Shiyixianguan Qinpu 十一絃館琴譜
Qin Handbook from the Chamber of 11 Strings
This handbook, in one folio, was compiled by the writer/official and archaeologist 劉鶚字鐵雲 Liu E, style name Li Tieyun (1857-1909; Wiki:
). Liu E is most famous for his book
老殘遊記 Travels of Lao Can
); the book includes a story connected to guqin
. It includes eight melodies, as follows:
十一絃館琴譜Shiyixianguan Qinpu Table of Contents:
Includes four essays and eight pieces, as follows (Liu E's teacher 張瑞珊 Zhang Ruishan created numbers 5 to 8):
- Essay: 廣陵夢記 Guangling Meng Ji; says 金陵汪安侯選 it was compiled (copied out?) by Wang Anhou of Nanjing; XXIX/3
Connects the short Guangling San to
1634 but see
(details; article begins
中文 as here;
- 廣陵散真趣 Guangling San Zhen Qu; 10 Sections (comments at end of each section); XXIX/5
Almost identical to ≥1802; similar to versions dating back to the 10 section
Guangling San of
1634 that has a prelude called 廣陵真趣 Guangling Zhen Qu: Guangling's True Essence
- Essay: 劉鐵雲識文 Annotation by Liu Tieyun; XXIX/8
Music is connected to 1634 but not identical; a preface to the new interpretation begins
- 廣陵散新譜 Guangling San Xinpu; 10 Sections (comments at end of each section); XXXIX/12
This is tablature for music played by Liu E's teacher 張瑞珊文祉 Zhang Ruishan (張文祉 Zhang Wenzhi, perhaps also a teacher of Ye Shimeng).
- 耕莘釣渭 Geng Shen Diao Wei; 2 Sections; XXXIX/14
- 平沙落雁 Ping Shan Luo Yan; 1+7+1 Sections; XXXIX/15
No recording; further comment
- Essay: 劉鐵雲識文 Annotation by Liu Tieyun; XXIX/19
A preface for the four newly composed pieces that follow; it begins, "琴操之傳於今者大概非古也。詩三百首衍為....")
- 天籟 Tian Lai; 3 Sections; XXXIX/21
- 武陵春 Wuling Chun; 3 Sections; XXXIX/22
- 鷓鴣天 Zhegu Tian; 3 Sections; XXXIX/23
- 小普菴咒 Xiao Pu'an Zhou; 3 Sections; XXXIX/24
- Essay: 重印十一絃館琴譜書後 After finishing a reprint of Shiyixianguan Qinpu (1953); XXIX/25
- Essay: 十一絃館琴譜查阜西跋 Afterword by Zha Fuxi about Shiyixianguan Qinpu (1953); XXIX/26
|Information from a webpage originally created by Julian Joseph4
||劉鐵雲鶚 Liu Tieyun (Liu E)
The Shiyi Xian Guan Qinpu was compiled by Liu E (style Tieyun) (1857-1909), a minor official, entrepreneur and novelist in the last years of the Qing Dynasty. It is highly personal and does not follow the format of a typical qinpu. It is significant because it appears to be the only pre-modern qinpu which contains the work of someone who was not a literatus. It contains a selection of pieces performed by Liu's qin teacher Zhang Ruishan. Among these scores are two unusual versions of the well-known qin piece Guangling San, two pieces for pipa and qin together, and four qin pieces said to have been composed by Zhang himself. Liu himself appears to have had a somewhat checkered career, on which his famous novel Lao Can You Ji is partly based.
Liu E was born in Liuhe, Jiangsu Province. His father was an official in
Henan. As a boy he was wild and impulsive and made his friends among the wilder
youths of the common people. He was energetic and studious but refused
to write the "eight-legged essays" for the official examinations. Later
in life he became a specialist in flood control. When in 1888 the Yellow
River burst its banks he successfully repaired the dike. This started him
on a government career in the field, reaching the rank of prefect. After
differences of opinion with various officials over a railway scheme, he
gave up his government career and spent the rest of his life on various
unsuccessful commercial and industrial projects. His private interests
included poetry, music, astronomy and medicine. He one of the first people
to collect the inscribed oracle bones of the Shang Dynasty and the first
to publish a book of reproductions of them.
Through the machinations of the enemies he made while he was an official,
he was eventually exiled to Xinjiang, where he died.
Liu E's Musical Background and Achievements
Liu E lived in a family which was closely involved with music, and they
often played music together at home when he was a child. Liu E's second
sister played the qin
. Liu E himself, as well as being a qin
player, also sang Kunqu. He was a collector of antique qins
and is said to have owned the famous Tang Dynasty qin
known as Jiu
Xiao Huan Pei
, now in the Palace Museum in Beijing.
