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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 24 surviving musically related tablatures through 1878 shows that all are musically related, all of them until 1802 were said to be in zhi mode, and all but two (1590 and 1878) are in three sections plus a harmonic coda. The 1525 version is the only one of these used as a prelude. The fourth version, from Qinshu Daquan (1590), has a significant expansion in the form of a fourth section with mostly new material.8 The next version, in Songxianguan Qinpu (1614), also has an added passage at the end of the second section but not the added material of the fourth section. Later versions of this melody seem to follow 1614, or perhaps more precisely Dahuan'ge Qinpu (1673), which changes the tonality.
Regarding this tonal change, the first six 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 third note. (Compare this to the shang mode, in which the main note is 1 and the 3rd is often flatted). The version in Dahuange Qinpu (1673), however, raises these flatted 7s to standard 7s. Most or all later handbooks follow this modality, though the mode is not called "shang" until 1802 and later it is often called zhi again.
Zha Fuxi in the 1950s reconstructed a Dongting Qiu Si in four sections that combines versions from several early handbooks.9 The most important of these early versions seem to be the ones dated 1590, 1614 and 1673; perhaps also 1525, but this is not completely clear. The first of these extends the piece with its added fourth section, the second adds a phrase at the end of Section 2, while the third significantly changes its tonality, as described in the previous paragraph (further comment below).
Most modern recordings, such as those by Ding Chengyun, Wang Huade and Xie Xiaoping, seem largely to follow Zha Fuxi's interpretation.
Of the over 20 handbooks Zha's Guide lists as including this melody, only two late ones are listed as including commentary; they are dated 1705 (Chengyitang Qinpu and 1836 (Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu respectively. The former suggests a northern atmosphere, but it actually refers to a different melody;10 the latter quotes a poem called Dongting Qiusi Shi, which it connects to the Chu region (Hunan).11
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,12 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)
In some modes using standard tuning the tuning is better considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6. Here, with the tuning considered as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2, the main tonal center is 5 (zhi; the open 4th string is also called zhi and the secondary tonal center is 2 (re. One could argue that the music is more diatonic than pentatonics, since the melody includes the non-pentatonic notes 3b, 4, 7b and 7, but the main notes are still the pentatonic ones.
As with other zhi mode melodies, the main tonal center being the equivalent note to the zhi (4th) string means some people say the tuning here should be considered as 4 5 7b 1 2 4 5, making the main tonal center 1 and the secondary tonal center 5. However, in this case the pentatonic scale becomes 1 2 3b 5 6 with one of the non-pentatonic notes being 6b, something not found in other modes. (It is important to emphasize that such differing considerations of the mode name do not seem to affect the music itself, only analysis of it.)
For more information on zhi mode see also 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, with Xiangjiang Yin listed separately (23/230/--). Here the two lists are combined to make 24 entries:
Based on the changed modality beginning in 1673, 商音 shangyin seems to be the more accurate name for the modality according to the old reckoning based on tonal centers. No examination has been done of how the different names here may reflect differing ideas of modality.
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.
Version in 琴書大全 Qinshu Daquan
The tablature, at V/512-3, has a few errors and omissions.
Version by Zha Fuxi
Transcriptions of this version specify that he "合參譜 together-examined different tablatures". This version is available in both recording (listen) and transcription (see the modern conservatory Guqin Quji, pp. 84/5). Timings for the recording are:
Although the main version Zha Fuxi used seems to have been the one in Qinshu Daquan (1590), his own version is somewhat more elaborate. Its four section versions are quite similar to the 1525 version until the beginning of the third phrase of section 3 (of both), after this being very different.
Commentary said to be in Chengyitang Qinpu (誠一堂琴譜; 1705)
Zha Guide p. 186  has this as an afterword for Dongting Qiu Si, but the handbook itself has it as an afterword for Sumen Xiao, which is two pieces earlier (XIII/388).
This was presumably an inadvertent clerical error.
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.