Shenhua Yin
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59. Metamorphosis
Also called Diemeng Yin (Butterfly Dream)
Shangjue mode, standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, but played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 2
神化引 1
Shenhua Yin
  Dreaming of being a butterfly (expand) 3            
As indicated by the alternative title, Shenhua Yin has the same basic theme as the other Shen Qi Mi Pu shangjue mode piece, #60 Zhuangzhou Mengdie. Both refer to Zhuangzi's Butterfly Dream, as told in Chapter 2 of the Book of Zhuangzi. Both titles seem to have been almost equally popular through 1802 (29 compared to 33 handbooks). However, whereas the Zhuangzhou Mengdie melodies seem to show a gradual development over the years, just before 1600 Shenhua Yin suddenly changed into (or was exchanged for) quite a new and longer melody (five or more sections rather than three). More specifically, the year 1589 marked both the last known publication of the earlier version and the first known publication (in a different handbook) of the later version. The later version in turn came to be connected more with two different melody titles.

  1. Autumn Floods (Qiu Shui4). In the same mode as here, it is melodically related (especially through the old Shangjue modal prelude), and has its title seemingly taken from the title of another chapter of the the Book of Zhuangzi.
  2. Dragon Soaring Melody (Long Xiang Cao). This title seems also to have been connected (in particular through the Zha Guide) to a similar sounding title, Melody of Longshuo (Long Shuo Cao).

Further complicating tracing these melodies, Zha Guide separately indexed Qiu Shui.5

In early handbooks Shenhua Yin is also called Diemeng You (Butterfly Dream Wandering), Diemeng Yin (Butterfly Dream Prelude)6 and Quxu Yin (Flitting then Normal Prelude).7 Under all these names the Zha Guide has it surviving in at least 32 handbooks to 1914.8 The first nine of these versions all have three sections and one can speculate that perhaps the melody may have originated as a longer melody that had been shortened to form a prelude for Zhuangzhou Meng Die.

In any case, starting around 1600 (see Zangchunwu Qinpu, 1602) the surviving new and generally much longer melody (or melodies) generally called Shenhua Yin emerged. As typified by the two versions in Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu, dated 1589 and 1609 respectively, almost all of these begin very much like the shangjue modal prelude. Then, although the 1602 version has only three sections, its second and third sections are quite long, and in every other version with this opening these were broken up into smaller sections. These longer versions then had anywhere from five to 13 or more sections. They also had several titles in addition to Shenhua Yin. These include "Old Metamorphosis" (Gu Shenhua), in three handbooks;9 as well as the afore-mentioned "Autumn Floods" (Qiu Shui), listed as in five handbooks. Most of these latter say that Qiu Shui is actually an alternate title for "Shenhua Qu" ("Metamorphosis Melody").

Qinyuan Xinchuan Quanbian (1670), after its Shenhua Yin, included an Old Shenhua (Gu Shenhua) with 38 sections (QQJC XI/419). This is actually a version of a completely different melody, Yuhua Deng Xian.

Modally the Shenhua Yin in 1425 is somewhat ambiguous. As with other shangjue mode pieces, the main note is do (1, gong), played on the open first string. However, it starts on a sharpened do, emphasizing that at the beginning the mode is based on la treated as do. It then switches to do natural still based on la before moving the tonal center to do. This is something lost in later versions.

Zhu Quan's preface to #60 Zhuangzhou Mengdie gives details of the famous story.

Besides my own there have been several recent silk string recordings of the 1425 Shenhua Yin.10 More common, though, are recordings of the standard later version of Shenhua Yin such as one by Xie Daoxiu said to be from a now-lost Gugang Yipu.11 (Guangdong school).

Original Preface 12

The Emaciated Immortal says

the flavor of this piece has the idea of gracefully casting off the dust and dregs (of society). (The player's) spirit and body all transform, and he imagines himself floating unconsciously among trees, springs and large hills, where bees and butterflies flutter about, and in forgetting (oneself) beyond the realm of objective existence.

