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Taiyin Daquanji 1   (and Taigu Yiyin)
Folio 1A : Qin Construction Methods 2
Explanations provided by the translator are put either in brackets ( ) or in footnotes.3
(Method for the top and bottom 4)
(Compare the detail in Yuguzhai Qinpu [1855; translation])  

The "tongue area", (at the upper end) between the top and bottom parts of the qin measures in all one cun two fen thick (high).5 Where the two sides connect with the "peg protectors"6 the height is two cun four fen in all. In the center of the area (just) outside the "dew collector"7 the thickness is one cun, three fen, five li in all. At the sides (of this region) the thickness is nine fen.

Behind (i.e., inside) the "mountain"8 and in the middle of the "neck"9 the measurement is one cun four fen seven li, while at the sides it is altogether one cun two fen thick.10 The top section slants down three fen, while the bottom section slants up seven li.

In the middle of the area of the "shoulder"11 the thickness is one cun five fen in all, while at the two sides it is seven fen."12 The lower part cuts off one fen.

The thickness of the center, in the area of the middle "stud"13 is altogether one cun four fen. At the two sides the thickness is 6.5 fen. The top part slants off at 6.5 fen while the lower part slants off at one fen.

The thickness of the middle in the area of the 10th stud is one cun three fen altogether.

At the two sides the thickness is seven fen. The top part slants off five fen, while the bottom part slants off one fen.

The thickness of the center in the area in front of the Hat14 is one cun 2.5 fen altogether. At the two sides the thickness is six fen. The top part slants down five fen while the bottom slants up one fen.

In the central section behind the "tail"15 the top and bottom parts slant off one cun two fen altogether.

From the shoulders to the mountain the top surface must be fat and flat. From the shoulders to the waist, outside the area where the strings are strung, the (body becomes) slowly rounded and fat. From behind (i.e., below) the "feet"16 the body becomes thin, flat and rounded (at the sides?).

[Comment:] The above construction description uses "provincial feet" throughout.17

Qi Song18 says, After the beginning of summer cut the wood.19 After the harvest has been gathered apply the glue-lacquer.20 After the beginning of winter21 put the bodies together. After the vernal equinox22 use ash to mix it five times with a reddish black lacquer.23 One year later you can call it a qin.

[Yin shi]: xiu (? not in Matthews) is pronounced xiu (to rest). It means to lacquer into a reddish black color.24

When using the best quality "raw lacquer",25 mix it with "bright yellow resin".26 As this mixture is scooped up with a fork, its consistency should make it appear like a fine string. (Also), throw bone ash evenly into "malt syrup".27 Then, spread this into the cracks. Examine (the qin) from head to tail (to see that it is) mutually neat and tidy. In the vicinity of the "waist"28 and "neck",29 use a soft cord to wrap it tight.

After this, (in the following places) -- (1) in the vicinity of the "forehead";30 (2 & 3) the pillars of heaven and earth;31 (4) at the middle stud;32 and (5) "tail" ("six places"?) -- use small wedges33 to bind (the two halves) tight.34 Put lacquer in the cracks, and by hand scrape it smooth at once. Then put it into a cellar storeroom until it dries -- at least seven days, and the more the better. Take it out for repair: put on strings and try it out, to make sure it doesn't have a "buzzing noise flaw".35 Then file down all the corners, and apply raw lacquer to prevent the flaw called "dew pulse".36

[Yin shi]37 "Malt syrup" is pronounced like "Tang dynasty" and also like "to cruise" (xun); it is rice sugar; later it was the same. "Wedge" is pronounced like "shade" (xie -- same); "cellar storeroom" is pronounced like "crumbs" (yin4).  
Methods for the ash (灰法 Hui fa)

Deer horn ash is best; cattle bone ash is next best. This may be mixed with yellow copper powder (? not in Matthews).38

[Yin shi:] "Powder" is pronounced tou (to steal). It is yellow copper.39

The first time ash is applied it is done thickly enough to cover everything. After this has dried40 it should be rubbed lightly with a rough stone. The second application it should be even and thick; after this has dried it should be rubbed with water. For the third application (the surface?) should be rubbed with oil, and then fine ash should be used. (face/let?) On the parallel sides make (shape) corners. After this has dried it should be rubbed (again). The fourth application should be patched up so that it is perfectly even. After this has dried a very fine brick which contains no sand and is about one cun or so long should be used with water to rub it smooth. Areas which are not perfectly even must be repaired with the ash and lacquer mixture. It is only acceptable if it is perfectly even, so that there are no buzzing noise flaws.41 Then the mountain can be put on as well as the scorched tail. Put on the studs.

[Comment:] When putting on the studs, look at the thickness of the studs. If they are thick ones, put them on just as you are beginning to apply the ash. If they are thin, put them on after the fourth application of ash.

[Yin shi:]42 "Dried" is pronounced gan (sweet); the same below. "Buzzing noise flaw" has the same pronunciation as "fresh" (xian), with a rising tone. It is a defective sound on a qin.


