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Longyinguan Qinpu
Qin Handbook of the Dragon Hum Mansion 1
1799 ? 
Opening page of Longyinguan Qinpu 2      
Longyinguan Qinpu, with eight of the 14 melodies later published in Meian Qinpu (1931),3 has been called the earliest handbook of the Zhucheng school.4 Zhucheng, a town not far from Qingdao in Shandong province, was the home of qin teachers who founded the Zhucheng style of qin play, and Longyinguan Qinpu contains melodies said to transmit their style of play. Since the modern Meian Qin School5 is said to have developed from the Zhucheng school, if the date on the handbook, 1799, is correct, this would make Longyinguan Qinpu the earliest known source of eight melodies in the original Meian Qinpu.

In fact, although proponents of the antiquity of the Zhucheng origins of the Meian school often point to the 1799 date on the extant version of Longyinguan Qinpu, their arguments are not conclusive.6 A strong contrary argument points to a preface to the Meian Qinpu that says Longyinguan Qinpu is the name of a book copied and edited by the school's founder, Wang Binlu (1867 - 1921), then compiled for publication around the time of his death.7 In addition, oral tradition and evidence from other early Zhucheng handbooks suggests that any of their melodies as played in 1799 should have been modified between then and 1921.

Thus the following further questions arise:

  1. If Longyinguan Qinpu predates Meian Qinpu by over a century, why are their melodies in common so similar?
  2. Does the surviving copy of Longyinguan Qinpu really date, as it states, from 1799?
  3. If instead it dates, as Meian Qinpu states, from around 1921, does it still consist of faithful copies by Wang Binlu from a manuscript dated 1799?
  4. If in fact these eight melodies were still actively played within the Zhucheng School, and had been modified over the years, could these have been reference texts that do not accurately reflect how Wang Binlu himself played the melodies?
  5. Was Wang Binlu copying and teaching older tablature in order to lead the school back to an earlier way of playing melodies?
  6. Does Longyinguan Qinpu, instead, actually contain melodies as developed in the Zhucheng school after 1799, finalized only around 1921, but Wang Benlu himself wrote something in the tablature to suggest their original date was 1799? If so, perhaps the 1799 date simply means that the date on the existing copy reflects either a misinterpretation of what Wang Benlu actually wrote, or an uncritical acceptance that what he wrote, or a belief that the changes in tablature do not change the "reality" of its source in the earlier handbook.

As yet I have not found any reliable studies that conclusively answer these questions.

Since the modern Meian Qin School did develop from the Zhucheng school, to consider Longyinguan Qinpu (whatever its date) as a proto-Meian school handbook requires establishing that it contains earlier, or perhaps the earliest surviving, versions of melodies later published in the popular Meian Qinpu. There are several more handcopied qin manuscripts connected to the Zhucheng school but preceding the Meian Qinpu.8 At least one of these (Qinpu Zhenglü) does still exist, but the three of its melodies later included in Meian Qinpu all differ from the later versions. This also argues against the early date for Longyinguan Qinpu, at least in its surviving version, where the melodies are almost all virtually identical to the ones in Meian Qinpu.

The only original copy of Longyinguan Qinpu is in the Van Gulik collection at Leiden University.9 It has two folios, with essays in the first folio and eight melodies in the second. On the opening page is the statement:

Copied by Yue Lian at his alternate study room 10

According to Dai Xiaolian, Yue Lian was a Buddhist monk and well-known qin player from the Wuxi area (around Taihu) who was active about a century before 1799. Thus if this tablature has passed down unchanged since this Yue Lian, the music might even date from the late 17th century. However, in a later article Yan Xiaoxing (see reference) argues that this is unlikely, naming as one other possibility an early 19th century Yue Lian, a female Daoist monk.

Then in the last column of the table of contents (fourth page of the handbook) are the following two statements:

"Great Qing Jiaqing (emperor) jiwei dongyue" (i.e., the 11th lunar month of 1799)11
"Copied by Mao Shixun of Licheng".12

It is not clear how trustworthy that date is considered with regard to the actual tablature in that handbook. Lieberman relates the common belief that this was the handbook of Wang Binlu (1867 - 1921). The earliest known Zhucheng players are the two Wangs born in 1807, mentioned below under Qinpu Zhenglü. If these dates are correct, in particular 1799 for the surviving copy of Longyinguan Qinpu, this would mean that the Zhucheng characteristics were developed earlier than was previously thought. On the other hand, the handbook might turn out simply to be an early handbook that happened to be used by the players who eventually formed the Zhucheng school, and perhaps the version we have already incorporates changes made by Wang Binlu, without identifying the original versions. Perhaps a study of other early Zhucheng handbooks would provide further details about this.

