Zhi Zhao Fei
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42. Pheasant's Morning Flight
- Yu mode, standard tuning:2   5 6 1 2 3 5 6
雉朝飛 1
Zhi Zhao Fei
  Zhi Zhao Fei, from Kuian Qinpu; 3 see also a print by Fu Dongli
The connection of the (ringed) pheasant with human relationships can be traced to poems in the Classic of Poetry. For example, in Wings Flapping (Mao #197) a pheasant cooing in the morning to its mate reminds the narrator, a woman, of her lonely state.4 In the Zhi Zhao Fei preface the woodcutter (or wood gatherer), makes a similar observation.

The earliest mention of this title as a qin melody is in Qin Cao, the list of qin melodies attributed to Cai Yong (133-192).5 Later editions of this list have commentaries which relate the story about Du Muzi given below, except that the old man is not Min Xuan but Du Muzi himself (Warring States period; also called Mu Duzi), at the age of 70. King Xuan of Qi lived 378-323 BCE.6

Folio 57, #23 of Yuefu Shiji collects seven different poems under the title Zhi Zhao Fei, introducing them with quotes from four early sources:7

  1. Qin Qing Ying,8 by Yang Xiong, relates a story of the governess of a woman of Wei. On her way to marry a prince of Qi, the woman of Wei learned that he had died. She committed suicide "to protect her virginity" and changed into a pheasant. This saddened her governess, who then wrote Zhi Zhao Fei.

  2. Cui Bao's Notes Old and New9 quotes the Du Muzi story. It adds that in the time of Cao Cao (ca. 200 CE) a woman in the palace named Ms. Lu, who was good at new sounds, was able to play this piece; she apparently also married late.

  3. Qin Song,10 attributed to Bo Ya, has lyrics consisting of three 7-character lines.

  4. Yuefu Jieti has a quote about emperor Jianwen of Liang.11 Jianwen is connected to the aforementioned story of Ms. Lu.

As for the seven poems, attributions range from Du Muzi himself to Zhang Hu of the Tang dynasty. The first poem, attributed to Du Muzi himself, is included in the Shen Qi Mi Pu preface (below). The fifth poem, by Li Bai, connects the story to spring time. This is perhaps one reason that the prelude to Zhi Zhao Fei in Xilutang Qintong is Chunxiao Yin.12 In Taigu Yiyin (1511) the sixth poem, by Han Yu, is set to a short melody that seems to be unrelated to the one here (except the mode). A later poem on this theme is one by the Song dynasty's Cao Xun in his own collection called Qin Cao.

In SQMP both Zhi Zhao Fei and #43 Wu Ye Ti end with the instruction to play the harmonics at the end of the modal introduction for the yu mode; these end on 6 (la), the expected note for the yu mode. The versions of these two melodies in Zheyin are specifically related to those in SQMP. However, the codas there (written out separately and nearly identical to each other) have harmonics strangely ending on 5 (sol) instead of 6 (la). The yu mode prelude included in Zheyin is identical to that in SQMP, ending on 6. So if the written out endings on 5 -- the open first string -- correspond with some ancient principle, this is now lost.

It is also interesting to note that Gufeng Cao, said to be in gong mode, is actually played throughout as though it belongs in yu mode; it then suddenly ends on gong.

Zhi Zhao Fei was one of the most popular qin melodies in the Ming dynasty, surviving in at least handbooks published between 1425 and 1673; it then became gradually less common, found in a further 13 from then through 1876.13 Perhaps related to this, there were occasionally some negative comments to the effect that the music was too agitated.14

The Zheyin Shizi Qinpu version is melodically quite different from SQMP, and also adds lyrics as well as section titles. This version is recorded only in my CD Music Beyond Sound. In addition to my recording of the SQMP version, there is also one by Chen Changlin available of his own reconstruction; his interpretation is somewhat different from mine.15

Original Preface 16

The Emaciated Immortal says,

according to Cui Bao's Notes Old and New,

(Zhi Zhao Fei) was written by Du Muzi. During the time of King Xuan of Qi a local citizen named Min Xuan, though 50 years old, still had no wife. While going out (to collect) firewood in a frontier region he saw a male ringed pheasant accompanying a female pheasant as he flew, instinctively moving him to sadness. He looked up to heaven and sighed, saying, "God in heaven has been merciful to grass and trees, fowl and wild beasts, but has left me alone and without a wife." So he created a song.