Methods for the (raw) rough lacquer43
Translation continues from 糙法 line 5                    

The first time you apply "(raw) rough lacquer"44 use best quality raw lacquer. Put it in a warm place facing the sun. Mix the lacquer with water and brush it back and forth (on the qin), the more the better. After (the lacquer) has dried, water is used to rub it and wash it.

The second rough (application of lacquer) also uses good raw rough lacquer. After it has dried and been rubbed and washed again, the studs may be put on. Correct the mountain, then cut away the "cap" for the strings. For the third application use boiled rough lacquer.

[Yin shi:]45 "Dried" is pronounced gan (sweet); the same below.

Method for boiled rough lacquer

Take half a jin46 of raw lacquer. First put on a fire to boil47 it several times. Put in one fen of "inflammable potassium nitrate".48 Use a moderate flame49 and boil it the length of time it takes to eat four or five meals.50 Use a willow stick to scoop it up and look at the color of the lacquer (as it is scooped up), using a flaming brightness as best standard. Pour this out into a vase.51 Use paper to cover52 it. Put it in a cave53 for three nights. Take it out and filter it three to five times through cotton cloth. Afterwards wait until a bright sunny day (to apply) the (boiled) rough lacquer. Spread it on back and forth, the longer the better. After the rough application is finished, put the qin in a cellar. Nowadays54 people55 take the best quality raw lacquer then mix in eggwhite from a dark-boned dark-skinned hen (wuji) egg.56 When varnishing it make the rough lacquer very bright, removing any fleshy (??) appearance.

[Yin shi:]57 "Boil" is pronounced fei (lungs); it means to bubble up from boiling. "Cover" is pronounced fou/fu (float), entering tone. "Cave" (or an underground earthen room) is pronounced kun (the earth; dictionary has ku), entering tone. Jizi are chicken eggs; this is the same below.

Method of combining (powders for ) brightening

When combining (powders for) brightening, one must select a good day, most suitably during the "three prostrations".58

(First method) Put one jin59 of raw lacquer in a moderate flame,60 and boil it (from 16 liang?) down to 10 liang. While it is still hot, strain it. This will make it into "bright lacquer"

(Second method): Also, use two liang each of raw lacquer and "white oil".61 Mix this together one qian each of "scald your son meat",62 Shaanxi skin,63 yellow cinnabar,64 and fixed powder.65 Put these into (the bright lacquer) and, in a moderate fire, burn this into a thin syrup. Strain this while it is still hot, and pour it into an earthenware pot.

(Third method) Strain four liang of a good quality raw lacquer. Take 1.5 qian of dingfen and one qian of "light powder".66 Use the middle finger67 to rub this down into a very fine powder. Then use two eggs from the black skinned black boned chicken. Extract the egg white,68 whip up and mix with the powder. Put these together into an earthenware pot.69 Stir these until evenly mixed, then strain through a silk cloth.70

(Fourth method) This method uses "best quality raw surface lacquer"71 mixed with Shaanxi skin, iron powder72 and "oil smoke coils".73 Boil them together, then strain. At about this time mix in74 egg white evenly. Take all these and boil it until it is bright. It should usually be left in the sun a long time before it is used. One should value its antiquity.

[Yin shi:]75 "Moderate fire" means a light (微 微 ) slow fire; it refers to its being neither fast or slow, and so is called "civilian and military". "Use the middle finger" means use the middle finger inside the vessel to grind together. "Extract the egg white" means to extract the white fluid from inside a chicken egg.

Method of "removing the shine, bringing out the shine"
Translation continues from 退光出光法 line 2            

Burn76 "water-willow wood"77 into charred sticks.78 Put these (sticks) in a bottle and mash79 them down (into a powder). Take out the ash and sift it. Then use a "yellow dirty stone".80 Dip81 in and out of the water, and then lightly rub everywhere by hand. Rub out the qin's "flower buds" ("pistels and stamens"?82). Then take a fine old cloth, dip it into the ash powder, then rub back and forth83 by hand. Stop when it is bright and shiny. Wash and then rub dry. Dab on a little sesame oil by hand and also (apply) "ash (scrapings from) new pottery".84 Rub it bright again. There will be a natural deep lustre.

[Yin shi:]85 "Charred" is pronounced fu (sage). "Mash" is pronounced an (hut), entering tone. "Dip" is pronounced zhan (stand up). "Pistils" is pronounced pei (accompany), rising tone. "Stamens" is pronounced lei (thunder), rising tone. Pistels and stamens are bumpy disorders on the qin's surface. bumpy disorders on the qin's surface. "Bumpy" is pronounced bo. "Disorders" is pronounced da.

