Qiao Ge
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40. Woodcutter's Song
- Zhi mode:2 standard tuning:   1 2 4 5 6 1 2
樵歌 1
Qiao Ge
Qiao Ge illustration from Kuian Qinpu 3  
Qiao Ge was one of the most popular of all qin pieces in the Ming and Qing dynasties, surviving in at least 54 handbooks, some with two versions.
4 All are musically related, though there was a lot of development. The version in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu (q.v.) is clearly related to the one in Shen Qi Mi Pu, but the surviving volume of that book is missing some pages, including sections 1 to mid-way through 5 of Qiao Ge, so that version was not included in Music Beyond Sound.

Attribution is commonly made to Mao Minzhong,5 no other handbooks sharing the attribution in Xilutang Qintong (1525), which has a very similar melody, to Zhu Maichen,6 a woodcutter of the Han dynasty who eventually became an official; there the preface says he wrote it to express his confidence in spite of difficulties

Perhaps the most famous woodcutter was Zhong Ziqi, who was able to understand the music of Bo Ya (see Gao Shan and Liu Shui. Fisherman and woodcutters have been idealized in Taoist thought as uneducated people with special knowledge, and they sometimes represent a life free from the cares of official work.

This is the earliest surviving "song" for any of the "four occupations": woodcutter (or fuel gatherer), fisherman, herdsman (shepherd, cowherd) and plowman (ploughman, farmer).7

Wu Wenguang has recorded his reconstruction from SQMP. Other recordings include those by Liu Jingshao (Jiao An Qinpu), Liu Shaochun ("typical Guangling school style"; implies a development from Jiao An Qinpu), Lin Youren (as previous), and Mei Yueqiang (same). These are very different, but a relationship can still be found.8

Original Preface9

The Emaciated Immortal says

this piece was written because, when Yuan soldiers entered Lin An (Hangzhou), Mao Minzhong thought the times were not appropriate for himself. Wishing to imitate the deeds of former worthies, who went into hiding in the cliffs and valleys, he ran off into seclusion and did not accept public office. So he wrote this tune to attract like-minded people to go into seclusion with him. He himself felt no unhappiness about fleeing from society.

Music (see transcription; timings follow this recording from my CD)
11 Sections10

(00.00) 01. Happy to flee society
(01.13) 02. Looking down, aloof from worldly matters
(01.41) 03. Nestling in the distant cloudy mountain peaks
(02.26) 04. Entering the forest carrying an axe
(02.53) 05. Enjoying the Dao through books11
(03.53) 06. Shaking out one's clothing on the high ridges 12
(04.42) 07. A long howl echoes in the valley
(05.19) 08. Praising the (helpful) winds of Mr. Zheng 13
(06.04) 09. A long howl out into the open air
(06.23) 10. Old age from being near an old pine tree
(06.40) 11. Dancing drunkenly down the mountain.
(07.29) --- harmonics
(07.43) --- (End -- but usual indication not given)

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

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Qiao Ge references
15945.54 樵歌 mentions poems by Du Fu;

歸樵 Gui Qiao (Return to Woodcutting, or to the Woodcutter), an alternate title occasionally mentioned but not apparently used, is 16714.xxx (i.e., no known early literary references.)

2. Zhi mode (徵調 zhi diao)
Standard tuning can also be considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6. For more information on this mode see Shenpin Zhi Yi. For modes in general see Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

3. Kuian Qinpu illustration (QQJC XI/37)
The inscription on the right side of the illustration is not very clear.

4. Tracing Qiao Ge (see tracing chart)
See Zha Guide 6/62/95. All versions are 徵 zhi mode (徵調 zhi diao or 徵音 zhi yin) unless otherwise noted. All are called Qiao Ge, though 1546 says an alternate name is Gui Qiao

As mentioned with the modal prelude Shenpin Zhi Yi, the zhi mode is probably the most complex one. This seems to be due to its using standard tuning but using the fourth string as gong. In later handbooks this seems to have caused some problems of interpretation: this is perhaps the reason why sometimes the tuning is changed to lowered 1st, 3rd and 6th string tuning (in SQMP called Man Gong Diao).