The Longyinguan Qinpu opening page lists the eight melodies it has in Folio 2. Below they are compared to their versions in the 1959 edition of Meian Qinpu:

  1.  Pingsha Luo Yan 6 sections + coda; Meian #10 generally follows Longyinguan note for note, but it adds some ornaments and changes many single notes to 2-note unisons or octaves. Meian also divides two sections differently and adds a Section 6 not in 1799.
  2.  Changmen Yuan 6 sections + coda; Meian #9 differs little, adding some ornamentation and dividing two sections differently. It does not appear in non-Zhucheng school handbooks.
  3.   Guanshan Yue 1 section, with instructions to repeat it; Meian #1 is almost same but divides it into 2 sections plus coda then instructions to "再作玉環體 repeat the jade disc structure" ( play it continuously). It was exclusive to Zhucheng school handbooks.
  4.  Qiu Gui Yuan 3 sections + coda; Meian #5 Qiuye Chang ("also called Qiu Gui Yuan") is almost the same. This melody is unrelated to the earlier Qiu Gui or Qiu Gui Yuan, and it does not seem to appear in non-Zhucheng school handbooks. The melody uses many finger rolls (lun) and Xu Lisun's 1959 preface says that according to Wang Yanqing (1867-1921) this melody was arranged from the pipa repertoire.
  5.  Xie Xian You 10 sections + coda; Meian #12 is almost identical. The tuning method, mentioned elsewhere in the handbook (lower the 1st, 3rd and 6th strings) is called man'gong in the ToC but taicou with the actual tablature. This version is very different from the earliest related melody, the Baji You of 1589. The version in 1864 is almost identical but I have not traced the source of this version further.
  6.  Chun Gui Yuan 3 sections + coda; Meian #6 Yulou Chunxiao is only a few notes different; the tuning method (raised 5th string) is given elsewhere in the handbook. It does not appear in non-Zhucheng school handbooks.
  7.  Qiujiang Ye Bo 4 sections + coda; Meian #8 is almost the same. The tuning method (lowered third string) is given elsewhere in the handbook. Despite changing this tuning method and also changing the earlier fa notes to mi, the melody is still quite similar to that of the Qiujiang Ye Bo of 1614.
  8.  Dao Yi 12 sections + coda; Meian #13 is almost identical. The tuning method (called wuyi but actually the same as guxian: raise the 2nd, 5th and 7th strings) is given elsewhere in the handbook. Not related to Dao Yi Qu, but clearly related to the Dao Yi surviving from 1589).

From the above it can be seen that the main difference between these melodies and those in the modern Meian Qinpu is that the latter sometimes show some elaboration. The reason for this lack of change is perhaps the fact that the Zhucheng school handbooks before Meian Qinpu were all hand-copied, and this available mainly to students within that school. Melodies in printed handbooks, with their wider circulation, would get absorbed into different schools and thus show more change over time.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Qin Handbook of the Dragon Hum Mansion (龍吟館琴譜琴譜 Longyinguan Qinpu)
Included in the 2010 QQJC. Other translations of the title include Qin Tablature of the Mansion of the Singing Dragon, Qin Tablature of the Dragon Chant Study, etc. Studies of this handbook in Chinese include:

  1. 戴曉蓮 Dai Xiaolian: 荷蘭存見的古琴譜與高羅佩
  2. 謝孝苹 Xie Xiaoping: 海外發現《龍吟館琴譜》孤本—為慶祝梅庵琴社創建60年而作。
  3. 嚴曉星 Yan Xiaoxing: 《龍吟館琴譜》補說

There is said also to have been a Longyinguan Incomplete Handbook (龍吟觀殘譜 Longyinguan Canpu. Dai Xiaolian points out that this other character "guan" suggests a Daoist temple (see further on this below).

2. Handbook opening page Fourth page            
The original photocopies above and at right have been cleaned and cropped. The first page seems to be written with a different hand than the rest of the book. The large print, which is at left 龍吟館琴譜,二卷 and below 岳蓮別塾鈔, is written using some antique style characters. The smaller print, rather roughly written, is a table of contents, thus repeating what is also written three pages later, linked here at right. According to Dai Xiaolian the stamp at right of the first page was made by a seal belonging to Van Gulik and it says 集義齋 Jiyi Zhai (Studio for Collecting Righteousness). The stamp behind the antiquarian characters at bottom says 毛倧之印 Seal of Mao Zong. There is some disagreement about whether this is the same person whose name appears three pages later.