Another method (for removing then restoring the shine)

Cut "hanging willow wood"86 into the size of a chicken (egg).87 Burn off the moisture, and when you have obtained "charred sticks" cover up the flame (to extinguish it). Then make a powder using sand, wood (ash?) from a fir tree, measured in equal amounts of the previously-burned charred sticks. Dab some oil onto the qin by hand, spreading it over the entire surface. Then apply the ash. Use the palm of the hand, or a soft cloth, to rub. Don't stop rubbing until it is bright and shiny. Then take "honey locust pods"88 and squeeze out the sap.89 Wash (with this sap) then rub dry. Rub again by hand.

Another method (for removing then restoring the shine)

Use90 equal amounts of charcoal made from the thorns of the "honey locust pods" (tree), charcoal from the wood of the mulberry tree, and "clear stone dust"91 mixed together with water, and daub this onto the qin. Rub hard by hand until all the filmy areas are gone. This will give a natural beauty.

[Yin shi:]92 "Filmy areas" is pronounced yi (meaning). It refers to a filmy waist on the body of the qin.  
Method for determining proper position of the studs 93

Use a strip of "tough paper made from the bark of the paper mulberry"94 to measure95 off the distance from the "crest of the mountain"96 to the "dragon's gums".97 Fold (this strip) into two equal lengths, and discard one of the lengths. Extend the (halved) strip from the "crest of the mountain" out its full length and mark the seventh stud at this point. This is also called the "sovereign stud".98 Then take this (halved) length and divide it again into two equal halves, discarding one half. Extend this (twice-halved) string from the "crest of the mountain" out its full length, and mark the fourth stud at this point. Then take this (twice-halved) length and divide it again into two equal halves, discarding one half, and again extend the (thrice-halved) string from the "crest of the mountain" out its full length, and mark the first stud at this point. Once again take (the original halved) length and divide it into three equal parts. Discard two of the thirds.99 Extend the remaining third out from the first stud, marking at its end the second stud.100 Take one of the discarded strips which, measured from the "crest of the mountain", cuts off at the fourth stud.101 Divide this strip into five equal sections and discard four. Extend the remaining fifth from the fourth stud up (towards the "crest"), marking the third stud.102 Then take another strip measuring from the "crest of the mountain" to the fourth stud and divide this strip into three equal parts. Discard two parts and extend the remaining third from the fourth hui down its full length, marking at its end the fifth stud.103 Then take this last strip (1/12th length) and divide it into five equal parts, discarding one.104 Extend (the remaining four-fifths) from the fifth stud downward its full length and mark the sixth stud at this point.105

After this, use the forementioned (seventh) stud (and measure downwards towards the "dragon's gums") to ascertain the position of the lower six studs.

(Yin shi).106 "Gums, or roots/fangs of a tooth", is pronounced the same as yin meaning silver  
Method for attaching the studs107 From 綴徽法 line 2  

Whenever attaching jade studs or oyster shell studs one must first put a resinous powder108 underneath so that the studs will not appear black.

Method for grinding down the (areas with) the buzzing noise flaw 109

(Yin shi): "Buzzing noise flaw" has the same pronunciation as "fresh" (xian), with a rising tone. It is a defective sound on a qin.

Cai (Yong) said, "Whenever a qin has a buzzing noise flaw, it usually occurs at (or below) the 10th stud of the first string, or the ninth stud of the third or fourth string.110 The string has probably worn down the area near these studs into a concave rut. If you put your finger down on the 10th stud of the first string, there will be an obstruction above the ninth stud111 (causing the buzzing sound). If you put your finger down on the ninth stud of the third string, then the obstruction will be above the eighth stud. So this is called "buzzing noise flaw". If neither the 10th stud area of the first string nor the ninth stud area of the third string has uneven ruts, then (the buzzing sound112) is not called "buzzing noise flaw" but rather is called "beating the surface".113 All other (flaws) all fall into one of these two categories. One should use a Zhong Kui stone114 to rub down the area causing the buzzing sound. When it has become flat and even, this flaw will disappear.

(Yin shi): The fourth musical note uses a character (徵) usually pronounced zheng, but here it is here pronounced the same as 指 the character for finger (zhi). 凹 Concavity (usually pronounced ao) is pronounced yao (wa?). It means uneven.115


Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Great Collection of Superlative Sound (太音大全集 Taiyin Daquanji)
As discussed in the front page of this section, reprints of this book, originally compiled in the Song dynasty, are available in four versions. A footnote there discusses how the version used here for translation was selected. There are some inconsistencies due to the fact that I did most of this translation from another edition, then have revised that to fit the version that seems to be most available now, in the 2010 30 Volume edition.

The translation on this page comes from the Taiyin Daquanji printed in QQJC Vol. I (2010 edition, pp.40-41 for the first half then 45-47 line 8 for all of what is above); the latter is referred to by Tong Kin-Woon as the "Yuan Volume" (see his #6), after its supposed editor, Yuan Junzhe. I originally translated it from the Taigu Yiyin Dr. Tong had copied in Qin Fu, pp. 31-32. TKW had had to copy out some passages by hand that were not in the Taiwan copy of Taigu Yiyin, and in addition there are some small differences between the different editions. Differences are noted below, and comparison is also made with the "Zhu volume" (#6, see QQJC, Original Series Vol. 1, pp. 32-33). Some of this material is also in the Taigu Yiyin in QQJC Vol. I, pp.32-33 (#3?). The meanings of some passages still elude me.

