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
XLTQT   ToC   /   Xiuxi Yin   /   1425 Yang Chun   /   trace all Listen to my recording 聽錄音 首頁
04. Sunny Spring
- gong mode,2 standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6
 
陽春 1
Yang Chun
 

The section titles for this version of Yang Chun, published in 1525, convey images of a beautiful spring day. Its prelude, though, conveys a more specific image: its title Purification Ceremony Melody (Xiuxi Yin) associates it with a spring ceremony that involved floating winecups in a stream, writing poetry and drinking from the cups if the poetic results were not satisfactory. It might thus seem more natural for Xiuxi Yin to have been connected with #12 Liu Shang: Liu Shang means "floating winecups". More specifically, the afterword to Liu Shang connects it to a particular Xiuxi ceremony at Lanting Pavilion in the year 353 CE, an event made famous by calligrapher Wang Xizhi). Since the afterword to this Yang Chun connects it only to the ancient melody titles called Yang Chun and Bai Xue (White Snow), this leaves it open to connect the melody Yang Chun to other stories as well, including that of the Lanting gathering.4

Musically the Yang Chun melody in Xilutang Qintong (1525) is completely unrelated to the Yang Chun melody in the first folio of Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425). Versions related to the 1425 melody are found in only two later handbooks, dated 1552 and 1670. By contrast, versions of the melody in Xilutang Qintong survive in at least 33 handbooks from 1525 to 1946 (see chart); they also can be found in the active modern repertoire.5

The second known publication of this later version of Yang Chun is the Yang Chun included in Fengxuan Xuanpin (1539). The 1539 version has lyrics, but the melody does not lend itself to being sung,6 and also in other ways that version seems to have more problems of interpretation than does the 1525 version.7

At least eight 16th century handbooks have versions related to the one here, most of them quite different from each other. Their number and variety would seem to indicate that this was one of the most popular pieces during that period. Some of them8 say that this melody is also called Dragon Gate Peach Wave Prelude,9 so perhaps this latter version of Sunny Spring emerged from a melody of that title.

R. H. Van Gulik introduces Yang Chun and Bai Xue by relating the story that they were melodies of the southern state of Chu originally popular in the 5th c. BCE, but of such continuing popularity that the names were soon ascribed separately or together to a great variety of melodies.10 This also has contributed to the confusion of stories mentioned in the various qin tablatures. Zhu Quan's preface quotes five of these sources; of these Xilutang Qintong relates three.

As for the sources mentioned in Xilutang Qintong, Van Gulik goes on to state that the Bowu Zhi, by Zhang Hua, actually says Su Nü11 played the piece on a se zither; that the part about Song Yu, a nephew of the famous 4th century BCE poet and official Qu Yuan, is available from many sources, quoting a Han dynasty original;12 and the story about Shi Kuang,13 a qin master from Confucian times, is from Huainanzi (perhaps 2nd c. BCE). He further states that the common attribution (as in SQMP) to Liu Juanzi,14 a 4th c. CE Daoist doctor, is from Qin Essay by Xie Zhuang (421-466); and that the information about Lü Cai15 (again as in SQMP) is from the Xin Tang Shu (New Tang History).

The Song Yu reference, said to be the earliest surviving one though it may actually be Han, not pre-Han, is found in Wen Xuan,16 "Song Yu Responds to the Questions of the Prince of Chu". Song Yu, having been told that some people are criticizing him, compares himself to a rare melody, saying,

"When a visiting singer in Zheng (the capital of Chu) began by singing Lower Village (and) Man of Ba, several thousand residents accompanied him; when he sang Yang A (and) Dew on the Scallions, several hundreds accompanied; when he sang Yangchun (and) Baixue those who accompanied did not exceed a few dozen; when he sang using non-standard pitches, only a very few residents could accompany; this is because the more elevated the piece the more rare are those who can accompany it."

The Yang Chun recordings by Ding Yang, Wu Jinglue, Wu Wenguang, Wu Zhaoji, Xie Xiaoping and Su Sidi are of a modern version related to the one in Xilutang Qintong.17

 
Original afterword 18

Zhang Hua's Bo(wu) Zhi says,

"The Celestial (i.e., Yellow) Emperor caused Su Nü to play the five stringed qin; she played Yang Chun and Bai Xue."

Song Yu told (King) Xiang of Chu,

"(As for) Yang Chun and Bai Xue, the more refined the tunes, the fewer those who can accompany them."

So Shi Kuang of Jin used the seven string qin divided it into gong and shang modes, making two pieces.

And so forth.

