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Zheyin Shizi Qinpu 浙音釋字琴譜
Qin Handbook of Music from the Zhejiang [School] Elucidated through Lyrics 1 >1505 (i.e., during 1505-1521)2
  Surviving version begins here (pdf) 3    
The first four pages of the only surviving copy of this very significant handbook are missing, but at the beginning of the second folio (see I/230) is the statement, "edited and interpreted by Antiquarian Gong Jing of Nanchang".4 Meanwhile, each melody in the handbook begins with the statement, "The Beyond Sounds Immortal said" (compare in Shen Qi Mi Pu, where the prefaces begin the Emaciated Immortal said).5

Nanchang was the fief of Ming prince Zhu Quan, and the tablature itself is thought to have come from a palace collection. The latest research on this suggests that the above-mentioned Gong Jing worked on this during the Zhengde reign (1505–21) of Zhu Houzhao (1491-1521). Also residing in the palace was a fourth generation descendant of Zhu Quan, Zhu Gongwei (1488-1557), nicknamed the Beyond Sounds Immortal.6 Zhu Gongwei is thus credited with this work, though he would have been quite a young man at this time and it is not clear what work he would have done on this. This also contradicts the information previously published by the research project of the 1950s, which had concluded that this handbook was the work of Ming prince Zhu Dianpei (1418 - 1491), a grandson of the compiler of Shen Qi Mi Pu, Zhu Quan.7 Instead Zhu Dianpei is now said to have compiled the second surviving Ming dynasty handbook, Wusheng Qinpu (1457).

It is presumably a coincidence but interesting to note that the earliest two surviving substantial collections of qin music with lyrics were published right around the same time (the other one being the Xie Lin Taigu Yiyin of 1511).8

The surviving copy, originally preserved in the Tianyi Ge book collection in Ningbo,9 was missing several pages in different parts. As front at least four pages are missing (see footnote with the image at right). The 42 remaining pieces are of two types, 28 with tablature identical to that of pieces of the same titles in Shen Qi Mi Pu, the other 14 conists of four that are differing versions of melodies in Shen Qi Mi Pu and nine that are in a similar style but are completely new. All 42 have had lyrics added.10 My CD Music Beyond Sound consists of the 12 complete pieces which are new or different, plus one of the two fragmentary pieces. My transcriptions of these 13 pieces have also been published.

General information concerning the book and the music.

  1. Complete Table of Contents of Zheyin Shizi Qinpu (plus missing melodies?)
  2. Table of Contents for Music Beyond Sound, with timings.
  3. Introduction to Zheyin Shizi Qinpu
  4. Original preface by Zha Fuxi
  5. Chinese lyrics from Zheyin Shizi Qinpu that can be applied to Shen Qi Mi Pu melodies
  6. CDs with melodies from Zheyin Shizi Qinpu;

Zheyin Shizi Qinpu melodies not in, or different from those in, Shen Qi Mi Pu
All but Qiao Ge are recorded in my CD
Music Beyond Sound; the number in brackets refers to its number in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu.11

  1. (#5) Cry of the Ospreys (關雎 Guan Ju)
  2. (#6) Song of Southern Breezes (南薰歌 Nanxun Ge)
  3. (#7) Mount Tiantai Prelude (天台引 Tiantai Yin; Sections 1-2 only)
    (#8) Woodcutter's Song (樵歌 Qiao Ge; sections 1 to 5 are missing)
  4. (#9) Emperor Yu's Meeting at Mount Tu (禹會塗山 Yu Hui Tushan)
  5. (#10) Thinking of [Emperor] Shun (思舜 Si Shun)
  6. (#11) Respect the Virtuous (師賢 Shi Xian)
  7. (#12) Living in the Mountains (山居吟 Shanju Yin)
  8. (#14) Melody of the Fisherman's Song (漁歌調 Yuge Diao)
  9. (#15) Fisherman's Song (漁歌 Yu Ge)
  10. (#23) Evening Call of the Raven (烏夜啼 Wu Ye Ti)
  11. (#24) (Paired) Pheasants Fly in the Morning (雉朝飛 Zhi Zhao Fei)
  12. (#41) Qu Yuan Asks for Advice (屈原問渡 Qu Yuan Wen Du)
  13. (#42) Thrice (Parting for) Yangguan (陽關三疊 Yangguan Sandie)

Yangguan Sandie is the last piece in the existing copy of the handbook.


Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Qin Handbook of Music from the Zhejiang [School] Elucidated through Lyrics (now said to have been published during the Zhengde reign, 1505-1521)
This handbook apparently survived only as an incomplete handcopy in the 天一閣 Tianyi Ge (further
below), an ancient book collection in Ningbo, but it is no longer there. Its title may suggest that the lyrics were not necessarily intended for singing, but to help heighten appreciation of the music. The pairing of lyrics and music follows what appears to have been the standard pairing method (with variations) of one character for each right hand stroke. In some cases this works quite well, but here it often leads to passages that are not singable in any recogizably aesthetic manner (further comment).

My own work on this handbook was done mostly in the 1990s, after I had "completed" my Shen Qi Mi Pu project but then before trying to make professional recordings, decided to do the same for Zheyin Shizi Qinpu. P>As of 2024 I have been revising my general information on this handbook based largely on information from the upcoming phD dissertation of 陶冉 Tao Ran:

(Tao Ran, Musical Sentiment and Literary Sentiment: A New Discussion on the Ming Qin Songs and Poems)
Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2022

As of 2024 Tao Ran is a post doctoral fellow at Peking University. A main point she makes is that from the early Ming dynasty the Zhe school was basically a purely instrumental style. That addition of lyrics in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu, coming around the same time as Xie Lin Taigu Yiyin, marked a move towards a more vocal style.

2. Background and dating of Zheyin Shizi Qinpu
This handbook, attributed by Zha Fuxi to Zhu Dianpei (1418-1491), a grandson of Zhu Quan, has now been dated to the Zhengde reign (1505-1521) based on the dates of the two people associated with it,
Gong Jing(1456-1528) and Zhu Gongwei (1488-1557). In 1505 Zhu Gongwei would have been 18 years old and with little status, hence "after 1505". All evidence suggests that the actual tablature was probably in existence early in this period.

As for background, the successors to Zhu Dianpei were first his son Zhu Jinjun (朱覲鈞: 1449-1497; reigned 1491-99), then his grandson Zhu Chenhao (朱宸濠; 1476–1521; reigned 1499-1519). Zhu Chenhao, when 寜王 Prince of Ning, tried to usurp the throne in what is called the Prince of Ning rebellion (see in Wiki), but the result of this was the abolition in 1519 of the princedom of Ning.

3. Opening page of the surviving Zheyin Shizi Qinpu (Complete surviving copy (pdf))
Copied from Qin Qu Ji Cheng, Volume 1, p.203, where the copy indicates it is from page 5 of the handbook. See also speculation on the missing pages.

4. 南昌龔經 Gong Jing of Nanchang(1456-1528)
The full attribution is "南昌板澤稽古生龔經效孔編釋 Edited and interpreted by the 稽古生 Antiquarian and Confucian devotee Gong Jing of the Banze district of Nanchang". Information about him here comes largely from the above-mentioned phD dissertation of 陶冉 Tao Ran. The dissertation is very detailed on genealogy and, though Tao Ran states that much of the detail from the family source in unreliable, she gives very cogent arguments as to why her overall outline is probably quite accurate. Also note that Zheyin Shizi Qinpu survives only in an apparently incomplete hand copy: might this actually have formed part of a more complete copy called Taiyin Shizi, now lost?

Gong Jing (also called Antiquarian Gong [Gong Jigu]) was from a prominent family in the Banze district: their family genealogy tracing them back twenty-two generations to a certain 龔愈 Gong Yu (887-976) of 牛田 Niutian, a village in 武夷山 the Wuyi mountains. He and his son 龔勗 Gong Xu (906-988) passed their jinshi examinations, then served in several senior positions during the Tang, Latter Tang, Southern Tang and Song dynasties. Gong Yu himself 賜紫金魚袋,食邑一千七百戶 received a purple and gold fish bag (a high-level royal reward) and jurisdiction over 1,700 households along with the right to levy taxes. Meanwhile Gong Xu's son 龔順 Gong Shun (950- 1019) held high positions, moving eventually to 戟溪 Jixi (near Nanchang). Then Gong Shun's grandson 龔實 Gong Shi, after burying his father in 1055, moved the family to the Banze district of Nanchang. Then throughout the Song and Yuan dynasties a number of members of the Gong family had prominence.

