Qiuyue Zhao Maoting
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13. Autumn Moon Shining on a Reed Pavilion
- Huangzhong mode:2 1 3 5 6 1 2 3
秋月照茅亭 1
Qiuyue Zhao Maoting
  傅東黎雕刻 Engraving by Fu Dongli 3                
In Shen Qi Mi Pu (SQMP, 1425), Qiuyue Zhao Maoting, is combined with the Kaizhi (Opening Fingering, a type of prelude) that comes before it. However, although the Qiuyue Zhao Maoting melody survives in five handbooks through 1670, the Kaizhi does not appear elsewhere.4

This later omission of the Kaizhi perhaps was an oversight. On the other hand it may also serve to reinforce the idea that for Shen Qi Mi Pu Folio I melodies Zhu Quan was simply copying old tablature for which he could find no players. And since no one was playing this music, later compilers didn't realize the odd result for Qiuyue Zhao Maoting if its Kaizhi was omitted.

In fact, though, at the end of Qiuyue Zhao Maoting instead of the normal "melody ends" instructions there are clear instructions to "do the Yellow Bell ending", followed by four clusters that tell you exactly where to begin this reprise: they also occur near the middle of the Kai Zhi (see the red marks on this copy of the tablature and the explanation here). Here, based on the division of this melody in 1491, this passage is in the transcription included as part of Section 6. As outlined here and in the tracing chart below, later compilers do not seem to have realized that this clearly meant for them to repeat the Kaizhi from this point. Zheyin Shizi Qinpu has perhaps the worst understanding of the original intent, as it pairs lyrics against the four clusters at the end, but does not include the Kaizhi. Fengxuan Xuanpin also writes out these four clusters but does not include the Kaizhi itself. Yet these four clusters were clearly not intended to end the piece.

Zhu Quan gives little concrete information about Qiuyue Zhao Maoting, mentioning only that there were two people considered as its creators, Cai Yong and Zuo Si. Cai Yong was well-known as a musician, and both were well-known poets, but as yet I have not found any poems associated with either of them that is about an autumn moon. On the other hand, one can perhaps take inspiration from melodies or poems connected to them that have an autumn theme. Thus, for Cai Yong there is the melody Qiu Si (Autumn Thoughts); for Zuo Si there is the poem Qiu Feng (Autumn Winds).5

Cai Yong (133-182) was a famous writer of parallel prose (which maintains structures found in poetry). He was also a reputed qin master, author of Qin Cao (an introduction to melodies for the qin), and creator of the Cai Shi Wunong (Five Melodies of the Cai Clan). Yuefu Shiji includes lyrics for four of these titles, skipping number 4, Zuo Chou (Sit in Sadness); for the fifth, called Qiu Si (Autumn Thoughts), it includes six poems, two by Li Bai (701-762), three by Bao Rong (fl. ca. 820), and one by Sikong Shu (720-790). In sum, none of the Cai Shi Wunong lyrics are attributed to Cai Yong himself, and none survives in a musical setting.6

Zuo Si (ca. 250-305), also mentioned in connection with #9 Seeking Seclusion, was a poet and official from Shandong who became very popular in the Wei capital, Luoyang, at the end of the 3rd c. CE. His surviving opus includes a Miscellaneous Poem called Autumn Wind. The poem goes as follows:7

How cold the autumn winds are,
    the white dew has become morning frost.
Soft branches each day become more brittle,
    green leaves daily turn yellow.
A clear moon comes out from behind a cloud,
    and from its brightness flows a pure light.
Into my pavilion from the forecourt
    come the morning squawks of soaring geese.
Lofty resolve is limited only by the four seas,
    solitude keeps one in an empty hall.
In the strength of youth I wouldn't stay in one place,
    but in the twilight of my life I am sadly detached.

The lyrics attached to the version in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu are more specific to the theme of the title. With some re-arranging of the rhythms I selected in my SQMP reconstruction these lyrics can be sung.8 However, because there are no lyrics for the Kai Zhi, I suspect that the person who attached the lyrics did not know the music very well. The pairing follows the standard formula of one character per right hand stroke and two per left hand pluck.

Besides my own I have found recordings on CD of reconstructions by a number of other players. Quite a few recordings can also be found online; however, a preliminary search suggests that the online recordings follow those that can be found on CD. In any case, none of them I have heard includes the Kai Zhi, suggesting none of them understood the fairly specific instructions in Qiu Yue Zhao Mao Ting that the piece should end with the indicated part of the Kai Zhi.9

Original preface.10

The Emaciated Immortal says,

as for this piece, some say it was written by Cai Yong, others say it was by Zuo Si. The interest of the piece lies in its sketching a universe everywhere jade green, with all the myriad natural sounds silenced; there is (also) the bright autumn moon. The silhouettes reveal myriad images; at that time the lovely night is peaceful. In a wide open place shortly before midnight, a solitary man sits in a reed pavilion, cradling a qin on his legs, plucking the strings and singing; he is doing this to express the resolve in his heart, and yet when he sees the moon looking down on man, and (its light) entering the reed pavilion, this causes his heart and the Dao to become one, and his mind and nature also to come together. He doesn't care if it is a qin in his hands or his hands on a qin, everything is so natural. Its interest lies in this.

