Zhao Yin
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09: Seeking Seclusion
- Gong mode,2 standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6
招隱 1
Zhao Yin
From: Seeking Seclusion Gazing at a Spring 3 
Although "Zhao yin" literally means "seeking seclusion", as found in most ancient sources it seems generally to mean "summon a recluse", being short for zhao yinshi.5 Alternate titles for this piece could thus be "Summoning a Recluse" or "Seeking a Recluse". These latter evokes two related images: finding a recluse who will return to society and cure its ills; or leaving society to live among other recluses.

An example of the latter type of summons comes in the poem Summons for a Recluse, found in Chu Ci (a collection of old poems first compiled in the 2nd c. CE.) and discussed further below. Here the narrator, said to be Liu An, Prince of Huainan, seeks a reclusive prince, and asks him to return to society.

What we have with the melody Zhao Yin, however, seems to concern the first theme, seeking seclusion for oneself. Such seclusion would not necessarily mean a lonely existence: in the Chinese tradition, a hermit will usually live with his family or with like-minded recluses.6 In any case, as the English title for this melody, Seeking Seclusion is at least as good as if not better than "Seeking a Recluse", especially as the commentary by Zhu Quan mentions both "zhao yin" and "zhao yinshi", and because of the subject of the poems he includes. In addition, in the traditional Chinese context, there may be no real difference between the two: zhao yin is "seeking seclusion (with another recluse)", and zhao yinshi is "seeking a recluse (with whom to be secluded)".

In his preface Zhu Quan quotes two poems on the subject. First he presents one by the 3rd century scholar/official Zuo Si, quoting "Qin History" and suggesting that such thoughts inspired the melody. What Zhu Quan does not say is that Zuo Si created the actual music, and neither his poem not this melody is mentioned in the 12th century Qin History.7 Zuo Si himself was poet and official in the (Western) Jin dynasty (265 - 313). Famed for his ugliness, he was said to keep pens and paper everywhere in his house so that whenever he thought of something he could write it down. Though it took him a long time to complete his poems, eventually they became very popular in the capital city, Luoyang. Although little is known of him as a qin player, he is associated with several qin melodies.

The second poem Zhu Quan quotes, by Song dynasty poet Zhang Jingxiu,8 makes reference to Gui Qu Lai Xi Ci (Ballad of Returning Home), a famous 3rd century poem by Tao Yuanming which was itself made into the qin song Gui Qu Lai Ci.9 Casting aside a hairpin, mentioned in both poems, represented leaving public office.

These two poems represent just part of a long history of poems that are entitled, or that could be entitled, Zhao Yin.10 These begin as early as Summons for a Recluse11 in the Chu Ci (a collection of old poems first compiled in the 2nd c. CE.), where it is attributed to Liu An, Prince of Huainan.12 The title Huainan Wang Cao (Prince of Huainan's Melody),13 clearly associated with the Zhao Yin theme and perhaps once using the Chu Ci lyrics, is included on some ancient qin melody lists. However, no melody called Huainan Wang Cao has survived and so the original connection of the title Zhao Yin with the qin remains unclear.14

The title Zhao Yin does not seem to appear on any ancient melody lists.15 Perhaps the earliest surviving reference connecting Zhao Yin to the qin is in the melody title Jiangwai Zhao Yin16 (Seeking Seclusion [or: a Recluse] Beyond the River), for which the 12th century poet and qin player Ye Mengde is said to have written lyrics.17

Zhao Yin, as with other Folio I melodies such as the full version of Xuan Mei (#8; see its tracing chart), can be found in four handbooks from 1425 through 1670.18 The oldest Shen Qi Mi Pu melodies seem regularly to occur in just these four handbooks, all four versions then being related. The third, Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu, always has lyrics and its melodies are usually somewhat different. However, in this case the melody seems to be completely different.19 The final surviving version, from 1670, has a more extensive preface as well as a few interesting differences in the tablature.20

The structure of Zhao Yin is very similar to that of the Song dynasty qin song Gu Yuan, which has music and lyrics by Jiang Kui (ca. 1155 - 1221): neither composition has numbered sections in its earliest editions, but both can be divided into four, with the first section repeated and the melody of the second section very similar to that of the first, but in harmonics.21

In addition, the latter part of what is here Section 4 of Zhao Yin is quite similar to the latter half of the Gong Diao (modal prelude) in Shilin Guangji. This could suggest that this Gong Diao was originally intended as a prelude to Zhao Yin, but at present one can say only that their similarity suggests they reflect the style of a similar time period.

