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68. Song of Auspicious Clouds
zhi mode:2 standard tuning played as 4 5 6 1 2 4 5
Qing Yun Ge 1
Calligraphy of lyrics once used for a National Anthem3
Two events have made this poem notable in modern times. First, in 1905 the words "fu" and "dan" from this song were selected as the name of the school which became Beijing's famous Fudan University. Here "fudan" by itself means "day after day", with it being understood that as in the poem it refers to continuing the brilliant light of good governance, which is the subject of the whole poem.9
Then, because these lyrics celebrate someone who willingly passed government control to the person thought to be best qualified, from 1913 to 1915 and again from 1921 to 1928 the lyrics of the first section of this piece were used for the national anthem of the Republic of China.10 Neither version had music related to that of the melody published in the Ming dynasty. The music of the 1920s version can be heard in several places online; the following translation is given with one such recording:11
My tentative translation of these lyrics plus those with the other four sections is given below.12
This qin piece has five untitled sections; each section begins with lyrics that indirectly praise the value of good government then continues with the qin playing solo.13 This seems to suggest that the original text suggested either five distinct songs or one song in five distinct sections. However, from the sources themselves it is not clear that this was the actual intention. Indeed, the apparent source of the lyrics seems to divide the same text into three songs, the third one combining into two sections what are here the third, fourth and fifth songs.14
The original text with my current attempt at understanding it are as follows:
Music and Lyrics (5 sections; timings follow my recording)16
Each section begins with lyrics, then continues with an instrumental solo. The original lyrics are given here with my tentative translation:
03.51 Harmonic coda
The identical structure of each section means that the same melody could have been repeated for each section, but in the 1525 version this was not in fact the case. Note also that the meaning of the words fits well into the arrangement that divides the melody into four parts instead of five.
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Song of Auspicious Clouds (卿雲歌 Qing Yun Ge) (III/148)
Also romanized Qingyun Ge. 2933.21#2 and 2/546 Qing Yun 卿雲 say it is the name of a song (but neither mentions the full title 卿雲歌), and both quote the same lyrics given in section one. The reference is 尚書大傳，卷二 or 尚書大傳，虞夏傳) (Shang Shu Da Zhuan, Folio 2 or Yu Xia Zhuan).
Zhi mode (徵調 zhi diao)
As discussed under Shenpin Zhi Yi, pieces assigned to zhi mode often use standard tuning considered as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2, but there is also precedent for sometimes, as here, considering the strings to have the relative tuning 4 5 6 1 2 4 5. The reason is that, if one assumes the standard Chinese pentatonic scale to be the relative pitches 1 2 3 5 6 (i.e., do re mi sol la) then, when playing a melody in any particular tuning, the first step in determining the relative pitch names for the seven strings is to find which names allow the notes of the melody to avoid non-pentonic pitches. For the present piece this clearly clearly requires the tuning to be considered as 4 5 6 1 2 4 5. The tonal center is 1, the note of the open fourth string, called zhi, hence the mode name.
Although considering tuning this way allows most notes to be pentatonic, there are still some specific notes requiring further examination. These are of two types:
The other available reconstruction, by Ding Chengyun, seems to interpret all the notes as pentatonic. My own experience suggests in the first instance the two flatted 3s are most likely intentional; as for the four questionable notes in the second instance (specifically, in Section 2, just after the song section, where 八上 gives 4 then 5#; and in the Section 5 song section, where 八上 gives 3b then 4), each non-pentatonic interpretation has its own charm and thus should be given serious consideration.
Image: Calligraphy marking its use as lyrics for a national anthem
Calligraphy by 丁仕美 Ding Shimei (2007 CE) copied from an image at http://www.skyren-art.com.
尚書大傳 Shang Shu Da Zhuan
7654.71 says this is a book surviving only in fragments, perhaps originally written in the Han by 伏勝 Fu Sheng (www.chinaknowledge.de). The text of the song does not appear in the Shang Shu itself.