Taiyin Daquanji, Folio 1, begins with 11 sub-sections dealing with qin construction; these are the sections translated on the present web page (see also QFTGYY, pp. 33-34). The older Taigu Yiyin as published in Qinqu Jicheng (see previous paragraph) has the first four of these sections towards the end of its Folio 1 (see I/31-3), and calls the first sub-section (here 造琴法度 "Qin construction methods") 底面制度 "Structure of the top and bottom". This is prefaced with a general title, 斲琴法 "Methods for building qins", which in characters two to a column has a preface that says,

2. Qin Construction Methods
斵琴法 Zhuo Qin Fa (QQJC/I, 40) or 造琴法度 Zao Qin Fadu (QQJC/I, 45). In the former case this seems to be the general title for this section, with 底面制度 Dimian Zhidu the name of its first sub-section). [TKW2:] The Zhu volume also calls this "Construction of Top and Bottom". Return)

3. Explanations by translator
See comments concerning the structure of the original text.

4. Method for the top and bottom (底面制度 Dimian Zhidu)
Added: see previous footnote.

5. Tongue area (舌處 Shechu), between top and bottom
This area is also called Phoenix Eye (鳳眼 fengyan); it is indented into the top end of most qins; see Tongue Hole, in Assemblage of Inner Top (but this may refer to something inside this area of the qin).

A qin is made from two long slabs of wood, one comprising the top (the area on which it is played), the other the bottom (facing the table); the sound box is in between. As the player faces it, the upper end is to the right, the lower end to the left.

The values of the traditional Chinese measurements given here changed throughout history, and it is not possible to give precise equivalents. Here are their internal relationships:

    Distances       Weights  
  1 丈 zhang     = 10 尺 chi   1 斤(觔) jin     = 16 兩 liang ("ounces" or "taels")
  1 尺 chi     = 10 寸 cun   1 兩 liang     = 10 錢 qian
  1 寸 cun     = 10 分 fen   1 錢 qian     = 10 分 fen
  1 分 fen     = 10 釐 li   1 分 fen     = 10 釐 li


6. 護軫 hu zhen, legs at the end, also called 雁足 goose feet; see Assemblage of the qin bottom. (Return)

7. 承露 cheng lu, a band next to the bridge; see Assemblage of the qin top. (Return)

8. 岳 yue , the bridge which supports the strings; see Assemblage of the qin top. (Return)

9. 項 xiang , also called jing (頸) "neck"; not mentioned in assemblage charts, it is about 3" below the mountain. (Return)

10. [TKW3:] The other two volumes (Yuan and Zhu) give "one cun one fen" instead of one cun two fen. (Return)

11.jian; see Assemblage of the qin top. (Return)

12. [TKW4:] The other two volumes give "surface cuts seven fen" instead of "at the two sides (the thickness) is seven fen. (Return)

13. 徽 hui, each of the 13 dots along the side of the top away from the player; they mark the harmonic nodes. Not depicted on an assemblage chart. (Return)

14. 冠 guan; they come in pairs, and should be called Corner Hats (guanjiao 冠角); this area may also be called the 焦尾 Scorched Tail. In between the Corner Hats are the Dragon Gums (longyin 龍齦; called gums because they support the strings, just as gums support the teeth). Assemblage of the qin top, under Scorched Tail, also mentions Hat Lines. (Return)

15.wei, usually called Scorched Tail (jiaowei 焦尾), after a famous old qin the end of which was scorched either by being burned in a stove or by lightning. See previous note and Assemblage of the qin bottom. (Return)

16.zu, the two legs under the qin; see Assemblage of the qin bottom, which calls them 鳳足 Phoenix Feet. (Return)

17. Provincial feet (省尺 shengchi
23724.xxx; QFTGYY has this comment in the text instead of as a footnote.
[TKW5:] The Zhu volume mistakenly writes 合漆 "lacquer together" instead of 合法 "throughout".

18. 齊嵩 Qi Song; is this in the monograph attributed to him called Qin Ya Lue? (Qinshu Cunmu #54). (Return)

19. 立夏後斷其材 The text does not specify whether the wood being cut is directly from a live tree, or from previously cut wood. The season mentioned, Lixia (Beginning of Summer), is the 7th of the 24 solar terms. 250.66 二十四節氣 , which gives both 陽曆 solar calendar (42673.352; 11/1074) and 陰曆 lunar calendar dates, says it is May 6th /7th. This calendar begins with 立春 the Beginning of Spring, either February 4/5th (solar) or 正月節 Chinese New Year (lunar). The Chinese solar year followed the zodiac.

