Tiantai Yin
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03. Mount Tiantai Prelude
- Zhi mode,2 standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, but played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
天台引 1
Tiantai Yin
  Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao entering the Tiantai Mountains 3
There are various Chinese tales of people wandering into a secluded area, often a peach grove, and exiting to find a great amount of time has passed. The theme also has been illustrated in traditional paintings (see example at right).4 The peach tree spring or grotto became a metaphor for an idyllic place, Tiantai Mountain for a place to seek immortality. Nathaniel Hawthorne is said to have known at least one of these stories, leading to his Rip Van Winkle.

The tales' most common locales are Tiantai Mountain, southeast of Shaoxing in Zhejiang province,5 and Wuling Mountain, in northwestern Hunan province.6 In the story usually associated with Wuling Mountain a man goes to a peach tree spring, where he finds an idyllic society which knows nothing of history or the affairs of the world; he leaves, intending to come back, but cannot find it again. This version of the story is most famously found in Tao Yuanming's Taohuayuan Ji7 and Wang Wei's Taohua Xing.8 Further details of this are included with the introduction to the musically unrelated melody Taoyuan Chunxiao.

The story related here in the preface to Tiantai Yin, though attributed to the Wuling Mountain Scholar (later called Wuling Immortal),9 more closely resembles the stories generally associated with Tiantai Mountain. This confusion appears to have been rather common. The Tiantai Yin preface quotes Wu Jun's Continuation of All Writings of the Qi dynasty,10 which names the visitors to Peach Tree Spring as Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao (see painting), and says they originally lived in the 1st century CE.11

The title Tiantai Yin appears in seven handbooks to 1894.12 However, only Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585), which has an almost identical preface and lyrics, seems to have music related to that of the present version; the 1585 preface also says it is by the Wuling Immortal.13 The five later versions seem to have no musical relationship to here. Also musically unrelated are several pieces with titles concerning peach groves.14

Because of pages missing from the surviving copy of Zheyin Shizi Qinpu, the tablature for this piece ends after one line of Section Three. Although related, the 1585 version seems too different and has too many problems to be used at this time to try to recover the whole piece. In my recording I add one note at the end of the surviving portion, so that the performance finishes on the primary tonal center of the mode.

Zheyin Shizi Qinpu preface: 15

The Beyond-Sounds Immortal says, as for this prelude, it was created by the Wuling Mountain Scholar. The Royal Ancestor's Handbook doesn't have this prelude.

According to Peachtree Spring in Xu Jixie Ji, Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao went to Tiantai Mountain to gather medicine. By mistake they entered the Grotto of Peachtree Spring. They could see only peach blossoms on either shore; for two or three li there were no households. Continuing forward, in the flowing stream they saw that there were bits of hemp seed. Continuing forward several more dozen steps, they suddenly encountered two female immortals and were invited to their home. They presented mountain fruit, dried mountain goat meat and hempseed rice, and prepared wine and special delicacies. Then they proposed a wedding ceremony so they could get married.

After 15 days (the men) excused themselves to the immortals, (saying), "We will go home to see our parents, then return." The immortals answered, "You have both spent seven generations in this idyllic marriage, attaining immortal women as mates, and now you want to leave just because your original relations are not yet broken. (But) once you have gone, how can you come back?" Liu and Yuan insisted. When Yuan returned home seven generations of children and grandchildren (had passed and they) no longer recognized him, though they had heard of their ancestor who had gone to Tiantai Mountain to pick medicine, but never returned. Liu and Yuan then (tried to) go back, but they couldn't find the immortal women.

As a result of this, someone later wrote a poem which says,16

Hempseed in the stream tells which direction to go;
there's no need to look for the medicine (of immortality).
Liu didn't understand this; mistakenly he went home.
(So) he missed out seven generations of human life.

Thus we have this prelude. Oh! What a situation!

Music and Lyrics
Timings follow the recording on
my CD; 聽錄音 listen with my transcription.
11 Sections? All have titles and lyrics. Titles 4-11 here are from Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu 17

00.00   1. A stone road in the cloudy mountains
00.51   2. Grass, trees, mists and fog
01.37   3. An old grotto with peach trees by a spring
01.52       end of surviving tablature and recording
__.__   4. Hempseed in the flowing water
__.__   5. Earthly destiny brings an immortal mate
__.__   6. The worldly attachments of the common man
__.__   7. Sadness at departure
__.__   8. Recalling Master Lang (Liu Lang? and Ruan Zhao?)
__.__   9. Returning to Tiantai
__.__   10. Traces of the Immortals are hard to find
__.__   11. Trying in vain to recall old friends

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Mount Tiantai Prelude (天台引 Tiantai Yin)
5961.290 天台 mentions various actual mountains. There are a number of expressions with Tiantai concerning Buddhism, but none references a version of the present story.

