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Chapter Six: Song and Yuan dynasties (cont.) 1
Xu Jian, Introductory History of the Qin, p. 86-8

6.A. Qin Specialists (cont.) 2

2. Literati and Qin Masters



Northern Song qin masters often carried out creative projects with literati. Noted literati such as Fan Zhongyan,3 Ouyang Xiu,4 Su Shi,5 Ye Mengde,6 Wang Anshi7 and so forth all had connections with qin players. Literati would write verse, qin players would write music, creating such pieces as Zuiweng Yin (Old Toper's Chant), and Hujia Shibapai (18 Blasts of the Nomad Reed Pipe; see under Da Hujia). This style of music pieces with text was at that time especially in vogue.

Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072), at a banquet to see off his friend Yang Zhi,8 especially invited his qin teacher Sun Daozi9 to "bring forward [his] qin to bid farewell". At the same time [Ouyang Xiu] also wrote "Seeing off Yang Zhi".10 In this essay the most important thing put forward was the principle that playing the qin can nurture life.

During the time when Ouyang Xiu was demoted to the position of Prefect of Chuzhou,11 he wrote the famous essay (sanwen) The Old Toper's Pavilion (Zuiweng Ting Ji).12 The scenery and artistic notions described in this essay moved many readers.

After Taichang Boshi13 Shen Zun 14 read the essay, he rushed off to Chuzhou just to go sightseeing. Inspired by the essay, he "cherished the scenery, then returned and used the qin to describe it, creating the melody Zuiweng Yin."15 Besides this, he also wrote Xiaoying Ti (The Morning Oriole Cries Out16), Yinshi You (The Wandering Scholar-Recluse17) and similar qin pieces.18

Later, when Ouyang Xiu heard the qin piece Zuiweng Yin written by Shen Zun, being very moved, he wrote in a poem,

"Zuiweng Yin is named after me;
when I first heard it I was happy and surprised."19

The poet thought that the qin piece described what was in his heart,

"Your three foot [qin with] golden studs,
Depicts my deep contemplation [and] all my various feelings."20

The poet still recalled the circumstances that began 10 years earlier when he wrote Zuiweng Ting Ji. He felt a lot of emotion,

"Worldly affairs being so worrisome, but his ability small...,
His heart disturbed and tipsy, unable to determine what is 'happy'."21

After Shen Zun's Zuiweng Yin had entered the repertoire, it attracted the interest of many people. Perhaps because it was a qin piece which had become instrumental-style music, not a few people planned to fill it with matching lyrics, but none of them was ideal.

Another 30 years later Ouyang Xiu and Shen Zun died in succession. Shen's qin friend Cui Xian,22 "often regretted that this melody had no lyrics, so he wrote tablature for the sounds and sent an invitation to Retired Scholar Dongpo [Su Shi]". Cui Xian asked Su Shi to match text to the music he had put into tablature. Because the two men were both very familiar with this subject matter, they worked together very smoothly, "[Cui] Xian putting the sound to strings, [Su Shi] filling in the lyrics, in an instant finishing it, with no changes necessary." Su Shi successfully and instantly completed the lyrics of this qin song, causing the qin piece to have a lot of color. At that time this was passed on as a well-known tale, and so the text has passed on all the way to the present time.

Su Shi (1037-1101) was not only a famous literary figure who initiated a bold and unconstrained school of poetic style. His training in qin studies was also very deep. He often added lyrics for qin songs. Just as an example, he added lyrics to the qin piece Yangguan Qu23 (Yang Pass Tune) three times. Folio Six of Hulou Bitan (Sketches from the Lake Tower), by Yu Yue,24 says, "[Su] Dongpo altogether had three versions of Yangguan Qu. One was presented to Zhang Xuyuan,25 one was responding to Li Gongze,26 one [was for the] Mid-Autumn Moon [Festival]".26

Su Shi said, "Included among qin pieces is Yaochi Yan (Feast at Clear Lake);28 its text did not fit the music [because] the sound is very sad, [so I] changed the lyrics to express a gentle melancholy."29 One can see that poets writing verses for qin songs was at that time a very common occurrence.

Su Shi wrote a Zashu Qinshi,30 13 Sections; one of these sections says,

"The qin is not elegant sound; people [have come to] consider the qin elegant sound, that's all. Qin [music is] simply [the beautiful music of] ancient Zheng and Wei.31 Nowadays this so-called Zheng and Wei is [represented by] barbarian regions,32 not the melodies of China. During the Tianbao era [742-756] the Sitting and Standing Ensembles [representing Chinese music]33 worked together with the Foreign Ensembles; since then one cannot distinguish between them."

