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67. Song of Jie Yu
羽音 Yu mode: nine strings: 2 3 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 (?)2
Jie Yu Ge
|Confucius tries to question Jie Yu (expand) 3|
Jie Yu was apparently a recluse in Chu, but nothing else seems to be known about him other than what can be learned through the story told in the present song, along with its introduction. Here it seems that, because Confucius in his day was known as someone who went around trying to give advice to rulers, on learning that Confucius was traveling in Chu, Jie Yu approached him and madly sang a song warning against getting involved in such matters at the present time. However, when Confucius tried to ask him about this he just ran away. The lyrics are presented in both a Daoist and a Confucian classic text. The Daoist text adds a narrative that seems to express agreement with Jie Yu's warning. The Confucian text presents it without comment, though elsewhere there is the suggestion that Jie Yu was referring in particular to the state of Chu, and it was for this reason that Confucius then left Chu to return home.
This melody survives only as the fifth and last of the five nine-string qin melodies in Lixing Yuanya (1618).4 According to accounts such as this one, the nine-string qin was created under the orders of the Song Taizong emperor. Taizong is said to have demanded its creation so he could be seen in the same light as Wen Wang and Wu Wang, who are said to have added the sixth and seventh strings to the original five string qin. His plan is said to have failed because his imperial guqin official showed that he could in fact play any of the nine-string melodies just as well if not better on a seven-string qin; one might argue that a better reason could be that no one used it to try to develop new music.
Lixing Yuanya makes no claim that this melody came from Song Taizong's time. And in fact, as can be seen from my tentative transcription and this comment, it could easily be played on a normal seven-string qin. The bottom two strings of the 9-string version are used in only two place; these are indicated by red marks on this copy of the original tablature as well as in the related places in this copy of my transcription. As to a method for playing this melody on a seven stringed qin, this could be as follows:
Thus, discerning the intended notes in these two places allows the melody to be played on a normal 7-string qin. Red marks elsewhere on the copy show occurrences of non-pentatonic notes, basically in two paired phrases; these were most likely was intentional (see under mode). Note also the long passage in double stop harmonics near the end: a number of melodies in this section of the handbook seem to have this same characterstic.5
From all this it seems most likely that these pieces were newly created or revised to fit a hypothetical nine string qin rather than old melodies that had been passed down.
The specific lyrics for this Song of Jie Yu come from passages in the Analects and in the Book of Zhuangzi. These are included below. The music and words are paired in a way that their rhythms fit quite well, but the melody leaps about in a way that does not encourage singing out loud.6
The creator of the music is not stated, but it is generally presumed to be Zhang Tingyu, compiler of the handbook.7
The preface in 1618 seems to come mostly from the narrative in the Analects, as follows:
There is no mention of the music.
Music and lyrics10 (See 五線譜 tentative transcription; timings follow 聽 my recording
The melody and lyrics are divided into three untitled sections; each has a separate text; the original texts of the three (Analects 18 Weizi 5, plus Zhuangzi 4 The Human World, 8 and 9) are in this footnote. The translation here was adapted from some earlier ones to fit with my transcription.
When the world has the Dao, sages can achied; when the world has no Dao, sages can only live out their lives.
In the present times one is limited to avoiding punishment.
Good fortune is lighter than a feather; (bu no one knows how to carry it.
Misfortune is heavier than all the earth, (but) no one can avoid it.
Stop it! Stop leaning on people with your virtue.
Danger! It is dangerous to draw lines (to divide the earth) as you go around.
Sharp thorns, sharp thorns do not destroy my path.
My path turns me back as it winds about; and I don't harm my feet.
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
1. Song of Jie Yu (Jie Yu Ge 接輿歌 (QQJC VIII/338)
12479.116 接輿 Jie Yu says this was the nickname of a recluse in Chu named Lu Tong but that he was also known as the Madman of Chu (楚狂 Chu kuang). He is also mentioned in the Li Sao but there seems to be no more details about him beyond what is said with the present melody.
|2. Tuning and mode (九絃琴曲、羽音 a 9-string qin melody in yu mode; pu at right)||Original tablature, p. 1 (complete pdf); note the red marks|
My preliminary examination of these five nine-string tablatures suggests that the two upper strings are used quite a bit more than the two lower ones and that is particularly true of Jie Yu Ge. In fact, this melody can quite easily be played on a standard seven string qin.
Further regarding the non-pentatonic notes, there are ten: one is on 4, two are on 4# and seven are on 7. However, all but one occur in two sets of paired phrases (see mm. 22-27 and 38-41 of my transcription; the other is in m. 65). In both of the paired phrases the pattern of the first passage is repeated in the second passage. In the first case the repeat is on higher strings; in the second cases the repeats are part of a series of phases on descending strings. Here it should be pointed out that elsewhere in the repertoire one can find further examples where musicians seem to enjoy repeated finger patterns to the extent that they either don't concern themselves with, or they particularly delight in, notes that "purists" disapprove of.
|3. Image above: Confucius tries to question Jie Yu||AsiaPac: Jie Yu on usefulness (中文版)|
Meanwhile, the image at top comes from Traces of the Sage Confucius. The accompanying text quoting verbatim the text in the Analects (see from this link) is as follows,
Such images were quite popular, thus assuring that Jie Yu would remain well-known. Another example is this one; also called "楚狂接輿 Madman of Chu, Jie Yu", it is copied from an article called
"為什麼楚狂接輿稱孔子是墮落的鳳凰？" (Why does Jie Yu call Confucius a Fallen Phoenix?) on a website that seems to identify it only as "楚狂接輿（資料圖 圖源網絡）", i.e., from an internet archive.
Trace Jie Yu Ge (3; VIII/338)
Zha Guide lists it only here.
Played on 7-string qin
According to my examination there does seem to be a mistake in one of the two places: it seems unlikely that in one place the first string is stopped at position 11, then shortly afterwards it is stopped at position 10. Perhaps it was a problem of writing tablature for an unfamiliar arrangement of strings. On the other hand, two paired phrases have some non-pentatonic notes that seem actually to be intentional; these are discussed further above.
Here the original is:
The last phrase is somewhat puzzling. The Analects have the same phrase except that it has "孔子 Kongzi" instead of "聖人 shengren" (sage), making it, "蓋知尊孔子而趣不同者也。" Assuming the latter is actually "the Sage", referring to Confucius, it still seems to mean that Jie Yu ran away because he knew Confucius was different and he didn't want to argue with him.
Music and Lyrics
The original lyrics are as follows (links to ctext)
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