A detailed study of how and why these changes took place in Qiao Ge would indeed be very helpful for understanding traditional attitudes towards mode, especially in relation to qin. My own research has so far only given me time to make a tracing chart with bare information about each entry. It is my hope that someday someone will be use this index to engage in such detailed research.

5. 毛敏仲

6. Zhu Maichen 朱買臣 (d. 116 BCE)
Zhu Maichen (14779.591 漢,會稽人,字翁子) was a Han dynasty woodcutter from Kuaiji whose wife left him because she couldn't stand the poverty. Through hard study (one story says he read books while carrying firewood to the market) he became provincial governor. His wife wanted him to take her back but he wouldn't, so she killed herself (by hanging or drowning). He then regretted that he had turned her away. This story is told in several operas including 爛柯山 Lan Ke Shan (an outline of a 昆曲 Kunqu performance calling it Rotten Helve Mountain may still be online) and 癡夢 Chi Meng (Idiot's Dream). After raising to high office Zhu Maichen became involved in some intrigue and was executed.

Zhu Maichen has also been connected to an opera called Record of a Fisherman and Woodcutter.

7. Songs of the Four Occupations ("四業 Si Ye"; 漁樵耕牧四詠 Yu Qiao Geng Mu Si Yong)
Most commonly the four occupations were seen as fisherman, woodcutter, farmer and people who could read (referred to here as 士人 literati). Thus, 18586.102 is 漁樵耕讀:漁夫、樵夫、農家、士人之總稱 (Yu, Qiao, Geng, Du: a general term for fishermen, woodcutters, farmers and literati. These four have been popularized in image sets (quadriptyches) sometimes referred to as "漁樵耕讀圖".

Compared to this there is 4782.128 四民:四種不同職業之人民也,指士、農、工、商 "four peoples": people in four distinct occupations, i.e., literati, farmers, laborers and business people (see also 5760.184 士、農、工、商). Elsewhere these may be called the 四業 four occupations, but for this 4782.637 has only 詩、書、禮、樂 poetry, books, rites and music.

As for specifically 漁樵耕牧 fishermen, woodcutters, farmers and herdsmen, 18586.xxx. Internet searches suggest this was never such a common theme in art (some quadritches on the theme of four occupations seem to combine farmers and herdsmen). However, in poetry there may be or have been a Four Poetic Narratives about Fishermen, Woodcutters, Plowmen and Herdsmen (漁樵耕牧四詠 Yu Qiao Geng Mu) by the female poet and scholar 郭真順 Guo Zhenshun (~1312-after 1371). Such a title is mentioned in this outside link. However, other searches mention only her 漁樵四詠 Four Poetic Narratives about Fishermen and Woodcutters. These four poems are apparently as follows:


Not yet translated.

Within the qin repertoire there are the following four relevant titles:

  1. 漁歌 Yu Ge: Song of the Fisherman
    Two distinct melodies in at least 55 handbooks from 1491 to 1910

  2. 樵歌 Qiao Ge: Song of the Woodcutter (or fuel gatherer)
    In at least 40 handbooks from 1425 (here) to 1910

  3. 耕歌 Geng Ge: Song of the Plowman (ploughman, farmer)
    In at least 15 handbooks from 1559 to 1876.

  4. 牧歌 Mu Ge: Song of the Herdsman (shepherd, cowherd)
    In at least 12 handbooks from 1559 to 1876.

As yet I have not found any commentary discussing these four together.

8. Recordings
My own is included here

9. Preface
See translation by Van Gulik in Lore, p. 92. For the original Chinese text see 樵歌.

10. Section titles
For the original Chinese section titles see 樵歌. Those of 1491 were apparently the same as here, but others are different.

11. Enjoying the Dao through books
Compare the music here with that of Section 5 ("Climbing a mountain, near a stream") of Qiu Feng.