(The lyrics attributed to Du Muzi) say,

The ringed pheasants fly in the early morning;
They cry back and forth to each other.
Male and female fly together beside a mountain slope.
I am the only unfortunate one, as yet I have no wife.
I am approaching my sunset years -- what am I to do?
Alas, the sunset years -- what am I to do?

Du Muzi was very much aggrieved at this, so someone used the meaning to create this melody.

Music (timings follow the recording on my CD; 聽錄音 listen with my transcription)
Transcription begins with that for the modal prelude
14 sections; titles are from Zheyin17

(00.00) 01. The sky is comforting and the sun is warm
(01.01) 02. The green wheat is in rows
(01.22) 03. Red feathers (on the body) and long headfeathers
(01.46) 04. Male and female pheasant fly together
(02.16) 05. Stopping and flying at the appropriate times
(02.44) 06. They fly back and forth in a pair
(03.13) 07. Together in life and death
(03.50) 08. Min (Xuan) goes out to get firewood
(04.24) 09. Touched by the animal, the man thinks of himself
(05.15) 10. He looks up to heaven and cries out
(05.36) 11. How are people different from other things?
(06.28) 12. The evening of life
(06.48) 13. A faithful relationship from beginning to end
(07.25) 14. Using a qin to record the affair
(08.03) --- play harmonics of this mode
(08.18) --- Piece ends

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

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Pheasants' Morning Flight (Zhi Zhao Fei)
42936.20 雉朝飛 (see also 14705.127 朝飛操, which quotes Cui Bao) says "qin melody" and quotes Yuefu Shiji, including some of the poems. Seng Juyue (the monk Ju Yue) lists it as "most ancient". See also Xu Jian, pp. 8-9.

2. Yu mode (羽調 yu diao)
For further information on yu mode see Shenpin Yu Yi and Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

3. Kuian Qinpu illustration (QQJC XI/57)
There is no inscription.

4. Two references to pheasants in the Book of Songs (詩經 Shi Jing)
Shi Jing #197 Wings Flapping (小弁 Xiao Pan or Xiao Bian, eight verses, each structured [4+4] x 4). The fifth refers to pheasants cooing in the morning (translation from Waley/Allen, The Book of Songs, Grove Press, 1996, #197):

鹿斯之奔、   There the deer run along
維足伎伎。   On nimble and easy legs;
雉之朝雊、   The pheasants coo in the morning light,
尚求其雌。   Calling to their mates.
譬彼壞木、   Yet like that decaying tree,
疾用無枝。   Diseased and without limbs,
心之憂矣、   My heart is grieved indeed;
寧莫之知。   For no one understands me.

In the first half of Shi Jing #33 Male Pheasant (雄雉 Xiong Zhi, see image; four verses, each structured [4+4] x 2) a woman compares her missing lover to a male pheasant flying about; in the second half he suggests a better comparison in the sky is the sun or the moon: always there.

In addition, #34 The Gourd has Bitter Leaves (匏有苦葉 Pao You Ku Ye) refers to a female pheasant calling to its mate. And #70 The Gingerly Hare (兔爰 Tu Yuan) compares the careful hare with a pheasant, which is easily trapped.

5. Qin Cao of Cai Yong
It is included in TKW Qin Fu, p. 743. Qinyuan Yaolu, pp.4-5 has a somewhat longer version.

6. King Xuan of Qi (齊宣王 Qi Xuan Wang)
Qi was in what is today Shandong province. For King Xuan see Watson, tr. Records of the Grand Historian, Vol.II, pp. 14 & 356. For Du Muzi (犢牧子) / Mu Duzi (牧犢子 or 沐犢子) see Qin Shi #46.

7. Zhi Zhao Fei in Yuefu Shiji (Zhonghua Shuju edition, pp.835-837)
This section of Yuefu Shiji begins by saying that an alternate title is Melody of Pheasants' Morning Call (雉朝雊操 Zhi Zhao Gou Cao). The seven Zhi Zhao Fei poems that follow the introductions are discussed further under the 1511 version of Zhi Zhao Fei.

