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Bright Virtue Prelude / Sacred Confucian Canon
- Biyu mode: 6 1 2 3 5 6 1 1
明德引 / 孔聖經
Mingde Yin 2 / Kong Sheng Jing 3
The lyrics for the short qin melody Ming De Yin are extracted from the commentary by the neo-Confucian scholar Zhu Xi (1130-1200)5 on the Da Xue (Great Learning), attributed to Confucius. Mingde Yin serves as a musical prelude to the longer Kongsheng Jing, the lyrics of which are the canonical text of the Da Xue itself.
There was in the past a tradition of setting philosophical essays to qin melodies.6 Not all of these have survived,7 but in the qin repertoire there are several other surviving settings of the Da Xue.8 However, Ming De Yin and the present Da Xue melody are preserved only in the Sanjiao Tongsheng (1592),9 a qin handbook with a melody from each of China's great religions (or ways of thought), Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism.
Da Xue is one of the texts collected in the Li Ji (Book of Rites). According to tradition it was written down by one or more of Confucius' disciples. Modern scholarship, however, says they were written several centuries later. In the 12th century Zhu Xi proposed that four ancient texts -- the Great Learning, The Doctrine of the Mean (another chapter of the Book of Rites), the Analects, and Mencius -- represented the core of Confucian philosophy. As a result of Zhu Xi's arguments (but about a century later), these four books became what might be called the core curriculum for people studying for the government exams. The books continued in that role from 1313 until 1905, almost the end of the Qing dynasty.
The lyrics of Mingde Yin (from Zhu Xi's commentary on the Great Learning) are as follows. The original is an essay, not verse; it is arranged here as though it were verse because that is the effect when it is sung.
The lyrics of Kongsheng Jing, which are the same as the text of the Great Learning (中文), are as follows. Translation is adapted from those by Patrick Moran 11 and Wing-tsit Chan.12 Once again, the original13 is an essay, not verse; it is arranged here as though it were verse because that is the effect when it is sung.
In antiquity, those desiring to brighten clear virtue
throughout all below Heaven first brought order to their states.
Those desiring to bring order to their states first regulated their own families.
Those desiring to regulate their families first cultivated themselves.
Those desiring to cultivate themselves first rectified their minds.
Those desiring to rectify their hearts first made sincere their thoughts.
Those desiring to make sincere their thoughts first perfected their knowledge
Perfecting knowledge lies in investigating things.
After one has investigated things, knowledge is perfected.
After knowledge is perfected, one's thoughts become sincere.
After one's thoughts become sincere one's heart is rectified.
After one's heart is rectified one's person is cultivated.
After one's person is cultivated, one's family is regulated.
After one's family is regulated, one's state can be brought to order.
After one's state is brought to order, all beneath Heaven becomes peaceful.
From the Son of Heaven all the way down to the common person,
all should take cultivating oneself as fundamental.
For the root to be in disorder but the branches to be orderly: this has never been the case.
For what is substantial to be slighted, or what is slight to be given substance:
this has never happened .
On my recording 聽錄音 I sing the texts accompanying both pieces
Mingde Yin: One section (text)
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Biyu Diao (碧玉調)
Instructions are "(from standard tuning) raise the 2nd, 5th and 7th strings". Tuning is the same as that of the 1425 姑洗 Guxian mode, not the 1425 Biyu mode or the 1525 Biyu mode.
14124.572 明德 mingde gives references to the Great Learning (Da Xue).
7077.250 孔聖 kongsheng: respectful name for Confucius.
朱熹 Zhu Xi started an academy in Changsha called the 嶽麓書院 Yuelu Academy. With luck, one day I will play this melody there.
Setting philosophical texts to qin music: surviving examples
Surviving examples, in addition to the present one, include Zhuge Liang's Chushi Biao and a 1630 setting from Mozi.
Setting philosophical texts to qin music: not surviving
The Qin Shi Xu biography of Yu Qian says he wrote a qin setting for Da Xue, which he called Sounds of Reading (讀書聲 Du Shu Sheng), and that his main disciple 汪一恆 Wang Yiheng did settings of such essays as 中庸 Zhong Yong, 論語 Lun Yu and 孟子 Mengzi. In fact there is a setting for Zhong Yong published in Japan.
Da Xue text as qin lyrics
The words of the 大學 Da Xue are also set for qin (none of the melodies is related to that of the present Kongsheng Jing) in 大學序 Da Xue Xu (Guide 32/245/477 lists only 1623) and in some versions of 大學章句 Da Xue Zhangju, also called 聖經 Sheng Jing (Guide 25/213/389 lists six handbooks: 1585, 1663/5, <1802, 1875, 1884, 1899).
Tracing Mingde Yin and Kongsheng Jing
Zha Fuxi's Guide 27/---/420 明德引 Mingde Yin and 27/---/421 孔聖經 Kongsheng Jing list only Sanjiao Tongsheng, but see the footnote above.
子程子 Zi Chengzi: the Chengzi Brothers
(compare 程子 and 子程子 Zichengzi)
According to 7072.542 子程子 this refers to 宋程顥程頤兄弟也 the brothers Cheng Hao (25638.274; Wiki) and Cheng Yi (25638.49; Wiki) of the Song dynasty. Giles says Cheng Hao (1032-1085), after an official career, became a tutor to Zhu Xi, while Cheng Yi (1033-1090) also had his long career stifled by his opposition to Wang Anshi. Cheng Hao has been associated with the qin melody Jing Guan Yin.
See Three Smaller Wisdom Books, University Press of America, 1993. The original and Prof. Moran's translation are not divided into numbered sections.
Wing-tsit Chan, A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, Princeton, 1963.
The original text of the Great Learning (大學 Da Xue) is as follows (arranged according to the sectioning of the music):
The original text of Ming De Yin and the first line of Kong Sheng Jing, from San Jiao Tong Sheng, are as follows:
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