T of C 
Home
My
Work
Hand-
books
Qin as
Object
Qin in
Art
Poetry
/ Song
Hear
Qin
Play
Qin
Analysis History Ideo-
logy
Miscel-
lanea
More
Info
Personal email me search me
FXXP / ToC Listen to my recording 聽錄音
67. Wei Riverbank Intonation
- Zhi mode: standard tuning: 2 3 5 6 7 1 2 ( ! 2)
 
渭濱吟 1
Weibin Yin
Image not yet selected3

During the Ming dynasty there were at least nine handbooks with this melody, but after this it seems to have disappeared.4 The first of these handbooks is Xilutang Qintong (1525; #72); however, the version I have reconstructed is the second, from Fengxuan Xuanpin (1539).5 All versions date from the Ming dynasty. In addition, two Ming handbooks have a melody called Chunyi Yin that seems to be melodically related to Weibin Yin.6 Some later handbooks use Weibin Yin as a prelude for Si Shun,7 and both handbooks with Chunyi Yin use it as a prelude for Si Shun (there called Wen Wang Si Shun).

Weibin Yin is connected to story of Wen Wang meeting Lü Shang 8 at the Wei river. A somewhat related story is told in connection with the melody Si Shun, but the connection is rather tenuous. In fact, the story of Weibin Yin better connects to that of another melody, Shi Xian, which also directly tells a story of Wen Wang meeting Lü Shang at the Wei river.

In addition, the music of Weibin Yin seems to have more in common with Shi Xian than with Si Shun. This is seen both in the opening phrase of each, and in the modality: given the thematic connection, this seems quite natural. However, no surviving handbooks group Weibin Yin and Shi Xian as a pair.9

Regarding the mode (see also the footnote comment), all three of these melodies are said to be in zhi mode. As with zhi mode melodies, if all are transcribed with the open first string as C (1, making the relative tuning 1 2 4 5 6 1 2), all have 5 and 2 as the main and secondary tonal centers. However, whereas Si Shun shares at least one other notable characteristic of Shen Qi Mi Pu melodies in the zhi mode (occasional use of both flatted and non-flatted 7), Shi Xian and Weibin Yin both have numerous occurrences of flatted 7, with very few non-flatted.

On the other hand, with the open first string considered as 1, Shi Xian has numerous occurrences of 4, in this way differing from Weibin Yin. Thus, Shi Xian tuning should perhaps be considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 .

As with other early qin melodies in the zhi mode (see again the footnote comment), the main tonal center of Weibin Yin is played on the open fourth string, called zhi. Zhi also refers to the pitch today called 5 (sol). A whole-tones third above 5 is 7. A characteristic of early zhi mode melodies is that 7 is not uncommon, and it is also sometimes flatted.10 But in Weibin Yin the 3rd above the open fourth string is always flatted. This in fact makes the open fourth string appear to be not 1 (do) , but 6 (la).

It is for this reason that perhaps the tuning of Weibin Yin should not be considered 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 , as would be normal, or as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, but as 2 3 5 6 7 2 3 . The main note is thus 6, the secondary note 3, as in the yu mode.11

As if to compensate, the harmonic closing of Weibin Yin is the one standard to zhi mode.

 
Original preface

None

 
Music
3 sections (untitled)

1.
2.
3.
end  

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Weibin Yin 渭濱吟
18280.44 渭濱 Weibin says banks of Wei, but it also says that this is a name for 太公望 Taigong Wang (呂尚 Lü Shang). .45 渭濱叟 Weibin Sou and .47 渭濱漁父 Weibin Yufu also refer to Taigong Wang, giving Shi Ji, Annal 79 (Fan Sui) as source, but the main reference for the story is Annal 32 Lü Shang's biography. See also Annal 4 (GSR I, p.59).
(Return)

2. Zhi Mode in Weibin Yin
Normally I consider zhi mode melodies to use the tuning 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 . However, Weibin Yin seems to work best if the tuning is considered 2 3 5 6 7 2 3 . The primary reason is that this consideration of the tuning puts the largest number of notes within the traditional Chinese pentatonic scale 1 2 3 5 6 (do re mi sol la. The following chart shows the note count using this analysis of the tuning.

