Lingxu Yin
 T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
SQMP  ToC   /   Liezi Yu Feng 聽錄音 Recording with transcription   首頁
34. Ascending the Great Void
- Sometimes written 凌虛引 Lingxu Yin 2
- Jiao mode, standard tuning:3 5 6 1 2 3 5 6
凌虛吟 1
Lingxu Yin  
Ascending the clouds riding a crane;      
Looking aloofly at the Yangzi and Han 4    
Lingxu Yin occurs quite commonly in early qin handbooks, surviving in sixteen from 1425 through 1670.5 After 1670, however, it is included in only two extant handbooks, Taihe Zhengyin Qinpu (1812) and Qinpu Xiesheng (1820).6 Lingxu Yin usually comes directly before Liezi Yu Feng, for which it seems to serve as a prelude. This connection is emphasized in Shen Qi Mi Pu, where the last two phrases plus concluding harmonics of each of the two melodies is almost the same.7

Lingxu Yin has only three sections, as do many preludes. Such preludes often have no commentary, each borrowing its commentary from the longer melody that follows it.8 Thus it is not surprising both that there is no direct attribution of this melody until the ninth handbook to include it, Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585), and that this one, attributes it to the reputed creator of Liezi Yu Feng, Mao Minzhong. In fact, though, this 1585 version is very different from previous ones.9

Zhu Quan mentions "a friend like Zhong or Lü". Zhong must be Zhong Ziqi (see Gao Shan and Liu Shui for his friendship with the qin player Bo Ya); the identity of Lü is not so clear, perhaps Lü Dongbin?10

There are no other available recordings of this title.

Original Preface11

The Emaciated Immortal says

this piece must have been written by a follower of Zhuangzi or Liezi, or a friend like Zhong or Lü. Perhaps the flavor of the tune is like a long chant in the environs of a clear heavenly Daoist temple, or skywalking above the dark purple universe. This is what is called "a peaceful night with the moon shining so that the sky is like water, and the empty void has only the sound of (immortals) skywalking."

Music (timings follow the recording on my CD; 聽錄音 listen with my transcription)
Three sections; transcription includes the modal prelude; titles are from Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu12

(00.00) 1. Ascending the clouds riding a crane
(00.40) 2. Riding the winds to the vault of heaven
(01.13) 3. Skywalking in the distant universe
(02.12) -- Play harmonics of this mode
(02.27) -- Melody ends

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Lingxu Yin 凌虛引
1696.83 凌虛 "rise to the sky"; old poetic references but none connected to music; = 陵虛 42621.105: more poetic references

2. 凌虛吟 Lingxu Yin vs. 凌虛引 Lingxu Yin
A full translation of the present title is Intonation on Ascending the Great Void. The latter means Preface on Ascending the Great Void; it is only used in 1647 (see chart below).

3. Jue mode (角調 Jue diao)
For more information on Jue mode see Shenpin Jue Yi. See also Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

4. Illustration: Riding a Crane, by Edgar Francisko Jimenez.
    The calligraphy to the left of the image says:
         躡雲鶴駕 Ascending the clouds riding a crane; (See Section 1)
         睥睨江漢 Looking aloofly at the Yangzi and Han (rivers; see the preface to Shen You Liu He).
         唐世璋__碧鈺題 John Thompson asked Biyu to write this.

5. Tracing Lingxu Yin (see chart)
See Zha Guide 5/55/79. In 13 of these 16 handbooks (as indicated in the chart), Lingxu Yin directly precedes Liezi Yu Feng:

6. Taihe Zhengyin Qinpu (1812) and Qinpu Xiesheng (1820)
See below. Though published around the same time long after the earlier editions, they are quite different from each other, with the first almost same as 1425 but the latter very different. The latter also has not modal prelude but it does have a fairly long afterword.

7. See my transcriptions, pp. II-81/2 (mm. 56 - end) and p. II-88 (mm. 195 - end). In addition, phrases two and three of the opening of Shenpin Jue Yi are almost the same as phrases one and two of Lingxu Yin. This and some other similarities suggests that these three: modal prelude, prelude, and melody, were intended as a set. (Return)

8. Ming Dynasty handbooks through around 1600 commonly precede long melodies with short preludes. I do not believe there is sufficient evidence at present to know how common this custom was during the Song dynasty, so I am skeptical of attributions made on this basis. (Return)

9. Note also that the lyrics used with this 1585 version fit the SQMP tablature and almost certainly were at the beginning of the surviving edition of Zheyin Shizi Qinpu. (Return)

10. A Friend like Zhong or Lü
鐘 Zhong is clearly 鐘子期 Zhong Ziqi. The tentative identification of 呂 Lü as 呂洞賓 Lü Dongbin (
Lu Yan) is based largely on commentary comparing the life of the two and on stories such as those of Lü's friendship with 狗咬 Gou Miao as well as with other immortals such as 鐘離權 Zhongli Quan.

11. Preface
See the original Chinese text

12. Music for Lingxu Yin
The lyrics from the version in 1585 can be sung here, suggesting they might also have been in the original edition of Zheyin Shizi Qinpu. The original Chinese section titles are:

1. 躡雲鶴駕
2. 乘風天表
3. 步虛太羅

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

Appendix: Chart Tracing 凌虛引 Lingxu Yin
Based mainly on Zha Fuxi's
Guide, 5/55/79.
Further comment above; compare Liezi Yu Feng

    (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/148 [here])
Jue mode, 3 sections; preface;
Following have same unless otherwise indicated
    .  浙音釋字琴譜
      (<1491; I/---)
Missing; was probably was the missing pages 2-3;
The lyrics of 1585 fit (comment)
  2. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/135)
Somewhat elaborated; pentatonicized
  3. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/219)
Follows Liezi Yu Feng
Very similar but occasional phrasing differences
  4. 步虛僊琴譜
      (1556; III/xxx)
Facsimile #20
  5. 太音傳習
      (1552; IV/104)
Preface and melody almost same as 1425
  6. 太音補遺
      (1557; III/352)
Same as 1552; instead of preface is "義見下", referring to the short preface for Liezi Yu Feng
  7. 龍湖琴譜
      (1571; 琴府/252)
Preface; lyrics begin, "梵宇清宮,五色雲。中有客那步天風。鶴駕從容....";
Related, but starts with harmonics, having omitted first section.
  8. 新刊正文對音捷要
      (1573; #47)
Same as 1585?
Follows Liezi Yu Feng
  9. 五音琴譜
      (1579; IV/226)
Same as 1425
10. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/415)
Follows Liezi Yu Feng; lyrics; melody seems completely different;
Attributed to Mao Minzhong
11. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/46)
Opening is different, but then more related
12. 琴書大全
      (1590; V/502)
Placed two melodies after Liezi Yu Feng;
Original three sections combined into two
13. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/359)
Identical to 1589; same preface as 1425
14. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/116)
Quite different; precedes Liezi Yu Feng but no modal prelude
15. 徽言秘旨訂
      (1692; fac/)
Re-copied from 1647?
16a. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/363)
Melody almost same as 1425 (compare next); Preface
Jue modal prelude, but no Liezi Yu Feng in this handbook
16b. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/515)
See previous: same preface here;
No modal prelude; melody almost same but some significant differences;
17. 太和正音琴譜
      (1812; XIX/27)
Modal prelude (Jue Diao) and melody almost same as 1425
No Liezi Yu Feng
18. 琴譜諧聲
      (1820; XX/192)
"角宮 Jue gong"; 3 sections; afterword; quite different but still related.
This handbook also does not include Liezi Yu Feng

Return to top