Shenpin Qiliang Yi
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54. Celestial Air Defining Qiliang Mode
- qiliang mode;2 (tighten 2nd/5th strings: 2 4 5 6 1 2 3)
神品凄凉意 1
Shenpin Qiliang Yi 3

Regarding this tuning, SQMP (I/169) gives the following added tuning explanation:

Same as Chushang Mode; tighten 2nd and 5th strings.
Open 7th string = 5th string stopped at 11th position;
Open 4th string = 2nd string stopped at 11th position.

Modal preludes using this tuning, called Qiliang Yi and Shenpin Chushang Yi (#55), were all used to introduce characteristics of melodies using this tuning.4 There are modal preludes with these titles in at least 14 handbooks from 1425 to 1670.5

Shen Qi Mi Pu has four pieces using this tuning:

  1. Huaxu Yin (QQJC I/118)
  2. Zepan Yin (QQJC I/169)
  3. Li Sao (QQJC I/170)
  4. Chu Ge (chushang; QQJC I/174)

The first of these is in folio 1, which has melodies for Zhu Quan could find no players. It has a somewhat different modality from the other three. Like them it has re (2) as the main note but whereas they have yu as the secondary note, in Huaxu Yin do (1) is the secondary note. It also has a happier theme. Note, however, that its inclusion in Folio I suggests it could date from before the Southern Song dynasty.

The latter three melodies (two qiliang pieces then one in chushang), are grouped together in Folio III, which should have only melodies with non-standard tuning. For no apparent reason, though, Shen Qi Mi Pu inserts the shangjiao modal prelude and its two pieces between Li Sao and Chu Ge, the latter of which is presumably associated with chushang mode. The fact that Shen Qi Mi Pu is otherwise so carefully edited makes this particularly puzzling.

All three of the Folio 3 melodies have stories connected to the ancient state of Chu.6 This also seems to be a characteristic of ruibin mode melodies. Both qiliang melodies concern Qu Yuan; the chushang piece concerns the Chu general Xiang Yu. All these have 2 (re) as the main note and 6 (yu) as the secondary note. This is of particular note because of a possible connection to Song dynasty concepts of shang mode.

Melodies published later that use raised second and fifth string tuning for pieces with connections to the state of Chu include:

  1. Qu Yuan Wen Du (from 1525)
  2. Song Yu Bei Qiu (1525 version only; Song Yu, like Qu Yuan, was a Chu poet)
  3. Diao Qu Yuan (only in 1546)

Still other pieces using this tuning, but without an apparent Chu connection, include:

  1. Yangguan Sandie (early forms only; it later changed to using ruibin tuning).
  2. Qiujiang Songbie (a version of Yangguan Sandie)

There may be later examples, but few were emerging by the end of the Ming dynasty.7

Original preface

Timings follow the recording on
my CD; 聽錄音 listen with my transcription, which has Shenpin Chushang Yi attached.
One section9

(00.38) -- harmonics
(00.55) -- 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 Qiliang Yi 神品凄凉意
For more information on modes see Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature. 1689.2 凄凉 (qiliang) has nothing on music, but 1689.3 凄凉犯 (qiliang fan: cold/mournful offense), says it is 詞牌名 the name of a cipai, 一名瑞鶴仙影 also called Ruihe Xian Ying, 姜夔自度曲 one of the self-done songs (zizhi ci) by Jiang Kui. It then has some discussion connecting 凄凉犯 qiliang fan with 凄凉調 qiliang diao.

Qiliang is often written 淒涼. 17998.18 淒涼 also says nothing about a qiliang mode. 17990.19 淒涼犯 qiliang fan again says it is the name of a cipai (one of the 17 ci, perhaps connecting it to the melody Rui He Xian published in Japan.) It has similar information to the above, including making the connection with 淒涼調 qiliang diao). The cipai does not seem to fit with the melody here (see below).