Pairing the 1425 Zhao Yin melody with lyrics

Attempts have been made (see other recordings) to match one or both of the two poems included in the preface here to the surviving Zhao Yin melody, and today people who play Zhao Yin as a song often follow this, apparently believing it was the original intention. However, if one uses the traditional pairing method for pairing words and qin music (all surviving qin songs from Ming publications have words paired to the tablature according to the fairly strict formula of one word [character] for each qin stroking technique, with generally no character for slides or other ornaments), neither of the above poems can be made to fit the music. Efforts to make them do so, since apparently not historical, can perhaps best be seen as part of an effort to liberate qin songs from traditional strictures.22

The unlikeliness of the two poems included with the 1425 Zhao Yin ever having been intended as lyrics is emphasized by that fact that following the above-mentioned pairing formula the 1585 lyrics do pair quite well with the Shen Qi Mi Pu tablature, certainly better than do the poems published with the 1425 version - and enough so as to suggest that such a setting may have been part of a missing section of a more complete original edition, now lost, of Zheyin Shizi Qinpu (<1491).

On the other hand, although these 1585 lyrics can indeed be sung with the Shen Qi Mi Pu melody, the amount of adjustment they need leaves open the question of whether these lyrics actually appeared in a lost edition of Zheyin Shizi Qinpu. In addition, the punctuation in 1425 and 1585 are somewhat different, and unlike with Gu Yuan, in the harmonic passage of th 1585 Zhao Yin there are lyrics paired with the melody. So probably these Zhao Yin lyrics were added much later than the original music.

Mention has been made in a footnote of my original attempts to pair lyrics to the 1425 Zhao Yin.23 Adapting the 1585 lyrics following the traditional pairing method mentioned above provides somewhat different problems, the main ones being as follows:

  1. The original 1425 phrasing may have had mistakes (further comment)
    The different phrasing comes from that presented in the second edition of Shen Qi Mi Pu. The first edition had no such punctuation, and so for making a sung version there is some reason to believe that the person who applied these lyrics to the 1585 tablature was following something other than one of the Shen Qi Mi Pu later editions.
  2. The part of Section 1 ("from 'zhao' to 'yin'") that is repeated in Section 3 is not done so in an intuitively natural position in terms of the existing lyrics; it also does not specify whether the lyrics are to be repeated
    My interpretation here is that this forms a short instrumental interlude; here the listener can decide whether it sounds natural.
  3. The 1425 version has at its end some extra notes
    On the other hand, the 1585 tablature has a mistake at the end, suggesting perhaps it has a few missing notes and hence perhaps words.

Other recordings besides my own include performances of the Zhao Yin from SQMP by both Dai Xiaolian and Zhang Tongxia.24 Zhang was apparently the first person to make Zhao Yin into a qin song by trying to matching the Zuo Si poem to the notes of the melody; other people just follow her. However, as just mentioned, it is not possible to make such a pairing and still follow the traditional pairing method for old qin songs. For this sort of traditional pairing one should use the 1585 lyrics.

Original preface25

The Emaciated Immortal says Qin History26 states,

"During the Western Jin period Zuo Si, literary name Taizhong, saw the world in disarray and was going to look for people in seclusion, so he could also retreat and avoid public office. So he wrote a Zhao Yin Poem, which says:

Holding a walking stick I seek a recluse,
   The deserted path seems today what it was in ancient times.
The mountains have caves but no buildings,
   Yet in the hills a qin resounds.
White snow comes to rest on hidden ridges,
   Cinnabar flowers flutter in the sunny forest.
Rocky streams are awash with small pieces of jade,
   Lovely fish swim sink and rise in the water.
It isn't necessary to have music of silk and bamboo,
   The scenery suffices with its clear sounds.
Why would we need to intone or sing?
   The bushes resound with deep emotion.
Autumn chrysanthemums become one's cuisine,
   Elegant orchids (
you lan) are used as lapels.
With indecisive steps my energy dissipates;
   what I want to do is cast aside my hairpin (and relax).

There is also a Zhao Yin Tune (by Zhang Jingxiu) which says,

A qin resounds in the mountains,
The myriad natural sounds settle in: how excellent it is!
A cold spring flowing on the rock stirs the heart,
Silk and bamboo music cannot make such clear sounds.
Why not retire, wander around and throw away my hairpin?
Retire to where I belong, where cinnabar flowers flutter in the forest;
Retire to where I belong, to hidden orchids by a mountain torrent,
Where bushes resonate, and pine and bamboo provide shade.
Why do I hurry here and there?
Three paths27 are (enough for) a gentlemen to explore.
The yellow flowers by the bamboo fence are like scattered gold;
I should shake out my clothing, and flick the dust from my cap
(Rather than) wait until my mustache and sideburns look like frost and snow.