 
Music of Yang Chun
Ten sections;
19 timing follows my recording 聽錄音

00.00   1. A fine, elegant day
01.01   2. Beautiful fragrant flowers along the purple-flowered pathway
01.29   3. Bird calls penetrate the woods (begins with harmonics)
02.11   4. Falling petals are shaken from the sleeves
02.40   5. A flute plays Fallen Plum Blossoms20 (harmonics)
02.59   6. A golden bell protects the moon (during an eclipse)
03.32   7. A wanderer drums and pipes
04.17   8. Gulls splash in the light ripples
04.44   9. Swallows chatter amongst the carved beams
05.19   10. A rope swing in the courtyard
06.04         Closing harmonics
06.22         End

Consider using the 1597 Gong Yi as a prelude.
top

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Tracing the title Yang Chun (QQJC II/60)
42673.149/2 Yang Chun says "music piece" and quotes a Wen Xuan story contrasting it with the melody 巴人 Ba Ren; 42673.153 Yangchun Baixue says "old song, and gives the Song Yu story from Wen Xuan.
(Return)

2. For more information on gong mode see Shenpin Gong Yi and Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.
(Return)

4. Connecting the melody Yang Chun with the Xiuxi ceremony
To my knowledge, no explanations anywhere seem to make any overt connection between Xiuxi Yin and Yang Chun, and the Yang Chun subtitles also do not include references connecting them. In addition, none of the other versions of Xiuxi Yin (none of which has its own commentary) pairs it with Yang Chun or otherwise makes this connection. However, since this is the first known version of the present Yang Chun melody as well as the earliest surviving version of Xiuxi Yin, one cannot rule out the possibility that they were created as a pair. Although they do not seem to share any musical motifs, they do sound natural together.

This pairing of Xiuxi Yin and Yang Chun (as indicated by Xiuxi Yin not having its own separate commentary), follows the custom also found in Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425) and several other handbooks, of grouping melodies into sets of three: modal prelude, short melody, then main melody. The connection is usually emphasized by the shorter two melodies not having separate commentary. Here, with Xiuxi Yin being much more connected to the commentary for #12 Liu Shang, it is tempting to play the gong modal prelude and Xiu Xi Yin together with with Liu Shang. For me this is particularly true since I think there is another modal prelude that works much better with Yang Chun: the Gong Yi from 1597, a song with lyrics that connect nicely to the section titles of the present Yang Chun and a melody that also connects with it very well.
(Return)

5. Tracing Yang Chun melodies
The Chart tracing Yang Chun is based largely on Zha Fuxi's Guide 3/27/19. Zha's Guide does not distinguish between the two versions. 太音傳習 Taiyin Chuanxi has both versions. The lyrics of 重修真傳琴譜 Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (15 sections) cannot be matched to SQMP. These two handbooks also usually follow SQMP for other pieces.
(Return)

6. Yang Chun with lyrics
In all, at least eight versions of Yang Chun survive with lyrics (links are to the Chart tracing Yang Chun):

  1. Fengxuan Xuanpin (II/58; 1539)
  2. Wugang Qinpu (I/380; 1546)
  3. Qinpu Zhengchuan (II/399, 409; 1561)
  4. Chongxiu Zhenchuang Qinpu (IV/300; 1585)
  5. Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu (VII/57; 1589)
  6. Lixing Yuanya (VII/190; 1618)
  7. Taiyin Xisheng (IX/128; 1625)
  8. Shayan Qinbian (1946)

Of these, there seem to be three unrelated sets of lyrics. Those of the versions dated 1585, 1609, 1618 and 1625 are completely different from those of 1539 and 1561 but are related to each other; the version dated 1946 has completely different lyrics from all the above. Although in 1561 the lyrics of 1539 are included prior to the tablature, they don't fit the music.

The section titles and lyrics of the 1539 Yang Chun are as follows:

  1. 氣轉洪鈞
    陽律乍轉,葭灰始飛。
    陰陽反復,反復,五行相生克,四序更焉。
    春至則冬回,陰消陽即長。
    水面冰釋,山陰雪色尚有跡,遙望也潔白。
    蠟梅蕊香馥郁也綻嶺邊,預報春暉,地草皆知。
    蠢蟄物咸離離,潛隱依暖氣,觀庶類,皆熙熙。

  2. 陽回大地
    冰消暖至地回春,俄觀碧天邊,鬥柄又回寅。
    暖風吹寒退,天地也氤氳。
    鶬鶊聲由是自然而鳴,宇內飛潛動植咸新。
    感乾坤生育之恩,各因其材而篤焉。
    雨露均,草木萌芽動,卵胎濕化,有生於斯時而成形。
    由是萬物增輝,人間五福錫焉,皆沾化育恩。