8. Yang Xiong (55 BCE - 18 CE), Qin Qing Ying (揚雄《琴清英》)
This is said to be the oldest surviving qin treatise. See VG. p.30 and 琴書存目 Qinshu Cunmu, Folio 1, #9, which relates part of this story in discussing Yang Xiong and the book. The story is also in Qin Shi Bu #31, Wei Nü Fu Mu (衛女傅母; Prince of Qi is 齊太子) not to be confused with the Wei Nü in Qin Shi.

9. Cui Bao, Notes Old and New (崔豹《古今注》
盧女 Mrs Lu has a separate biography. Cui Bao (fl. ca. 300 CE) was a famous antiquarian (Van Gulik, Lore, p. 142, has Ts'ui Piao). Notes Old and New collected his comments into eight categories, one of which was music. Nienhauser, Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, p.485, says the music section has "anecdotes and background information concerning 27 yuefu poems ...(and)... passages concerning two kinds of early music...." The book is still extant.

10. Boya, Qin Song (伯牙,琴歌)
The text is three lines of seven characters each.

11. Yuefu Jieti (樂府解題)
The original text is 若梁簡文帝「晨光照麥畿」,但詠雉而已。 Jianwen of Liang (Xiao Gang) is said also to have written lyrics for Chunjiang Qu.

12. Chunxiao Yin: Prelude to Zhi Zhao Fei?
Xilutang Qintong pairs many short and long melodies, giving them both the same preface. It has no preface for #89 Chun Xiao Yin, so the preface to #90 Zhi Zhao Fei should apply; this 1525 preface is identical to the one in Shen Qi Mi Pu.

13. Tracing Zhi Zhao Fei (see tracing chart)
The chart below is based on Zha Guide 7/66/104. When reconstructing this melody I looked at later tablature to see if there were versions close enough to the 1425 version that they might help, but I did not examine them in detail.

14. Criticism of Zhi Zhao Fei
Xu Jian, QSCB, p. 8, last line, says,

The Ming dynasty qin master Chen Aitong (who had learned Zhi Zhao Fei from 張渭川 Zhang Weichuan) became especially good at playing the piece, but the editor of Songxianguan Qinpu rejected its agitated rhythm, and so he did not include it....

Songxianguan Qinpu (1614) was the original handbook of the Qinchuan (Yu Shan) qin school, and Xu Jian writes that the Qinchuan school had a similar opinion about the melody Wu Ye Ti. However, I have not been able to find such a statement in Songxianguan Qinpu (e.g., the general commentaries at QQJC, VIII/73ff, /159ff or /170) or elsewhere. On the other hand, Xu Qingshan (Xu Hong) does include the melody in Dahuange Qinpu (1673), generally considered the successor handbook to Songxianguan Qinpu. What Xu Qingshan does is add a cautionary note in his afterword to the Zhi Zhao Fei, as follows (QQJC X/408 or Zha Guide, p. 313/69):

As for this piece, it is the version Mr. Zhang Weichuan passed on to Chen Aitong. Aitong had not passed it on to his son (Chen) Xingyuan, but instead had passed it on to Weichuan, believing that Weichuan could bring out the best of it. From this we can see our past respected peers did not just favour their own sons, but did what they thought best. As it was Weichuan who taught it to me, so I do not want to pass it on carelessly to just anyone, so I have generally kept this tablature to myself. In managing this tablature, one should appreciate its sound carefully, and do not lightly change even one character. In this way one can maintain its wonderful integrity through a thousand years of tradition. (By Qingshan).

Could it be that (Xu) Qingshan felt that in the wrong hands the piece might be played in a too "agitated" manner? Or simply that they might play it unevenly and the sound would not be good. Unfortunately, it is not very clear what this would have meant at that time and to those players.

Or might it be that it was theme itself, as expressed in this poem by Li Bai, that was too emotional?

