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76. Autumn Thoughts at Dongting
- zhi mode:2 standard tuning 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 but played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
see also #77 Zui Yu Chang Wan
Dongting Qiu Si
Zhao Mengfu's Dongting3
Autumn Thoughts at Dongting is a short melody that can be found in at least 22 handbooks from 1525 to 1890.4 The Dongting of the title is generally considered to be Lake Dongting in Hunan province.5 This is perhaps re-inforced by this melody being called Xiangjiang Yin in two handbooks from the 1550s.6
However, because this earliest version (Xilutang Qintong, 1525) presents it as a prelude to #77, A Drunken Fisherman Sings in the Evening, which has references to the southern part of Lake Taihu and the Song river flowing eastward from there, clearly the reference at one time, and for some players, was to southern Lake Taihu, with its Dongting Grottos. This would be in line with artistic references such as the painting to the right by Zhao Mengfu. There are also noteworthy Dongting teas from these two islands of southern Taihu Lake.7
An examination of the first 10 or so surviving tablatures, comprising all but one up to the one in Ziyuantang Qinpu (1802), shows all are musically related, with three sections plus a harmonic coda. The second, in Qinshu Daquan (1590), is virtually identical to the melody here, but does not connect it as a prelude, as here, to any other piece.8 The third, in Songxianguan Qinpu (1614), has an added passage at the end of the second section. Variants of this added passage appear in all subsequent handbooks examined.
The first four surviving versions all follow the common practice of pieces in zhi mode, where the main note is 5 (sol), of often flattening 7 (ti); see for example the fourth note. (Compare this to the shang mode, in which the main note is 1 and the 3rd is often flatted). The fifth, Dahuange Qinpu (1673), raises these flatted 7s to standard 7s.
There are recordings of Dongting Qiu Si by Ding Chengyun, Wang Huade, Xie Xiaoping and Zha Fuxi. Most seem to be based on Zha's reconstruction (listen), which combines elements of several early handbooks. Zha seems have based his version largely on the one in the 1590 handbook but is somewhat more elaborate, having in particular short additions at the end of sections two and three. The first addition is similar to the one dating from 1614; the latter addition apparently comes from a later source. The present version includes a number of clear occurrences of flatted 7s, a characteristic of early surviving zhi mode melodies, but Zha follows the later tonality of not flattening these notes.
Of the over 20 handbooks Zha's Guide lists as including this melody, only two late ones include commentary; they are dated 1705 (Chengyitang Qinpu and 1836 (Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu respectively. The former suggests a northern atmosphere;9 the latter quotes a poem called Dongting Qiusi Shi, which it connects to the Chu region (Hunan).10
As for commentary with the available recordings, one of them tries to make a connection with the Qiu Si said to have been one of the Five Melodies of Cai Yong (Caishi Wunong); another mentions the Erxiang Qinpu,11 so perhaps that is the source of the added passage found in some recordings.
None (see #77. Zui Yu Chang Wan)
3 sections, untitled
01.51 Closing harmonics
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Autumn Thoughts at Dongting (洞庭秋思 Dongting Qiu Si)
17777.56ff have nothing about "autumn thoughts" or the people mentioned here.
Zhi mode (徵調 zhi diao)
Standard tuning can also be considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6. For more information on zhi mode see Shenpin Zhi Yi. For modes in general see Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.
|3. Zhao Mengfu: East Hill of Dongting 趙孟頫﹕洞庭東山圖||A Korean scroll|
Tracing Dongting Qiu Si
Zha Guide 20/186/-- lists Dongting Qiu Si in 22 handbooks from 1525 to 1890. The second and third occurrences are not until 1590 and 1614, but see Xiangjiang Yin below.
Dongting Lake (洞庭湖 Dongting Hu)
Dongting is a large lake in the north of Hunan Province ("Hunan" means "south of the lake"). It is very famous in Chinese poetry, but today its size has shrunk considerably. It is mentioned in connection with such melodies as Xiao Xiang Shui Yun, but here in Dongting Qiu Si I believe Dongting originally referred to an island in southern lake Taihu.
湘江吟 Xiangjiang Yin
Zha Guide 23/230/00 lists this as a separate melody, surviving in two handbooks, dated 1552 and 1557. However, the melody is almost the same as Dongting Qiu Si. The Xiang River flowed into Dongting Lake in Hunan province.
洞庭碧螺春 Dongting Biluo Chun
This tea, literally Dongting Green Snail Spring (Tea), should be grown only on 東洞庭山 East Dongting Mountain and 西洞庭山 West Dongting Mountain, the two islands in southern Taihu lake generally known together simply as Dongting.
The 1590 tablature has a few errors and omissions.
Preface in Chengyitang Qinpu (誠一堂琴譜; 1705)
Northern tones blue expression, like attaining its banners; really there is sound moving the situation of forests and ravines. (Obviously I don't understand that one very well!)
Dongting Qiu Si in Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu (悟雪山房琴譜; 1836) (XXII/394)
The melody is essentially the same as in other versions, but the tuning is "夷則均 Yize jun (lowered 1st, 3rd and 6th strings). Several other handbooks around this time also use this tuning for Dongting Qiu Si.
The preface here is as follows:
Fang Chaoting's poem Dongting Qiu Si says, "...." (poem not yet translated)
Return to the annotated handbook list or to the Guqin ToC.