[The way Su Shi] points out the relationship between qin compositions and folk music (the sounds of Zheng and Wei), and the influence of people's cultural interflow on qin compositions, shows great understanding. Some people often say qin compositions are high and unattainable "elegant sounds"; concerning this Su Shi put forward a strong rebuttal.34

After Su Shi arranged text for Zuiweng Yin, he was rather satisfied with this creation. To Shen Zun's son Original Bodhi Meditation Master Fa Zhen35 he wrote a letter saying,

"[If you pour] two liquids together into one vessel, sometimes they don't mix. Though two qins have the same tuning, sometimes they don't sound right together. Mr. Shen fluently plays the qin, and so is like a spring. I write fluently and [the lyrics] fit together with the qin. This is true togetherness."

This so-called "true togetherness" is the common artistic meeting ground of the composer and writer. The cooperative creation of lyrics and music increases the friendship of literary men and qin artists.

Cui Xian,36 who together with Su Shi created Zuiweng Yin, was a Taoist master living at Lu Shan. He played more than 30 qin tunes, and was very interested in matching lyrics with music; especially after the successful creation of Zuiweng Yin, enthusiasm was great. Once on his own tablature he noted down "the four ping ce sounds, and the rhymes which mark off phrases."37 Then he went everywhere asking people to add lyrics.

Once [Cui Xian] met the poet Ye Mengde (1077-1148), who had come to Lu Shan for relaxation; thereupon, in the same way as he had in his youth asked Su Shi, [Cui Xian] asked Ye Mengde to add lyrics for qin compositions. Ye Mengde was only 33 years old when he met Cui Xian. When young, [Ye] had studied the qin with the Taoist Wu Ziran of Xinzhou;38 later he rose to the rank of Fellow of the Hanlin Academy. Although the spirit of his poems was very much influenced by Su Shi, he could not, the way Su Shi could, add lyrics "instantly".39 Receiving Cui Xian's invitation he couldn't at once fulfill Cui Xian's hopes.

Later [Ye Mengde] found the melody Jiangwai Zhaoyin40 and "used this to write lyrics, in order to make his leisurely intentions last a long time".41

Wu Liangfu,42 a Chief Musician,43 once took the [four versions of the poem] Hujia Shibapai by the writers Cai Yan, Liu Shang, Wang Anshi 43 and Li Yuanbai,44 and compiled them into one collection. At the same time he also "purposefully took the lyrics of [Wang] Anshi's [Hujia] Shibapai and Yuanbang Xing45 and wrote a melody in six sections, with accompanying notes belonging to qin music; this was his Qin Pu, one folio."46

This is an example of having text first, then attaching qin sounds. The compositions of Wu Liangfu are the first known record of using Cai Yan's story as a qin song. Previously such materials were only seen as instrumental qin music. After this, many versions of the qin piece Hujia Shibapai, with closely-matched lyrics, appeared in succession. This seems to have been related to the influence of Wu Liangfu.

(Continue with Zhe(jiang) School of the Southern Song.)

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Chapter 6 covers these dynasties (dates, capital city [modern name]):

Northern Song (960-1126; Dongjing [Kaifeng])
Liao (907-1125; Dading Fu [Daning?])
Southern Song (1127-1280; Linan Fu [Hangzhou])
Jin (1115-1260; Zhongdu [Beijing])
Yuan (1206-1280-1368; Dadu [Beijing])

2. Translation by JT

3. 範仲淹 Fan Zhongyan (989-1052)
31472.68; Giles; Qinshi #142; references at QSDQ-QQJC, V/409, 429, 430, 454; famous administrator, opposed Buddhism.

4. 歐陽修 Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072)
See Giles and below; references at QSDQ-QQJC, V/270, 407, 413, 414, 415, 431, 445-6.

5. 蘇軾 Su Shi (1037-1101)
See Giles and below; references at QSDQ-QQJC, V/362, 380, 384-5, 418, 431, 441, 447, (439?).

6. 葉夢得 Ye Mengde
See in Qinshi Xu; 132127.209; pen name Shilin [Stone Forest]; from Wu county [Suzhou], Jinshi degree during 1094-8, then Hanlin academy; noted writer.

7. 王安石 Wang Anshi (1021-1086; further)
Wang Anshi (21295.361; Giles; etc.) was a famous "reformer" strongly opposed by traditionalists (who suffered the consequences). QSCB Chapter 6b1-2 reiterates what is said here about Wu Liangfu setting these lyrics to qin, but there are no such surviving settings.

8. 15489.600.