As for Gong Jing himself, other than that he was "22nd generation of Confucian devotees, style name □ 聖, nickname 宏 □ ("□" seems to be a character that couldn't be copied), little has been written. Based on his family background he would have been erudite and skilled in poetry. He would thus have been fully capable of compiling music scores and annotating lyrics for the Ning princely household. For this reason it seems very likely that he would have became a house guest of the "Beyond Sounds Immortal".

In later Ming dynasty tablature collections he has been listed amongst Sages (connected to qin) (image) and there credited with having created several melodies himself, including,

This and other music passed down led to him being called "昭代業伯牙者 From the glorious dynasties inheritor of Boya" (?) by the qin world.

(Also see Zha Fuxi's Preface.)

5. Melody prefaces by the 希仙 Beyond Sounds Immortal
(Compare the 臞仙 Emaciated Immortal [Zhu Quan] and the 懶仙 Lazy Immortal [Zhu Gongwei])
The prefaces are otherwise mostly identical to the ones in 1425 (perhaps adding an exclamation at the end), except of course for the nine titles in Zheyin that did not occur in Shen Qi Mi Pu.

6. 朱拱椳 Zhu Gongwei (1488-1557), 字希仙 style name Xixian, 號虛白 nickname Xu Bai
Zhu Gongwei, a 五世孫 fourth generation descendant of 朱權 Zhu Quan, was a grandson of Zhu Dianpei's younger brother, 朱奠墠 Zhu Dianshan, 瑞昌王 Prince of Ruichang. If the work was completed during the Zhengde reign (1505-1521) Zhu Gongwei must have been very young at the time and so most of the work would have been done by Gong Jing. There is a detailed examination of this in the phD dissertation of 陶冉 Tao Ran. (As with comments above about Gong Jing, note that Zheyin Shizi Qinpu survives only in an apparently incomplete hand copy - see also Taiyin Shizi, now lost?.)

Note that in the list of Sages (connected to qin) mentioned above from here (image) the Beyond Sound Immortal is not connected to any handbook, but is listed as having created two melodies himself, 思妻行 Si Qi Yin (Thinking of my wife) and 涵虛吟 Hanxu Yin (Extreme Void Intonation).

7. 朱奠培 Zhu Dianpei
See further under
Wusheng Qinpu.

8. 天一閣 Tian Yi Ge (Wikipedia)
5961.9/10 Tian Yi Ge (Heaven First Pavilion) of the Fan family in Ningbo was a famous book collection started by the scholar 范欽 Fan Qin during the Ming dynasty Jiaqing era (1522/67). Ningbo is in Zhejiang province, about 100 km east of Hangzhou. The library still stands, about half a block northwest of Moon Lake, but with no books. I read that at one time the books had been transferred to the main library in Shanghai, but I believe Wu Zhao says the original from which the available Zheyin Shizi Qinpu was reprinted is now lost.

As yet I have not seen a study of how the book came to be here. It is interesting to speculate whether there is any connection between this fact and the fact the several important qin players connected to the "Xu tradition of the Zhe School" lived at 四明 Siming, which was near Ningbo.

9. Xie Lin Taigu Yiyin
Whereas only a very few melodies in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu seem intended for singing, most (but not all) in Taigu Yiyin seem actually to be qinn songs.

10. Lyrics in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu
Perhaps the lyrics here were originally attributed to Zhu Dianpei because he has been said to have been an accomplished poet. In this regard it is not clear whether he ever published any poems or lyrics himself, but is it significant that a
collection of poems has been attributed to his daughter, Anfu?

11. Original Chinese titles
These are as follows:

  1. (#5) 關雎
  2. (#6) 南薰歌
  3. (#7) 天台引(只有第一、第二段)
    (#8) 樵歌 (第一至第五段缺失)
  4. (#9) 禹會塗山
  5. (#10) 思舜
  6. (#11) 師賢
  7. (#12) 山居吟
  8. (#14) 漁歌調
  9. (#15) 漁歌
  10. (#23) 烏夜啼
  11. (#24) 雉朝飛
  12. (#41) 屈原問渡
  13. (#42) 陽關三疊

Return to the annotated handbook list or to the Guqin ToC.