As for the best time to chop wood, presumably it should be done when they have a minimal amount of sap. This principal is behind some of the best known anecdotes about selecting wood to make a qin: the best is most commonly said to be either old wood, as from old buildings or even coffins, or wood from trees that were killed and partially burned by lightning.

If the passage is referring to chopping down new trees for wood, according to Jim Binkley, "My tree farmer friends say one should not cut sappy woods any time other than early winter, i.e., when the sap has naturally gone out of them, otherwise the cut wood is likely to leech sap." With maple trees the harvesting of sap usually takes place in spring, with the changing of temperature between day and night helping to increase sap flow; the season is thus over by the beginning of summer, when the weather warms. However, there is still sap in the trees during the summer and further sap may be harvested in the autumn, as evening temperatures go below freezing. (Return)

20. Glue-lacquer (膠漆 jiao qi)
The original text has, "齊嵩云:立夏後斲其材;秋收後合其膠漆...." The translation here, "After the harvest has been gathered apply glue-lacquer" does not make clear whether this is a combination of glue (膠 jiao) and lacquer (漆 qi), or the name of a particular type of lacquer, or simply another term for lacquer. This also does not seem to have been made clear in the most complete work on qin construction, 與古齋琴譜 Yuguzhai Qinpu (1855). Here, based on an internet search, the character combination "膠漆jiao qi" seems to occur only three times.

To discuss this, reference will be made to Jim Binkley's translation of most of the handbook as well as to the pages in the original text. Although in the translation Volume 2, Chapter 6 (II/23a-26a, "恢磨平勻 Rubbing the Powder..."), mentions only lacquer by itself, Volume 2, Chapter 12 (II/39b-40a "去病知因 "Eliminating defects..."), puts jiao qi together twice; Binkley translates the first simply as "glue-lacquer"; the second one is actually "膠漆法 jiaoqi fa", translated by Binkley as "glue-lacquer mixture". "法 fa" is literally "method" and, without further explanation, the specifics of how jiao qi may be different from "raw lacquer" (生漆 sheng qi) are not clear. However, to this Jim has added this personal note: "I suspect that here 'glue-lacquer' meant lacquer used to glue something up, as e.g. the sides of the qin (where you glue the top to the bottom) and possibly at the yueshan, which you glue in."

The third reference to jiao qi occurs in the book's list of qin melody titles (not translated in Binkley; see Chapter III/31, 41b), where 膠漆吟 Jiao Qi Yin) is listed as a melody title.

Assuming these are actually referring to two substances, other possible translations could include "glue and varnish" or "resin and lacquer".

As for 膠 jiao separately, other references in this handbook are to 黃明膠水 bright yellow resin and 膠粉 resinous powder. 30504 膠 gives the basic meaning "stick, sticky" (黏 nian); there are no qin references. And although under the definition "黏著也 sticking" reference is made to 瑟 se, it is not relevant to here (the example given, from Shi Ji 81, 趙奢傳 [should be 廉頗藺相如列傳 Biographies of Lian Po and Lin Xiangru, q.v.], says that sending the wrong person to do a job is like "膠柱而鼓瑟 gluing the tuning bridges to strum a zither" (GSR VII/269, which points out that the bridges must be movable if the se is to be tuned).

For other literary references to 膠漆 jiao qi see 30504.50 under the introduction to the melody 膠漆吟 Jiao Qi Yin; there the suggestion is made that the title might best be translated as "Chant of Intimacy".

21. 立冬 Lidong: Beginning of Winter, November 4th or 5th (19th of the 24 節氣 solar terms, see previous footnote). (Return)

22. 春分 Chunfen, March 20th or 21st. See previous footnotes. (Return)

23.xiu 46432: 赤黑色之漆也; see Yin shi. (Return)

24. [TKW6:] The other two volumes have no "ye" at the end of this sentence. (Return)

25. 生漆 sheng qi, made from the 漆樹 "varnish tree; originally it is yellowish white, like rice; after it is boiled it is called "cooked lacquer"; once dried it appears black. (Return)

26. Bright yellow resin (黃明膠水)
48904.373 says this is made by boiling cattle and/or donkey skin; according to Mr. Sun it is pigskin in water. (Return)

27. Malt syrup
táng; same as 糖: made of rice and also used for sweets; see the yinshi footnote below. (Return)

28.yao; see Assemblage of the qin top. , it is the indented area centering around the 10th stud. (Return)

29.ding (the neck is also called jing 頸); see Assemblage of the qin top. : it is the indented region centered near the 1st stud. (Return)

30.e (forehead); see Assemblage of the qin top, where it is said to be 3 cun 1 fen (above) the jing (頸 neck). (Return)

31. 天地柱 tian di zhu: old style qins had two supports inside, between top and bottom parts; the tianzhu was at the 4th stud; the dizhu was just above the ninth stud. See Assemblage of the inner top. (Return)