As a result of that, we have this composition.

Music (Timings follow the recording on my CD; 聽錄音 listen with transcription)
This video is one of the videos for students from my 招隱室;
Compare this transcription, which divides it into four sections and adds the 1585 lyrics;
It was originally undivided, so sections are from 1670, section titles from 1585 28.

(00.00) 1. Drinking Friends and Poetic Companions
(01.05) 2. Humble and self-effacing
(01.31) 3. Ploughing clouds and fishing the moon (Daoist activities)
(02.18) 4. (Untitled; begins after "from 'zhao' to 'yin'")
(03.10) -- Piece ends

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Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 12212.156 and 6/520 招隱 (neither has 招陰) both give two meanings:

As is discussed here, the latter seems to be the intended meaning with this melody. Thus, "seeking a recluse" expresses the desire to join the recluse, not to bring him/her back to society. (See also the comment under Studio for Seeking Solitude.)

2. Gong mode 宮調
For more on Gong mode see Shenpin Gong Yi. for more general information on mode see Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

3. Image by Shen Zhou (1427–1509): Seeking Seclusion Gazing at a Spring (明沈周:招隱觀泉 Zhao Yin Guan Quan)
The full image comes from an online digital archive in Taiwan (q.v.). The recluse is seated near the left foreground of the original. "Seeking Seclusion" is a more literal translation than "Seeking a Recluse" (see below). For Shen Zhou see Wikipedia.

5. 招隱 Zhao Yin vs. 招隱士 Zhao Yinshi
Although the former literally means "seeking seclusion" and the latter "seeking a recluse", the latter is often used in place of the former. Zhao Yin does, however, often simply mean "seeking seclusion", as in the illustration above.

6. Hermit life
See Alan Berkowitz, Patterns of Disengagement, Stanford U. Press, 2000. His index includes both Zhao yin shi and Zhao Yinshi. These issues are also discussed in Aat Vervoorn, Men of the Cliffs and Caves; Hong Kong, Chinese University of HK Press, 1990.

7. It is, however, included in Folio 22 of the 7th century compilation Wen Xuan; see footnote above.

8. Zhang Jingxiu 張景修 (Song dynasty)
Zhang Jingxiu (10026.1038 張景修,字敏叔;〔宋〕常州人), style name Minshu, was from Changzhou. Qinshu Daquan, Folio 12 (see Qinqu Jicheng, Vol. V, p.257), quotes this second poem, calling it 招隱辭 Zhaoyin Ci; Zhu Quan doesn't identify Zhang as author of the poem. (He is also mentioned in an essay by Cheng Yujian.)

9. 歸去來辭 Gui Qu Lai Ci (1511)

10. Early Zhao Yin lyrics
See Alan Berkowitz, Courting Disengagement: "Beckoning the Recluse" Poems of the Western Jin (Studies in Early Medieval Chinese Literature and Cultural History, In Honor of Richard B. Mather and Donald Holzman". Paul W. Kroll and David R. Knechtges, eds. Provo, Utah: T'ang Studies Society, 2003, pp. 81 - 115.

Berkowitz mentions the Chu Ci poem and says Zuo Si's poem (quoted in the Shen Qi Mi Pu preface, is "but one of ten late Western Jin poems now bearing the title 'Beckoning the Recluse' 趙隱詩 (as well as a goodly number of poems lacking the title but having similar content or phraseology)". He identifies and discusses such poems, translating three from Wen Xuan.

On p.225 Berkowitz contrasts Zuo Si's Zhao Yin with the famous Gui Qu Lai Ci of Tao Yuanming by saying that, "Whereas Zuo Si (ca.250-ca.305) and Zhang Xie (d.307) describe withdrawal - in persona - from officialdom in terms of going away, Tao Qian describes withdrawal - in person - in terms of going home." Tao Qian's attitude to withdrawal was quite influential during the Song dynasty: of this Berkowitz (p.223) cites Lin Bu as a prime example.

