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Wugang Qinpu
Wood Ridge Qin Handbook 1

This handbook is thought to have the earliest tablature in the style of the Xu family orthodox tradition,3 perhaps providing a view of the Song dynasty tradition separate from that in Shen Qi Mi Pu.4 Although attributed to the eunuch Huang Xian,5 is thought to contain the music of Zhang Zhu,6 who was the teacher of Huang's teacher, Dai Yi7 (more in Xu Jian, Chapter 7a, as well as in Zha Fuxi's preface, below). None of its 42 titles is new, though all the melodies have differences from earlier versions and some are completely new.8

Zha Fuxi
from Qinqu Jicheng, Vol. 1
Beijing, Zhonghua Shuju Chuban Faxing, 1981 9
See also Qinpu Zhengchuan

(This handbook) in the collection of the Beijing library,10 printed in the Ming dynasty, (is) a specialized collection of qin tablature compiled by (the eunuch) Huang Xian of Pingle county in Guangxi province. In front there is a preface by Chen Jing11 dated 1546. The book is divided into two folios. At the end of the (2nd) folio is an afterword (also dated 1546) by Huang Xian. Altogether there are 42 pieces. (One has lyrics.12)

In my opinion (Wugang Qinpu) is what is listed among the reference books in the Yuelü Quanshu of Zhu Zaiyu13 as the Zhang Zhu Qinpu (Qin Handbook of Zhang Zhu)14 Huang Xian's afterword clearly shows it is the original tablature of Zhang Zhu; the preface by Chen Jing clearly shows that Zhang Zhu's qin (music) was an outflowing from the Southern Song school of Xu Yu (Xu Tianmin),15, (and) that there was an orderly lineage among teachers and friends; it is called the "Xumen Zhengchuan (Correct Tradition of the House of Xu; see this Xu tradition chart and its related footnote). Zhang Zhu, a commoner who played qin, was summoned (to the palace) by the Ming Xiaozong emperor (reign title Hong Zhi, 1488-1505) to teach the Xumen Zhengchuan to the eunuch Dai Yi. Huang Xian, also a eunuch, studied Xumen Zhengchuan from Dai Yi. The founder of the Xumen (Zhengchuan), Xu Yu, had in turn been a disciple of the Song dynasty's Guo Mian.16 This shows clearly that the Zhejiang school Xumen Zhengchuan, which inherited Guo Mian's style of taking its models from the rustic music of ordinary people, was still current among the people during the middle period of the Ming dynasty.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Woodridge Qin Handbook (梧岡琴譜 Wugang Qinpu)
15169.5 only 梧岡 Wugang, nickname for various people; 15169.10 has 梧岡道人 as a nickname of 黃獻 Huang Xian (see below). The entry in Qinshu Cunmu has three lines, quoting information about Huang Xian found in Qianqingtang Shumu, which calls it Huang Xian Wugang Qinpu.

3. 徐門正傳 Xumen Zhengchuan (Xu Household Correct Tradition)
For further details see Xu Jian's Qinshi Chubian, Chapter 7.A.1.

4. Antiquity of the Xu Household Correct Tradition
The question here is to what extent the Xu family tradition changed during a period of over 200 years. Whereas some if not all the tablature in Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425) must date from the Song dynasty, without tablature during that time it is either difficult or impossible to determine how exactly the alternate versions in handbooks such as Wugang Qinpu reflect an alternate Song dynasty style.

5. 黃獻 Huang Xian
In 1496 Huang Xian (48904.1324) entered the palace and on imperial command studied literature and the qin from 戴義 Dai Yi (see below). Wugang Qinpu apparently includes melodies in the Xu tradition either as he himself played them, or as they were written in tablature in his possession (or both?). His melodies are also in Qinpu Zhengchuan.

6. Zhang Zhu 張助
No further information here on him, and I do not know whether any details are given in the reference mentioned by Zha Fuxi (see also the footnote below on the Zhang Zhu qin handbook).

7. 戴義 Dai Yi
NFI at present

8. Unique nature of Wugang Qinpu
For example, its Gui Qu Lai Ci is completely different. See also the comparative chart.

9. Commentary source
查阜西 Zha Fuxi; edited by 吳鉊 Wu Zhao

10. 北京圖書館; still there?

11. 陳經 Chen Jing
Chen Jing (42618.273/2), zi Bochang, attained jinshi during 1506-22. (?) See his preface, summarized in a footnote on the Xumen Orthodox Tradiion.

12. Gui Qu Lai Ci, a famous song. Compare the companion volume Qinpu Zhengchuan, which has two with lyrics but in addition includes some lyrics next to melodies of the same name. The lyrics are taken from earlier handbooks, but do not seem to fit the melodies there.

13. 朱載宇 Zhu Zaiyu
Zhu Zaiyu (1536-ca.1610) was the Ming prince who discovered equal temperament.

14. 張助琴譜 Zhang Zhu Qin Pu
Qinshu Cunmu #176 lists only the title, with a reference to Qianqingtang Shumu; the latter gives only the title. Both books list Wugang Qinpu separately (see above).

15. 徐宇 Xu Yu
Xu Yu is Xu Tianmin): also see Xumen Orthodox Tradiion.

16. 郭沔 Guo Mian
Guo Mian, style name Guo Chuwang, was born mid-12th century in Li Shui, Zhejiang province (about 200 km south of Hangzhou, then the capital). The preface to He Wu Dongtian (#25) mentions the Zixiadong Pu, a lost 12th qin handbook said to have had the transcriptions by Mao Minzhong and Xu Tianmin of performances by Guo Chuwang.

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