32. Mr. Sun said this must mean near the 11th or 12th stud, but 7th stud seems to make more sense. (Return)

33. [TKW7:] The Yuan volume also writes xie (楔 to wedge) twice (why?); Zhu has the hand instead of wood radical (this character not in Matthews). (Return)

34. Sun: the six wedges on each side are about 1 cm in diameter and run from the top surface through the bottom. (Return)

35. Buzzing Noise Flaw (xian bing 㪇病)
QQJC I/35. 13510 㪇 xian says 散 san (scattered), also written (先文); it then quotes the following commentary explaining it as meaning 痹 bi ("numbness from cold") in a phrase from Xi Kang's Qin Fu. However, the passage in my edition of Qin Fu has 庳 (also bi, but meaning "low" or "sunken"). Thus the passage should read:


Van Gulik, p.114, translates 閒遼故音庳 as, "As both hands can touch the strings widely apart, so very low notes can be produced." Knechtges (Wen Xuan III/299) translates it, "The spacing between the strings is far, and thus low notes can be played." The explanation then suggests 庳 bi ("low, sunken") is the same as 㪇 xian, a low tone, and this seems to be a positive attribute. It thus does not shed any light on the use here of 㪇 to refer to the flaw of buzzing sounds. For more on such buzzing noises, which today are usually called 雜音 zayin, see below. (Return)

36. 露脈 lu mai -- opening of cracks due to insufficient application of lacquer. (Return)

37. Malt syrup yinshi
This yinshi is longer than the one in QFTGYY. In QQJC I/46 the full text of the yinshi is, "餹音唐又音巡,米糖也,後並同;楔音屑;窨音蔭。" In QFTGYY the yinshi text is "餹音唐,音尋;楔音屑;窨音蔭。": it mentions a different xun and omits the reference to rice candy. The significance of "Later also the same" (後並同) is unclear.

38. Ash mixed with the lacquer
鹿角灰、牛骨灰、銅(金)俞 The latter (41579xxx tong tou) is a golden color powder that is apparently mixed with ash. According to Mr. Sun it can consist of powder made from various substances mixed in to make it attractive, and hence the ash that includes this powder is often called "eight precious ash" (八寶灰 babaohui). Unfortunately, however, he says it is much too thick and so deadens the sound. Perhaps this would be true of any inorganic powder. (Return)

39. QFTGYY omits "It is yellow copper." (Return)

40. See the Yin shi. (Return)

41. Areas with buzzing noise flaws 處方㪇 chufangxian
[TKW8:] "buzzing noise flaws" in the other two volumes is "areas with buzzing noise flaws". See below for more on such buzzing noises, also called 雜音 zayin. (Return)

42. Not in QFTGYY; both parts of this Yin shi are repeated verbatim below. (Return)

43. Methods for the (raw) rough lacquer 糙法
QQJC I/36. This section does not directly address the role of humidity in working with lacquer. Lacquer requires humid air to dry properly -- or indeed to dry at all, and lacquer artists and artisans generally agree that lacquer should dry slowly. (Perhaps this is related to the fact that if the outer layer of lacquer dries before the inner layer, as it would in a dry climate, the inner layer will never dry.) Thus in a dry climate one must add humidity to a room, for example, by hanging cloth soaked in water. This may be the reason for the suggestions above and below that the lacquer be dried in such places as a cellar or in a cave. This may also be a reason for mixing water with the lacquer. (Return)

44. 糙法 Caofa; cao by itself "rough", is here equivalent to 生漆 shengqi; similarly jiancao ("boiled rough [lacquer]" -- see next section title) is equivalent to 熟漆 shouqi. The lacquer is applied after the ash mixture makes the qin perfectly smooth. (Return)

45. Not in QFTGYY; this repeats the first half of the previous Yin shi. (Return)

46. [TKW9:] the other two volumes say 觔, which is also pronounced jin and means the same. (Return)

47. See the Yin shi. (Return)

48. 焰硝 yanxiao: gunpowder? (Return)

49. 文武火 wenwuhuo; see Yin shi in next section. (Return)

50. Sun: about three hours? (Return)

51. Dictionaries say this is a variant of porcelain (磁 ci), but Mr. Sun said here it is like a 甕 weng (?), a vase shaped somewhat like an hourglass, and it may or may not be porcelain. (Return)

52. See the Yin shi. (Return)

53.ku; see Yin shi. (Return)

54. [TKW10:] This volume has 令 ling, but the other two use 今 jin, which is correct. (Return)

55. Being ignorant, said Mr. Sun. (Return)

56. 烏雞子 (wujizi); For jizi see Yin shi; wujiziqing is the white from the egg of a dark-boned dark-skinned chicken. TKW suspects that in punctuating this line the mark should go after "use". The next sentence then begins with qi 漆 "lacquer". (Return)

57. Not in QFTGYY (Return)

58. 三伏 sanfu, 3x10 days forming the hottest part of summer. (Return)