Timings follow the recording on
my CD; 聽錄音 listen with my transcription, which is here preceded by that of the modal prelude.
My interpretation is somewhat revised in this more recent video (also with prelude).
Three sections; titles are from Zheyin Shizi Qinpu14

(00.00) 1. Gracefully
(00.30) 2. Cast off the dust (of society)
(01.05) 3. The body transforms (into spirit)
(01.58) Piece ends (no harmonics indicated)

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Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 神化引 Shenhua Yin references
25211.33 only 神化 shenhua: 變化神妙也. References are to Latter Xi Ci in Zhou Yi (Changes of Zhou [
Wiki], specifically 周易繫辭下:神而化之,便民宜之。 [ctext]), Huainanzi, etc., with no mention of Zhuangzi. In the Zhuangzi itself the term does not seem to appear (though see below). Instead there is reference to "物化 wuhua": transformation of things.

Since early times people have written about the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. For example, Aristotle (Wiki) wrote of it in Book 5 Section 19 of his History of Animals (Wiki). An interesting though perhaps irrelevant, detail is that in ancient Greek the word for butterfly was "psyche" (from Ψυχή Psyche, "Greek goddess of the soul, often represented with butterfly wings" [Wiki]).

2. Shangjue Mode (商角調 shangjue diao)
For further information see
Shenpin Shangjue Yi and Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

3. Image: 陸治 夢蝶 Butterfly Dream, by Lu Zhi
The original is in the Palace Museum, Beijing. Lu Zhi (style name 山子 Shanzi, ca. 1496-1576;
Wiki) was from Suzhou. This painting is said to date from ca. 1550. There are many modern depictions of this in addition to the one here.

4. Autumn Floods (秋水 Qiu Shui) (Zha Guide 32/245/--) Zhuangzi and an Autumn Flood        
The title is a reference to Chapter 17 of the Book of Zhuangzi, specifically to Chapter 17 (ctext); the illustration at right was copied from C.C. Tsai, Zhuangzi, The Way of Nature, Princeton University Press, 2019.

A qin melody with this title first appears in 1647 as an alternate title for "Shenhua Qu" ("Metamorphosis Melody"). A reconstruction of the earliest surviving version of this title, dated 1647 (QQJC X/125) is available in a silk string recording by Wang Duo. As for available prefaces/afterwords, the only two with relevant commentary seem to be,

As a qin melody title Qiu Shui can be found in an early Ming dynasty melody list, where it is said to be an alternate title for 雲竹偈 Yunzhu Ji (Cloud Bamboo Verse; 43170.106 has only 雲竹 yunzhu: 雲氣覆蓋之竹也 cloud-covered bamboo). However, the significance of that is unclear, and the earliest surviving tablature with this title, the Qiu Shui published in 1647, has written under the title "即神化曲 the same as Shenhua Qu". Although this may distinguish this melody from "神化引 Shenhua Yin", "shenhua" (metamophosis) itself still suggests a connection with the story of Zhuangzi's dream of being a butterfly, and this in turn suggests that here the title "Qiu Shui" has a connection to the title mentioned above, that of Chapter 17 of the Book of Zhuangzi (ctext). The Zhuangzi text concerns floods in autumn, hence the translation of what might otherwise be simply "autumn waters".

Qiu Shui, like Shenhua Yin is in shangjue mode, and in fact the first section of the 1647 Qiu Shui is clearly a version of the 1425 shangjue modal prelude, with the first two of its nine sections being very similar to Section One of the Shenhua Yin published in 1589. However, beyond this the overall musical relationship to Shenhua Yin is not yet clear. This is further discussed in the next footnote.

This Qiu Shui has no connection to Qiushui Nong, given as an alternative title for Dao Yi and, in one case, for Yueshang Cao.

Besides the abovementioned recording by Wang Duo there are a number of recordings under the title "Qiu Shui", most of them apparently based on the 1876 Qiu Shui. There are also recordings of similar melodies but called Long Xiang Cao. However, I do not know which (if any) are melodies handed down directly from the pre-modern period, and how many are newly reconstructed, or handed down from an earlier modern reconstruction.