9. 7135.xxx.

10. Song Yang Zhi Xu (xu means a short article); see in Qinshu Daquan (QQJC, V/407-8), Folio 18 #67; translation in HJAS 57, Ronald Egan, "Music, Sadness and the Qin", pp.63-4.

11. In Anhui, about 50 km northwest of Nanjing.

12. 40778.66; ji means short article; translation in Shih-Shun Liu, Chinese Classical Prose, 1979, pp.186-9. See also Zuiweng Yin, set to lyrics by Su Dongpo.

13. A top central administrative position.

14. 17529.xxx.

15. Quoted from Dongpo Bieji [cf 40778.64]; see also QSDQ in QQJC, V/270-1, and Zuiweng Yin in Fengxuan Xuanpin (1539).

16. Morning Orioles Cry Out (曉鶯啼 Xiao Ying Ti)
14492.192 only 曉鶯 xiao ying; not listed elsewhere. Compare Evening Orioles Cry Out (Wan Ying Ti 晚鶯啼) also attributed to Shen Zun.

17. Wandering Recluse (Yinshi You 隱士遊)
42825.4xxx; not listed elsewhere.

18. "Qin Tan"; by [Qing] Cheng Yunji, see Qinshu Cunmu, #242.

19. QSDQ-QQJC, V/431. Ting Shen Zun Tan Zuiweng Yin.

20. ???.

21. ???

22. 8405.xxx; see Qinshi Xu, #1006, Ye Mengde.

23. 42673.381; original version attributed to [Tang] Wang Wei.

24. 1462.134; Qing dynasty.

25. 10026.1547xxx.

26. 14819.214 = Li Chang 14819.1093.

27. 15th day of 8th lunar month.

28. 21646.5, Yao chi: region of immortals.

29. "侯鯖錄 Houqing Lu" (Great Mackerel Record)
667.149: book in 8 folios by 趙令畤 Zhao Lingzhi, a Song royal prince (38015.178 字德齡). (Mackeral?)

30. Miscellany of Qin Matters; ???.

31. Music of Zheng and Wei
During the Warring States period, Zheng and Wei were two states whose music was considered especially appealing. The puritanical stream of Confucianism sometimes criticized it as being too seductive, contrasting it with the more reserved ritual music. Here Su Shi is saying that qin music belongs with music for enjoyment, not music for ritual. (See further.)

32. Su Shi refers to the fact that foreign music was particularly popular during the Tang dynasty (618-907).

33. Zuo, li bu; these were forms of Yanyue [banquet music], in general representing indoor and outdoor music respectively.

34. This political statement by Xu Jian somewhat stretches the intentions of Su Shi.

35. 17638.xxx; letter quoted from ???.

36. Cui Xian 崔閑
Cui Xian (崔閑 8404.xxx; Bio/xxx), the 玉澗道人 Jade Torrent Daoist, lived at 廬山 Lushan, between Nanchang and tyhe Yangzi River. Xu Jian here says he played over 30 qin melodies and also wrote (transcribed?) Zuiweng Yin.


37. 平側四聲 the four ping ce sounds
Ping ce (9371.xxx) here means the same as 平仄 ping ze (9371.37), the level and changing (oblique) tones which formed the patterns of traditional Chinese poetry. After the Song dynasty ce took on other meanings and only ping ze was used for the tones.

38. 3453.xxx; there is a Xinzhou about 250 km SW of Hangzhou.

39. Lit. "just make a cut, and there it is."

40. Seeking Seclusion beyond the River, 17496.xxx. Related to the Zhao Yin in Shen Qi Mi Pu (12212.156-9?)?

41. The source given is 避暑錄話 "Bi Shu Luhua" by Ye Mengde. This should be the same as 避署錄 Bi Shu Lu, but I find no mention there of Jiangwai Zhao Yin.

42. Wu Liangfu 吳良輔
3453.xxx; Northern Song; see Qinshi Xu #19.

43. Chief Musicians (協律郎 Xielülang)
Chief Musicians were (see Hucker), "normally hereditary professionals attached to the Court fo Imperial Sacrifices (太常寺 taichang si...; numbers variable." was an official music position at the court.

44. Li Yuanbai 李元白
See in Chapter 6b1-2. As for the other versions, the first two are in Yuefu Shiji, pp. 860-69, and QSDQ, which also has the third (see QQJC, V/261-267).

45. Traveling in the Country of the Mongols, 1356.xxx. ???

46. QSDQ-QQJC, ???; "Yu Hai [21296.828/3] drawing on Zhongxing Shumu [76.748/xxx]".

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