Weibin Yin note count with tuning considered as 2 3 5 6 7 2 3 (re mi sol la ti re mi)
Relative Pitch 1 2 3 4 4# 5 6 7
Note Count 52 24 75 1 4 24 63 12

With this consideration of the tuning there are three occurrences of 4# (sharped 4), otherwise the melody is similar to those in yu mode, with 6 the main tonal center and 3 secondary.

My original assumptions about modes are based on playing and analyzing the melodies in Shen Qi Mi Pu (SQMP; 1425). In my opinion, SQMP zhi mode melodies treat standard tuning, 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 as though it is 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 . Later melodies such as this one challenge those assumptions, at least as far as zhi mode melodies are concerned. (Most basic assumption: Because there was no absolute pitch in qin tuning, and standard traditional Chinese music uses the pentatonic scale 1 2 3 5 6 [do re mi sol la], with 4 and 7 as the most common non-pentatonic tunes, my transcriptions into staff notation should treat the staff notation as though it were Chinese number notation, so that C means 1 [do], not the modern Western concert C.) If with Weibin Yin you consider the tuning to be 1 2 4 5 6 1 2, the main tonal center is 5, secondary 2, as is common in the zhi mode, but there are then numerous occurrences of 4 (and one flatted 7). The following chart shows the note count with this analysis of the tuning.

Weibin Yin note count with the tuning considered as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 (do re mi sol la do re)
Relative Pitch 1 2 3 4 5 6 7b 7
Note Count 75 1 4 24 63 12 52 24

From a diatonic (7 note scale) standpoint, there are now fewer accidentals, but there are also more notes outside the traditional Chinese pentatonic scale.

The other possibility, considering the tuning to be 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, yields only one accidental, a single flatted 7. Now the main tonal center becomes 2, secondary 6 (see the qiliang mode). However, once again there are a lot of notes outside the traditional Chinese pentatonic scale.

Weibin Yin note count with the tuning considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 (sol la do re mi sol la)
Relative Pitch 1 2 3 4 5 6 7b 7
Note Count 24 63 12 52 24 75 1 4

Note that in each chart above the main note (the one with 63 occurrences), though changing its relative position in the scale, keeps the same pitch as the open fourth string. As yet, I have not noticed any other melodies that best fit the standard Chinese pentatonic scale when the tuning is considered as 2 3 5 6 7 1 2 .
(Return)

3. Image
Not yet selected.
(Return)

4. Tracing 渭濱吟 Weibin Yin
Based largely on Zha Guide 16/170/---, this melody survives in at least 10 handbooks (missing 1556):

  1. 1525 (III/154)
  2. 1539
  3. 1556
  4. 1609
  5. 1611
  6. 1614
  7. 1620
  8. "late Ming"
  9. 1647
  10. 1692 (same as 1647).

I reconstructed the 1539 version based on erroneous information that it was the earliest published edition; the earliest is actually the one in Xilutang Qintong (1525).
(Return)

5. Second version
Generally I reconstruct the earliest version of any particular melody, and when I did this melody I followed Zha Guide's dating of Xilutang Qintong to 1549; since then I learned that its correct date is more likely 1525.
(Return)

6. 純一吟 Chunyi Yin Intonation on Sincerity
Chunyi Yin serves as a prelude for Wen Wang Si Shun in both Taiyin Chuanxi (1552) and Taiyin Buyi; the similarity of Chunyi Yin to Weibin Yin is mostly at the beginning.
(Return)

7. In particular it precedes and shares the same introduction as the version of Si Shun called Wen Wang Si Shi in 1525, and it precedes Wen Wang in 1556. (Fengxuan Xuanpin, which does not organize melodies by prelude then main melody, has Wen Wang Si Shun as #64.)
(Return)

8. 呂尚 Lü Shang
(Return)

9. In fact, only two handbooks seem to include the melody of Shi Xian, <1491 and 1585.
(Return)

10. Since the main note is the open fourth string, called zhi, it is tempting to consider this string as do, making the relative pitches of the tuning 4 5 7 1 2 4 5. However, the result is normally that 3 is almost always flatted. Also, this usually introduces flatted 7s into the transcription.
(Return)

11. For further analysis of the zhi mode see Shenpin Zhi Yi in Shen Qi Mi Pu.
(Return)

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