  3. 三陽開泰(泛音)
    三陽來復,復益三陽。
    乾坤交泰,發萬物以生地,滋長賴東皇。

  4. 萬匯敷榮
    世間品物咸亨,凡有羽翼禽,皆成巢抱其卵而生。
    鱗介滋生,滄溟遍滿,山林草木發萌。
    凡有血氣者,戴角披鬃破趾圓蹄利爪鋼牙毛類者,莫不感春恩,咸孕字生育繁於斯。
    獸類無窮滋生感春融,舉世萬物莫不皆發榮。

  5. 江山秀麗
    春來水綠山青。
    玩澄波而來藻翠,魚蕩散浮萍。
    山靜林幽,鳥聲鳴清,兔狡也狐靈。
    奇花異草滿郊坰,錦鱗出沒浪痕圓,翱翔高鳥騰空。
    水灣環,怪石稜層。
    雲去山顛,風定水波平。
    日升嶺嶂紅,山妍水媚,景盛巧,畫也難成。
    澗流峰聳,鳥啼魚躍,茂蘭香,瑤草馥,桂林馨,發榮滋長賴春工。

  6. 天地中和
    日暖風和。
    只見黃童白叟,巷舞途歌。
    舉世安樂,庶物此時多。
    不寒亦不暑,長田水麗日遲遲,午風細細,露雨亦調和,乾坤恩溥溥。

  7. 鶯歌燕語
    鶯簧睍睆,嚦嚦聲宛如歌,余韻悠揚。
    燕鳴啾唧呢喃,綿蠻聲顛狂。
    頡頏繞雕梁,鶯燕忙。
    鶯乍調舌,燕方學語,飛鳴鶯燕雙雙。
    羨黃鶯出幽谷遷喬木,擲翠語,氣求聲應,喚友為春忙。
    睹紫燕頡頏,上下其音,參差其羽,往來飛呼類尋朋。
    掠水屢銜泥,營巢雙舞芳塘。
    覷上林無限春光,鳥啼間間關關,音韻悠揚也如笙如簧。
    珍禽顏色異如錦繡,飛落翱翔也止且騰,巧繪難描妝。

  8. 日暖風和
    曙光浮動林色而依稀。
    輕暖輕寒,長天永日,而世間蔗糖物增輝。
    天布敷環宇,新草嫩美景稀奇。
    滋長髮榮,隨時更變也,枝蔓忽然垂。
    光天化日,春風和氣洋溢,峻嶺平原郊墟磵谷也,草木芳菲。
    願教青帝常為主,莫遺那春歸。

  9. 花柳爭研
    春天花柳鬥爭妍。
    春蘭百般紅紫鬥芳菲而新鮮。
    春殘桃花爛漫,春還柳絮飛綿。
    黃蜂採花撩亂,粉蝶戲蕊而翩翻栩栩焉。
    蜂蝶鬧,燕鶯忙,桃花李花亂冰,斷送好春還。

  10. 錦城春靄
    花綻錦繡宮城。
    才子觀,佳人玩,各自陶其情。
    畫轂雕鞍馳驟也,往來絡繹紛紛。
    尋美也排筵宴,談笑縱橫。

  11. 帝里風光
    皇都春早,帝里風光。
    盞酌黃封之酒,衣惹御爐之香。
    目睹九重之高,天地和而豐稔,黎民富而安且康。
    喜春風拂拂而輕揚,臣賢主聖,社稷安康也福壽無疆。
    無疆福壽也海山固,度春光。

  12. 春風舞雩
    融和堪著單裌之衣。
    長少咸集,共往浴乎沂風乎舞雩。
    草芥功名猶敞屣,載歌載詠載馳或載舞,童冠樂而歸。

  13. 青黃促駕
    莎草鋪裀,車無音而軟襯,香輪駿馬,馳而無聲,柔墊蹄痕。
    幽草野花,香馥馥襲人。
    鶯粟黃,馬蘭紫,密密繞裙。
    擁香輪而難進,絆寶馬殷勤,僕從也辛勤。
    堪羨王孫公子,齊車並駕論文。
    賞春光而談笑,醉沈沈。

  14. 綠戰紅酣
    淡紅樹底凋殘,深青枝上新鮮。
    花謝錦,柳拖煙。
    桃杏李花皆結子,垂楊柳絮獨飄棉。
    名園中姚黃魏紫將綻曲欄。
    耕破隴頭雲,田間雙耒耜。
    釣殘波底月,磯上一漁竿。
    普天下,播百谷。
    枯田中,禾始苗。
    海宇園林,草木競秀也,綠戰紅酣。
    陽春去也,日月似循環。
    幾時再得春還。