2. Zhi mode (徴調 zhi diao)
For more on zhi mode see Shenpin Zhi Yi and Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

3. 趙蒼雲:劉晨阮肇入天台山圖卷 Liu Chen and Yuan Zhao Entering the Tiantai Mountains, Zhao Cangyun (fl. late 13th–early 14th c.)
Currently the Metropolitan Museum of New York has online segments of the long scroll, including the scene above; this scene was also included under Recent Acquisitions in the Museum's Bulletin for Fall 2006, at which time it was a "Promised Gift of the Oscar L. Tang Family (L.1997.24.3)". In the whole scroll, "the story unfolds as an episodic narrative, with individual scenes set off from one another by blank spaces insribed with text. In the section illustrated here, Liu and Ruan are guests at an elaborate outdoor banquet."

The Museum exhibited this painting in 2012/13, at which time it put online extensive commentary that included the following:

"Painted by a member of the Song royal family who lived through the Mongol conquest, this handscroll, which revives the monochrome drawing style of the scholar-artist Li Gonglin (ca. 1041–1106), chronicles the legend of two men of the Han dynasty who stumble upon a magical realm of immortals. Returning home after what seemed like half a year, they discover that seven generations have come and gone and that they are alone in the world. The men’s loss of home and paradise evokes the disorientation and alienation felt by many of the Chinese elite following the fall of the Song dynasty in 1279.

What little we know of the artist is contained in the colophons mounted after the painting. The first, by Hua Youwu (1307–after 1386), describes Zhao Cangyun as an artist known for “boneless” (without outlines) ink-wash landscapes and delicate figure paintings. Hua also states that the artist was more famous in his youth than his fellow clansmen Zhao Mengjian (1199–before 1267) and Zhao Mengfu (1254–1322). As Zhao Cangyun withdrew to the mountains and lived as a recluse, never marrying or serving as an official, no documentation, except this scroll, survives.

There is further online information on this theme via related titles such as "劉晨阮肇誤入桃源" and "劉阮遇仙".

4. Some further examples are mentioned in connection with the exhibition Fantastic Mountains.

5. Tiantai Mountains (天台 Tian Tai or 天台山 Tiantai Shan) (Wikipedia)
The Tiantai mountains, about 100 km southeast of Shaoxing in Zhejiang province, are famous for having been centers for both Buddhism and Daoism: the Tiantai Sect of Buddhism is said to have originated there at the 國清寺 Guoqing Temple (Wiki), while the Southern School of Quanzhen Daoism is said to have originated with 張伯端 Zhang Boduan there at the Tongbo Palace (桐柏宫 Tongbo Gong, formerly 桐柏觀 Tongbo Guan). 桐柏真人 Tongbo Zhenren was a nickname for Wangzi Qiao, but his connection to this temple is unclear. Tongbo Palace claims connection to the story of two famous qins.

The melody Taoyuan Chunxiao tells a similar story to here, but is connected to the Wuling mountains.

6. Wuling Mountain (武陵 Wuling)
16823.254 武陵 (no 山 shan) lists this as mountains in Jiangxi, Hubei and Guizhou; a river in Guangxi; and a district of Hunan and Jiangsu; and counties in Hubei and Hunan. The relevant Wuling here is probably the one in Hunan. No references are given to a Wuling Shanzi or Wuling Xianzi. The are also entries for 武陵春 Wuling Chun, 武陵桃源 Wuling Taoyuan and 武陵源 Wuling Chun, all referring to the Tao Yuanming story.

See also Wuling Mountain Scholar. Does the poetic reference Man of Wuling (武陵人 Wuling ren) refer to this story, suggesting someone who has disappeared, hopefully to a valley of immortals? See, for example, Fenghuang Taishang Yi Chui Xiao.

