Shi Xian
 T of C 
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06. Respect Virtuous People
- Zhi mode,2 standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, but played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
師賢 1
Shi Xian
Wen Wang chances upon Lü Shang3  
The only other occurrence of this piece is in Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585), which sets the same lyrics to a related but quite different melody.4 There are, however, several musically unrelated pieces (in particular, Weibin Yin5) that concern the virtuous person extolled herein, Lü Shang,6 commonly called Tai Gong or Taigong Lü, said to have been a high official who broke his sword and retired into voluntary exile to avoid serving the tyrannous last Shang emperor, Zhou Xin.7 After Wen Wang (King Wen), who was serving as Chief of the West for the Duke of Zhou, enticed Lü out of exile, Lü helped Wen's son Wu Wang (King Wu) overthrow the Shang and establish the Zhou dynasty (ca. 1122 BCE).8

Here Shi Xian is grouped with zhi mode melodies presumably because the main note is the open fifth string (called zhi). According to my understanding of the melodies in Shenqi Mipu, the relative tuning for zhi mode melodies is 1 2 4 5 6 1 2; the main note is played as 5 (sol), and the secondary note is 2 (re).

A transcription of Shi Xian into staff notation using the open first string as C (1) keeps 5 and 2 as the main and secondary notes. However, it also shows numerous occurences of B flat. To avoid these accidentals would require transcribing the open first string as G (5), making the tuning 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 . In this case the main note of Shi Xian becomes 2 and the secondary note 6. The only mode in SQMP having this characteristic is Qiliang mode, which uses non-standard tuning.

The thematically connected melody Weibin Yin is also grouped with zhi mode melodies. When transcribed using the open first string as C (1) it also has 5 and 2 as the main and secondary notes, and it also shows numerous occurences of B flat. Again these can be avoided by considering the relative tuning to be 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 (i.e., the open first string becomes G). However, such a transcription then brings numerous occurences of the note F (4).9

Zheyin Shizi Qinpu preface:10

The Beyond-Sounds Immortal says, this melody was written by Wen Wang. The Royal Ancestor's Handbook does not have this melody.

According to what the Record of History (Chapter 32) says,

There was a certain Lü Shang, a superior man of Donghai, having nothing and being quite old, went fishing (and as a result had a felicitous meeting). When Zhou's Chief of the West (Wen Wang) went hunting, a diviner said, "Neither a dragon nor a black horse, not a tiger or a bear: what you will obtain is the counselor of a great prince." Thus he met Lü Shang on the north side of the Wei River. Their conversation made (Wen Wang) very happy. He said, "Since my first ancestor it has been said (that) one day a sage will fall in with Zhou, and so Zhou will prosper. You really are this person, the one sought by my ancestors." So people called him "Sought by Ancestors" (Taigong Wang). (Wen Wang) took him in his cart and they returned together. He established (Lü Shang) as "teacher" and called him "Teacher Shang Father".

And so there is this piece. The meaning which comes from (it) is: respect virtuous people. Its meaning is profound.

Timings follow the recording on
my CD; 聽錄音 listen with my transcription.
Eight sections (titled) and lyrics 11

00.00   1. (Wen Wang) appoints officials insisting only that they be worthy
00.44   2. He helps people and encourages the gentry
01.02   3. (When Wen Wang is) about to look for (officials) he finds a good omen
01.35   4. A successful meeting between (Wen Wang) and (Lü Shang)
02.03   5. (Wen Wang) goes to consult a wise man, and takes his advice
02.38   6. (Lü Shang is happy to) take a post and give advice
03.09   7. (Lü Shang was Wen Wang's) late father's great hope
03.34   8. Heaven blesses the Zhou dynasty
03.52       Closing harmonics
04.05       End

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 師賢 Shi Xian
9129.176xxx (seems unconnected)

2. Zhi mode (徵調 zhi diao)
For more information about zhi mode see Shenpin Zhi Yi. For modes in general see Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature. However, having studied the melody Weibin Yin, I have been re-evaluating my analysis for certain melodies. See also the comments in the text above.

3. Wen Wang Chances upon Lü Shang
Copied from a Japanese website. On the side of the full page the text says, "新刊全相平話武王伐紂書卷下 Newly printed and fully illustrated popular edition of Wu Wang Attacks Zhou (Xin), Last Folio" (library reference for Wu Wang Fa Zhou Shu; The original Wu Wang Fa Zhou Shu apparently dates from the Yuan dynasty and was preserved in Japan.

4. Tracing 師賢 Shi Xian (tracing chart)
The chart below is based on Zha Fuxi's Guide, 11/116/198.

5. Weibin Yin
Although Weibin Yin concerns Lü Shang, it is paired instead with Si Shun.

6. 呂尚 Lü Shang
He was commonly called 太公.

7. 紂辛 Zhou Xin

8. 文王 Wen Wang; 周西伯 Zhou's Chief of the West; 武王 Wu Wang; 周公 Zhou Gong

9. Transcribing Weibin Yin
To transcribe Weibin Yin so that it most closely approaches standard pentatonic tuning requires considering the relative tuning to be 2 3 5 6 7 2 3 . The main note is then la, the secondary note mi.

10. Original Chinese preface
The original Shen Qi Mi Pu preface can be seen under 師賢.

11. Original Chinese section titles and lyrics (QQJC I/214-6)
The original section titles (see also 師賢) are below, together with the original lyrics:

  1. 建宮惟賢

  2. 資人勵士

  3. 將求叶卜(將求協卜: 叶 = 協, 葉)

  4. 際遇君臣

  5. 就賢納誨

  6. 供職進言

  7. 先君附望

  8. 天福有周

The lyrics can also be found in this .pdf file (from Zha Guide 198 [722]).

Appendix: Chart Tracing 師賢 Shi Xian
Further comment
above; based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide 11/116/198.

    (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/214 [further])
6; 徵 zhi mode; standard tuning; preface; section titles; lyrics
  2. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/455)
8; lyrics same as 1511; music related but still very different;
Preface still as in 1511

No other known occurrences

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