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04. Deer Calls
宮音 Gong mode: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 2
Part of an illustration for the poem Lu Ming3
Apparently "learning to participate in singing Guo Feng and Xiao Ya songs at provincial banquets was a normal part of education for the gentry",5 and Lu Ming is sometimes considered to be the "banquet poem par excellence", used by Zhou rulers to entertain their vassals during their offical visits. Most Shi Jing poems have been given political interpretations over the years and banquet poems are a prime example, their lyrics said to have been created with a mind towards conveying the hierarchical relationship between host and guests, and between a state and its neighbors.
Commenting on a later banquet poem by Xie Lingyun, Fusheng Wu wrote6 that Xie,
Guqin versions of Lu Ming have become quite popular recently, in a variety of forms.7 However, there basically are only two surviving guqin melodies, the present one in Lixing Yuanya (1618) and the one included in Ziyuantang Qinpu (1802; repeated in 1910); this latter one is the one commonly played today.8 In fact, the Zha Guide lists this title (and Lu Ming Cao) in six handbooks, but two of these have no tablature, only note names, one is a variant on 1802 (with no lyrics), and one is the copy mentioned of 1802. This 1910 version adds symbols to indicate rhythm. None of the versions seems musically related to the present version.10 The ones with no tablature also have no rhythmic indications; these have sometimes been played slowly with all the notes equal in length, apparently interpreting the lack of rhythmic indication to mean that all note values should be the same in length.11
The original text of Lu Ming can be found in many places; There can be some variation in the actual characters of the original text, as discussed in the glossary. In ctext the original text is put together with the translation by James Legge.12
The preface says,
See further comment.
Melody and lyrics
(Timings follow my recording: listen 聽錄音 with 看五線譜 my transcription; 看視頻 watch video)
The setting is largely syllabic. Here the original Shi Jing text is given with its modern pronunciation and a translation originally adapted from Legge. However, some terms have been updated and the text was made to match more closely the original word order (see also pronunciation and glossary):
|Original tablature, pronunciations and glossary||Original tablature (pdf; comment)|
The pronunciations indicated in the tablature are also of note as they add further puzzlement. All such pronunciations are connected to rhymes within the lyrics. These particular indications apparently did not originate here: see, for example, this edition by 張次仲 Zhang Cizhong (1589-1676, suggesting the book was published after 1618). The ones included here are as follows (叶=協: concordant with; 音: sounds like; 反=反切 [usually shortened to 切]: joining an initial with a final, as explained in this video):
Virtually all are suggesting what today would be non-standard pronunciations (until further explanation can be found the standard pronunciations are still used above). Note also no pronunciation is given for 樂 (i.e., le or yue). It might be added that all the pieces in this handbook have lyrics, but so far the only other one I have found with indications of pronunciation is its other setting from the 詩經 Shi Jing, Guan Ju.
The glossary is as follows:
"You you" is apparently onamatapoetic for a deer bleating, the pleasant nature of the sound being assumed. Compare "關關 guan guan" at the opening of Guan Ju, the first poem in the Shi Jing.
Some commentaries say the correct character is "苹", which can also be pronounced "pēng"; "peng" would today rhyme better. However, commentaries do not seem to justify using this pronunciation. 31856/3 萍 says "與䓑通 can also be 䓑" (31697, which says of 䓑, "與萍同 same as 萍"), "植物名 name of a plant", with reference to this poem. Meanwhile 苹 31478 says "píng yě 萍也", same as píng), later saying that when it is pronounced "pēng" it is the same as 抨 or 澎, neither of which meaning works here. With both 萍 and 苹 several specific types of plants are then mentioned, the important point seeming to be they are rootless and floating. See also the comments below on the other two plants eaten by the deer, 蒿 hao and 芩 qin. Now, over 2500 years later, it is probably impossible to know specifically what plants they were. Were they perhaps chosen simply for rhyme, or because they represent plants from three different types of environment, water, dry areas and wetlands?
