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FXXP / ToC / Tiao Xian Pin / Chart    /   Xianweng Cao Listen to my recording 聽錄音
07. First Scatter Gold 一撒金 1
- grouped with gong mode, which generally treats standard tuning as 5 6 1 2 3 5 62 Yi Sa Jin

The related version of this melody in Xilutang Qintong places is at the beginning of the tablature section, before all other pieces, even the gong modal prelude, and has the rather technical title Tiao Xian Pin (Tuning the Strings Melody),4 perhaps indicating it was intended as a warming up piece. However, here in Fengxuan Xuanpin (1539) it is the seventh piece and has a real title, Yi Sa Jin. Zha Fuxi in his Guide said the piece is "pre-Ming" while of Tiao Xianpin" he said it was a Ming dynasty folk melody. No evidence is given for either of these assertions.

These melodies have no musical relation to the (apparently) later beginner's piece (or warm-up piece) Caoman Yin (Strum Silk Prelude),5 which developed into Melody of the Transcendent Venerable One.

Pieces in Fengxuan Xuanpin have no separate commentary, nor does Tiao Xian Pin in Xilutang Qintong, so the origins of the melody and titles, not to mention the lyrics, remain obscure. The overall intent of the lyrics of the two sections of the present melody might also be seen in several ways. On one level perhaps they first describe the pleasures of wealth then go on to praise the even truer pleasure of the arts. Or perhaps the contrast is more subtle, with the gold and jewels of the first section being used as a metaphor for the value of the arts, while the latter directly discusses them.6

Here it should be mentioned that the phrase "yi sa jin" appears in a number of popular sayings some of which suggest that you must have money to expend if you expect your daughter to marry well, but others express the opinion that having such treasures to expend is less worthy than having crops to harvest or preparing one's sons for the civil service exams.

Section One uses only the fourth to seventh strings, while Section Two has nearly identical tablature except that it is set to the first to fourth strings. This makes all the relative pitches of the second section a fifth lower than those of the first section. The closing harmonic coda then stands out both for being short and for its apparent change in tonality - it is three notes, all 1 (do). Except for this coda the melody Tiao Xian Pin is very similar to here. To my knowledge there are no other qin melodies with a structure like this (with or without the coda).7

 
Original preface

None

 
Music and lyrics8   (timing follows my recording 聽錄音)
The lyrics were paired in a largely syllabic setting. The section titles as well as the lyrics are given here romanized and in the original Chinese as well as with a translation:

  1. 珠玉光輝 Zhū yù guāng huī (Pearls and jade bright and shining;   00.00)

    初臨寶藏啓開鑰,一入寶藏金珠多。
    Chū lín bǎo zàng qǐ kāi yào, yī rù bǎo zàng jīn zhū duō.
    When first approaching a treasure storehouse and breaking open the lock,
                upon entering the treasure storehouse there are gold and pearls aplenty.

    珊瑚珠,瓊瑤璞,輝煌奪目,光灼灼。
    Shān hú zhū, qióng yáo pú, huī huáng duó mù, guāng zhuó zhuó.
    Corals and pearls, with lustrous crust, brilliance to dazzle the eye, bright and gleaming.

    明輝水晶潔,硨磲素,瑪瑙緋,貓晶赤色。
    Míng huī shuǐ jīng jié, chē qú sù, mǎ nǎo fēi, māo jīng chì sè.
    Clear glorious crystal clean, mother-of-pearl white, agate dark red, catseye fire red,

    碧玉翠,寶貝何多人罕見。
    Bì yù cuì, bǎo bèi hé duō rén hǎn jiàn.
    Green jade a kingfisher color; treasures of such number people have rarely seen.

    欲狀其形奈若何,鑄鐯展轉費量度。
    Yù zhuàng qí xíng nài ruò hé, zhù zhuó zhǎn zhuǎn fèi liàng dù.
    You wish to determine their form but how do you do it? With craftsmanship you cannot follow precise measurements.

    似良工撒金箔,宛如珍寶光錯落。
    Sì liáng gōng sā jīn bó, wǎn rú zhēn bǎo guāng cuò luò.
    But the true artisan can speckle gold on paper, and precious gems can spread their brilliance.

  2. 錦綉文章 Jǐn xiù wén zhāng (Elegant Essays;   00.57)

    前賢往聖作文章,後人一覽珠璣光。
    Qián xián wǎng shèng zuò wén zhāng, hòu rén yī lǎn zhū jī guāng.
    Past worthies to sages wrote essays, later people immediately realized they were bright pearls.

    設詞雄,主意強,句工法巧,理優長。
    Shè cí xióng, zhǔ yì qiáng, jù gōng fǎ qiǎo, lǐ yōu zhǎng.
    Prepare a poem about heroes, notice their strength, artful and excellent sentence technique.

    為良敍事功,狀景美,通權變,要識時務。
    Wèi liáng xù shì gōng, zhuàng jǐng měi, tōng quán biàn, yào shí shí wù.
    Build words grandly, with powerful ideas, thoroughly versatile, must know contemporary affairs.

    惡則隱,善則旌揚,堪欣羨。
    È zé yǐn, shàn zé jīng yáng, kān xīn xiàn.
    If ugly then hide it, if beautiful then proclaim it, it is worthy of joy and praise.

    欲播其聲奈無方,鑄鐯展轉費心腸。(鑄錯 = zhu)
    Yù bō qí shēng nài wú fāng, zhù zhuó zhǎn zhuǎn fèi xīn cháng.
    You wish to communicate through sound, but there are no directions. With craftsmanship you cannot be precise when expressing emotions.

