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04. Deer Calls
宮音 Gong mode: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 2
鹿鳴 1
Lu Ming  
Part of an illustration for the poem Lu Ming3        
This qin song is set to lyrics of the same name in the Xiao Ya section of the Shi Jing (Book of Odes or Book of Songs). "Xiao Ya" (literally, "small elegance"), has numerous translations, including "minor elegantiae", "minor festal odes", "lesser court hymns", and so forth. The section has 74 odes in all (Shi Jing Mao #s 161-234). Lu Ming is #161; another one with a guqin melody connection is #184, He Ming Jiu Gao). But although He Ming Jiu Gao is also the title of a qin melody, most versions of it have no lyrics, and those that do have different ones from those in the Shi Jing.

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,

adopts several allusions to classical texts. "Banqueting enhances the trust among us" (餞宴光有孚) is a reference to the 周易 Zhouyi, where it is said that "if one drinks wine with trust, then there is no fault ("有孚於食酒,無咎"). The next line, "In harmony and delight we restore the past loss ("和樂隆所缺"), alludes to the Mao preface to "Liu Yue" 六月 ("The Sixth Month") in the Shijing: "When 'Luming' is abandoned, harmony and delight will be in want" (鹿鳴廢則和樂缺矣). "Luming" 鹿鳴 ("The Deer Call One Another") is a banquet poem in the Shijing. According to the Mao preface, it describes how the Zhou king entertains his ministers and noble guests as to insure their loyalty. It is a celebration of the harmony between the ruler and his ministers....

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,

This Xiao Ya poem, originally used by Zhou kings to entreat their honored guests, was later adapted for strings to make a song that could be used for enjoyment while feasting. Today’s Lu Ming, be it at a grand banquet or at a village festival with sweet liquor, is mostly performed as a vocal song, less often with string instruments. If grand ceremonies no longer have this elegant song, is that not a great loss? And so I have devised this tablature, hoping that its elegant tones do not decay.

See further comment.

Melody and lyrics 14 (lyrics alone)
(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):

    00.00 Last four notes in harmonics, used as a prelude
  1. 00.09
    Yōu yōu lù míng, shí yě zhī pēng.
    "Yo yo" the deer call one another,
            as they eat the wild duckweed.

    Wǒ yǒu jiā bīn, gǔ sè chuī shēng.
    I have honored guests:
            strike the se zither, blow the sheng mouth organ.

    Chuī shēng gǔ huáng, chéng kuāng shì jiāng.
    Blow the sheng, strike the huang.
      Offer up baskets filled for them.

    Rén zhī hào wǒ, shì wǒ zhōu háng.
    People's respect for me,
            Shows me the correct (Zhou) order of things.

  2. 00.56
    Yōu yōu lù míng, shí yě zhī
    "Yo yo" the deer call one another,
            Eating the wild artemisia.

    Wǒ yǒu jiā bīn, dé yīn kǒng zhāo.
    I have here honored guests;
            Their virtuous fame grandly brilliant.

    Shì mín bù tiāo, jūnzǐ shì zé shì xiào.
    Showing people not to be mean,
            Gentlemen should exemplify standards and provide models.
    Wǒ yǒu zhǐ jiǔ, jiā bīn shì yàn yǐ áo.
    I have good wine,
            So the honored guests can carouse as they wish.

  3. 01.42
    Yōu yōu lù míng, shí yě zhī
    "Yo yo" the deer call one another,
            Eating the wild marshland reeds.

    Wǒ yǒu jiā bīn, gǔ sè gǔ qín.
    I have here honored guests ;
            Strike the se, strike the qin.

    Gǔ sè gǔ qín, hé yuè qiě zhàn.
    Strike the se and strike the qin,
            Harmonious music also goes deep.

    Wǒ yǒu zhǐ jiǔ, yǐ yàn lè jiā bīn zhī xīn.
    I have good wine,
            So the feast will gladden the hearts of honored guests.

Original tablature, pronunciations and glossary Original tablature (pdf; comment)        
As can be seen in the original tablature at right (expand), most of it is quite clearly written. Puzzling, however, is the use of the figure 宀 by itself. 宀 is not explained in the handbook's explanation of fingering methods (VIII/182-4), and I have not seen such explanation elsewhere. On the other hand, sometimes it is used here with 吟 forming 定吟 dingyin, which means "fixed vibrato" (see further); it is not clear why 吟 is added only sometimes.

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:

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
separate page)

1. 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).

2. 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]).

  1. In the first section the tonal center is mostly on 1, but at the end of the section it changes to 6 (in Western terms the "relative minor").
  2. The tonal center continues to be 6 in the first half of Section Two, then in the second half (in harmonics) it shifts to 2, a fifth interval down from 6.
  3. Section Three begins with the tonal center at 5 (a fifth down from 2). In the second half of the section the tonal center wanders a bit, with the four phrases ending respectively on 1, 2, 5 then finally and solidly on 1 over 5.

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 full illustration was painted by the Song dynasty artist 馬和之 Ma Hezhi painted for the court of the first emperor of the Southern Song dynasty, Gaozong (r. 1127–62). The originals are in various museums including the Beijing National Palace Museum and the Metropoloitan Museum in New York; copies of many, including Lu Ming, can be found on several internet sites. The paintings are discussed in detail in,

Julia K. Murray, Ma Hezhi and the Illustration of the Book of Odes. [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. 256 pp. 48 plates, 10 colour plates, 75 figures. $95.00 ISBN 0–521–41787–2.]

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 poem Lu Ming, from The Book of Songs, portrays a picture of harmony between humanity and nature. A herd of deer foraging in the meadow ‘call their companions upon the discovery of delectable food’. The call is comparable to the hospitality of a host who entertains his guests with fine wine and music.

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.

5. 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."

6. Fusheng Wu. Written at Imperial Command: Panegyric Poetry in Early Medieval China. Albany, State University of New York Press, 2008, pp.80-81.

7. 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.

8. 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.

10. 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:

  1. 1618 (VIII/202); unrelated to later ones (except the lyrics; pdf)
    Commentary says there was no existing qin setting so this one was created
  2. 1745 (XVI/365; more below); only note names (pdf)
  3. 1802 (XVII/519; gong yin; 3 sections; Lu Ming Cao; copied later in 1910 (more below)
  4. ~1802 (XIX/83); related to 1802 but many differences; no lyrics
  5. 1835 (XXII/171); as with 1745, only note names (pdf)
  6. 1910 (XXX/205); "= 1802"; has squares to indicate rhythm (compare XXX/391; 444pdf)
    Lyrics ("呦呦鹿鳴食野之萍....") are Shi Jing #161 (online text and translation)

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 Yang Baoyuan (this video has the recording accompanied by someone's idea of the banquet) and Zhang Peiyou (the video shows deer in the wild).

11. 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).

12. 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.

13. Preface
The original preface is as follows:

此詩小雅,周王乞言於嘉賔,被之絃為燕享通用之樂歌也。 今之《鹿鳴》佳宴,鄕飮酒醴,皆作為聲歌,而絲桐少傳。 夫以大典禮而雅樂不傳,非一大缺典乎。 余特編之譜,祈雅音之不廢。

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.

14. 鹿鳴歌詞 Lu Ming Music and lyrics
The original Chinese lyrics by themself are (also pdf):

  1. 00.09

  2. 00.56

  3. 01.42

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