59. [TKW11:] the other two editions again write 斤 instead of 觔 -- see above (Return)

60. See the Yin shi. (Return)

61. 白油 baiyou, made from douzi beans or peas, according to Mr. Sun. (Return)

62. 訶子肉 hezirou?? kele clam meat? (Return)

63. 秦皮 qinpi (Return)

64. 黃丹 huang dan; see Needham (Return)

65. 定粉 dingfen (Return)

66. 輕粉 qingfen (Return)

67. See the Yin shi. (Return)

68. See the Yin shi. (Return)

69. 瓦器 waqi? See variants at 21936. In TYDQJ it looks somewhat like 尾器 weiqi; in QFTGYY it looks like 无器 wuqi. (Return)

70. [TKW12:] The other two versions omit the word "silk". (Return)

71. 生面漆 shengmian qi; Mr. Sun didn't know what mian means here. (Return)

72. 鐵粉 tiefen (Return)

73. 油煙煤 youyan mei -- soot from an oil flame (Return)

74. [TKW13:] The other two volumes have 入 ru "put in" (QFTGYY has yong 用). (Return)

75. This Yin shi is not included in QFTGYY; a "light slow fire" is 微微慢火. (Return)

76. [TKW14:] The other two volumes do not have 以 yi. (Return)

77. 水陽木 shuiyang mu (Return)

78. i .e. not completely burned; see Yin shi. (Return)

79. See the Yin shi. (Return)

80. 黃膩石 huangni shi, a fine yellow stone; ci is second. (Return)

81. See the Yin shi. (Return)

82. 蓓蕾 beilei; see the Yin shi. Apparently it is a flaw caused by dirt collected on the qin during lacquering. (Return)

83. [TKW15:] the other two volumes say forth and back. (Return)

84. 新瓦灰 xinwa hui (Return)

85. The "bumpy disorders" at the end is written 疙疸 (geda or gedan). The comment seems to say 疙 is pronounced as 荸 (bo or bi); 疸 is pronounced 妲 da (the name of a famous concubine). (Return)

86. 垂柳木 chui liu mu (Return)

87. [TKW16:] the other two books have no "yi" and say size of a "chicken egg", which is better than "chicken", as originally in this edition. (Return)

88. 皂角 zaojiao, presumably pods that come from the 皂莢 zaojia (Chinese honey locust; acacia) tree. (Return)

89. 揉水 rou shui; this was also an early method for making soap. (Return)

90. [TKW17:] the other two books omit "use". (Return)

91. 清石末 qingshi mo (Return)

92. Not in QFTGYY. (Return)

93. Determining the correct position of the harmonic nodes (徽 hui)
Hui are inlaid studs marking harmonic nodes; for the related harmonic notes see Pitches available in harmonics. These hui are also used for indicating stopped finger positions (see the representational finger charts under "Tuning a qin"). The results of mapping out the harmonics can be outlined as follows (expand):

To locate the most basic harmonic nodes divide into 5, 6 and 8 parts

The somewhat cumbersome method involved in folding strips suggests it was not easy to use a measuring device. Had such a devise been available then a simpler method than what is described here would have been to start with three strips, each in length equal to the distance from the mountain crest to the dragon gum (i.e., the vibrating length of a string; see Assemblage) then divide these as follows:

  1. Use the folding in half method given here to divide the first strip into eight parts, making a mark at each of the seven division points, stretch this out from the crest to the gums and mark studs ("h" for hui) at the 1st (1h), 2nd (4h), 4th (7h), 6th (10h) and 7th (13h) points.
  2. Divide the second strip into six equal parts, make a mark at each of the five division points, stretch this across same distance and mark studs at the 1st (h2), 2nd (h5), 4th (h9) and 5th (h12) points.
  3. Divide the third strip into five equal parts, make a mark at each of the four division points, stretch this across the same distance and mark studs at the 1st (h3), 2nd (h6), 3rd (h8) and 4th (h11) points.

Note that with the first strip although you divide it into 8 parts you do not mark hui at the 3/8ths mark (between the 5th and 6th hui) or 5/8th mark (between the 8th and 9th hui). Nevertheless at least two early pieces used these positions for harmonics, most noticeably the 1425 editions of Meihua Sannong Section 5 for the former (comment) and Xiao Xiang Shui Yun Section 1 for the latter (further comment).