2. Qiliang tuning
Raise 2nd and 5th strings; see further above as well as Qin Tunings, some theoretical concepts.

3. Image
None yet selected.

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 qiliang and chushang mode preludes (see tracing chart below)
Zha Guide has three listings:

These are outlined further in the appendix. Note that while some pieces called qilaing use the chushang melody, none called chushang use the qiliang melody.

6. See Chu themes and the Chu Ci illustrations

7. Other qiliang melodies?
To my knowledge there is no index of melodies by tuning or mode. There could also be hidden ones, such as with the Li Sao in Tianwen Ge Qinpu (1876), where the correct tuning is given but not the name.

8. Original Preface
Although SQMP modal preludes have no prefaces, those in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu (which all have identical music) do. In Zheyin the preface to the qiliang modal prelude is as follows:

是意也,一名楚商調,一名曰外調。 其音則散七挑五、名指按五絃於十一徽是也。意簫瑟之意。
(Qiliang Yi)

9. Music
Note that the version in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu has the same music as in 1425 but adds lyrics (q.v.).

Appendix: Chart Tracing
Shenpin Qiliang Yi and Shenpin Chushang Yi

This chart is based mainly on these Zha Guide entries (further comment above):

The melodies are aligned left or right based not on their titles but whether they are melodically closer to the 1425 Qiliang melody (left) or the 1425 Chushang melody (right). All treat the tuning as 2 4 5 6 1 2 3 (from standard tuning raise 2nd and 5th strings).

    (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/169)
神品凄凉意 Shenpin Qiliang Yi;
main note 2 (shang); secondary note 6 (yu)
1a.  神奇秘譜
      (1425; I/169)
神品楚商意 Shenpin Chushang Yi; begins with a 打圓 da yuan
main note 2 (shang); secondary note 6 (yu)
  2.  浙音釋字琴譜
      (<1491; I/260)
Identical to 1425, adding lyrics
No Chushang Yi (or Chu Ge)
  3. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/251)
宮意 Qiliang Yi
More elaborate than 1425; 1525 has Chu Ge but no Chushang
  4. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/288)
Shenpin Qiliang; almost same as 1425
No Chushang or Chu Ge
  5. 梧岡琴譜
      (1546; I/452)
Shenpin Qiliang Yi; "same as Chushang Yi" (precedes Chu Ge)
Music almost same as 1425 Shenpin Chushang Yi
  6. 琴譜正傳
      (1561; II/469)
Shenpin Qiliang Yi;
Identical to 1546
  7. 步虛僊琴譜
      (1556; III/--)
Qiliang Yi; in Folio 7 of facsimile edition
Same as 1425
7a. 步虛僊琴譜
      (1556; III/--)
Chushang Yi; in Folio 7 of facsimile edition
Same as 1425
  8. 太音傳習
      (1552-61; IV/167)
Qiliang Yi; damaged pu at harmonic coda;
Starts Like 1425 then different
8a. 太音傳習
      (1552-61; IV/168)
宮意 Qiliang Yi "same as Chushang Yi"; damaged pu at harmonic coda;
Different from preceding (starts with harmonics)
  9. 太音補遺
      (1557; III/391)
Qiliang Yi Kao
Music same as 1546, so also like 1425 Shenpin Chushang Yi
10. 新刊正文對音
      捷要 (1573; ToC)
Qiliang Yi; identical to 1585?
11. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/500)
Qiliang Yi;
melody seems different but lyrics same as <1491
12. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/92)
Shenpin Qiliang Yi; also 1602
Related to 1425 (and 1547) Shenpin Chushang Yi)
13. 文會堂琴譜
      (1596; VI/273)
Qiliang Yi;
Like 1425 and 1546 Chushang preludes
14. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/445)
Shenpin Qiliang Yi; identical to 1589
15. 陽春堂琴譜
      (1611; VII/439)
Qiliang Yi
like 1425 and 1546 Chushang preludes
16. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/416)
Shenpin Qiliang Yi
Same as 1425
16. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/416)
Shenpin Chushang Yi
Same as 1425
17. 白菡萏香館琴譜;
      (1871; XXIV/432)
Qiliang Yi
Seems to be from 1611 Qiliang Yi

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