Shenpin Jue Yi
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33. Celestial Air Defining Jue Mode
- standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 ; when referring to a note 角 is usually pronounced "jue" 2
神品角意 1
Shenpin Jue Yi 3 

Jue modal preludes may have a variety of names. The ones covered here are listed above the chart below tracing these preludes. They include a number of melodies intended to introduce characteristics of jue mode or, in some cases, the modal characteristics and melodic style of the pieces following it.4 These range from those almost identical to the one here, to ones with melodies that seem unrelated. There are jue modal preludes in at least 25 handbooks from 1425 to 1670, but after this modal preludes became much less common.5 The later ones include several repeats from Ming handbooks (usually grouped together rather than placed separately at the beginning of their respective modal sections) and the new Jueyin Chudiao published in 1876. Several of the preludes have lyrics.6

Although there is quite a variety of melodies within these preludes, the tonal characteristics seem generally consistent throughout the Ming dynasty.7 For jue mode some exceptions are noted in the tracing chart below, but what immediately stands out within jue mode is that, whereas with all the other standard tuning modes the secondary tone can be a fifth above the primary tone within the standard Chinese pentatonic scale (1 2 3 5 6 1, and thus 1-5, 2-6, 5-2 and 6-13), the fifth above 3 is 7, which is outside the pentatonic scale.

For more information on such modal characteristics see also Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature. There you can see that the primary tonal center for Shen Qi Mi Pu pieces in jue mode is the relative pitch gong (1, do), equivalent to the note of the open third string in this tuning, named the jue string. With the jue. string as the primary tonal center, the secondary tonal center becomes the secondary tonal center but, being only a third above 1 (do), it is equivant to the note of the open fifth string. In jue there actually are usually two secondary tonal centers, the second on being the relative pitch yu (6, la), equivalent to the open seventh string.

It is tempting to think that there is a connection between the fact that these melodies are placed in the jue mode and the fact that their primary tonal center is on the string called jue, plus a secondary tonal center is the relative note jue. However, I have never seen any other commentary to this effect. Instead, some later melodies seem to be included under the jue mode simply because they end on the string jue, even though the note jue does not seem to have played a significant role in the melody.

At present I have learned seven melodies in this mode:

From Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425):

#33 Shenpin Jue Yi (compare 1525 #52)
#34 Ling Xu Yin (compare 1525 #57)
#35 Liezi Yu Feng. (compare 1525 #58)

From Xilutang Qintong (1525):

#52 Jue Yi
#53 Mengji Yin
#54 Cangwu Yuan
A song from Lixing Yuanya (1618)

Ba Jiu Wen Yue (a song)

Two other Xilutang Qintong melodies listed under jue mode that I have reconstructed seem to fit better into zhi mode (see comment). These are:

  1. #63 Lienü Yin
  2. #64 Cai Zhen You (as previous)

As yet I have not found an explanation as to why these two particular melodies were classified as in jue mode rather than zhi mode melodies (comment).

Although the two Shen Qi Mi Pu pieces seem to have been quite popular in the Ming dynasty, the mode was not used very much otherwise. The above Xilutang Qintong melodies are found only in that handbook.

Only two Ming dynasty handbooks list more than three or four jue mode melodies:

  1. Xilutang Qintong (1525) lists 13 entries (#s 52-64) under jue. These can be grouped as follows:
  2. Guyin Zhengzong (1634) lists six entries (#s 24-29). However, quite of few of these also seem to be in a different mode (e.g., #24 Yan Luo Pingsha seems to fit better the yu mode).

Another significant melody included within jue mode is:

Jishan Qiu Yue

To sum up, the main reason for confusion on jue mode melodies seems to be the fact that, although for most of the melody the note jue may not be important, they often end on the jue string played as do (1).

Original preface8

One section (timings follow the recording on my CD; 聽錄音 listen with my transcription)

(00.33) -- harmonics
(00.48) -- Modal prelude ends

Return to the Shen Qi Mi Pu ToC or to the Guqin ToC.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Shenpin Jue Yi 神品角意
35831.43 角音 jue yin says "spring dream sound" but has no jue diao.