The Author's Qin Teacher, Zhang Ruishan (b. 1836?)
Very little is known about Zhang Ruishan. According to Zha Fuxi, he was
born in Baoding District in Hebei Province. He ran a shop called Jiaoye
(House of Banana Leaves) in Liulichang
which sold and repaired qins
. His qin
teacher was Sun Bao
(style Jinzhai). Zhang was one of the teachers of van Gulik's
teacher Ye Shimeng. Although Zhang was a highly respected qin
teacher, he was a folk artist, and hence of low social status. This was unusual
in the qin
Zhang Ruishan's son Zhang Lianfang was a well known qin maker
but not a player. He is said to have made a number of fake antique qins,
which were so good that they were not detected.
(The Shiyi Xian Guan Qinpu
originally contained eight pieces
; a later edition dated ___ added a ninth piece. These can be grouped as follows):
- Guangling San - two versions, with introductory texts
- two pieces, presumably for qin and pipa together, with gongche (pitch) notation and qin tablature
- four short qin compositions by Zhang Ruishan
- a ninth piece, Zhuang Zhou Meng Die (Zhuangzi's Butterfly Dream) identical to that in the 1998 reprint of the
Wuzhi Zhai Qinpu version
with all the original accompanying text, and which was not in earlier editions.
The introductory text to this piece (XXIX/3-5) describes how Wang Anhou (b. 1619), a noted qin
master in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasties,
learned the piece around the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. The story,
entitled Guangling Meng Ji
, relates how Wang had set out with
a friend on a journey. One night, while on this journey, he dreamed he
met an immortal who played this piece but would not teach it to him. Subsequently, he was given a qin
handbook that contained the score of the same piece. As Wang put it "...It was no different from what I had heard the
immortal play in my dream. The sound in the dream had become real...".
The name of this handbook is not given. However, it says that Wang Anhou
obtained the score of this piece from a Ming Dynasty qin
from the Fiefdom of Lu. Now, the guqin
Guyin Zheng Zong
, compiled in 1634 by Zhu Changfang of the fiefdom of Lu, has as its last two pieces a prelude in one section called Guangling Zhen Qu
and its melody Guangling San
, which has 10 sections. The prelude is not found in any other handbook but its Guangling San
is related to the melody here in Shiyixianguan Qinpu
. Therefore it seems likely that this piece was what Wang was given. The piece is very different from the Shenqi Mipu
version of Guangling San
usually played today.
Wang Anhou's Guangling San and its Zhen Qu seem to contain a number flatted notes (3rds especially), giving it the sound of a minor key. In this it is rather unusual. In addition, the mood of the piece seems somewhat subdued, perhaps conservative. This is however not the case for the version here in Shiyixianguan Qinpu.
The preface presents evidence for the supposition that, although it is
popularly believed that Guangling San
was lost when Ji Kang was
executed, in fact the piece that was lost was not Guangling San
but Taiping Yin.
It records that Ji Kang actually said, "Tai Ping
will die now". It also gives evidence for the continued existence
of Guangling San
Guangling San Xin Pu seems to be based on a pentatonic scale,
like most qin music. It is much more dynamic than Wang's, containing
quiet, reflective passages as well as energetic and passionate ones. This
lack of inhibition perhaps stems from his position as a folk artist rather
than a literatus. Zhang also simplified the fingering, and his version
is easier to play than Wang's.
A point to note is that the version of Guangling San
in Guyin Zhenzong is preceded by a short piece, not divided into
sections, called Guangling Zhen Qu, similar to a diaoyi.
The Shiyi Xian Guan Qinpu omits this "diaoyi" for both versions.
Pieces for Qin and Pipa together
Liu says in the preface to the new Guangling San
score, "Zhang Ruishan
was also good at playing the pipa
. He could accompany
tunes on the pipa
. He had [even] mastered the ornamentation (yin
) and harmonics that give the qin
its special charm. He had thoroughly mastered the pipa
. People would exclaim, "Was his skill not divine?"
There are two pieces which contain alternate lines of gongche
notation and qin tablature:
- Ping Sha Luo Yan (Wild Geese Descend on a Sandbank)
- Geng Shen Diao Wei (Farming and Fishing)
There is no prefatory text to these two pieces, but in view of Liu's
remark above, one might assume that the pitch notation is intended for an
accompanist, as it is not needed to play the qin
Ping Sha Luo Yan
This is a standard piece in the qin
repertoire. According to Chen Changlin, the versions here of both it and Geng Shen Diao Wei
probably came from the Yi Liu Zheng Wu Zhi Zhai Qinpu
(compiled by one of Zhang's qin
teachers, Sun Bao, in 1875). It is also different from the versions commonly recorded today. In particular, it is more ornamented, with a lot of yin
and glides, and there are parts in harmonics within the body of the piece.
