passage connected to Yashan. So the speculation is that, if the present melody did originate in the Song dynasty, then shortly after the battle someone expanded it so as to add (and/or perhaps revise) lyrics that include mention the Song demise. This, however, would have been a dangerous thing to do: at that time it would not have been politically feasible to lament the Yuan conquest openly, so any lyrics that might have been seen as mentioning the battle might then have had to be deleted, leaving a gap if the added music remained. If the 1530 version was based on a Yuan dynasty copy of the tablature to which someone had tried to add the the lyrics referring to the battle, perhaps by then some of them were no longer remembered and so a gap remained. (The 1571 version has no such gap, the melody being shorter here.) This may just be fantasy, but what better explanation is there for the extremely unusual gap? If it is true, what would the most likely subject of these missing lyrics have been? My own suggestion is that it was connected to someone who was at the battle, but making that sort of speculation requires first adding further historical detail.
Connected to this is the feeling that the lyrics here are so long, detailed and didactic that it is difficult to imagine them being sung out loud from beginning to end.
Today claims have been made by the Lingnan Qin School that an old qin handbook called Gugang Yipu includes tablature someone with the Song dynasty court brought to 崖山 Yashan (sometimes written as 厓山, called 厓門山 Yamenshan or 崖門 Yamen, or Romanized as Yaishan). In 1279 the remnants of the Song court had fled to this region and were living on Yashan, then an island in the Pearl River estuary of what is today Guangdong Province. My Historical Atlas of China (image) shows Ya Shan as a small island above a bay called the Yellow Reeds Sea (黃茅海 Huangmao Hai): presumably the battle took place in that bay. The Wikipedia article on the 崖門戰役 Battle of Yamen, dated March 1279, includes a picture of a park in nearby 新會 Xinhui commemorating the battle (also search for 崖門古炮台 Yamen Gupaotai or "Yamen Fort"). Note, however, much of the area here in the delta has silted up since the battle, there is no longer a Yashan island, and the bay is further down what modern maps call the 崖門水道 Yamen Water Route, which runs down through the area to Huangmao Hai.
On the Song dynasty side four major figures should be mentioned:
Perhaps the most likely subject for the missing line (mostly like 4+4 characters or 7 characters) would be a reference alluding to Lu Xiufu, the only one of the above leading figures not so mentioned in these lyrics. (My thanks to 楊劭允 Yang Shao-Yun for clarifying the Yashan references for me and making this suggestion about Liu Xiufu).
Another possibility for the missing line might be one from Wen Tianxiang's Crossing the Lingding Sea; the complete poem is as follows, together with an online translation by 陈耀国 YK Chan, copied here with his kind permission:
Hardship endurance began with my scripture exam,
Sporadic struggles lasting over four decades thence.
A kingdom vanquished, in the wind catkins fly.
Like duckweeds struck by heavy rain I fall and rise.
Retreat from Panic Beach tells a panicky action,
On Lingding Sea I lament my lone incarceration.
Since the beginning of time who can ever not die?
My unwavering devotion shall in history shine!
One of these lines might serve well for the gap in the present lyrics. However, there is no real evidence to support a connection between this poem and the lyrics of the present melody other than the subject matter and the fact that so much of the Song De Song lyrics consists of quotes from earlier sources.
Also note that this melody did not make it into any list of melodies claiming connection to the Gugang Yipu.
Tracing this 盛德頌 Sheng De Song
Zha Fuxi's Guide 15/--/339 does not include Longhu Qinpu so it only lists the Faming Qinpu version; the tablature is in QQJC I/366-369. The Longhu Qinpu version begins in Qin Fu, p. 260.
Difference in lyrics between 1530 and 1571 versions
The textual differences amount mainly to words missing from Longhu Qinpu (1571), though there are also changed words here and there, plus a few additions. The extra phrases added (one each) in Faming Qinpu at the end of sections 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7, all applied to the multiple fingering technique 搯撮三聲 taocuo sansheng, are all missing from 1571. Although the sections in 1571 are titled, they are not numbered.
Hymn of Holy Moral Virtue (聖德頌 Sheng De Song) (Zha Fuxi's Guide
29727.289 has only 聖德 (高德、天子之德). A piece of this title survives only in Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585; see #48 in the Table of Contents). The lyrics there are as follows (copied from www.qinzhijie.com):
Elsewhere this melody has been connected to Yan Shigu, presumably because he is credited with a fu poem of this title. However, the text of his fu has not been attached to any known qin melody. It begins,
See more in the China Text Project (Section 150).