2. Jue mode (角調 jue diao) characteristics
The original meaning of "角", pronounced "jiao", is "horn". According to my recollection, my teacher Sun Yü-Ch'in also pronounced the musical note "jiao" and this is the way I usually pronounced it and originally romanized it on this website. However, dictionaries and most people today say the musical note should be pronounced "jue", so I have subsequently changed the related references on this site wherever I have found them.

For further on characteristics of this mode see also Qin Tunings, some theoretical concepts and Van Gulik's comments in Lore, pp.86-7. Here Van Gulik says the diaoyi include all the basic playing techniques used in that mode, but I have not found this to be the case.

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4. Intention of the modal preludes
Some modal preludes may have been created specifically for the pieces they precede; such preludes, according to some definitations, should have been called kaizhi.

5. Tracing Jue modal preludes
See chart below. Of the versions available after 1670, those in 1715 and 1871 seem to copy Ming editions while the Jueyin Chudiao published in 1876 is a new melody.

6. Lyrics for jue modal preludes
Zha Guide copies the lyrics from several handbooks, including:

All three of these use some of the same phrases as does one of two poems by 秦觀 Qin Guan in the ci pattern 畫堂春 Hua Tang Chun, as follows:

香篆暗消鸞鳳,畫屏縈遶瀟湘。    (寶篆...?)

These lyrics have a slightly different pattern from those with the Hua Tang Chun included in Li Yun Chun Si. In addition, two other ci poems by Qin Guan fit the theme of another qin piece, Yu Lou Chun Xiao, but there the lyrics do not fit the melody.

7. Traditional examination of mode
The comment about modal consistency is a tentative statement based mainly on looking at Ming dynasty handbooks. In the Qing dynasty there is often discussion of 調 diao as well as an 音 yin, or a 均 jun as well as an 音 yin. These presumably concern the two basic aspects of diao, tuning and mode, but my preliminary observations suggest these terms are not used consistently, and as yet I have not played or examined a sufficient number of Qing melodies given these attributes to know precisely how the terms are used.

One possible problem is that over the years the musical characteristics of a piece might change but the old mode name is kept.

8. Preface to the jue modal prelude
Although SQMP modal preludes have no prefaces, those in Zheyin (which all have identical music) do. Those in Zheyin are almost identical to those in Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585), and so the latter can be used to reconstruct the former when they are missing. Thus the preface to the jue modal prelude was probably as follows:

考之角數六十有四聲,陰中之少陽,清濁之間也。 位於三弦專之,而為角調。有清寂之音。
Jue Mode:
(Not yet translated)

9. Music for the jue modal prelude
Timings follow my recording. Note that the lyrics from the version in 1585 can be sung here, suggesting this prelude might also have been in the original edition of Zheyin Shizi Qinpu (see also the further comments on missing pages).

Chart Tracing 角 Jue Modal Preludes

This chart covers the following entries from Zha Fuxi's Guide:

Shenpin Jue Yi (5/55/--)
Jue Yi (1/7/8; includes Jue Yi Kao)
Jue Diao (1/-/5)
Jueyin Chudiao (42/274/--)

All treat tuning as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 , but 3rd string is called "jue". Some have lyrics, as indicated.