As for the fourth page, the dating of 1799 comes from what is written in the left column. At top: 大清嘉慶己未冬月; at bottom: 歷城毛式郇拜稿 (translations).

3. Meian Qinpu (梅庵琴譜; 梅盦琴譜 for the 1931 edition, QQJC XXIX/183ff)
2 folios, 14 melodies; also romanized Mei An Qinpu. This handbook of the Zhucheng school was originally published in 1931, with later editions dated 1959, 1971 and ca. 1979; some originals are still available and there is also a ZGSD facsimile reprint. Zha Guide lists and indexes the 1931 edition, which has 14 melodies. The 1959 edition adds at the end a new melody, Moon Rising over the Wutong Trees, created by 徐立孫 Xu Lisun in 1938 (see #15). The tablatures were originally written down by 王賓魯 Wang Binlu and/or his students before he died in 1921, with the aim of preserving his tradition; most important of these students were 徐卓 Xu Zhuo (徐立孫 Xu Lisun, 1897-1969) and 邵森 Shao Sen (邵大蘇 Shao Dasu).

The original tablatures, which had no commentary, were apparently in a manuscript belonging to Wang called Longyin Guan Qinpu, said to be a source handbook for the Zhucheng school; it is often dated to 1799, but this date has not been confirmed. After the first Meian Qinpu was published in 1931 the various later editions show some differences. Xu Lisun added essays for the 1931 edition, including afterwords to all the melodies; for the 1959 edition these commentaries were expanded. However, none of the afterwords was indexed or included in Zha's guide, which was published in 1958. Later editions may also have new and/or different essays.

The melodies in Meian Qinpu are as follows (those also in Longyinguan Qinpuu are so indicated):

    1.  Guanshan Yue Longyin #3
    2.  Qiu Feng Ci Lyrics; lowered 3rd string tuning; music related to 1840 and 1931 Qiu Feng melodies; 秋風詞 not 秋風辭
    3.  Ji Le Yin Lyrics as <1491 and still raised 5th tuning, but new music
    4.  Feng Qiu Huang Lyrics as 1539, but without coda; music related to other earlier versions
    5.  Qiuye Chang Longyin #4 Qiu Gui Yuan. Unrelated to earlier Qiu Gui or Qiu Gui Yuan
    6.  Yulou Chunxiao Longyin #6 Chun Gui Yuan is only a few notes different; raised 5th tuning
    7.  Feng Lei Yin Earliest with this melody; lowered third string tuning
    8.  Qiujiang Ye Bo Longyin #7; lowered third string tuning
    9.  Changmen Yuan Longyin #2
  10.  Pingsha Luo Yan Longyin #1
  11.  Shi Tan Zhang See in Chart Tracing Shitan Zhang / Pu'an Zhou
  12.  Xie Xian You Longyin #5; taicou tuning: lower 1st, 3rd and 6th strings
  13.  Dao Yi Longyin #8; raise the 2nd, 5th and 7th strings. See details: the earliest surviving version in this mode has lyrics and dates from 1589.
  14.  Sao Shou Wen Tian Earliest surviving version of this melody seems to be the Qiusai Yin of 1722
  15.  Yueshang Wutong 月上梧桐 Moon Rising over the Wutong Trees; 6 sections plus coda
only from 1959: created in 1938 by 徐立孫 Xu Lisun himself

The three melodies in Meian Qinpu that do have lyrics all pair them to the music following the traditional pairing method.

For further details in English about Meian Qinpu see Fred Lieberman, A Chinese Zither Tutor.

4. Zhucheng School (諸城派 Zhucheng Pai)
Xu Jian discusses the development of this school in his section on the Wang Family of Zhucheng (a town west of Qingdao in Shandong province) in QSCB, p.174. Today it seems largely to be known through the fame of the Meian School (see next footnote).

This chart also mentions some Zhucheng players not surnamed Wang, such as 詹澂秋 Zhan Chengqiu of 濟南 Jinan (1890—1973, a student of 王露 Wang Lu), plus 徐立蓀 Xu Lisun and 吳宗漢 Wu Zonghan (students of 王燕卿 Wang Yanqing).