舜 Shun passes the throne to 大禹 Yu
As outlined in Wiki, Yu the Great (see also Emperor Shun, who likewise had been appointed by Yao to be his successor),
For other early texts that seem to advocate meritocracy over dynastic succession see Sarah Allan, Buried Ideas.
夏; Wiki. It thus seems that Yu did not continue the practice of naming the most worthy person as his successor.
Tracing 卿雲歌 Qing Yun Ge
See Zha's Guide 20/186/372.
This 1525 melody has been reconstructed by 丁承运 Ding Chengyun both as a qin solo and as a duet for qin and se (with his wife 付麗娜 Fu Lina; online recordings are available).
復旦大學 Fudan University
The Wikipedia page Song to the Auspicious Cloud concerns the use of Qing Yun Ge as the national anthem of the Republic of China from 1913 to 1915 (Wiki) then, with another melody, from 1921 to 1928 (second period of the Beiyang government, Wiki). Both have six lines of music, the former setting first the four lines of the first poem then adding two lines of new lyrics (時哉夫，天下非。一人之天下也。), the latter setting first the four lines of the first poem then repeating the last two lines.
The Wikipedia page Historical Chinese Anthems gives details on other texts used for the national anthem before "三民主義 San Min Chu-i" was adopted in 1937 (Wiki).
See also this Baidu web page
Alternate translations of the lyrics for Section 1
The above translation came with this YouTube recording. Another translation for Section 1 was published here together with the calligraphy example at top.
A more complete but still partial translation (from www.yqxwdx.cn, which divides the song into three parts, 4x4 + 4x4 + 4x12) is as follows:
The .pdf file downloaded from www.yqxwdx.cn, called 古谣谚.pdf, includes a number of other poems from the same source.
Translation of lyrics for sections 2 to 5
Thanks to Lau Shing-Hon for assistance with this.
Song structure of the qin melody Qing Yun Ge
With almost all qin melodies published in the Ming dynasty, and apparently in the Qing dynasty as well, if a melody has lyrics the lyrics are paired throughout following a relatively fixed method. In contrast, Xilutang Qintong, although it follows the same method in its 18 melodies with lyrics, 14 them have lyrics in only part of the melody.
Lyrics in Shang Shu Da Zhuan
China Text Project (in 古逸, the first section of a volume called 古詩源; a Qing anthology: see www.chinaknowledge.de) has:
The alignment is thus different from the 1525 alignment, which is as follows:
As can be seen, the original version (according to its format in the China Text Project) arranges the lyrics into three titled songs:
1475.181/1 八伯 Ba Bo has a long commentary that seems to say this refers to the leaders of eight regions. 9064.160 帝載 Di Zai says it is the same as 帝業 imperial enterprises.
From my understanding of the text, this (original?) arrangement is somewhat more coherent than the division given with the 1525 song setting. In addition, it does seem that "Qing Yun Ge" originally referred specifically to the first of several songs.
The original 1525 commentary was here copied from http://www.qinzhijie.com. If it not made clear whether this text is quoting an earlier original source.
Music and Lyrics
Regarding the lyrics see two possible alignments above.
As for the music, the modality is discussed further
above. Also of special note is the 滾拂 gunfu glissando (q.v.) that begins the instrumental part of Section 4. The instructions there ("余玄並艹", i.e., "余絃並散 the other strings are played open") seem to say that the first four notes of the gunfu are played with the strings stopped in the 10th position, then the rest of the notes until the last note of the fu are played on open strings. I have not yet seen such instructions elsewhere.
Drumming and dancing
Regarding 鼚乎鼓之, 49351 鼚 chang says "鼓聲 sound of beating". As for 軒乎舞之 "Xuan" (spinning, soaring) we dance it, 39038.33 軒軒 says 舞貌 quoting 淮南子，道應訓 Dao Ying Xun, a chapter of the Huainanzi (Major et al, Responses of the Way, 12.42 軒軒然方迎風而舞 "spinning round and round as if welcoming the winds in dance"). I have not yet found a reference to 軒 specifically being used as a dance title.
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