5. Separating out Shenhua Yin, Qiu Shui and Longxiang Cao
The Zha
Guide 32/345/-- lists Qiu Shui in five handbooks from 1647 to 1876, giving alternate titles as Shen Hua Qu and Shen Hua Yin. However, a related melody also exists throughout this period under the title Long Xiang Cao. Rather confusingly, the Zha Guide lists Long Xiang Cao as a variant of Long Shuo Cao which indeed it sometimes is, as can be seen in the Long Shuo Cao chart beginning with 1689. Although the Guide does not seem to make a similar connection to Qiu Shui, the connections can be seen by comparing these melodies from the latter part of the Longshuo Cao chart with melodies in the Shen Hua Yin tracing chart beginning with th 1589 Shenhua Yin but especially with the 1647Qiu Shui. Such a comparison seems to suggest the Qiu Shui connection seems more natural, though the great variety within these melodies makes it difficult at present to determine the lineage of many.

Because the earliest surviving version of the Qiu Shui known today seems to be the abovementioned Qiu Shui from 1647, it is puzzling that the Zha Guide associates the melody Long Xiang Cao only with the earlier melody Long Shuo Cao. In fact, although from 1689 in the Long Shuo Cao tracing chart those two are considered together, these charts really should be re-done after a careful comparison of all the melodies. In this way one might trace the Qiu Shui played today to their earliest source(s).

Here my own inclination for tracing Qiu Shui melodies is, beginning with the Qiu Shui of 1647, to make a list of all the melodies in these two charts that use standard tuning (+1?) then tentatively divide them in three parts, one with no early harmonics, one with harmonics only in their second section (or perhaps nearby) as well as at the end, and one with harmonics in both the second section and a later one (typically the 8th section) as well as at the end. From the Shenhua Yin chart after 1589 the latter two groups would include up to about 15 pieces while from the Longxiang Cao part of the Longshuo Cao chart it would include a further 10 or so. However, further distinguishing these might still be difficult as there are so many variations and perhaps cross-influences over time.

6. 蝶夢吟 Diemeng Yin and 蝶夢遊 Diemeng You
34086.51 diemeng has the Zhuangzi story but nothing on music.
Zha Guide lists these only as variant titles of Shenhua Yin.

7. 籧栩吟 Quxu Yin (Zha Guide 19/--/--)
In the Zhuangzi (end of Chapter 2) account, Zhuangzi is 栩栩然 xuxuran (flitting like) a butterfly then 籧籧然 ququran (normal like) a Zhuangzi (33299.33 蘧蘧然 has nothing on music and 27379.x 籧 has nothing relative). The latter title is used only in 1625.

8. Tracing 神化引 Shen Hua Yin (tracing chart)
Zha's Guide 9/95/146 lists most of the 32 handbooks from 1425 to 1914. The tracing chart shows clearly how around 1600 the melody changed significantly; some of the later versions were called Qiu Shui (see below).

9. Old Metamorphosis (古神化 Gu Shenhua) (Zha Guide 30/233/--)
This seems to be an extended version of the new Shenhua Yin. The version from 1812 makes this most clear, but the first six sections of 1609 and 1623 are also related to the new Shenhua Yin.

Zha Guide 30/233/-- lists four handbooks with this title:

The title suggests that this extended version of Shenhua Yin is older than the more common shorter one. This may be true, but I don't know of any evidence to support this claim.

10. Other recordings of Shenhua Yin from Shen Qi Mi Pu
For example, on YouTube there is
this one by 陳慶隆 Chen Ching-Long.

11. 古岡遺譜 Gugang Yipu
For See

12. Original Chinese preface
神化引. Note that the preface here mentions "物俱化", translated as "transform", while in 1491 the first section mentions "神化飄然", while the third section has the title "物化" and its lyrics end with "道人神化".

14. Original Chinese section titles
These are:
      1. 飄然
      2. 塵脫
      3. 物化
Lyrics for the 1491 can be found
here. Section 1 lyrics begin, "神化飄然...".

