Huaxu Yin
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03. Huaxu [Clan] Prelude
- Qiliang mode: 2 4 5 6 1 2 3 2
華胥引 1  
Huaxu Yin  
A Huaxu dreamland explaining a peach blossom spring? 3    
"Huaxu" has long been poetic term for a utopian society or utopian landscape, and today it remains an allusion to a dreamland, i.e., a place where people have left their corporal bodies and exist as if in a dream ("Huaxu zhi meng: Huaxu Dream".4). Originally Huaxu is said to have been the name of the mother of the legendary emperor Fu Xi; as a result their clan took her name. Fu Xi was succeeded by Shen Nong, succeeded in turn by Huang Di (the Yellow Emperor, 2698 - 2598).5 The famous story that led to the name Huaxu being associated with a dreamland or utopia is first seen the book of Liezi, which relates a dream the Yellow Emperor is said to have had during a period in which he absented himself from government affairs, living it a hut in his courtyard. This story is repeated here in the preface to the melody Huaxu Yin.

Huaxu Yin is probably one of the oldest surviving qin melodies. It can be found in five qin handbooks from 1425 to 1670, but the claims for the antiquity in the 1425 version are supported by certain aspects of the style, as well as by the fact that three of the four later editions are virtually identical to the 1425 version.6 The version dated <1491 is identical but adds lyrics.

The Qin Shi Bu biography of the Yellow Emperor says that he ordered his assistant Ling Lun7 to create this melody. It was sometimes said that music itself originated when Ling Lun traveled to a remote western region and found a special sort of bamboo which he then cut into 12 tubes, forming the 12 notes of the chromatic scale.

The Huaxu, like Fu Xi himself, were said to be from Shaanxi Province.8 However, in the Yellow Emperor's dream, as recounted in Liezi, their country is thousands of miles west of the Middle Kingdom, i.e., far from civilization, enabling them to lead an idyllic existence free of anxieties.

In 1993 I used Huaxu Yin as my main example in a paper detailing the process of reconstructing music from Shen Qi Mi Pu tablature;9 a transcription and recording are included with my complete Shen Qi Mi Pu transcriptions and recordings. There is also a transcription and some analysis of Yao Bingyan's reconstruction, together with a recording, in Bell Yung's Celestial Airs of Antiquity.10 In addition, Dai Xiaolian, Yao Gongbai and Yao Gongjing have recorded this piece based on Yao Bingyan's reconstruction, while Liang Mingyue has a recording on cassette. All use metal strings. The most unusual aspect of the tablature is its indications of change on repeat passages. Each reconstructer has interpreted these repeats differently.

Original preface11

The Emaciated Immortal, based on what is written in Qin History12, says

this piece is a very old one, even older than Dunshi Cao. Some people say that the Yellow Emperor created it; other people say that he ordered Ling Lun to create it. According to Liezi,

The Yellow Emperor had ruled for 15 years but he worried because the world was not well-ordered; so he withdrew, resting himself in the Palace of the Great Court. He purified his heart and submitted his body (to plain living). For three months he himself had nothing to do with carrying out the affairs of state. Once he had a daytime dream about traveling around the state of the Huaxu clan. This was a natural place, where people had no cravings and did not die prematurely. They did not think about clinging to life, nor did think about the fear of death. (Ideas about) beauty and ugliness did not grow in their hearts. mountains and valleys did not cause them to stop walking, and they took lived happily. When the Yellow Emperor awoke he felt happy and contented; he now understood the greatest Dao. For the next 28 years the world was very well regulated, resembling the state of the Huaxu (in his dream). As a result we have this Huaxu Yin.

Music (See 見五線譜 transcription; timings follow the recording from my CD [聽錄音 listen])
Originally undivided; here arranged as three sections based on the musically identical version in Zheyin, which also adds lyrics. 13

(00.00) 1. Retire into leisure
(00.46) 2. Sleep and dream
(01.40) 3. Enjoy life
(02.34) -- harmonics
(02.53) -- End

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Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Huaxu Yin 華胥引
The dictionaries discuss the name Huaxu and tell the story of the dream of Huaxu, but do not mention a melody using this title.