27115/1: the reeds on a 笙 sheng; 27115/2 "笙芋之類 a type of reed instrument". Later dictionaries say it was a "口絃琴 kouxianqin" ("mouth harp" or "jew's harp"), a reed instrument that was blown as well as struck. This image shows a "石峁遺址出土的骨制口弦琴" version made from bone, unearthed from the Shimao ruins, a Neolithic site in Shaanxi Province; it is about 9 cm long. I do not yet know on what basis the 簧 huang is equated with a 口絃琴 kouxianqin other than by inference from the it being 鼓 struck.
For 周 3597.183/3 has "周代朝廷之列位也 Zhou dynasty court's sense of order", quoting this poem. However, another old meaning for 周 is "suitable". As for 行, today it is usually pronounced xíng in Mandarin, but hang was common in antiquity.
32291. A generic name for various type of artemisia, a broad genus of aromatic plant that generally grows in dry areas.
31465. "runner reed" (phragmites japonicus), a blossoming reed that grows in wetlands
樂 can be either yue (music) and/or le (joy/gladden): since ancient times the same character has been used for both. The present choice here of "he yue" for translating as "harmonious music" may be based on contrariness: Chinese sources generally use "joy" for both.
"樂" here is "lè" ("gladden") because it seems to be a verb. Note also that some editions have here 嘉樂 jiā lè instead of 燕樂 yan le; I have not yet traced the source of this difference.
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Deer Calls (鹿鳴 Lu Ming; 理性元雅 Lixing Yuanya, 1618; QQJC VIII/202)
My musical interpretation of this melody was formulated and transcribed 2 June 2019 on CX831 from New York to Hong Kong. Over the next few weeks I tried playing with different note values while looking for what seemed to me like underlying structures (for modal structures see next footnote). My interpretation was then "finalized" and recorded on 26 June 2019 (q.v.).
Searching online for "deer call" seems mostly to bring up references to the sounds hunters try to produce with their "deer callers". To avoid this perhaps the title "Lu Ming" should be translated as "deer call to one another".
Meanwhile online searchs for images connected to "鹿鳴" mainly bring up references to "鹿鳴館 Lu Ming Guan", a building constructed in 1883 in Tokyo in for foreign guests that was called "Rokumeikan", often translated as "Hall of Baying Deer" (Wiki). This is also the name of a famous play by 三島 由紀夫 Mishima Yukio (Yukio Mishima).
Gong Mode (宮音 Gong Yin (5 6 1 2 3 5 6)
For more on gong mode see Shenpin Gong Yi of 1425; for mode in general see Modality in early Ming qin tablature.
Here in the Lu Ming of 1618 the mode seems to change somewhat in the three sections of the piece, as follows (in the Chinese relative pitch system 宮 gong is 1 [do]; 商 shang is 2 [re]; 角 jue is 3 [mi]; 徴 zhi is 5 [sol]; and 羽 yu is 6 [la]).
This type of modal feeling, emphasizing fifth intervals and tonal centers that change in certain ways, was quite common if not prevalent in the Ming dynasty. The version of Lu Ming commonly played today does not seem to have this sort of structure. In fact, I have been unable to discern its musical structure, but to my knowledge no one has yet done a modal study of qin music from the Qing dynasty to the present to see to what extent modal practice may have changed.
It should be emphasized that my own understanding of modes in guqin music comes purely from looking at the music itself. To my knowledge no writings in Chinese (in particular no pre-modern writings) discuss mode in this way.
However, the modal structure should also be related to the overall musical structure. Here, of particular note, are the similar phrasings and rhythmic patterns between pages 2 and three of my transcription. In my original transcription this was not at all clear: reconstruction then became a constant search for such structural clues, whether conscious or unconscious. This process of reconstruction might be compared to "composing" (as compared to "creating" (further comment).
|3. Illustration for the poem Lu Ming (Full version at right)||Full illustration, with commenatary (expand)|
The illustration shows what clearly is not your average dinner party. (Further comment to be added later.)
