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Auspicious Crane Immortal
- Standard tuning2 : 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
瑞鶴仙 1
Rui He Xian
Marked tablature for Rui He Xian 3      
This qin song, which survives only from here (see Zha Guide ), is entitled Rui He Xian because its lyrics use one of the versions of a cipai (poetic song pattern) of that name.5 Cipai titles generally refer only to the poetic pattern, often with no apparent connection to the content. Here the apparent lack of a connection between the content title and the structural title makes it difficult to know what a "correct" translation of the title should be. Variants, in addition to "Auspicious Crane Immortal", include "Auspicious Crane-riding Immortal", "Immortal of the Auspicious Crane" and "Immortal Auspicious Crane".

The present Rui He Xian is set to lyrics by "Huang Shangu" (黃庭堅 Huang Tingjian, 1045-1105). His lyrics seem to be a condensed version of 歐陽修醉翁亭記 Ouyang Xiu's Record of the Old Toper's Pavilion.4

The term "cipai" refers to patterns that follow the structure of earlier poems that are believed to have been set to earlier melodies. It is generally thought that the original melodies were already lost by the time ci poems became popular during the Song dynasty (960–1279). However, the way Huang Tingjian condensed Ouyang Xiu's lyrics so that they fit this ci pattern might suggest that perhaps in this case Huang Tingjian was inspired into reframing Ouyang's work for use with an existing or hoped for song melody. If at that time there was a custom of singing ci songs (whether or not the original melody still existed), none of these melodies is known to have survived. Likewise, there is no evidence to suggest that the melody given with the lyrics here dates back to any Song dynasty settings for poems in the Rui He Xian poetic form.

The Rui He Xian lyrics, as published with the qin melody, has a few textual differences from the version generally attributed to Huang himself. As for the pattern itself, it is often dated to a poem by 周邦彥 Zhou Bangyan (1056-1121), a near contemporary of Huang Tingjian. Huang's pattern is very similar, but the differences are enough that changes would have to be made in the melody to make one version fit to the music of the other.

As for Ouyang Xiu's 醉翁亭記 Record of the Old Toper's Pavilion, it opens as follows (original):

Around Chu(zhou) all is mountainou. To the southwest are the peaks, the forests and valleys especially beautiful. Looking at its lush and deep elegance, this is Langya. If in the mountains you walk six or seven li, you gradually hear the water resounding "chan chan". It rushes out between two peaks, and this is Brewer's Spring....

There is no known musical setting for this, but to properly appreciate Huang Tingjian's lyrics one should first read Ouyang Xiu's more detailed account.

Another qin song connected to Ouyang Xiu as the Old Toper is Zui Weng Yin; the lyrics, attributed to Su Dongpo, have actually been set to several different melodies, of which I have recorded three.

Apparently there is also a version of Rui He Xian by Xu Li (see in Rao, Section 7).7

Original preface
None; only the statement at the front that Rui He Xian is (or concerns) the Old Toper's Pavilion, and that Huang Shangu (Huang Tingjian) added the ci lyrics.

Music 9 (看五線譜 see transcription; timings follow 聽我的錄音 my recording])
The tablature has no divisions, but the ci pattern clearly divides the melody in two parts of almost equal length. Here to accompany the recording is the text attributed to Huang Tingjian, with the changes in the version paired to Japanese tablature (譜) indicated to their right. The emphasis in this translation is to go word for word, to help a singer know where to put emphasis. I have added two notes at the front to help a singer.

Huán Chú jiē shān yě. Wàng wèi rán shēn xiù, Lángyá shān yě.
Around Chu(zhou) all is mountainous,
        Looking lush with deep elegance is Langya.
Shān xíng liù qī lǐ. Yǒu yì rán quán shàng, Zuì Wēng Tíng yě.
In the mountains walk six or seven li.
        There appear outstretched wings extended above a spring: this is the Old Toper's Pavilion.
翁之樂也。得之心、寓之酒也。                         (「樂也」譜作「意」)
Wēng zhī lè yě. Dé zhī xīn, yù zhī jiǔ yě.
As for the old man's joy (mindset),
        it comes from the heart, but is encountered in wine.
更野芳佳木,風高日出,景無窮也。                 (「更」譜作「平」)
Gèng yě fāng jiā mù, fēng gāo rì chū, jǐng wú qióng yě.
As for the fragrance of the wilderness and the delightful trees,
        High winds as the sun comes out, the scenery has no limitation.