7. 陶元明 Tao Yuanming, 桃花原記 Taohuayuan Ji

8. 王維 Wang Wei, 桃花行 Taohua Xing

9. Wuling Mountain Scholar (武陵山子 Wuling Shanzi)
Elsewhere: Wuling Immortal (武陵仙 Wuling Xian or 武陵仙子 Wuling Xianzi
16823.254 only 武陵 Wuling; there are no references to a real person of this name. In addition, "Wuling Shanzi" seems to be a term used only here, whereas later versions such as 1585 credit "Wuling Xianzi". Wuling Xianzi is also said in some prefaces to have composed 羽化登仙 Yuhua Deng Xian (one of the "Five Grand Qin Melodies" [大曲 daqu])

10. Continuation of Qi Xie's Records (續齊諧記 Xu Qi Xie Ji)
28686.85 續齊諧記 Xu Qi Xie Ji, one folio. The author was 吳均 Wu Jun.

Robert Ford Campany, Strange Writing, p.80, says nothing is known of Qi Xie other than that he was an official in the 劉松 Liu Song dynasty (5th century); his Records (齊諧記 Qi Xie Ji) are mentioned in a Sui dynasty catalogue but its text only survives in much later publications. As for the Continuation, Campany (p.88) says that almost all the stories in it are also quoted in other pre-Tang dynasty sources. The standard edition (CTP) includes two stories that mention qin: the one about 王敬伯 Wang Jingbo and one about 劉元 Liu Yuan.

11. Liu Chen and Ruan Zhao 劉晨、院肇
2270.754 劉晨 Liu Chen says that during the Latter Han dynasty he went to Tiantai Mountain with Ruan Zhao.

12. Tracing Tiantai Yin (tracing chart)
The Appendix, Chart Tracing Tiantai Yin, is based on Zha Fuxi's Guide 11/114/190.

13. Tiantai Yin of 1585
Its preface (QQJC IV/457) is virtually identical to that of 1491, omitting only "希仙曰" from the beginning and changing the ending from "故有是引。云噫!偶哉。" to "而故有是引焉"。 The lyrics of 1491 are basically repeated in the first two sections of 1585: to compare these lyrics follow the link below.

The music of 1585 is also clearly related to that of 1591. And it is also quite possible to make the rhythm of the first two sections of each version so that both are very similar. But in spite of this, and the apparently near-identical lyrics, the tablature of the first two sections of 1585 is different enough that it would be very challenging to use sectons 3 to 11 of the 1585 version to try to recover the 1491 complete original. The main reasons for this are that the musical and stylistic idioms seem quite different: the 1585 version has many more non-pentatonic notes, and the 1585 tablature itself has numerous idiosyncracies (in particular some convoluted fingering indications) as well as many clear transcription errors (unplayable as written, not simply odd).

14. Qin melodies concerning peach groves or springs
See further comment. Examples include 桃李園 Tao Li Yuan (Zha Guide) and 桃源吟 Taoyuan Yin (Guide) as well as 桃源春曉 Taoyuan Chunxiao.

15. Original Preface
The original Chinese preface can be seen under 天台引.

16. Lyrics in the Preface
These anonymous lyrics are not set to the present melody. In Chinese they are:

They were included in an anonymous Yuan dynasty story entitled 金璧故事五卷, so perhaps were copied from there (ctext.org).

17. Original section titles and lyrics
The Chinese section titles (compare under 天台引) and lyrics for the melody fragment in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu are as follows (note the rhymes):

1. 雲山石路 Yún Shān Shí Lù
Yún shān màn màn, shí lù wān wān,
Liú shuǐ chán chán, yōu niǎo ā guān guān.
Tiān bú yè, rì bù luò, yuè bù cán,
Jī míng quǎn fèi, nà fēng jǐng fēi rén jiān.
Huā làn màn, lù rù Tiān Tái Shān,
劉、阮兮縱往還,剔藥兮脩還丹。         (剔 "pick" was miswritten 劚 zhu)
Liú-Ruǎn xī zòng wǎng huán, tī yào xī xiū huán dān.
Yī cuì bì, jī cāng luán, yuán wèi yǒu, hè yě wèi bàn,
Sōng wèi shí. Pān yuán.

2. 草樹烟霞 Cǎo Shù Yān Xiá
Zǐ zhī yá gǔ nà wēi yí,(nà wēi) yí,
Yān xiá cǎo shù, lán guāng cuì sè wàn nián zhī.
Shān yǐn yìng, lù qí qū, yún mén
Yǔ Xué, téng luó zhú bù zhú bù màn pān yí.
Shèng yóu jiā jǐng, fēng hé rì lì, chūn guāng ā míng mèi.
Yǐn quán qì shí, dì nà pī yún dù lǐng yí tōu.
Liú-Ruǎn xī, cǎi líng xún mù, zhú lán er duì qiè shuāng tí.
Yún shēn chù, jǐn rì wàng guī.
Xiāng rě xiù, shī zhān yī. Pái huái huǎn bù, tiān lù qí mí.