  15. 留連芳草
    歲歲踏青遊玩春,尋芳人不是舊遊人。
    新春。
    前人不見今花草,花草如當換玩人。
    花如錦,草如茵,酬談笑倒金樽。
    莫沈吟,眠芳草,幕天席地樂天真。
    留連芳草,休錯過一刻千金。

Yuefu Shiji also has lyrics for Yang Chun, but not in the qin melody lyrics section, which has lyrics only for Bai Xue (called Bai Xue Ge; see lyrics: two of the three do mention spring). The Yang Chun lyrics are included under Qingshang quci, with one entry by Shen Yue in Folio 50 (preceded by commentary) and ten entries in Folio 51 (see lyrics below). Xilutang Qintong sometimes adds lyrics to only one or two sections of long melodies, and I have found that lyrics consisting of couplets having 5+5 characters can be matched quite nicely to the tablature for the present Yang Chun Sections 7 and 9, both of which adapt well to six couplets of 5+5, though the fourth couplet in Section 7 is somewhat strained according to the traditional pairing method).

The Yuefu Shiji lyrics for Yang Chun on pp. 742-4 are as follows:

Yang Chun Ge 陽春歌

Wu Maiyuan of Liu Song (宋·吳邁遠)

百里望咸陽,知是帝京城。
綠樹搖雲光,春城起風色。
佳人愛華景,流靡園塘側。
妍姿艷月映,羅衣飄蟬翼。
宋玉歌陽春,巴人長嘆息。
雅鄭不同賞,那令君愴惻。
生重受惠輕,私自憐何極。(「生重受惠輕」一作「生平重愛惠。」)

Wu Jun of Liang (梁·吳均)

紫苔初泛水,連綿浮且沒。
若欲歌陽春,先歌青樓月。

Tan Yue of Qi (齊·檀約

青春獻初歲,白日映雕梁。
蘭萌猶自短,柳葉本能長。
已見花紅發,復聞花蘂香。
乘此試遊衍,誰知心獨傷。

Gu Yewang of Chen (陳·顧野王)

春草正芳菲,重樓啟曙扉。
銀鞍俠客至,柘彈婉童歸。
池前竹葉滿,井上桃花飛。
薊門寒未歇,為斷流黃機。

Liu Guyan (Liu Bian) of Sui (隋·柳顧言)

春鳥一囀有千聲,春花一叢千種名。
旅人無語坐簷楹,思鄉懷土志難平。
唯當文共酒,暫與興相迎。

Li Bai (李白)

長安白日照春空,綠楊結煙嫋風。
披香殿前花始紅,流芳發色繡戶中。
繡戶中,相經過,飛燕皇后輕身舞,紫宮夫人絕世歌。
聖君三萬六千日,歲歲年年奈樂何。

Yang Chun Qu 陽春曲

Anonymous (無名氏)

芣苡生前逕,含桃落小園。
春心自搖盪,百舌更多言。

Wen Tingyun (溫庭筠)

雲母空窗曉煙薄,香昏龍氣凝輝閣。
霏霏霧雨杏花天,簾外春威著羅幕。
曲欄伏檻金麒麟,沙苑芳郊連翠茵。
廄馬何能齧芳草,路人不敢隨流塵。

Zhuang Nanjie (莊南傑)

紫錦紅囊香滿風,金鸞玉軾搖丁冬。
沙鷗白羽翦晴碧,野桃紅豔燒春空。
芳草綿延鎖平地,壟蝶雙雙舞幽翠。
鳳叫龍吟白日長,落花聲底仙娥醉。

Monk Guan Xiu (僧·貫休)

為口莫學阮嗣宗,不言是非非至公。
為手須似硃雲輩,折檻英風至今在。
男兒結髮事君親,須斅前賢多慷慨。
歷數雍熙房與杜,魏公姚公宋開府。
盡向天上仙宮閑處坐,
何不卻辭上帝下下土,忍見蒼生苦苦苦。
(Return)

7. At the time I thought the 1539 version was the earliest, but as a general rule I have always tried to learn the earliest version of whatever melody I try to reconstruct.
(Return)

8. See in particular 太音傳習 Taiyin Chuanxi (1552; IV.28), which has both versions, plus 梧岡琴譜 Wugang Qinpu (I.380) and the identical 琴譜正傳 Qinpu Zhengchuan (ca. 1546/7).
(Return)

9. Dragon Gate Peach Wave Prelude (Longmen Taolang Yin 龍門桃浪引)
The connection between this title and Sunny Spring (Yang Chun is not at all clear.

