Taiyin Daquanji
 T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
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Taiyin Daquanji 1 / Taigu Yiyin 2 太音大全集\太古遺音
Great Collection of Superlative Sound / Sound Bequeathed from Antiquity 3
Song dynasty (960-1280)
Stringing a qin (three editions)5    
This work originated in the Song dynasty but survives only in various editions beginning in the Ming, with at least four available in modern reprints (one also edited).4 This website has translations from one of these, an early Ming Taiyin Daquanji as re-printed in the early 16th century.

目錄 Table of Contents for Taiyin Daquanji6

    Folio 1 (卷一﹕造琴琴絃雜事制度
  1. Preface and added Folio 1 ToC (I/45)
  2. Qin construction methods (I/45)
  3. Information about making qin strings (I/47)
  4. Miscellaneous Information, including the inlaid studs and more on strings (I/48)
  5. Qin assemblage (I/49)

    Folio 2 (卷二﹕琴式
  1. Qin Styles (illustrating famous qins; I/53)
  2. More Qin Styles (without illustrations I/63)

    Folio 3 (卷三﹕手勢圖
    Hand gesture illustrations, poetically evoking finger techniques (see also fingering; I/63)
    Folio 4 (卷四﹕見目錄
    See the Annotated List of Contents: 21 entries on a variety of topics, beginning,7
  1. Important words from miscellaneous books (I/80)
  2. Rhapsody on Playing the Qin: excerpts from the Qin Fu by Xi Kang (I/81)
  3. Qin playing methods (I/81)....

    Folio 5 (卷五﹕見目錄; I/89)
    See the Annotated List of Contents: Either 10 or 15 entries (most not yet translated)
    explaining and commenting on finger techniques.8 Some are compound entries.
    (Folio 6? [卷六?﹕見目錄])
    See the Annotated List of Contents: in some editions these five are part of Folio 5
  1. Untitled section of 24 entries with a variety of themes (I/94)
  2. Right Hand Finger Techniques (I/101)
  3. Left Hand Finger Techniques (I/101)
  4. Discerning the Significance of Qin Melodies, followed by
  5. Five short modal preludes, each with an attached Melody List (I/102)
  6. Zhu Quan preface attached as an afterword (I/103)

This page will eventually link to more of my translations, but they require many footnotes, charts and original illustrations, and it may be a while before all that can go online.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 太音大全集 Taiyin Daquanji
See the modern preface.

2. 太古遺音 Taigu Yiyin
Although the work discussed here is sometimes called Taigu Yiyin (as in the version introduced here), this page mostly concerns the version published as Taiyin Daquanji. The related Taigu Yiyin is not to be confused with the Taigu Yiyin dated 1511/1515, which has music with lyrics but virtually no commentary other than introductions to the individual melodies themselves.

3. Taiyin Daquanji: Great Collection of Superlative Sound (or Superlative Music);
  Taigu Yiyin: Sound (or Music) Bequeathed from Antiquity. (Compare Taigu Shenpin.)

4. Available editions of this work (compare list of available and lost editions)
There are four available editions of the early Taigu Yiyin / Taiyin Daquanji:

  Taigu Yiyin ("YJZTGYY") Qinqu Jicheng, New Series, Vol. 1, pp. 17-33 (2010 reprint pp. 27-43; not examined by TKW)
 Taigu Yiyin ("QFTGYY") in Tong Kin-Woon's Qin Fu, pp. 29-107 (original in Taiwan [image])
  Taiyin Daquanji ("Yuan volume") in Qinqu Jicheng, New Series, Vol. 1, pp. 35-93 (2010 reprint pp. 45-103)
  Xinkan Taiyin Daquanji ("Zhu volume") in Qinqu Jicheng Original Series (1963), Vol. 1, pp. 31-68

An edition of Taiyin Daquanji with corrections by Wang Mengshu was published in the 2013 Valued Writings of Qin Studies by Mr. Wang Mengshu of Old Wu.

As discussed in the introduction to Taigu Yiyin by Dr. Tong Kin-Woon, these works all included detailed information about qin, but virtually no tablature. The original title was apparently Taigu Yiyin but it was also published as Qinyuan Xuzhi as well as Taiyin Daquanji. One edition is thought to have been edited by Zhu Quan, the compiler of Shen Qi Mi Pu.

5. Images: Stringing a qin, three editions (compare the first two)
The three editions are:

  1. Taigu Yiyin (top)
    Copied from an original edition in the Central Library, Taibei
  2. Taigu Yiyin (middle)
    The edition in Qin Fu, handcopied by Dr. Tong Kin-Woon from the Central Library edition (plus additions)
  3. Xinkan Taiyin Daquanji (bottom)
    Copied from Qinqu Jicheng, Original Series (compare the same in Taiyin Daquanji.)

Note that the text with the bottom image ("臞仙曰:抱琴之法以面為陽....") actually belongs with the next image: the correct text (上絃法:凡上絃....) was by itself on the previous page.

6. Regarding the edition used for the online translation
This is now the Taiyin Daquanji published in Qinqu Jicheng, Vol. 1 (New Series), called by Tong Kin-Woon (TKW) the "Yuan volume". In 1975, when I was studying guqin in Taiwan with Sun Yu-ch'in, I began making a rough translation of the version of the Taigu Yiyin then available to me, the copy of Taigu Yiyin (QFTGYY) preserved in Taiwan and included by TKW in his Qin Fu, pp. 29 - 107. I had assistance on this from Mr. Sun (particularly with regard to the details of making qins) as well as from my classical Chinese teacher 方慕廉 Fang Mulian at 台灣師範大學國語中心 the Mandarin Training Institute of Taiwan Normal University.

After moving to Hong Kong in 1976 I had further assistance on this translation from TKW himself. In addition, I was then able to see the reprint from the 1963 Qinqu Jicheng that TKW refers to as the "Zhu volume". However, I soon became more involved with my Shen Qi Mi Pu project and stopped working on this translation.

When I decided to put some of this translation online I also decided that it should follow Taiyin Daquanji (the Yuan volume): this is one of the most complete editions, and also seemed one of the most readily available. Those who would like to consult the original can consult either the QQJC reprint or the reprint in 中國古代版畫叢刊第五函 Zhongguo Gudai Banhua Congkan, a collection of illustrated Chinese books reprinted in a facsimile edition dated Shanghai 1961 (in the fifth box), then in 1988 in modern binding, again in Shanghai.

While doing this re-arrangement I made a number of corrections, but the meanings of many passages still elude me. I have retained most of the endnotes TKW added in his Qin Fu edition (see pp. 10 - 21 of the appendix after p. 2056 of his second volume). These are marked [TKW #_:], with #_ indicating the original number of TKW's endnote.

7. I have translated a few of these, but have not yet formatted them for online viewing.

8. The division into 15 sections follows the table of contents provided in Qinqu Jicheng, Vol. 1, opening section, pp. 2 - 3. Also, Discerning the Significance of Qin Melodies, signed by the editor/compiler Yuan Junzhe, seems to be commentary for the tablature and melody lists that follow it.

Return to the annotated handbook list or to the Guqin ToC.