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Secluded Cascading Spring
- Standard tuning2 : 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
幽澗泉 1
You Jian Quan
  Tablature for You Jian Quan (1676; pdf) 3  
The lyrics of this qin song are a Yuefu-style poem of this title by Li Bai.4 Since the poems mentions Li Bai himself playing the qin, one might expect it to have been a popular choice to use as lyrics for a qin song. The fact that it survives in only one old title list and two surviving settings is perhaps an argument for there having been an oral tradition of qin songs, songs that were never written down.5

The general consensus is that the present setting, though published in several Japanese qin handbooks after about 1676, was brought to Japan from China by Jiang Xingchou. Some old qin melody lists, such as this one here from the Song dynasty, include this title, but there are no statements or any other evidence suggesting any melodic connection between that and the one presented here. In addition, the fact that the same poem was also set to tablature for a completely different melody in Qinxue Lianyao (1739) emphasizes that melodies with the same title can be unrelated.6

The Li Bai poem used as lyrics for this melody are included below together with pronunciation and a tentative translation.

Original preface

Music (timings follow my recording (listen 聽錄音)
One section; a mostly syllabic setting of the lyrics8

  Fú bǐ bái shí, tán wú sù qín.
  Brushing off that white stone, (I sit and) play my unadorned qin.

  Yōu jiàn qiǎo xī liú quán shēn, shàn shǒu míng huī gāo zhàng qīng xīn.
  The secluded cascading spring is austere, its flowing stream deep,
        and mindful hands, guided by (the qin's) bright harmonic markers with elevated display, have clear intent.

  Jì lì sì qiān gǔ, sōng sōu liú xī wàn xún.
  Calmly proceeding as has been done through the ages
        while pine winds sough as if searching everywhere.

  Zhōng jiàn chóu yuán diào yǐng, ér wēi chù xī, jiào qiū mù ér cháng yín.
  Amidst this can be seen an anxious gibbon mourning the shadows,
        as if in a dangerous place, it shouts from the autumn trees with long howls,

  客有哀時失志而聽者,「淚淋浪以沾襟」。         (志 elsewhere is 職 office)
  Kè yǒu āi shí shī zhì ér tīng zhě,「lèi lín làng yǐ zhān jīn」.
  The visitor, in sadness losing focus, then listens,
        「tears streaming down and soaking the lapels.」

「再作」。         「repeat previous phrase (music not lyrics?)」

  Nǎi jī shāng zhui yǔ, chán yuán chéng yīn.
  The notes are stitched and woven together, flowing along to become music.

「吾但寫聲發情於妙指,殊不知  此曲之古今。」
Wú dàn xiě shēng fā qíng yú miào zhǐ, shū bù zhī   cǐ qū zhī gǔ jīn.
「 I can but describe how the sounds express the emotions of the beautiful playing,
        amazingly not knowing if this melody is old or new.」

「再作」         「 repeat previous line」

  (Fànyīn:) Yōu jiàn quán, míng shēn lín.
  (Harmonics:) Secluded cascading spring, resounding in the deep forest.

  02.09 end

Further regarding the two repeats, it is not specified whether the intention was for only the music to be repeated, or the music and the lyrics to be repeated, or whether this was simply left up to the player(s).

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. You Jian Quan references (QQJC (XII/186)
9411.316 幽㵎 (not 澗): 幽谷 hidden ravine, with reference to 墨子 Mozi, 郭璞 Guo Pu and 謝靈運 Xie Lingyun

2. Tuning and Mode
Standard tuning; the Japanese handbooks group it within "商音 Shang Yin". Many phrase endings on shang (re), including the whole piece except for the closing harmonic coda. which ends on do.

3. You Jian Quan tablature
From Qinqu Jicheng XII. See the complete tablature (pdf)

4. Li Bai Poem
The "樂府 Yue Fu" was an ancient imperial collection of folk or folk-style lyrics; many later poets tried consciously to write in the same style. The present lyrics were also included in the Qin Shi Bu biographical essay on Li Bai (see comment)

5. Oral tradition?
The same comment could be made about Ting Qin Yin, which set for qin Han Yu's poem Listening to Reverend Ying Play the Qin.

6. Tracing 幽澗泉 You Jian Quan
Zha Guide 34/260/504 lists only handbooks from Japan and the musically unrelated one from 1739 (XVIII/161). There the author of the handbook says only that he made the music himself based on lyrics that were a Yue Fu poem by Li Bai. In 2017 I found this online recording by 丁紀園 Ding Jiyuan of the 1739 version (without singing; I don't know whether or not she also reconstructed it, but the melody is claimed to belong to a Zhongzhou School).

Zha's Guide also added this comment from the late Ming compendium Li Que Ju Lei Shu:

7. Preface
It is not yet clear what further commentary can be added.

8. Music and lyrics (XII/186)
At the end there is the commentary that, "東皋越杜訂正 Toko Etsu fixed the setting".

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