11. Zhao Yin in the Chu Ci
12212.159 招隱詩 does not mention the Chu Ci poem, instead quoting the one above by Zuo Si (see the translation) first found in Wen Xuan, Folio 22. Wen Xuan then follows this with another Zhao Yin poem by Zuo Si ("經始東山廬,果下自成榛。....") then one by 陸機 Lu Ji (261 - 301; "明發心不夷,振衣聊躑躅。....[5+5]x4"). Folio 33 has the Chu Ci poem by 淮南子劉安 Huai Nan prince Liu An.

12. 楚辭 Chu Ci
ch See David Hawkes, trans., Songs of the South, London, Penguin, 1985, p.243ff., Summons for a Recluse.

13. 淮南王操 Melody of the Prince of Huainan
Commentary concerning this melody is included in Qinshu Daquan, Folio 12 (QQJC V. p.256). In connection with this it also introduces a melody called Zhao Yin. However, there is no tablature.

14. Qinshu Daquan, Folio 12, #32, has some earlier quotes, but it is not clear they refer to a qin melody.

15. The closest I have found is Zhao Xian in the You Lan list.

16. Seeking Seclusion (or: a Recluse) Beyond the River (江外招隱 Jiangwai Zhao Yin
For 江外招隱 17496.77xxx. See Xu Jian, Outline History, 6a2. There is no surviving qin tablature with this title.

17. So far I have not been able to find a either a copy of Jiangwai Zhao Yin or indeed of any actual Zhao Yin lyrics attributed to Ye Mengde.

18. Tracing Zhao Yin
Zha Fuxi's Guide 3/30/35 includes four occurrences of Zhao Yin. These are outlined in the appendix below.

19. Zhao Yin lyrics from Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (IV/328; 1585)
I made my original reconstruction of the Shen Qi Mi Pu version of Zhao Yin follow the punctuation added in the second edition of that handbook. Later I realized that, althouh the melody of 1585 seems almost completely different from that of 1425, the 1585 lyrics fit the 1425 tablature very well (other than omitting the repeat "from 招 to 隱" and the shorter repeat at the very end). In fact, they fit so well that, by the time I recorded the 1425 melody for my CD, and because the first edition of 1425 apparently had no punctuation because Zhu Quan could find no one who played the melody, I had re-done my version so that its phrasing largely followed that of the lyrics in 1585. The differences can be seen in this transcription, where the lower staff shows the SQMP Second Edition punctuation and the upper staff has the lyrics and 1585 punctuation. As can be seen by reading the specific commentary above, some adjustments have also been required but the result is quite satisfactory. It should be emphasized that both interpretations of the melody are quite speculative. (Note also that in the upper staff the melody has been moved up and down octaves to fit the voice that was trying to sing it at the time.)

These original 1585 lyrics are as follows (the translation is ongoing and incomplete) :

  1. 第一段 酒伴詩徒   Jiǔ bàn shī tú
    Section 1, Drinking Friends and Poetic Companions

    Zhàng cè huāng tú,   chí chěng cǐ shēn qū
    Holding my riding crop along desolate paths, I gallop to a personal summons.

    Shì huān yú,   zhāo nà jiǔ bàn shī tú,
    Arriving as expected, I beckon my drinking friends and poetic companions.

    Kuài liáng tú,   zài yāo yú fù qiáo fū,
    With cheerful intent, once again welcoming fishermen and woodcutters,

    Yúnmèng Zé Dòngtíng Hú.
    Yunmeng Marsh around Dongting Lake.

  2. 第二段 隱跡藏蹤   Yǐn jī cáng zōng
    Section 2, Humble and self-effacing

    Yǐn zōng cáng jī, bù dòng rú rú.
    Humble and self-effacing, not disturbed by the way things are.

    Shì hé fēi, yīng tí yàn yǔ wú zhī.
    Of both the true and false, orioles may sing and swallows chatter in ignorance.

    Pōu fān lí, yě cài chuī xiāng fàn.
    (But) cut through such barriers, for (a life of) edible wild herbs cooked with fragrant rice.

    Yún gāo zhǎng xuě yú.
    And fat cloud tea overflowing a snow-white bowl.

  3. 第三段 雲耕月釣   Yún gēng yuè diào
    Section 3, Ploughing clouds and fishing the moon

    Chái chuáng tǔ dèng, shí jǐ tú shū.
    A hard bed and earthen bench, stone table with an array of books.

    Lè wú yú, mǎi shān zāi yào,
    Enjoying no excess, but adopting a whole mountain to plant medicines.

    Chuān chí yǐn shuǐ nà guān yú.
    Entering a pond to draw away water and observe the fish.