15. See Chen Chang-lin, Min (Fujian) River Qin Music, Hugo HRP 7129-2, Track 2.

16. Preface
For the original Chinese text see 雉朝飛.

17. Music
For the original of the Chinese section titles used here see 雉朝飛. The section titles from 1525 are different:

  1. 漸漸麥隴
  2. 山梁曙旭
  3. 雄雊求雌
  4. 綺翼拚飛
  5. 錦衣呈彩
  6. 登木避射
  7. 依桑引雛
  8. 葭渚和聲
  9. 集枝此翼
  10. 飲啄不警
  11. 雌雄相逐
  12. 羣飛粥粥

Not yet translated.
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Appendix: Chart Tracing 雉朝飛 Zhi Zhao Fei
Further comment
above; based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide, 7/66/104

    (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/154 [here])
14; no lyrics or section titles; afterword (中文)
Section titles from >1505 have been added here (中文)
  2.  浙音釋字琴譜
      (>1505; I/232 [details])
14TL (i.e., has section titles and lyrics); preface almost same;
melody related to 1425 but noticeably different
  3. 謝琳太古遺音
      (1511; I/292 [details])
1L; short; seems musically unrelated to 1425, etc.;
Lyrics are a short poem by Han Yu ("雉之飛於朝日....")
  4. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/176)
12T; afterword almost same as 1425 preface; music similar; section titles different;
Uses #89
Chunxiao Yin (details) as a prelude
  5. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/279)
14; no commentary; related but somewhat different
  6. 梧岡琴譜
      (1546; I/440)
13; related
  7. 步虛僊琴譜
      (1556; III/297)
  8. 太音傳習
      (1552; IV/139)
  9. 太音補遺
      (1557; III/379)
13; compare 1546
10. 琴譜正傳
      (1561; II/456)
13; same as 1546
11. 新刊正文對音捷要
      (1573; #86)
Same as 1585?
12. 五音琴譜
      (1579; IV/239)
13. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/463)
14TL; section titles and lyrics like >1505;
Music very different but still related
14. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/64)
15. 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1589; VII/116)
13TL; preface; lyrics related but rather different (begin "天和風日暖....");
Section titles different (begin, 1. 時和物暢; 2. 翱翔麥隴....)
    . 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1609; Fac/)
Same as 1589
16. 琴書大全
      (1590; V/516)
17. 文會堂琴譜
      (1596; VI/250)
18. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/444)
13; same as 1589
19. 陽春堂琴譜
      (1611; VII/408)
    . 松絃館琴譜
      (1614; VIII/xxx)
Not here, but included in 1673
20. 太音希聲
      (1625; IX/228)
18TL; preface; afterword;
All related to earlier versions but not identical
21. 古音正宗
      (1634; IX/228)
22. 義軒琴經
      (late Ming; IX/445)
23. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/190)
    . 徽言秘旨訂
      (1692; fac/)
Presumably same as 1647
24. 友聲社琴譜
      (early Qing; XI/157)
14; "鄭譜 Zheng's tablature"
25. 愧菴琴譜
      (1660; XI/59)
18; illustration above
26a. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/395)
26b. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/508)
14; "周本"
27. 大還閣琴譜
      (1673; X/409)
28. 澄鑒堂琴譜
      (1689; XIV/295)
29. 琴譜析微
      (1692; XIII/110)
30. 蓼懷堂琴譜
      (1702; XIII/273)
31. 誠一堂琴譜
      (1705; XIII/395)
32. 五知齋琴譜
      (1722; XIV/528)
14; lyrics from 1589 appended after tablature
33. 臥雲樓琴譜
      (1722; XV/89)
34. 存古堂琴譜
      (1726; XV/268)
14; no commentary
(but some marginal comments, e.g., first section says, "此段取音要淡雅")
35. 光裕堂琴譜
      (~1726; XV/347)
Same as 1726
36. 琴香堂琴譜
      (1760; XVII/126)
37. 研露樓琴譜
      (1766; XVI/504)
38. 自遠堂琴譜
      (1802; XVII/434)
39. 裛露軒琴譜
      (>1802; XIX/333)
14; "= 1689"
40. 蕉庵琴譜
      (1868; XXVI/75)
14; preface credits Du Muzi
41. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/505)
Preceded by lyrics
"= 1705"

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