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Appendix: Chart Tracing 神化引 Shenhua Yin
Further comment
above (compare the Zhuangzhou Meng Die chart)

This chart is based mainly on these entries in Zha Fuxi's Guide

神化引     Shenhua Yin (9/95/146; includes 神化吟, 神化, 蝶夢吟, 蝶夢遊)
神化曲     Shenhua Qu (38/--/--)
籧栩吟     Quxu Yin (19/--/--)
古神化引 Gu Shenhua Yin (30/233/--)
秋水         Qiu Shui (not originally in the chart; 32/245/--; also under Longxiang Cao, e.g., 1876)

    (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/172 [here])
3; "also called Diemeng Yin"; no closing harmonic coda;
Begins 無名十一勾五,大十一勾六....1# 3 3 3, repeat, 5 6 5 3 2 6 3....
  2.  浙音釋字琴譜
      (<1491; I/227)
3TL; "also called Diemeng You";
music same as 1425 but adds lyrics ("神化飄然,風月神仙。鶴氅蹁躚....")
  3. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/126)
"籧栩吟 Quxu Yin"; similar to 1425
Begins 大十勾五,大十一勾六....2 3 3 3, repeat....
  4. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/221)
3; "also called Diemeng Yin";
same as 1425
  5. 步虛僊琴譜
      (1556; Facs #23
3; similar to 1425
Begins 無名十二勾六,大十勾五....1 3 5 3, repeat....
  6. 太音傳習
      (1552; IV/108)
3; like 1425 but omits a few ornaments
  7. 太音補遺
      (1557; III/355)
3; 神化吟; same as 1552
   . 新刊正文對音捷要
      (1573; #44)
Meng Die; same as 1585?
  8. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/416)
3T; "also called Die Meng You"; titles diff. from 1591 but lyrics almost same;
music quite diff.; begins 無名十三勾三,大十跳五....5 2 5 2
  9. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/69)
3; SHY; music still related but rather different;
Music begins 中十勾五,無名十一勾六.... 2 3 3 343 4 2 1 5....
The long versions emerge: 
10a. 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1589; VII/165)
Shenhua Yin; 7; begins, "大九急跳五,食九急跳二,省,急大圓....36 36363 6 1 1,....";
S1 starts like SPSJY but then very different; harmonics only at end of Section 2 and end of piece
10b. 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1609; VII/214)
Gu Shenhua Yin; 13; preface "是曲已鐫 already cut off"; this version is not in 1589;
S1-S3 similar to in Boya Xinfa (p.165); S4 to S6 missing but see 1623
11. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/418)
3 (S3: "第三段" 419top/L2); S1 very much like SPSJY including harmonics at end;
2nd section begins 中七勾五,無名七勾六,大六七六,.... 6 1 2 3 3 5 6 6 6,....
12. 陽春堂琴譜
      (1611; VII/421)
5; also starts like SPSJY but no harmonics until end;
13a. 松絃館琴譜
      (1614; VIII/156)
1; "Shenhua Yin, 5 duan, Shou Duan": prelude to the following 5 sections;
Like SPSJY, including harmonics at end; compare with S1 and beginning of S2 for other long Shenhua Yina
13b. 松絃館琴譜
      (1614; VIII/157)
"Shenhua Yin"; 5 sections; combine with p.156 & compare 7 section Shenhua Yin of 1673;
Begins 散拂一至六,大六七抹七 124561 336(?) 33 3 3 3333....; no harmonics until end
14a. 樂仙琴譜
      (1623; VIII/405)
5; Shenhua Yin; compare 1602/1611;
Again no harmonics until end 
14b. 樂仙琴譜
      (1623; VIII/413)
13; Gu Shenhua Yin;
Preface and tablature almost same as 1609
15. 太音希聲
      (1625; IX/216)
7TL; music related to these later versions; no harmonics until end;
Lyrics begin rather like 1491, "神化飄然風月仙,飄飄鶴氅蹁躚...." then are much expanded
16a. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/125)