    Yún gēng yuè diào, liáo zì huān yú.
    Ploughing clouds and fishing the moon, relying on oneself to be happy.

    From "zhāo" to "yin" (see 『 to 』 at end of Section 1) play again (the music only, without the lyrics?).

    Guān miǎn xuán péng bì, dān shā liàn yù lú.
    Tassled cap suspended in a plain shack, cinnabar smelted in a jade stove.

    Kān luò tuò, kě chóu chú,
    Enduring hardship, one can be hesitant.

    Lǎo yàn kè tóng er, shì pò xū míng lì,
    With an old inkstone to teach youngsters, see through the emptiness of fame and wealth.

    Huī xié nà tiān dì, biàn shì bián yí....bián yí..
    Ready too laugh at heaven and earth, as fits the circumstances....as convenient.

For aligning these lyrics with the Shen Qi Mi Pu tablature see further comment above.

20. Version of 1670
The Preface is almost the same as in 1425. The first section ends rather oddly with the two notes in harmonics that in 1585 begin the second section.

21. Structure
Another piece with a similar structure (using harmonics to repeat the opening melody) is Qiu Yue Yin (1525).

22. Liberate qin songs from their traditional strictures
There is much reason to do this: there are many interesting new ways qin music can develop. In addition, although virtually all the historically published qin songs follow this syllabic pairing, it is quite possible that there was an oral tradition of qin songs more in line with the melodies of other Chinese song traditions. In addition, while it may be true that recognizing the apparent rules of historical tradition as we know them might hinder some people from doing things in new ways, it could also lead to a desire to try something new.

23. Fitting lyrics to the Zhao Yin melody
The following shows my original attempt to find an underlying structure that could be used to find existing lyrics that might be applied to Zhao Yin. Apparently Zhao Yin, as with other melodies in the first folio of Shen Qi Mi Pu, originally had no punctuation (the second edition of SQMP added some). This causes some problems in determining the original phrasing, but also allows flexibility in the approach. Here I found that by re-adjusting the phrasing one could fit very well lyrics which had a character count (6 + 6) x 3 and (7 + 7) x 2, followed by a coda. The phrase by phrase melody structure would then be as follows:

A. 1. 6 + 6 (characters)
     2. 6 + 6
     3. 6 + 6

B. Repeats A but in harmonics, and truncates the last "6" to "3",
     so this section probably would not be sung

C. 1. 7 + 7
     2. 7 + 7

D. Repeats A, lines 2 and 3 (not sung?)

E. 1. 7 + 7
     2. 7 + 7
     3. repeat the previous 4 or 5 characters

F. Short coda (7?  4 + 4?  5 + 5?)

However, to my knowledge there are no relevant lyrics that precisely or even closely fit this pattern. As mentioned above, the 1585 lyrics do fit it closely enough that they might be used here (see my transcription), but their structure is very different from that just outlined.

24. The arrangement by 張銅霞 Zhang Tongxia is on the CD The Art of Qin Music (Vol. 3), Hugo HRP 7138-2.

25. The original preface, including the poems by Zuo Si and Zhang Jingshou, is as follows.


「是曲乃西晉時左思(字太沖)見天下溷濁,將招尋隱者,欲退不仕;乃作〈招隱〉。詩云: 『杖策招隱士,荒塗橫古今。




26. 琴史 Qin Shi: book name, or just the history of qin? Zhu Quan's sources are problematic. It is not from Zhu Changwen's Qin History.

27. 10.xxx 三徑 san jing "three paths"; this is an allusion to Tao Yuanming, who used this expression to mean a lovely place where there only a few seldom-traveled old paths.

28. The original sections in Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu are:

1. 酒伴詩徒 Jiuban shitu
2. 隱跡藏蹤 Yinji cangzong
3. 雪耕月釣 Xuegeng yuediao


Appendix: Chart Tracing Zhao Yin.
Based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide 3/30/35

    (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/126)
not divided into sections; only 2nd edition has some phrasing indicated
   .  浙音釋字琴譜
      (<1491; I.8)
Lyrics of 1585 almost fit 1425, so perhaps it was once included here
  2. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/96)
Not divided into sections; same as 1425, including punctuation
  3. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/328)
3 sections, titled, lyrics [see above] fit the 1425 melody, but the actual melody seems completely different
  4. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/333)
4 sections; in third section it writes out the passages 1425 says to repeat.
Otherwise it is virtually the same as 1425 (further comment)

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