12. Shaking out one's clothing on the high ridges (振衣仞崗 Zhen yi ren gang)
The Museum of History in Taipei has a painting by 張大千 Zhang Daqian called 振衣千仞崗 Zhen yi qianren gang, but 12407.xxx (zhen) & 384.xxx (ren is a measure of about 8 feet, so 千仞崗 would be an 8,000 foot ridge).

13. Mr. Zheng
40513.80/2 鄭弘 Zheng Hong (see Hou Han Shu): a mountain recluse of the latter Han, etc. Cihai relates story that once while chopping wood Zheng found an arrow in the road. A stranger later came looking for it and Zheng gave it to him. The stranger then revealed himself to be an immortal and said he would grant Zheng a wish. Zheng wished (since the mountain was north of the village), that in the morning there be breezes from the south to help them on their way to chop, and that in the evening there be breezes from the north, to help them walk home. The wish was granted. (Van Gulik, op.cit. says the man was 鄭宏 40513.127, but it has nothing relevant)

Appendix: Chart Tracing 樵歌 Qiao Ge
This chart covers the following entries from Zha Fuxi's Guide
6/62/95 (comment):

    (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/153 [here])
11T (11 sections, titled)
  2.  浙音釋字琴譜
      (<1491; I/208)
11T; Section titles same as 1425; lyrics;
Music somewhat different from 1425 (Sections 1-4 are missing)
  3. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/162)
10T; somewhat more elaborate; subtitles 1, 2, 3 same as 1539 #1, 2, 4; some others also same;
#10 壽倚松齡 has subsections 醉舞下山, 盧均聲 & 踏歌聲; attrib. Zhu Maichen; Shan Ju Yin used as prelude?
  4. 發明琴譜
      (1530; I/361)
11; same as 1425 but no phrasing or section titles
  5. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/236)
12TL; seems as though 1425 changed to fit lyrics; first two subtitles same as 1425, then they change;
Lyrics, different from other versions, begin "竄隱山林,韞道以潤身...."
  6. 梧岡琴譜
      (1546; I/434)
11; small changes from 1425; under title: "敏仲作一名歸樵秋山曉山二翁屢訂本 by Mao Minzhong, also called Gui Qiao; an often edited volume by the two old men, Qiushan and Xiaoshan"; see 1561
  7. 步虛僊琴譜
      (1556; III/289)
12; many changes from 1425;
  8. 太音傳習
      (1552; IV/122)
12; much elaborated, e.g., first phrase repeated, 2 notes added then repeated once more
  9. 太音補遺
      (1557; III/374)
11; many changes - compare 1552;
Attrib to Mao as Yuan soliders entered Hangzhou
10. 琴譜正傳
      (1561; II/507)
11; identical to 1546 including attribution;
Adds lyrics separately (II/490); they begin, "竄隱山林...." (see 1539)
      (1573; #50)
Same as 1585?
11. 五音琴譜
      (1579; IV/234)
11; add 厂7-2 before repeating first phrase;
12. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/446)
11T; music still related but very different;
Lyrics begin, "高潔英豪,烟霞自養高。學樵採樵,連斧持刀...."
13. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/23)
11; related; same comments as 1425
14.a 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1589; VII/102)
11; 徵音 zhi yin; lyrics; much changed; long intro about Mao and Yuan dynasty
14.b 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1609; Fac/)
Same as previous?
15. 琴書大全
      (1590; V/505)
18; much changed
16. 文會堂琴譜
      (1596; VI/243)
14; related
17. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/369)
11; identical to 1589 #1
18. 陽春堂琴譜