游也,     山肴野蔌,酒洌泉香,沸籌觥也。     (「沸籌觥也」譜作「沸觥籌也」)
Yóu yě,     Shān yáo yě sù, jiǔ liè quán xiāng, fèi chóu gōng yě.
Just drift,   (and you find) mountain game and wild vegetables,
      The wine is pure, the springs sweet; (then there are) jumbled tallies and wine cups.
太守醉也。諠譁眾賓歡也。                                 (「諠譁」也作「喧嘩」)
Tàishǒu zuì yě. Xuān huá zhòng bīn huān yě.
The prefect is drunk,
        the rambunctious bevy of guests joyous.
Kuàng yàn hān zhī lè, fēi sī fēi zhú, Tàishǒu lè qí lè yě.
As for the feast's high point, it is not the silk strings or bamboo flutes,
        though the prefect loves their enjoyment.
Wèn dāng shí, Tàishǒu wéi sheí, Zuì Wēng shì yě.
You may ask at such a time, this prefect is who?
        The Old Toper (Ouyang himself) is who.

02.11 曲終 melody ends

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
separate page)

1. Rui He Xian references (QQJC XII/194 & XII/252; TKKP III/35)
瑞鶴仙 Rui He Xian; subtitle: 醉翁亭 Zui Weng Ting (Old Toper's Pavilion); Zha Guide 35/--/505: only here.

Other references seem to suggest some connection to Qiliang Fan as well as Ruilong Yin.

See below regarding 醉翁亭記 Record of the Old Toper's Pavilion, a famous essay by Ouyang Xiu (1007 - 1072). The lyrics here by 黃山谷 Huang Shan'gu (i.e., Huang Tingjian) retell that story.

2. Mode
The Japanese handbooks say "商音 Shang Yin". For details of shang mode characteristics during the Ming dynasty see under Shen Pin Shang Yi.

3. Tablature for Rui He Xian from 1676 (complete pdf)
Copied from QQJC XII/194-5; red marks added to clarify phrasing.

4. Record of the Old Toper's Pavilion (醉翁亭記 Zui Weng Ting Ji)
The Old Toper's Pavilion was at 滁州琅琊 Langya near Chuzhou (Langya also written 瑯琊), across the river but not far from Nanjing. Further details are given here. Ouyang Xiu's original text begins,


The complete text can be found at zh.wikisource.org, with a translation here. Published translations include those by,
    Stephen Owen, in his An Anthology of Chinese Literature, p.613;
    Robert E. Hegel, in Victor Mair, The Columbia Anthology of Traditional Chinese Literature, p.590.

Although Huang's lyrics are a sort of summary of a narrative, they do follow a version of the ci pattern (see next).

5. Versions of the ci pattern (Wiki) called Rui He Xian
The Rui He Xian ci pattern is said to have originated with a poem by Zhou Bangyan (who actually wrote at least two), though later versions have a number of variations from his original poem. One by Xu Li, mentioned above, is given here. Perhaps more famous is one by Xin Qiji (雁霜寒透幕。....).

For more specifics, this webpage gives 16 variants on this ci pattern; all are doubled patterns (雙調 shuang diao); however, the above arrangement giving each of the two sections 4 lines is not generally found in other publications.

The character count for the 16 variants listed above is as follows:
        9 have 102 characters (including the two by Zhou Banyan, #s 1 and 6 in the above link)
        3 have 100 characters
        2 have 103 characters
        1 has   101 characters
        1 has     90 characters
The present version by Huang Tingjian, having 102 characters (52+2+48), is with the majority. However, its arrangement of the 102 seems to be different from the other 16 variants. Here they are arranged into phrases as follows (the use here of periods, commas and semicolons is based in part on my feeling for the music itself.) :
        5 5 4 ; 5 5 4. 4 3 4; 5 4 4.
        2, 4 4 4; 4 6. 5 4 6; 3 4 4.
Perhaps closest from the link are the seventh through 10th, all of which have a different character count in only two places: in the last group of the first section instead of 5 4 4 these have 3 6 4, 3 4 5 or 5 3 5; and in the third group of the second section instead of 4 6 they all have 4 3 3. This is quite puzzling. In addition, I have not been able to find any comparisons here with the 平仄 ping ze patterns or the other 16 versions.

There is further discussion here of the use of ci lyrics in qin melodies.

7. Xu Li's Rui He Xian
These lyrics have not been translated. The form is basically the same except for the third line of the second stanza.

8. 瑞鶴仙

9. Music
There are several puzzling issues in the tablature, including some problems. These include (measure number references are to my transcription),

Issues caused by variants on the ci pattern are discussed further above.

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