Originally there was here a different image above. Called "Bronze Deer Inlaid with Gems". Called "Bronze Deer Inlaid with Gems" (q.v.), it shows an object unearthed from a tomb dating from the Western Han or earlier. It was copied from the CUHK website. The object was included in an exhibition at the Art Museum of Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). The attached commentary said,
The commentary adds that "the logo of the Fine Arts Department of CUHK is inspired by the antlers of a Western Zhou jade deer."
Further regaring this Lu Ming horizontal scoll, the excerpt at top showing the deer seems more appropriate to the music than the image of the banquet on the left side. To challenge this perhaps one should arrange the melody for massed instruments such as those shown in the front of the banquet scene.
Singing Guo Feng and Xiao Ya songs at provincial banquets
Another example of Shi Jing lyrics apparently popular for this purpose is Guan Ju; see also this list. 國風 Guo Feng (Airs of the States) comprise Shi Jing mumbers 1 to 160, while 小雅 Xiao Ya (Minor Odes) are numbers 161 to 234. The quote is from L.E.R. Picken, "The Shapes of the ShiJing Song-Texts and Their Musical Implications." Musica Asiatica 1 (1977), p.89. Picken goes on to say that this custom of group singing "argues for their being measured songs, as does association of part of this repertory with ritual movement, if not with dance."
Fusheng Wu. Written at Imperial Command: Panegyric Poetry in Early Medieval China. Albany, State University of New York Press, 2008, pp.80-81.
Lu Ming today
Perhaps because of its tradition as a banquet song, songs with this title are sometimes used today for welcoming guests; note also the purpose of the famous 鹿鳴館 Deer Call Hall (Rokumeikan) built in Japan. Some qin players use the 1802 version; others have adapted melodies from the scores of old court music settings (as here). These seem to need a lot of work to make them interesting, so the interpretations could be very free, or new qin settings created.
Version of 1802/1910 (compare 1618)
The 1910 handbook (XXX/205) featured a unique method of using squares to indicate rhythm. Comment says the tablature came from the 1802 version, using a 舞胎仙館藏本 copy in the Wuyi Xian Guan Collection (of 楊詩百 Yang Shibai). It does not seem to say whether the rhythms came from someone playing it in the active tradition or through it having been reconstructed. In addition, it is difficult to know how faithfully current interpretations are able to interpret these rhythmic indications.
Trace 鹿鳴 Lu Ming: Deer Calls
Mao poem #161. It is included in Qin Cao as well as under Most ancient in the early list by Seng.
This list of six surviving versions is based on Zha's Guide 30/237/444:
An online search for "鹿鳴" "古琴" reveals a number of video recordings, almost all based on the tablature in the last handbook ("= 1802"); some include singing. Examples without singing include those by
(this video has the recording accompanied by someone's idea of the banquet) and
Zhang Peiyou (the video shows deer in the wild).
Version of 1745/1835 (XVI/365 and XXII/171)
Melodies in 大樂元音 Dayue Yuanyin (1745) and 律音彙攷 Lüyin Huikao seem quite different, and I am not sure of their relationship to each other. They have only note names and seem to be using differing systems. As for the Lüyin Huikao version, it seems to be the one transcribed in Bian, Sonq Dynasty Musical Sources, p.155 further comment).
Original text with Legge translation
Some versions are slightly different in the original (e.g., with 嘉樂 jiā lè instead of 燕樂 yan le). The Legge translation used an old Romanization system. Some words were then re-translated and the translation was revised to match more closely the original word order.
The original preface is as follows:
Thanks to Amy Wang for help with this translation. Note that it is not clear from the original text whether the writer made a completely new melody/song or adapted for qin an existing one. It seems unlikely that he was simply revising existing tablature.
鹿鳴歌詞 Lu Ming Music and lyrics
The original Chinese lyrics by themself are (also pdf):
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