49812.191 and 12/1470 龍門 Longmen: places in Shanxi, Henan and Sichuan; gate to success. Longmen is also mentioned under the yunhe qin and in a Boya story from Japan, as well as elsewhere.

4/984 桃浪 taolang quotes a passage from Pipa Ji (琵琶記,才俊登程) that also mentions longmen, and says this can refer to 4/981 桃花浪 taohua lang, for which see also 15099.68 (15099.99 added nothing): it can mean 桃花汛 spring flooding. This also mentions longmen, and together these seem to suggest that when a stream rises, as it does in spring, fish must jump through the dragon gate and become dragons, otherwise they will die.

None of these references mentions music.
(Return)

10. See R.H. van Gulik, Hsi Kang and his Poetical Essay on the Lute, Tuttle, 1969. p.92
(Return)

11. Su Nü 素女
27924.11 素女 mentions three woman with this name; the one who was contemporary of the Yellow Emperor was skilled at music; see also Qin Ji (?); Qinshi Bu, #5.
(Return)

12. 琴論 Qin Lun by 謝莊 Xie Zhuang, an important source on early qin players; he has a biography in 琴史 Qin Shi (#100), but the quote is different from here.
(Return)

13. See Folio II, Bai Xue, which Zhu Quan attributes to Shi Kuang. The statement by Song Yu about Yangchun Baixue is quoted in Wen Xuan and elsewhere from an earlier source.
(Return)

14. Early qin sources are confusing about the name Juanzi, of whom there seem to be three:

1. Juanzi (17907.2 (涓子) - cf. David Knechtges, Wen Xuan, Vol. 3, p. 224 for the story in Shi Ji 24 (a treatise on music) of Shi Kuang in 6th C. BCE stopping Juanzi from playing the zither music of a fallen state (he had learned it in Yin, which preceded Zhou).

2. Liu Juanzi (2270.xxx 劉涓子; Bell Yung has Liu Yuzi (??); cf. R. Van Gulik, Hsi Kang, p.92; 4th C. CE Daoist doctor.

3. Xie Juanzi (謝君子) Qin Shi # 524 (grouped with Liu Juanzi) has vague stories. Zangchunwu Qinpu (1602) says he wrote Tianfeng Huanpei. No source is clear about when or where he supposedly lived.
(Return)

15. Lü Cai 呂才 (600? - 665)
Lü Cai (3479.5; Bio/523) was a skilled musician and Daoist who rose to the rank of 太常丞 taichang cheng, a deputy in the 5965.354 太常 Taichang, a government department whose responsibilities included rites and music; they apparently would take old tunes and re-do them as ritual pieces. Lü's biography is in Chapter 79 of Jiu Tang Shu. Xu Jian, with reference to Tang Hui Yao (唐會要), says Lü Cai played an accompaniment to local lyrics. Hsu Wen-Ying (The Ku-Ch'in, p.171) writes that the Gaozong emperor (650-684) wrote lyrics for Bai Xue, and that Lü Cai altogether set to music 16 poems written by Gaozong, who called them Yue Fu.
(Return)

16. Folio 45, first piece. See also David Knechtges, Wen Xuan, Vol. 3, p. 222 and Xu Jian p. 9. The four comparisons are: 下里巴人 Xiali (and) Baren; 陽阿薤露 Yang A (and) Xielu; 陽春白雪 Yangchun (and) Baixue; and 引商刻羽,雜以流徵 yin shang ke yu, za yi liu zhi.
(Return)

17. The transcription and recording by Yao Bingyan is of the SQMP version; it can be found in Bell Yung, Celestial Airs of Antiquity. Yao Gongjing's version follows that of his father.
(Return)

18. Original afterword
Not yet online.
(Return)

19. Section Titles
1585 has the same section titles; those of 1539 are completely different. Three later handbooks also have section titles but for latter sections only. The original titles in Xilutang Qintong are as follows:

  1. 晴天錦繡
  2. 紫陌芳菲
  3. 鳴鳥穿林
  4. 香塵拂袂
  5. 羌管落梅
  6. 金鈴護月
  7. 遊人鼓吹
  8. 鷗浴晴波
  9. 燕語雕梁
  10. 鞦韆院落
    (Return)

20. Fallen Plums: Fallen Plum Blossoms (落梅花 Luo Mei Hua)
32063.88 says this is 笛曲名 the name of a di flute melody from the 晉 Jin dynasty, quoting Yuefu Zalu saying that Huan Yi liked to play it. 落梅 Luo Mei seems to be a short version of this title (though not mentioned at 32063.87).
(Return)

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