Music (Timings follow the recording on my CD; 聽錄音 listen with transcription)
Five sections, untitled; titles added here from Zheyin Shizi Qinpu, which has lyrics that don't fit very well.11
(N.B.: Although Qiu Yue Zhao Mao Ting is usually played by itself, it was clearly integrated with the Kai Zhi that precedes it; my video has both)

聽錄音 listen with transcription
00.00 Opening
00.29 (m.20...) Compare ending for Qiu Yue Zhao Maoting, which begins at m.114 there (03.45 of that recording)
01.06 Closing harmonics
01.23 End, but go directly to the main melody)

聽錄音 listen with transcription
(00.00) 1. Blue sky
(00.49) 2. Quiet evening
(01.03) 3. Sitting in the pavilion
(01.27) 4. Expressing one's heart
(03.28) 5. The qin in harmony
(03.45) (6.) Return to (00.29 of) the "huangzhong ending"; comment)
(04.19) -- harmonics
(04.33) -- End

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Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Qiuyue Zhao Maoting 秋月昭茅亭
25505.37 秋月 qiuyue; nothing about music, reeds, or pavilions.
31477.42 茅亭 maoting; nothing about music or autumn moon.

2. Yellow Bell Mode (黃鐘調 huangzhong diao)
For Huangzhong mode, slacken 1st, tighten 5th strings each a half step. For more details on this mode see under Kai Zhi and in Shenpin Wuyi Yi. For more on modes in general see Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

3. Image
傅東黎 Fu Dongli (1960 - ) is an artist living in Hangzhou.

4. Tracing Qiuyue Zhao Maoting
See Zha Guide 3/33/41 lists six occurrences, but one is musically unrelated. More details are in the appendix below.

5. Origin of the melody (or title)
Poems about autumn being so common this seems like an unlikely rationale, but I have not yet found other references connection this title with either Cai Yong or Zuo Si.

6. 蔡邕 Cai Yong and Qiu Yue Zhao Maoting
No further details yet suggesting the connection between Cai Yong and this melody.

7. Zuo Si, Miscellaneous Poem (左思,雜詩)
The original text ([5+5] x 6), as published in Wen Xuan Folio 29 (p.1333), is as follows:


Zuo Si is also connected to the melody Zhao Yin.

8. Fitting the lyrics from Zheyin Shizi Qinpu (see lyrics and pdf of 1491 tablature)
The tablature from this 1491 handbook is basically identical to that in Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425), adding only lyrics paired according to the standard formula. Using the formula somewhat loosely the lyrics can be made to fit, though the use of filler words such as 那 seem to go in wrong places, suggesting the lyrics might originally have been for a different melody or version of the melody. Also, the melody described by the tablature is quite angular and so in any case it might be rather difficult to sing them.

9. Misunderstanding the original tablature (more with the Kai Zhi) Expand and note the red marks            
The tablature at right shows clearly how the Kai Zhi should be integrated with the main melody. The first clue to this is the fact Qiu Yue Zhao Mao Ting does not end (see lower left quadrant) like all the other melodies, with a statement such as "melody ends" (終、曲終). Instead there is the statement "Begin the Yellow Bell Closing" ("入黃鍾煞") followed by the four clusters (five notes) indicated here by a red mark, which are the same as the four clusters after the red mark in the Kai Zhi (upper right quadrant), a clear indication that the instructions preceding the latter mean that the player should end with the same notes as those from the Yellow Bell mode "Opening fingering" (which does end with the character "畢 bi": "finish". The fact that none of these other players has written that these instructions mean "just play these four notes from the Kai Zhi" is further indication that none of them noticed that the five-note passages are identical.

Recordings I have examined include ones by:

As mentioned above and can be seen here, none of them includes or even seems to be aware of the Huangzhong modal prelude. And a cursory look at online recordings in 2021 suggest that the piece has become rather popular, but all these seem to be based not on having studied the original tablature but from having looked at one (or a variety) of the above-mentioned interpretations.

Further regarding the transcription in The Qin Repertoire of the Wu Family, pp.379-382, writes out the entire tablature. Where the instructions are "play the huangzhong ending" the transcription goes back to an earlier section of the present piece instead of to the appropriate place in the Kaizhi; it then tacks on the four clusters as if they are the notes intended to end the piece. This makes no musical sense, but is presumably why the last section (i.e., the referenced passage from the Kai Zhi in huangzhong mode) is not included in the recording.

10. For the original Chinese text see 秋月昭茅亭.

11. The original titles are 1. 天碧 ; 2. 夜寂 ; 3. 亭座 ; 4. 許心 ; 5. 琴調 ; (6.) 入黃鍾煞 .

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Appendix: Chart Tracing Qiuyue Zhao Maoting (see also the Kai Zhi)
based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide 3/33/41

    (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/129)
5; ending says "入黃鐘煞 go back to the Huangzhong ending", then has five more clusters; this is explained here; no phrasing indicated
  2.  浙音釋字琴譜
      (<1491; I/248; pdf)
5; same melody, but adds titles and lyrics; same ending, but book has no Kaizhi to return to, so thus no lyrics for the closing as I understand it (further).
  3. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/377)
5, almost same melody as 1425, but with phrasing; includes "入黃鐘煞" and the five clusters, but there is no Kaizhi. There is a Shenpin Wuyi Yi for Huangzhong Diao at II/351, but it is unrelated.
  4. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/498)
5, titled; same lyrics as <1491; music related but diff, and no reference to a Kaizhi
   . 思齊堂琴譜
      (1620; IX/36)
12, titled; unrelated (shang mode)
  5. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/413)
5; music almost same as 1425, no phrasing indicated; no kaizhi: ends on XI/414 just before "入黃鐘煞", i.e., without the notes that end the 1425 version, explained here

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