    奏瑤琴,入宮商,金聲玉振聲鏗鏘。
    Zòu yáo qín, rù gōng shāng, jīn shēng yù zhèn shēng kēng qiāng.
    Play the jade qin, begin the melody, golden sounds jade-like as melodies go "keng qiang".

    泛音 Fànyīn (Harmonic coda;   01.52)

    要不忘
    Yào bù wàng
    You must not forget!

    曲終 Qu zhong (Piece ends;   02.10)

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
separate page)

1. First Scatter Gold (一撒金 Yi Sa Jin)   (QQJC II/83; Zha Guide 15/160/348)
13019 撒金 Sa Jin says only "謂散金粉也 scatter gold powder".

As for 一撒金 Yi Sa Jin 1.xxx but it exists in numerous folk sayings. For example,

It is not clear how old or widespread such expressions are or whether they are significant in the understanding of this melody title.
(Return)

2. Standard tuning but what mode?
The relative tuning 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 indeed works fine for Section 1, but in Section 2 it seems better to treat the tuning as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6. When looked at this way, in the first section the four strings actually played are tuned 5 6 1 2, then in the second section the four strings actually played are again tuned 5 6 1 2. There is further mention of this here, while for further information on mode see Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

Other than in the virtually identical Tiao Xianpin of 1525, I don't know of any other melody in the qin repertoire which does this.
(Return)

4. Tuning the Strings Melody (調絃品 Tiao Xian Pin)
36488.92 tiao xian says "tune the melody of qin and se." For more information see Tiao Xian Pin. (Return)

5. Strum Silk Prelude (操縵引 Cao Man Yin)
The earliest surviving version is in 太音傳習 Taiyin Chuanxi (1552). It is always the first melody in a handbook, often included among the essays. For more information see 仙翁操 Xianweng Cao, a common beginners' piece.
(Return)

6. Poetic structure of 一撒金 Yi Sa Jin
Perhaps a better translation would clarify this better
(Return)

7. Musical structure of 一撒金 Yi Sa Jin
This is further discussed in a footnote above. It might be noted here that it is not uncommon for individual phrases within melodies to be repeated up or down an interval, usually with their tonal center going from 1 to 5 (or the reverse) or from 6 to 1 (or the reverse).

Regarding the final notes before the harmonic coda, there is perhaps some ambiguity here. Section 2 ends on a slide from 3 (mi) down to 7, then 6, then a "搯撮七聲 7-sound taocuo". Leaving aside the issue of how to do the "7 sounds" (it could be more than 7 notes), the technique actually produces three different relative pitches: cuo on 2 and 6, 罨 yan on 7 (or 1?) and tao on 6. The slide (by the thumb) down to 7 suggests the yan will be on 7. However, playing it instead on 1 makes the closing harmonics on 1 seem more natural. According to my understanding within this 7-note taocuo there are three yan. My inclination is to play the first two yan on the note 7 and the last one on 1. I find this musically satisfying, but it is not a standard way of doing this technique.

Here it should be noted that, although the qin was in some ways a written tradition, it was also an oral tradition: you learned by copying your teachers and the tablature was a description of how they played a piece. Because of this if they played in a way that could not be described in the tablature as it existed this was not reason enough to try to figure out a new way of writing the tablature. Also, in some places there was clearly flexibility either intended or observed.
(Return)

8. Lyrics of 一撒金 Yi Sa Jin
The translation here is tentative. In order to make the phrasing of the lyrics of the two sections fit the fact that the music of both is identical I have made the punctuation here a little different from that in Zha Guide 348 (872).

Here the lyrics and translation are given separately, without transliteration:

一撒金(無名,公元 1539)

一:珠玉光輝
初臨寶藏啓開鑰,一入寶藏金珠多。
珊瑚珠,瓊瑤璞,輝煌奪目,光灼灼。
明輝水晶潔,硨磲素,瑪瑙緋,貓晶赤色。
碧玉翠,寶貝何多人罕見。
欲狀其形奈若何,鑄鐯展轉費量度。
似良工撒金箔,宛如珍寶光錯落。

二:錦綉文章
前賢往聖作文章,後人一覽珠璣光。
設詞雄,主意強,句工法巧,理優長。
為良敍事功,狀景美,通權變,要識時務。
惡則隱,善則旌揚,堪欣羨。
欲播其聲奈無方,鑄鐯展轉費心腸。(鑄錯 = zhu)
奏瑤琴,入宮商,金聲玉振聲鏗鏘。

尾音:要不忘

1. Pearls and jade bright and shining
When first approaching the treasure storehouse, how to open the lock?
            Upon entering the treasure storehouse, one finds gold and pearls aplenty.
Corals and pearls, with lustrous crust, brilliance to dazzle the eye, bright and gleaming.
Clear glorious crystal clean, tridac nagigus white, agate dark red, catseye's fire red,
Green jade a kingfisher color; treasures of such number people have rarely seen.
You wish to describe their form but how do you do it? With craftsmanship you cannot follow precise measurements
But the true artisan can speckle gold on paper, and precious gems can spread their brilliance

2. Elegant Essays
Past worthies to sages wrote essays, later people immediately realized they were bright pearls.
Prepare a poem about heroes, notice their strength, artful and excellent sentence technique.
Build words grandly, with powerful ideas, thoroughly versatile, must know contemporary affairs.
If ugly then hide it, if beautiful then proclaim it, it is worthy of joy and praise.
You wish to communicate through sound, but there's no way. With craftsmanship you cannot be precise when expressing emotions.
Play the jade qin, begin the melody, golden sounds jade-like as melodies go keng qiang.

(Coda) You must not forget!

(Translation by John Thompson)
(
Return)

Return to the annotated handbook list or to the Guqin ToC.