5. Meian Qin School (梅庵琴派 Meian Qinpai)
The transition of this school from the earlier Zhucheng School is discussed by Xu Jian in his writings on the Wang Family of Zhucheng. Zha Guide still classifies Meian school players as Zhucheng (see his chart of traditional qin schools). Its melodies are collected in Meian Qinpu.

6. Early origins of Zhucheng melodies
It is common today to hear claims that the Zhucheng and/or Meian melodies reflect a style of play from the Ming or early Qing dynasties, but little evidence is provided to establish the specifics of these claims.

7. 王賓魯 Wang Binlu, aka 王燕卿 Wang Yanqing (1867 - 1921)
See QSCB, p.174. The preface by his student, 邵大蘇 Shao Dasu (see above), as translated in Lieberman, p. 6, says that as Wang Binlu was dying Shao helped 徐立孫 Xu Lisun finish editing Wang's incomplete Longyinguan Qinpu. After Wang died Shao and Xu continued the editing, eventually changing the name to Meian Qinpu when they published it in 1931. The original version of Shao's preface is not in my edition of Meian Qinpu. This would explain how it is that the versions in Longyinguan Qinpu are nearly identical to those in Meian Qinpu, but does not help in finding out whether there were at one time earlier versions of Longyinguan Qinpu.

8. 諸城派 Zhucheng School handbooks before Meian Qinpu
When he wrote his Guide in the 1950s Zha Fuxi apparently had not seen the early Zhucheng handbooks, which were all handcopied, not printed. I have only seen Longyinguan Qinpu and Qinpu Zhenglü, so cannot comment on the others.

  1. Longyinguan Qinpu (龍吟館琴譜 ; 1799?)
    Included in 2010 QQJC and discussed above (ToC)

  2. Qinpu Zhenglü (琴譜正律 ; 1839?; XXIII/35-73)
    1 folios, 14 pieces, as below. The QQJC commentary says this was the first handbook from Shandong since Qinyuan Xinchuan (1670; 85 melodies plus variations), with which its own melodies have no apparent connection. The commentary adds that the handbok was not generally known until after 1949, suggesting that the 1839 date has not been authenticated, at least for the existing volume. QSCB (pp.174-5) and some online information say this was the handbook of 王雩門字冷泉 Wang Yumen, style name Lengquan (ca. 1807 - 77); he and 王溥長字既甫 Wang Fuchang, style name Jifu (ca. 1807 - 1886), were the 諸城二王 "Two Wangs [who founded] the Zhucheng School". Wang Fuchang and Wang Yumen originally had different styles, but after their association they developed a new style. Wang Yumen compiled the new melodies, or new versions of the melodies, into Qinpu Zhenglü.

    1. Tiao Xian Runong (XXIII/45); 3 sections; lyrics; like 1585
    2. Liangxiao Yin (XXIII/46); 2;
    3. Changmen Yuan (XXIII/46); 6; characteristic Zhucheng melody: Longyinguan #9, Meian Qinpu #9
    4. Wuye Wu Qiufeng (XXIII/47); 7
    5. Jingguan Yin (XXIII/49); 3
    6. Oulu Wang Ji (XXIII/49); 6
    7. Shanju Yin (XXIII/50); 3
    8. Pingsha Luo Yan (XXIII/51); 7; Meian Qinpu #10
    9. Yu Ge (XXIII/53); 18
    10. Saishang Hong (XXIII/57); 16
    11. Xiao Xiang Shui Yun (XXIII/59); 18
    12. Hujia (XXIII/62); 18
    13. Shuixian Cao (XXIII/66); 9; not the same as Meian Qinpu #14 (from 1722)
    14. Qiu Hong (XXIII/68); 36

    François Picard says this handbook also has a "missing link" in the development of Pu'an Zhou, but I cannot find that melody here. In addition, with only three melodies from here later included in Meian Qinpu, using the former to better understand the latter will be difficult. Also, two of these three are also in Longyinguan Qinpu - where the versions are identical to those in Meian Qinpu, thus arguing against the date of 1799 for Longyinguan Qinpu.

  3. Tongyin Shan Guan Qinpu (桐蔭山館琴譜; ca. 1880?)
    ? folios, ? pieces. Online information says that 15 melodies of Wang Fuchang (see
    above) were compiled into the Tongyin Shan Guan Qinpu; François Picard dates it ca. 1900 and credits it to Wang Fuchang's son 王作禎字心源 Wang Zuozhen, style name Xinyuan (1842 - 1921). Wang Xinyuan is mentioned in Zha Fuxi's chart of qin schools.