9; earliest "秋水 Qiu Shui"; 1st w/harmonics for Section 2; recording by Wang Duo;
"即神化曲 same as Shenhua Qu";
16b. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/128)
5; Shenhua Yin; compare 1614#2: arpeggio beginning; no harmonics until end;
Begins 散拂一至六,大六半綽抹七,省.... 124561 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3....
    . 徽言秘旨訂
      (1692; facs/)
Copies of 1647 Qiu Shui and Shenhua Yin?
17. 愧菴琴譜
      (1660; XI/37)
9; harmonics S2, arpeggio begins S3, but shorter than 1647
no image
18. 臣奔堂琴譜
      (1663/5; XI/102)
Shen Hua; 13; related but no harmonics until Section 11;
19a. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/424)
9; "originally 7 sections...."; related prelude; harmonics Section 3 longer than 1647;
Afterword: "avoid open 3rd, which is not gong....(q.v.)"
19b. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/427)
Gu Shenhua; 37!!!; short sections; forward and afterword; not related;
Post-afterword comments on making it, says also called Yuhua Deng Xian
20. 大還閣琴譜
      (1673; X/430)
Compare 1614 with Shou Duan + Shenhua Yin
21. 德音堂琴譜
      (1691; XII/579)
8; harmonics Section 2 but not like 1647
22. 琴譜析微
      (1692; XIII/123)
7; related;
harmonics like 1691 but are at end of Section 1  
23a. 誠一堂琴譜
      (1705; XIII/413)
12; Shenhua Qu; compare 1647#1;
harmonics Section 2, but no mention of "Qiu Shui"
23b. 誠一堂琴譜
      (1705; XIII/416)
5; Shenhua Yin; compare 1647#2
No harmonics until end  
24. 五知齋琴譜
      (1722; XIV/549)
10; "熟派 Changshou School"; "莊叟所作也 by Old Zhuang": Zhuangzi;
harmonics Section 2; related but different
25. 臥雲樓琴譜
      (1722; XV/116)
7; harmonics end of Section 1
Seems to be a copy of 1692  
26. 琴學練要
      (1739; XVIII/130)
13; "gong yin", but related; harmonics end of Section 2 and all of 11
治心齋琴譜; afterword begins, "譚子曰...."
27. 春草堂琴譜
      (1744; XVIII/227)
16; 秋水 Qiu Shui; 黃鐘均 Huangzhong Jun; "節用中呂均彈,宮音" but related; harmonics Sections 2 and 14;
Afterword says also called Shenhua Yin; 徐太珍 Xu Taizhen of Hangzhou played it
28. 蘭田館琴譜
      (1755; XVI/270)
9; lowered 3rd string tuning but related; harmonics Section 2;
Afterword says originally standard tuning
29. 琴香堂琴譜
      (1760; XVII/149)
9; shangjue; related
harmonics Section 2  
30. 自遠堂琴譜
      (1802; XVII/364)
10; gongdiao zhiyin; related
harmonics Section 2; follows Long Xiang Cao 
31a. 小蘭琴譜
      (1812; XIX/441)
7; shangjue; related
harmonics at end of Section 2;  
31b. 小蘭琴譜
      (1812; XIX/443)
13; Gu Shenhua;
Begins with section 8, saying 1-7 are same as Shenhua Yin
32. 琴譜諧聲
      (1820; XX/168)
16; 秋水 Qiu Shui; 變宮宮 Biangong, gong; harmonics in Sections 2 and 14 (compare 1744);
Afterword connects it to Zhuangzi. After the first phrase it writes, "Originally began 大九跳五,中九勾二,大圓...."
33. 悟雪山房琴譜
      (1836; XXII/434)
10; shangjue; related: harmonics in Section 2;
"Shenhua Yin"; "from Gugang Yipu": recordings by Xie Daoxiu and Hammond Yung
34a. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/293)
5; Shenhua Yin; "= 1705"
34b. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/394)
16; Qiu Shui; "= 1744"
Several recordings, including by Yu Shaoze; listen
35. 詩夢齋琴譜
not in Qinqu Jicheng

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