Geng Shen Diao Wei
A search though the tablatures in Qinqu Jicheng
failed to reveal
any piece with this title, although there are several versions of a piece
called Geng Ge
, which appears to be unrelated, and one called
Geng Shen Yin
which doesn't seem to be related to either of these.
Geng Shen Diao Wei is on two commercial CDs,
one by Mei Yueqiang and one by Lau Chor Wah, but neither names a source.
Both show differences from the version in Shiyi Xian Guan Qinpu.
The notes to the recording by Lau Chor Wah merely say that it came from
a late Qing qin score.
The handbook has four short pieces composed by Zhang Ruishan:
Tian Lai (Sounds of Nature)
- Wuling Chun (Springtime at Wuling)
- Zhegu Tian (Season of the Partridges
- Xiao Pu'An Zhou (Short Mantra of Pu'an)
Zha Fuxi says these are all ensemble pieces, but as only qin tablature is given, this seems unlikely.
Liu's preface says they are "... sometimes like the call of a phoenix,
sometimes like the roar of a dragon, truly exquisite...", "...the rhythm
is taken from the ancient, but it is used in a subtle and original way;
it suits both the old and the new, the popular and the refined...".
This piece has a distinctive and very attractive melody. There is no other surviving qin
piece with this title in Qinqu Jicheng
. It has been suggested that this and the following two pieces might be based on pipa
pieces, but no one has yet been able to identify any such pieces in the pipa
There is one other qin
piece with this title in Qinqu Jicheng
which has the alternative title Wulin Chun
and does not appears
to be related to the present one. The mood of the piece is of a pleasant
awakening on a spring day.
is a standard title. The entry for Zhegu Tian
in Zhongguo Yinyue Cidian
(Dictionary of Chinese Music) states that
is "the name of a tune ... often used in scenes of parting". The mood of
the piece seems consistent with this idea. It has been compared to that
most famous of qin
pieces on this theme, Yangguan San Die
which uses the same tuning (Ruibin
- raised fifth string).
Xiao Pu'an Zhou
in the Shiyi Xian Guan Qinpu
is almost identical
to the pipa
piece of the same name. It would thus seem that the
Xiao Pu'an Zhou
in the Shiyi Xian Guan Qinpu
was transcribed from
score. The pipa
version of Xiao Pu'an Zhou
was composed by Yang Tingguo of Wuxi in Jiangsu in the 18th
The Zhuang Zhou Meng Die
score was not in the original edition of
Shiyi Xian Guan Qinpu
, but was appended to the 1994 edition. It is identical to that in the 1998 reprint of the Wuzhizhai Qinpu.
Grateful thanks are due to Professor Cheng Changlin of Beijing, whose article
in the Beijing Qinxun
first drew the Shiyi Xian Guan Qinpu
to my attention, and inspired my interest in it. Without his help
and encouragement, especially in correcting my translations of the text,
and answering in detail my numerous questions, I would not have been able
to undertake this project. Grateful thanks are also due to Chan Chonghin
of Kuala Lumpur for much help with the translations, to Cheng Yu for playing
part of one of accompanied pieces, and to Christopher
Evans and John Thompson.
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
十一絃館琴譜 Shiyixianguan Qinpu (1907); QQJC XXIX/1-26)
One folio, 8 melodies.
Listed or linked here are recordings by Chen Changlin of four melodies from this handbook.
Zha Fuxi's preface in Qinqu Jicheng
When the finger of oracle bones Liu E lived in Beijing he loved to engage in the arts. He studied guqin from Zhang Wenzhi of Changsi (i.e., 琉璃廠 Liuli Chang). Zhang equally loved the pipa, and so used the four strings of the pipa and the seven strings of the guqin to call himself "Master of the Studio for 11 strings". Zhang and Liu acquired the
"Guangling San Zhen Qu" (compare Guangling Zhen Qu) printed by Wang Anhou of the early Qing dynasty and
"Dream Tales of Guangling" compiled by Wang himself....
The original text begins,
The complete original text of the preface is:
Not yet fully translated.
Image: Handbook Cover
From QQJC XXXIX/3.
Julian Joseph, who translated the book title as "House of 11 Strings", is Secretary of the London Youlan Qin Society. He has done considerable work on this handbook, including reconstructing and/or playing seveal of its melodies. He used to maintain this on his own website but subsequently gave me permission to include it here.
Return to the annotated handbook list
or to the Guqin ToC.