31910.153/1 華胥: clan name and place name, after the mother of Fuxi; nothing about music; references are to 史記,補三皇本紀 (I think this should be 補史記,三皇本紀 Addenda to Shi Ji, Three Emperors Basic Annal, by 司馬貞 Sima Zhen, 8th c. CE) and to Shi Yi Ji).

31910.153/2: 華胥 a peaceful area, from 31910.156 華胥之夢 Dream of Huaxu, which refers to Liezi, a Taoist book attributed to a supposed contemporary of the 5th century BCE philosopher Zhuangzi, but probably published no earlier than the 4th c. CE. (more on this below.)

31910.157 華胥調 Huaxu melody refers to the sound of Chen Tuan sleeping. This is apparently based on a story of a visitor visiting Chen Tuan, but finding him asleep. Next to Chen Tuan was someone writing. When asked, this person said he was writing "混沌譜 primary chaos tablature" of a Huaxu melody.

I cannot trace the references to "Addenda" or "Three Emperors Basic Annals". The only Shi Ji references given at 10.975 San Huang are to 天皇,地皇,人皇 (or 泰皇), translated by Knechtges (GSR I, p.136) as "His Heavenly Magesty, His Earthly Majesty, and His Primeval Majesty." A reference at 10.975 from 風俗通 Fengsu Tong says they are 伏羲,女媧,神農 Fu Xi, Nü Wa and Shen Nong.

As for Huaxu by itself, it can allude to a dreamland. An example of this occurs in a poem by 米芾 Mi Fu (1051-1107; Wiki) that he himself wrote out in his famous calligraphy, dated 1102; the text is shown just below. It begins by mentioning Huaxu (to which the Yellow Emperor went in a dream) and Tushita (Chinese: 兜率 Doulü), a Buddhist heaven attainable through meditation. Mi Fu is said to have written the calligraphy while visiting the Panorama Pavilion (多景樓 Duojing Lou) at the Sweet Dew Temple (甘露寺 Ganlu Si near what is now 鎮江 Zhenjiang in Zhejiang Province. The full text of the poem is as follows:


To Huaxu and Doulü in a dream they once traveled;
        the first level of all landscape under heaven.
??? (not yet translated)

The calligraphy survives apparently through tracings and recopies. The one most published today seems to be one in the Shanghai Museum. They have reproduced the first line on a coffee cup.

2. Cold Misery Mode (Qiliang Diao
There is no separate title here in Folio One for the piece in Qiliang mode: it is written under the title for Huaxu Yin. This mode, the tuning for which is achieved by tightening the 2nd and 5th strings from standard tuning, is further discussed under Shenpin Qiliang Yi. See also Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

Folio III has two modal preludes using this tuning (the second is called Shenpin Chushang Yi), plus three titled pieces grouped under it, but Huaxu Yin is modally different from all of them. They are all basically pentatonic (1 2 3 5 6), with 4 (fa) not uncommon. The latter pieces all have 2 (re) as the basic note and 6 (la) as the secondary note. Huaxu Yin ends as they do on 2, but this makes a striking modulation from the rest of the piece, which is centered throughout on 1 (do) and 5 (sol). See also the next melody in Shen Qi Mi Pu, #4 Gufeng Cao, for a similar ending modulation (listed as gong mode, it actually uses yu mode until the last phrase, where it modulates to gong).

3. Dreamland painting theme
The image above is of the famous painting 夢遊桃源圖 Illustration of a Dream Journey to the Peach Blossom Land, by 安堅 An Jian (Korean: An Kyôn, active ca. 1440-1470). However, on a Korean website (as of October 2007) it is identified as 愚諺 - 華胥之夢 Yu Yan - Dream of Huaxu ( 愚諺 yu yan literally means something like "simple proverb"). The peach blossom spring story of Tao Yuanming is a much more common theme in art (see another example). However, an internet search suggests that the Huaxu dream ("華胥之夢") has become more popular in modern media. Perhaps the Koran website then borrowed the Huaxu name to explain the peach blossom spring dream.