  4. Yuhexuan Qinpu (玉鶴軒琴譜; date?)
    ? folios, ? pieces; François Picard dates this ca. 1903 and credits it to 王心葵 Wang Xinkui (1877 - 1921), son of Wang Zuozhen (see previous).

    Also possibly:

  5. Qinxue Guanjian (琴學管見; 1930? XXIX/221--295)
    undivided; 石印本 a lithograph imprint by 李崇德 Li Chongde; 2+19 pieces (including a Jiu Kuang copied from 1589). The Zha preface says nothing is known of the author and that it is hard to find, but that it reprints some valuable old materials. Zha Fuxi says 1930 was the date of the lithograph imprint; elsewhere it has been dated from 1870: sixty years earlier (earlier edition or different cyclical date interpretation?). 10 of its titles are also in Meian Qinpu; some but not all are not the same (they seem more likely to be closer to the Longyin Guan versions, but careful comparisons have not yet been made). The full list of melodies is:

      Tiao Xian Runong (warm up prelude)
      De Dao Ge (similar to previous)
    1. Si Qin Cao (; XXIX/254)
    2. Lou Shi Ming ( XXIX/255)
    3. Gui Qu Lai Ci ( XXIX/256)
    4. Ping Sha Luo Yan (MA#10; XXIX/260)
    5. Jiu Kuang (1589; XXIX/263)
    6. Xie Xian You (MA#12; XXIX/267)
    7. Sao Shou Wen Tain (MA#14; XXIX/269)
    8. Qiu Jiang Ye Bo (; XXIX/273)
    9. Ji Le Yin (MA#3; XXIX/275)
    10. Qiu Feng Ci (MA#2; XXIX/275)
    11. Feng Qiu Huang (MA#4; XXIX/276)
    12. Guanshan Yue (MA#1; XXIX/277)
    13. Chun Gui Yuan (MA#6; XXIX/277)
    14. Gu Qin Yin ( XXIX/278)
    15. Oulu Wang Ji ( XXIX/279)
    16. Ting Qin Yin ( XXIX/281)
    17. Qiu Sheng Fu ( XXIX/283)
    18. Chang Men Yuan (MA#9; XXIX/288)
    19. Dao Yi (MA#13; XXIX/290)

9. Van Gulik Collection at Leiden University
Photocopies and microfilm of this document have circulated. I have not seen information as to where Van Gulik acquired this handbook.

10. 岳蓮 Yue Lian and 岳蓮別塾鈔 Yue Lian bieshu chao
Regarding bieshu 別塾 1955.xxx (compare 別墅 bieshu); 5496 塾 says 門側之堂 etc., so it could refer to various types of rooms.

As for 岳蓮 Yue Lian, according to Dai Xiaolian he was a monk and qin player from the 梁溪 Liangxi area of 無錫 Wuxi. She says he may have changed the name from 龍吟館 to 龍吟觀 (both pronounced Longyin Guan) because the latter "guan" is overtly Daoist and he was a Buddhist. She quotes a lengthy passage from 蚕尾集 Can Wei Ji by 王士禎 Wang Shizhen (Bio/162; 1634-1711), which suggests the music might date from considerably earlier than 1799.

However, Yan Xiaoxing (last paragraph of Section 2) mentions a 嘉道間 early 19th century female Daoist monk named 王蓮又名岳蓮 Wang Lian, also called Yue Lian who 精書畫,亦通音律 excelled at calligraphy and painting and was good at music. He concludes that although she was not necessarily the person who copied Longyinguan Qinpu, the identification of Yue Lian with the earlier Buddhist monk seems somewhat far-fetched.

11. Great Qing Jiaqing (emperor) jiwei dongyue (大清嘉慶己未冬月)
See page four original. If this date is reliable, then presumably the melodies originated earlier than 1799.

12. Copied by Mao Shixun of Licheng (歷城毛式郇拜稿)
See page four original. Mao Shixun was apparently born ca. 1774 and died in 1844: Bio/xxx, but Dai Xiaolian mentions a biography in 續歷城縣志 Continuation of the Licheng Country Chronicles Licheng is an area around 濟南 Jinan in Shandong province. Dai Xiaolian also discusses the possibility of Mao Shixun being the same person as Mao Zong. Elsewhere one can find references that call this 山東毛氏抄本 the Hand-copy by Mr. Mao of Shandong. It is not clear whether this is the same person as the 毛倧 Mao Zong whose seal is on the opening page. Yan Xiaoxing writes at length about the significance of the last two words, 拜稿 bai gao.

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