The tablature, in Folio 3 of the 1530 edition of Faming Qinpu, is on folio pages 45-51. Punctuation seems largely confined to pages 48 and 49. The 1530 edition may be a reprint (it is "新刊 xin kan"); perhaps other editions had either more punctuation or no punctuation.
Mistakes and/or inconsistencies
The main problem is due to the fact that many indicated finger positions suggest non-pentatonic notes, but these are most commonly 4 (fa) and 7 ti); and whereas the non-pentatonic notes seem to be clearly intended in some places, in others they would lead to strange and unlikely dissonances (e.g., diads on f and g together). This then brings into question the notes which seem to sound good either as pentatonic or non-pentatonic notes.
The problems center around a tendency to write only 五, 六 or 八 for intermediate positions such as 5.6, 6.4 or 7.6. This is particularly noticeable if one compares Section 1 (after the opening phrase) with Section 5 (after the opening passage with runs [滾 gun]). The latter has basically the same melody an octave higher but, in a number of places, the indicated slides of one lead to a pentatonic note (e.g., position 6 on the 6th string: E) while the corresponding indicated slides of the other indicate the non-pentatonic equivalent (e.g., position 10 on the 6th string: F).
See also the comment regarding the above image.
Repeating sections in a different register
This is also found it quite a few other qin melodies. In some cases the phrasing of the lyrics have changed but the musical phrasing seems unchanged. To my knowledge there have been no studies of the significance of this.
Pairing lyrics and music
The pairing of lyrics and music in qin melodies is discussed further elsewhere. The problems outlined here bring into question whether these songs were ever in fact sung - or even intended to be sung.
Specific examples of pairing problems include:
The latter two examples, in particular, suggests that perhaps this was an instrumental melody to which someone who didn't understand it very well simply added lyrics. This seems to have been quite common in some handbooks, such as Zheyin Shizi Qinpu,
The original preface in Longhu Qinpu says:
These seem largely to consist of quotes or paraphrases from earlier literature on good behavior. In Section One I have bracketed with 「 」 ones I have found. However, for those found through internet searches the sources are often not identified (some may in fact be maxims of unknown origin).
The original lyrics in Faming Qinpu are as follows (arranged to follow the flow of the melody, but the translation is still in a rough stage):
||For everyday matters whatever you say you should be able to say to anyone.
(Compare Sima Guang, 資治通鑑 Zizhi Tongjian: 「平生所為未有不可對人言者」)
|動履必端詳，「居處必靜」。||When moving be dignified and serene, at home be calm. (?)|
|When traveling around follow customs, when stopping follow rules,
(? Compare 徐幹，中論，法象 3. 禮記，玉藻 37 has 周還中規，折還中矩。)
|戰競自持。||Be on guard and self-restrained.|
|「正其衣冠，尊其瞻視，||"Adjust clothing and cap, and throw a dignity into your looks,|
||so that, thus dignified, you are looked at with awe."
(Translation from 論語，堯曰 2, except that it had no "則")
|歎談，「口不出非禮之言」，||Speak resoundingly, the mouth should not make inappropriate sounds;|
||Go in and come out respectfully, the feet should not walk on inappropriate ground.
（「口不道非禮之言，足不踐非禮之地。」 is in 邵雍 [?]）
|寧肯作「嬰兒之態」。||Prefer having the outlook of a young child.|
|「脫凡近，游高明，」||Avoid partial learning and go around with brilliance,|
|而「有丈夫之志，」||and have a brave person's aims,|
|無諂無驕無自欺。||with no flattery, no arrogance, no self-deceit.|
|(Thanks to I Lo-Fen and Jeffery Tan for help in translating this section)|
|「吾日三省吾身」，||Daily remind yourself about three points (論語，學而 4),|
|「三網」正而「五常」精神。||Be correct in the "Three Cardinal Relationships" and nurture the "Five Constant Virtues".|
|君子當容人，無為人容。||A moral and cultivated person must be tolerant, not require the tolerance of others|
|唾面必便自乾。||If someone spits on you, just allow it to dry naturally.|
|出門時，如見大賓。||When leaving home, be (courteous and polite) as if greeting an important guest.|
|尊高年，表其長。||Respect the elderly and praise their merits;|
|慈孤弱，幼吾其幼。||show compassion to the weak and poor, love them like your own children.|
|入虛室，如有人，||When entering an empty room, act as though others are present.|
|惡禮不接於心術，||Do not intentionally show a lack of etiquette and decorum.|
|姦聲亂色不留於聰明。||Lascivious sounds and lewd sights: do not keep them in the ears and eyes.|
|立治朝，「垂紳正笏」，||When standing up in court, hang your sash down and straighten your writing tablet,|
||"When presenting ideas be fully honest;
(說苑，尊賢 35, but no "其")
|退思補過。」無疎慵，||when getting back ideas amend errors." Do not be heedless and lax;|
|「讜言正論」。||when giving counsel be correct.|
|不避顏色，不避顏色。||Do not ignore appearance; do not ignore appearance.|
|To help rulers emulate Yao and
Shun emphasize an honest attitude.