3. 桃源古洞 Táo yuán gǔ dòng
Bù táo yuán, shù shí lǐ jué rén yān, sōng mén shí dèng bái yún lián.

These <1491 lyrics are the same as those for Sections 1 and 2 of the 1585 complete version (this is not completely clear from the lyrics as copied in Zha Guide 190 [714]; see this .pdf file, which has Section 1 of the 1585 version begin, "溪山漫漫....") or on the website www.qinzhijie.com (compare 1491 and 1585). The lyrics for Sections 3 to the end of the complete 1585 version as copied from the latter are as follows:

3. 桃源古洞 Táo Yuán Gǔ Dòng
Bù táo yuán, shù shí lǐ jué rén yān,
Sōng mén shí dèng bái yún lián. Xiān niǎo màn fēi xuán, lì tiān yuān,
Tái Shān yōng cuì sǒng wēi diān, huǎn bù jìn yán qián.
Guāng yǐn yìng, dòng zhōng tiān, qīng fēng yī jìng, táo huā hóng, jiā àn xiān yán.
Mén jì jìng, yān rán, yān rán, tōng bì jiàn,
Yǐn hóng quán juān juān, hóng quán juān juān, de juān juān.
Gēng shā zhǒng yù bù lán tián, bù lán tián.
Yīng shì qián kūn dà, rì yuè cháng rén jiān, tiān shàng sàn dàn shén xiān, de shén xiān.

4. 流水胡麻 Liú Shuǐ Hú Má
Zhuǎn hè xī liú, yōu yōu jí jí,
Juān juān dī dī. Zhōu zāo gǔn gǔn yíng yū,
無休不息。塵寰仙蹟的仙蹟。           (for 蹟 "traces" pu has "𧾷+賓": not in
Wú xiū bù xī. Chén huán xiān jī de xiān jī.
Jǔ zhào yú láng, yào jīn yáo gé,
Jiān dù Ruǎn-Liú nán shí de nán shí.
Fàn zhōng liú, jiàn hú má fàn xiè, fēi gǔ sù, fēi móu fēi niè.
Tiān xiāng tòu chè sān guān, nà shén qīng qì jié.
Dì cháng líng gēn, zhàn xiān jiā tiān tíng gōng shè.
Lìng rén bù lǎo yě, cháng shēng Shòu Shān,
長生壽山髙截,的髙截。           (delete repeated phrase?)
Cháng shēng Shòu Shān gāo jié, de gāo jié.

5. 塵緣仙偶 Chén Yuán Xiān ǒu
Tōng jīn, tiān hé cǎo shù bàn yān yún, lián qiáng jiē wū jiē jū mín.

6. 世路凡心

7. 別離惆悵

8. 恩憶劉郎

9. 重到天臺

10. 仙蹤難覓

11. 故人空憶

The music of 1585 is clearly related to that of ~1491 Sections 1 and 2, so one might guess that 1585 Sections 3 to 11 is related to that of the complete original version from ~1491, but this has not yet been studied.

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Appendix: Chart Tracing Tiantai Yin
based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide 11/114/190

    (year; QQJC Vol/page)
Further information
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
  1.   浙音釋字琴譜
      (<1491; I/207)
徵調 Zhi mode; has only first two sections and beginning of third, then missing pages
  2. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/457)
11 sections; lyrics (q.v. and see comment about 溪山漫漫....) seem to have been the same as <1491;
See 1585 transcription: melody quite similar: had Yang Biaozheng seen a complete version? Attributed to Wuling Xianzi
  3. 琴香堂琴譜
      (1760; XVII/91)
13 sections; 商音 shang yin; no lyrics;
Opening is quite different, and in general it seems to be a different melody
  4. 自遠堂琴譜
      (1802; XVII/341)
15 sections; 徵音; starts like 1760
  5. 蕉庵琴譜
      (1868; XXVI/42)
15; 徵音 zhi yin; attributed to Wuling Xianzi; 徵音 zhi yin; 15 sections; starts like 1760
  6. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/398)
15; " = 1802"
  7. 琴學初津
      (1894; XXVIII/287)
15; under title it says "also called 武陵遊 Wuling You";
afterword says "old piece....by 武陵仙子 the Wuling Immortal....from 自遠堂 (1802)"  

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