T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
Qin bios 首頁
Chen Yang
- Qin Shi Xu #5
陳暘 1
琴史續 #5 2
Small, medium and large qin: Chen Yang?3  
Chen Yang, style name Jinzhi, was from Fuzhou (in Fujian province). In 1094 he became a zhike - graduate of a high level specialist examination.4

Chen Yang's writings include:

  1. Qinsheng Jingwei5
    Listed in Qinshu Cunmu (#104); included in Shuo Fu.
  2. Yue Shu6
    An encyclopedic Treatise on Music often quoted in Ming sources. Sometimes referred to as Chenshi Yue Shu (Music Treatise of Mr. Chen)

The qins in the image at right are like some of the qins depicted in Chen Yang's Yue Shu, but the image itself may not in fact be from there. Its text is also somewhat inconsistent:

The dimensions given for the small qin, also considered as medium qin, are the idealized ones for a standard qin.

The biography of Chen Yang in Qinshi Xu begins:7

Chen Yang, style name Jinzhi, was from Fuzhou (in Fujian). He had several official positions, up to the rank of 禮部侍郎 assistant minister in the Ministry of Rites. He specialized in 曉樂律 standards for morning music, and was especially excellent at qin....

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Chen Yang 陳暘 (11th-12th c.)
Bio/1332; 42618.949 陳暘: style name 晉之 Jinzhi, from 福州 Fuzhou (in Fujian); in 1094 he 制科....

2. lines. Sources cited: 宋史 Song History, 陳氏樂書 Chenshi Yueshu.

3. Image: small, medium and large qin
This image (the text is translated above) was copied from 古樂筌蹄 Gu Yue Quan Ti, part of the 李氏樂書六種 Li Shi Yue Shu (Book of Music by Mr. Li), as printed in 續修四庫全書 Xuxiu Siku Quanshu, Vol. 114, p.237 (compare 李氏樂書十九卷). The image is printed between the essays Chenshi Yue Shu (which mentions qin and se size) and Qin Se Shang Lun (see Qin Se Lun). Although this image does not appear in the Yue Shu published in the Wenyuan Ge edition of Siku Quanshu (Vol. 211, pp. 23-949), Chen Yang does include images in Yue Shu of a great variety of qin, including some with 1, 5, 12, 13 and 27 strings, a "striking qin" (image), and others that even have bridges. There is further comment on the possible significance of these images under origins.

4. Zhike 制科
Chen Yang is also said to have been a jinshi. It is not clear if this is separate from his zhike. In the Song dynasty zhike seems to have referred to graduates of a specialist examination. Later it apparently referred to a special higher examination overseen by the emperor.

5. 琴聲經緯

6. 樂書 Yue Shu; 陳氏樂書 Chen Shi Yue Shu (available online)
Qinshu Bielu Entry 65 lists numerous editions of this monumental work. The full text is most easily found in the Wenyuan Ge edition of Siku Quanshu, Vol. 211, pp. 23-949. This edition includes a contents list with each folio, but no general table of contents. The tiyao commentary at the front is repeated separately in the Siku Quanshu Zongmu Tiyao, 經 1-777 (dropping a few words from the beginning and end).

"Qin"-related content in Yue Shu
The emphasis in Yue Shu being ritual music, it is not clear whether some of the instruments from Yue Shu listed below were specifically invented for some ritual performance, then disappeared as the ritual changed; or whether there is some other reason for their impermanence. The possible significance of the great variety of these instruments is discussed further under

An online English summary (accessed 9/2010) of a dissertation on this book by 鄭長玲 Zheng Changling says the following (slightly edited):

A native of Minqing County in Fujian Province, Chen Yang was a jinshi (palace graduate) in China"s Northern Song Dynasty who later served in the Ministry of Rites. His Yue Shu, a scholarly work with a huge mass of valuable information on Song and pre-Song dynasty music, is of great historical and cultural significance. Generally regarded as the earliest encyclopedic volumes of musicology in Chinese history, and perhaps even in world history, Yue Shu has been an important and indispensable work of reference in the study of Chinese music. The 200-volume masterpiece, noted for its early date of publication and wide coverage ranging over a period between the Han-Tang dynasties and (which later influenced) the Ming-Qing dynasties, is a rare collection in the treasure of Chinese musicology. This master of Chinese musicology and the academic value, historical status and cultural significance of his Yue Shu, thus merit ampler attention. A survey of existing scholarship shows that since the 20th century most of the studies of Chen Yang and his Yue Shu have been conducted from historical perspectives. The present study attempts to approach the subject from the perspective of ethnomusicology and, against the socio-cultural background of the Northern Song Dynasty, explore Chen Yang and his Yue Shu in the context of cultural and historical development. Based on genealogical information and historical accounts obtained from field work, and drawing on relevant scholarship such as A History of the Song Dynasty, this study presents fresh information about Chen Yang"s life, including dates of birth and death, date of conferment of his academic title, place of his appointment to the office, and a Chronicle of Chen Yang. After a background study of his scholarly work in the political, economic, cultural and educational contexts of the Northern Song Dynasty, this thesis comes up with the view that the creation of the Yue Shu was motivated by the intention to restore the practice of 禮樂治國 Liyue zhiguo (Ritual Music Regulating the Country), and that to some extent the Yue Shu was influenced by the historiography and epigraphy of the Northern Song Dynasty.

7. Original text of the Qin Shi Xu entry
Not yet online.

Return to the top, or to the Guqin ToC.