    (year; QQJC Vol/page)
Further information
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
  1.  事林廣記
      (Song/Yuan; I/19)
角調 Jue Diao; this transcription shows that this melody is related to the second half of Lienü Yin; begins 3 4 6 6 6, 5 3 (3 4 6 6 6?), 3 4 2 3 3 3 5 3 2 1....; longer, but still no harmonic coda; emphasizes 3 and 6, but ends on 2
  2.  太音大全集
      (Song/Yuan; I/102)
角意 Jue Yi; begins 6 6 6 6, 4 6 4 6 , 1 2 6 2 6 6 61 2....; generally avoids 3 and 3rd string; no harmonic coda; "jue because ends on 3rd string (called jue)? See further comment.
  3.  神奇秘譜
      (1425; I/148 [here])
神品角意 Shenpin Jue Yi; quite different from above: begins 1 3 6 1 1 2 3 3 3, 1 1 3 5 1 3.... other two phrases end on 1 then 6; harmonic coda has 2 phrases, ending on 2 then 1. So main note = gong (jue string); the note jue (mi) is also important
      (<1491; I/--)
Was probably in original edition but is missing: lyrics of 1585 fit 1425 melody using the normal pairing method (see comment)
  4. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/129)
角意 Jue Yi; begins 1 3 5 6 6 1, 1 2 3 1 5 3 3 3....;
More elaborate (and melodic?) than 1425 (listen to my recording)
  5. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/214)
神品角意 Shenpin Jue Yi; Starts 3 1 31 3 1 3, 1 7 (?) 6 6 6, 3 5 6 1 1 1 1 2 3....;
Tonal center still do, with jue important, but very different from the above
  6. 梧岡琴譜
      (1546; I/424)
神品角意 Shenpin Jue Yi; quite similar to 1425;
(Adds a few notes, takes away a few others; omits indication of 3 harmonic notes)
  7. 步虛僊琴譜
      (1556; III/--)
角意 Jue Yi; in Facsimile edition #19
Folio III; another variant on 1425
  8. 太音傳習
      (1552-61; IV/103)
角意 Jue Yi
Like 1546
  9. 太音補遺
      (1557; III/352)
角意考 Jue Yi Kao
Same as 1546 but adds preface
10. 琴譜正傳
      (1561; II/430)
神品角意 Shenpin Jue Yi;
Identical to 1546
11. 龍湖琴譜
      (1571; 琴府/252)
神品角意 Shenpin Jue Yi; lyrics same as 1585; musically very different from 1425 (and 1585);
Begins 5 1 3 2 1 1 7 62, 3 5 6 5 66.... (see next)
12. 五音琴譜
      (1579; IV/226)
神品角意 Shenpin Jue Yi; begins 5 1 51 5 1 5 3 2 1 1 7 6 3 5 5....
Compare beginning of 1571; later quite different
13a. 新刊正文對音
      捷要 (1573; --)
See in ToC: identical to 1585?
13b. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/412)
角意 Jue Yi; preface; starts 5 5 5 5 1 5__5 , 1 2 3 5__5.... (__ = 吟上下);
Lyrics could be used for 1491? Mi not important; no apparent relation to earlier ones .
14. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/46)
神品角意 Shenpin Jue Yi; starts like 1539;
Stronger emphasis on mi
15. 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1589; VII/98)
角意考 Jue Yi Kao; lyrics very similar to 1585;
Music closer to 1425 (begins 1 5 6 1 1 2 3 3 3....)
16. 琴書大全
      (1590; V/500)
神品角意 Shenpin Jue Yi;
Quite different again; partial decimal system!? (6.2 on 7th)
17. 文會堂琴譜
      (1596; VI/232)
角意 Jue Yi;
Another interpretation (starts open 3 stopped 7th at 9)
18. 綠綺新聲
      (1597; VII/12)
角意 Jue Yi; lyrics begin "東風吹拂輕揚...." (diff from 1585 etc but same rhymes);
Music seems like new composition (1 1 2 7 6 5 5....); no apparent emphasis on mi
19. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/359)
神品角意 Shenpin Jue Yi.
Identical to 1589
20. 三才圖會續集
      (1607; VI/474)
角意 Jue Yi; lyrics almost same as 1585: music also seems almost same;
21. 陽春堂琴譜
      (1611; VII/390)
角意 Jue Yi
Music begins 1 3 5 6 1 1 2 3,.... (similar to earlier versions)
22. 琴適
      (1611; VIII/20)
角意 Jue Yi;
Same music and almost same lyrics as 1597
23. 樂仙琴譜
      (1623; VIII/369)
角意考 Jue Yi; same preface, lyrics and music as 1589
(except that preface begins "白門泗泉曰...." instead of "白門桐菴曰....")
24. 義軒琴經
      (late Ming; IX/429)
角意 Jue Yi
Very similar to 1546 (but has the harmonic indication missed there)
25. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/363)
神品角意 Shenpin Jue Yi
Like 1425 but not identical; afterword ("角為民...")
26. 琴學正聲
      (1715; XIV/54)
角調 Jue Diao; lyrics almost same as 1585;
Music almost same as 1425 and 1670
27. 青箱齋琴譜
      (~1866; XXIV/387)
Jue Yi; lyrics same as 1597
Music also from 1597
28. 白菡萏香館琴譜;
      (1871; XXIV/430)
Jue Yi
Seems to be from 1611 Jue Yi
29. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/313)
角音初調 Jueyin Chudiao; see comment
New unrelated melody  

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