94. 皮紙 pizhi (Return)

95. [TKW18:] the other two books added the word 量 liang ("measure"), which is correct (Return)

96. 臨岳 linyue (Return)

97. 龍齦 longyin; see the Yin shi, below (Return)

98. 君徽 junhui (Return)

99. [TKW19:] QFTGYY says "discard one section", while the Yuan edition correctly says "discard two sections". The Zhu version photocopied in Qinqu Jicheng says "discard one section", but when I went to look at the original at the National Palace Museum, it was unclear, but there seemed to be one more stroke, making "two sections". Probably the original printing block was already (also?) damaged and so didn't print it properly, and when it was being photocopied for Qinqu Jicheng the stroke became even less distinct. Fengxuan Xuanpin also has this mistake, and so was probably based on an unclear copy of the Zhu volume." (Return)

100. 1/8 + (1/3 x 1/8) = 4/24 = 1/6, which is correct (Return)

101. [TKW20:] QFTGYY says "fifth stud", while the Yuan volume says "fourth stud", which is correct. The Zhu volume in Qinqu Jicheng says "(fifth [4th?])". The original version at the Palace Museum also has "fifth" by mistake, and someone later corrected this by brush to "fourth", so the printing looks like a cross between "four" and "five".) (Return)

102. 1/4 - (1/4x1/5) = 4/20=1/5, which is correct (Return)

103. 1/4 + (1/4x1/3) = 3/12 + 1/12 = 1/3, which is correct (Return)

104. [TKW21:] The Zhu volume looks as though at one time it read "discard four", which was then corrected. (Return)

105. 1/3 + (1/12x4/5) = 1/3 + 1/15 = 2/5, which is correct (Return)

106. Not in QFTGYY, but included in Taiyin Daquanji (see below). (Return)

107. In Qin Fu TKW here adds the following comment:

The volume in the collection of the National Central Library has a double-sided empty white page between the section "method for attaching the studs" in section one, 仁 Ren, and "Discourse on stroking the qin" (in the same section: see below). There certainly are words lacking here. And so the fourth to the tenth sheets of the first volume of the Ming edition Taiyin Daquanji (see commentary above, #5) have been photocopied here to make a "return to the original". Taiyin Daquanji is simply another name for Taigu Yiyin. See the "commentary" (from the end of) Qin Fu. There are two sides to each page, so that the seven sheets from sheet four to sheet 10 have 14 pages. These have been contracted into three and a half Qin Fu pages.

108. Resinous powder (膠粉 jiaofen)
膠粉 30504.xx; "resinous" is a guess; Sun: this "must be" a white colored paste. (Return)

109. Method for grinding down the (areas with) the buzzing noise flaw (磨㪇法 mo xian fa
QQJC/I-37; "buzzing noise flaws" (㪇病 xian bing) were introduced above. For more on such buzzing noises, also called 雜音 zayin, see below.

110. [TKW22:] The Zhu volume mistakenly wrote 祉角 zhijiao (happy corner). 徵 Zhi and 角 jue are the 3rd and 4th strings. (Return)

111. [TKW23:] The Zhu volume misprinted "stud". (Return)

112. Buzzing sounds when playing qin
Terms for this include "buzzing noise flaw" (xian bing 㪇病), "disorderly sounds (雜音 za yin) and "beating the surface" (拍面 paimian). They result from a string slapping against the top surface of a qin. These find early mention in qin texts (see, e.g., a quote from Su Shi on Tang dynasty qins. There are two primary causes for this sound, only the latter of which was discussed above:

  1. Low tuning of the strings. Historically there is no "correct" relative pitch for the qin, but today Chinese conservatory influence has led not just to a general abandonment of silk strings but also to the standard pitch for the bottom string being C based on A=440 Hz. Silk strings are extremely sturdy but are much more likely to break if tuned this high. Some traditional players prefer the mellower sound from lower tuning; some tune them lower so that they will not break. In any case, the lower tuning makes a buzzing sound more likely.
  2. The qin surface not having been made properly level in the first place (even better is a slightly concave camber). Here there are different requirements for the top of qin fitted with silk or nylon metal strings. For the same pitch metal strings have a higher rigidity and tension than do silk strings, thus the amplitude (size) of their vibration is smaller. When vibrating, the strings must remain far enough from the top of the qin that they touch the surface only at the bridge and at the place where the finger stops them. The distance from the vibrating string to the qin surface must be small enough that the finger can easily push down the string tightly against the surface, but great enough that the string does not vibrate further along against the surface of the qin. For this to happen on a silk string qin the top, from about the 13th to the 4th stud, should be slightly concave. However, on a metal string qin this concavity should be less, otherwise the string's added tension means one has to push down too hard on the string.
  3. As discussed above, damage to the lacquer surface of the qin due to wear. This is a particularly severe problem today with the increased usage of nylon-metal strings.

There is some discussion of ways to dimish or stop such buzzing sounds on a separate page.

113. Beating the surface
拍面 paimian

114. 鍾馗 Zhong Kui
Zhong Kui was a Tang dynasty hero canonized as the deity who can protect people against evil spirits. Mr. Sun did not know what sort of rock this is, and said that nowadays one should use the sort of very smooth rock used for sharpening blades.

115. 凹於交切 is giving the pronunciation of the character 凹 (usually wa but here it "begins like yu and ends like jiao": yao; 1837 also gives "為洽切" and "乙洽切". "不平也" : it means "not level."

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