      (1611; VII/404)
10; much changed
19. 松絃館琴譜
      (1614; VIII/125)
13; related
20. 古音正宗
      (1634; IX/338)
12; related
21. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/158)
14; related
22. 徽言秘旨訂
      (1692; fac/)
Same as 1647?
23. 愧菴琴譜
      (1660; XI/39)
13; related;
24a. 臣奔堂琴譜
      (1663/5; XI/112)
12; related
24b. 臣奔堂琴譜
      (1663/5; XI/114)
11; related; lyrics
25a. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/389)
13; related; preface credits Mao Minzhong in hiding
25b. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/503)
11; related; preface diff. but still credits Mao Minzhong
26. 大還閣琴譜
      (1673; X/388)
13; no commentary
Compare 1614
27. 澄鑒堂琴譜
      (1689; XIV/247)
13; related; no commentary
28. 德音堂琴譜
      (1691; XII/555)
13; related; no commentary
29. 琴譜析微
      (1692; XIII/97)
13T; related
    . 蓼懷堂琴譜
      (1702; XIII/)
Not in QQJC version and not in Zha Guide 112[54]ff, but 1876 says it is a copy of this and the Guide 66[310] lists section titles???
30. 誠一堂琴譜
      (1705; XIII/377)
13; related
31. 五知齋琴譜
      (1722; XIV/494)
13; related; intro as 1585, attrib. Mao Minzhong
32. 臥雲樓琴譜
      (1722; XV/76)
13T; no commentary; related
33. 光裕堂琴譜
      (~1726; XV/337)
13; no commentary; related
34. 琴學練要
      (1739; XVIII/193)
13T; 宮音 gongyin (!); related; see afterword about MMZ
35. 春草堂琴譜
      (1744; XVIII/269)
13; 夷則均 Yize Jun; 宮音 gong yin; raise 1st, 3rd, 6th string; 4th string = gong;
Music still seems related but I have not figured it out properly
36. 蘭田館琴譜
      (1755; XVI/241)
徵音 zhi yin; 13; by Mao Minzhong; related; only commentary is:
維揚吳重光傳 as transmitted by Wu Chongguang of Weiyang; 蒙古八十三授 (?)
37. 琴香堂琴譜
      (1760; XVII/70)
13; zhi yin; related; no commentary
38. 研露樓琴譜
      (1766; XVI/482)
徵音; 13; related; no commentary
39. 自遠堂琴譜
      (1802; XVII/381)
13; "shang yin!; no commentary
40. 裛露軒琴譜
      (>1802; XIX/280)
13; "= 1689"
Each section has brief comments about music
41. 小蘭琴譜
      (1812; XIX/452)
13; zhiyin; comments with each section
42. 二香琴譜
      (1833; XXIII/138)
13; shangyin; very long afterword
43. 悟雪山房琴譜
      (1836; XXII/340)
14; 中呂均,商音
Afterword mentions 1744 changing tuning: change back?
44. 稚雲琴譜
      (1849; XXIII/461)
13; related; no commentary
45. 琴學入門
      (1864; XXIV/320)
13; gong yin; afterword same as 1744
46. 蕉庵琴譜
      (1868; XXVI/61)
13; same intro as 1744;
See recordings by Liu Jingshao and others of Guangling school
47. 以六正五之齋琴學秘書
      (1875; XXVI/256)
11; 羽調宮音 yu diao gong yin (!); lyrics and music almost same as 1589 but many inconsistencies;
Preface a copy of 1589
48. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/444)
13T; 羽音,商調 yu yin shang diao; marginal comments
"1702" but not there!
49. 天籟閣琴譜
      (1876; XXI/164)
13; zhi yin no commentary
50. 枯木禪琴譜
      (1893; XXVIII/81)
13; attrib. Mao Minzhong
51. 琴學初津
      (1894; XXVIII/336)
13; "黃太調宮音 huangtai diao gongyin"; related;
At front: "slow"; afterword explains about 4th string beging gong
52. 琴學叢書
      (1910; XXX/293)
"from 1802"
53. 雅齋琴譜叢集
      (n.d.; ???)
Zha Guide says it is here, but the handbook is not in Qinqu Jicheng
54. 沙堰琴編
      (1946; XXIX/345)
13T; also comments on music with each section; preface

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