(Repeat these two lines.)
|嚙雪猶能持漢節。||(Su Wu) chewed on snow so that he could still maintain his Han Credentials.|
|羅雀掘鼠，獨守孤城中。||(Zhang Xun) netted sparrows and dug for rats, while singlehandedly defending the isolated city (of Suiyang).|
|(Ban Chao) came back alive through Yumen Pass (Gansu), but did not hope for a fief in Jiu Quan.
(Repeat melodic line without lyrics; 1530 original had 醴泉 40946.3: near Xi'an)
||(陳宜中 Chen Yizhong
[Wiki]) wished from Annan to go to Yashan.
(A naval battle there in Guangdong in 1279 ended the Song dynasty.)
|_ _ _ _ (_) _ _ _||(Lyrics seem to be missing for either this line or for one of two succeeding lines: did they concern 陸秀夫 Lu Xiufu [Wiki]??))|
|舟遇颶風。||(Then 張世傑 Zhang Shijie [Wiki] and his) ships (sank when they) met a big storm (typhoon in March?).|
|剛腸正氣填其胸。||(So [Wen Tianxiang's] unyielding righteousness filled his breast. (See 1571; 1530 had 止氣: helplessness)|
|百行內，百行內，||With all behaviour, with all behaviour,|
|孝順孝順父母為先， 。||show filial obedience: parents come first, .|
||In winter make them warm, in summer cool; evenings arrange everything, mornings ask after them.
|「出必告，反必面」。||When going out tell them; when returning show yourself. (禮記，曲禮上 17）|
||When they enter or leave help and support them,
||When in pain or having an itch, then reverently care for and scratch them.
(In Li Ji this line precedes the previous one; for 癢 the pu had 養)
||In their reception room ask of their daily life, give them marrow, and offer them sweet delicacies.
(for 骨 the pu had 骨+修, which I have not found in any dictionary; 1571 has 修隨)
|「必請所與」， ，當不忘， 。||You must invite them to have the leftovers, must not forget responsibilities.|
|懷躭乳哺鞠育劬勞之慈，||When pregnant then suckling then nurturing diligently as a loving mother,|
|昊天罔極心孜。||vast as the boundless heavens was her untiring heart.|
|大聖人，周公大聖人，戒伯禽，||A great sage, Zhou Gong the great sage, admonished (his eldest son) Bo Qin, (when he sent him to Lu to rule on his behalf, as follows, so worthy men would continue to visit):|
|三握髮，一飯三吐哺，起以待士，||You may have to grasp your hair three times each (to stop washing it), and while eating three times take food from your mouth, so as to entertain scholars,|
|恐失天下之賢。||fearing that (otherwise) your might lose favor of these worthy people.|
|「自卑而尊人」，先彼後己。||Humble yourself, honor others (禮記，曲禮上 15); first others then yourself.|
|謙恭遜順，||Be polite, modest and yielding,|
|「和顏悅色」，相近相親。||frank but amiable; close and intimate. (論語， 鄉黨 2 & 5 explanation)|
|燕昭築臺，蔡邕倒屣，||King Zhao of Yan [ d. 279 BCE] built a (golden) terrace (for recruiting officials); Cai Yong hurried to welcome guests;|
|公孫弘開東閣之誠。||Gongsun Hong built an Eastern Chamber (to invite worthy officials).|
|下榻陳蕃見重於孺子。||Below the bed Chen Fan respected Ruzi (Chen Fan, d. 168 CE, imperial guardian of Han emperor Ling, made a bed for the righteous scholar 徐孺子 Xu Ruzi, then suspended it high above where no one else could use it.)|
|草廬三往先主曾顧於孔明，||Going to the hut three times, the first lord (Liu Bei) finally saw Kongming (Zhuge Liang).|
|陶侃母截頭髮延賓。||Tao Kan's mother cut her hair to buy food to entertain a guest, (范逵 Fan Kui, who could promote Tao Kan.)|
|賈生半夜，前席不冠，不見黯身，||Student Jia (賈誼 Jia Yi, 201 – 169 BCE) for half the night, having (the emperor) on the edge of his mat no hat (??), did not notice his dark feelings. (??)|
|富貴貧賤毋驕人。||Whether wealthy or in humble circumstances, mothers are proud. (?)|
|勿以惡小而為，||Just because an evil act is small do not go ahead and commit it;|
||just because a kind act is small do not fail to do it.