4. Dream of Huaxu (華胥之夢 Huaxu zhi Meng)
31910.156 華胥夢 Huaxu meng quotes the original story from the book of 列子 Liezi. The relevant section is translated in Graham, The Book of Lieh-Tzü, pp.34-5, as follows,

into water without drowning, into fire without burning. Hack them, flog them, there is no wound nor pain; poke them, scratch them, there is no ache nor itch. They ride space as though walking the solid earth, sleep in mid-air as though on their beds. Clouds and mist do not hinder their sight, thunder does not confuse their hearing, beauty and ugliness do not disturb their hearts, mountains and valleys do not trip their feet.

Liezi himself is said to have lived like this, as epitomized in the qin melody Liezi Yu Feng (Liezi Rides the Wind). This story was also the likely inspiration for other tales of people (whether named or anonymous) who became one with the Dao and thus could fly away into this type of immortality. Thus we have such melodies as Guanghan You, Shen You Liu He, Lingxu Yin, Ba Ji You, Tao Yuan Chun Xiao and Yao Tian Sheng He.

5. The Shi Ji (Record of History), begins with the Yellow Emperor, apparently ignoring Fu Xi and mentioning Shen Nong only in passing.

6. Tracing Huaxu Yin
See Zha Fuxi's Guide 2/19/13; details are in the appendix below. The fact that three of the four later versions are virtually identical emphasizes Zhu Quan's claim that this was an old melody no one played anymore: if they did, the tablature would not simply be copied out but reflect the natural changes made by active playing. On the other hand it does not seem to be on any of the more ancient historical lists of melody titles, such as those mentioned here.

7. Ling Lun 伶倫
Ling Lun was reputed musical assistant of Yellow Emperor; further here.

8. 31910.153ff does not mention this.

9. My reconstruction of Huaxu Yin
For the rhythms of Huaxu Yin in my recording, see John Thompson, Rhythm in Shen Qi Mi Pu, in Asian Music with special reference to China and India - Music Symposia of 34th ICANAS, Centre of Asian Studies, University of Hong Kong, 1997, pp. 40-72. (A revised version without music notation examples is at Rhythm in Early Ming Tablature.)

10. Other reconstruction of Huaxu Yin
The transcription of Yao Bingyan's reconstruction in Bell Yung's Celestial Airs of Antiquity is published by A-R Editions, Inc. (Wisconsin, 1997, CD published together with a book of transcriptions; Huaxu Yin timing: 1.52). For Yao Gongjing, see Yaomen Qin Music, Hugo HRP 748-2 (2.18). For Dai Xiaolian see Dai Xiaolian: L'Art de la Cithare Qin, Auvidis Ethnic B6765 (2.05: track 3, mistakenly called Ao'Ai). Liang's cassette, which may have originally been a phono disc (SMT), is called Mists and Clouds of Dongting Lake, SMCM 1017 (3.00).

11. For the original Chinese see 華胥引.

12. 琴史 Qin Shi: book name, or just the history of qin? Zhu Quan's sources are problematic. Zhu Changwen's Qin History does not have this story. (The biography of the Yellow Emperor is in the later Qinshi Bu.

13. Music
The original Chinese is:

1. (閒退 Xian tui);
2. (寢夢) Qin meng - after 1st harmonics);
3. (樂生 Le sheng - begins with 2nd [brief] harmonics).

See also the original lyrics; there is another copy of the transcription here.

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Appendix: Chart Tracing Huaxu Yin;
based mainly on Zha Fuxi's
Guide, 2/19/13.

    (year; QQJC Vol/page)
Further information
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
  1.  神奇秘譜
      (1425; I/118)
Not divided into sections; 2nd edition adds some phrasing
Further discussion above
  2.  浙音釋字琴譜
      (<1491; I/260)
3TL, but same music (lyrics and sections added; see below)
  3. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/305)
Same as 1425; no sections, but adds phrasing and updates a few of the fingering technique indications (zhifa)
  4. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/432)
Has identical lyrics to Zheyin and similar structure, but music is rather different. Tuning seems to be 1235612
  5. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/416)
3 sections, but divided differently from <1491; music as 1425; no phrasing

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