|編橋渡蟻，龍顏得第一名。||(Song Jiao saved) ants by making a bridge, then the emperor gave him first place. (宋郊編荻橋渡蟻)|
|疲癃必使以其所，||The old and infirm must be given what they need;|
|鰥寡孤獨必使得其生。||widowers, widows, orphans and the childless must be enabled to survive.|
||If a child is about to fall into a well, ....??
(Mengzi, Gong Sun Chou I/6)
|哀矜不忍，極濟施仁。||Don't repress compassion; bring benevolence through great aid. (Zha: "拯濟" zhengji)|
||Follow the dying requests of the late departed. (?. 1571 has 「天人使命。」
Compare 「爾用先人之治命，余是以報。」 in《左傳》，宣公十五年 commentary; 治命 is "dying request".)
|城陷江南，不許妄殺一人。||When cities fell in Jiangnan, (曹彬 Cao Bin, 931–999) did not allow the killing of even one person.|
|蒼天有報名餘慶。||Heaven then registered his name, granting (his descendanst) a surplus of deserved fortune.|
|「君子居易以俟命。」||A gentleman leads a plain and simple life so that everything is left to fate; (禮記，中庸 14)|
|「不義而富且貴如浮雲。」||If one is not righteous, then fortune and wealth are like floating clouds. (論語，述而 16)|
|簞食、瓢飲、在陋巷，在陋巷，||Eating from a plain bowl and drinking from a gourd in poor alleyways, poor alleyways:|
||Others could not have endured this, but
(Yan) Hui still enjoyed himself.
(孟子，離婁下 57: 「居於陋巷。一簞食，一瓢飲。人不堪其憂，顏(回)不改其樂。」)
|「千萬載 名猶存」。||For countless years one's name still carries on,|
||(so although) food may be of poor quality
(?; for 羹 geng 1530/1571 had 美 mei),
|咬斷菜根，，「怡然自得」。||and you may be able to eat only cabbage stalks (「咬菜根」), , be happy to have yourself (列子，皇帝 1).|
|清風蕙帳，明月柴門，||Fresh breezes and a beautified canopy, a bright moon over the bramble gate,|
|玉階雨過添苔痕。||Steps (look like) jade as passing rain adds to the moss tracks. (?)|
|棄浮名，樂守丘園，||Abandon empty fame, enjoy staying in hilly gardens,|
|不管他世事紛紛、任紛紛，||not concerned with those worldly affairs in all their number, or responsibilites in all their number,|
|從吾之所好，肥馬輕裘任自榮。||or chasing after everything you want, to be surrounded by luxury.|
|各教中自有樂地，滿腔子都是春意。||Each philosophy includes its own points of happiness, filling the breast with thoughts of spring.|
|綠遍窗前草不除，||In front of a green window grass does not protrude,|
|清風明月，萬里涵清虛。||Fresh breezes and a bright moon, all around is contained in emptiness.|
|不愧室漏。「不怨天，||Don't be ashamed of a humble home. "Do not lament against heaven; (論語，憲問 35)|
|不尤人，」「食無求飽。」||do not grumble against others." "When eating do not seek only to be full;"|
|那更「居無求安，」(comment)||Even more, "at home do not seek only conveniences," (論語，學而 14)|
|「敏于事，慎于言。」||Be earnest in action, cautious in speech.|
|「談笑有鴻儒，往來無白丁。」||"In talk and laughter have erudition, no ignorant people passing to and fro." (陋室銘; transl.)|
|趨于物外，一生無毀，亦無譽。||Hasten beyond the mundane world, a whole life without ruin, also without fame.|
|申申如也，身廣體胖。||Easy going, physique broad and body comfortable;|
|夭夭如也，坦然方寸地，便是安居。||pleasant in manner, open-hearted and so living at peace.|
|（泛止。曲終）||(Harmonics end; melody ends.)|
Chinese section titles
The original section titles in Longhu Qinpu are as follows (the music and lyrics of Sections 8 to 10 are equivalent to those of Faming Qinpu Section 8)
Return to the top, Faming Qinpu, or to the Guqin ToC.