Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu
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Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu
Awareneness of Snow Mountain Hut Qin Handbook 1
Compiled by Huang Jingxing2  
黃景星, 1836
Opening pages3                

Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu is considered a major source of music for the modern Lingnan School,4 based in the Guangzhou region. As this website is focused mainly on melodies published during the Ming dynasty, Wuxueshanfang Qinpu is examined here mainly on the basis of claims that its compiler, Huang Jingxing (d. 1842), also known as Huang Weinan, had in his possession a copy of a supposedly ancient handbook called Gugang Yipu, and that much of the music from this handbook is correspondingly ancient.

Huang Jingxing is said also to have learned over 10 melodies from He Luoshu.5

Gugang Yipu (Tablature Bequeathed from Gugang)7
Many qin players in the Lingnan area believe that the modern Lingnan School (or schools, as there are several groups claiming this connection) preserves ancient qin melodies through the remnants of a qin handbook called Gugang Yipu. One can in fact find some qin melody collections actually entitled Gugang Yipu, but these generally admit that they are compilations of melodies copied from other handbooks, mostly 19th century; no one today can provide a reliable description of the content of an actual Gugang Yipu original edition.8

As for details given regarding Gugang Yipu, Gugang (or Gu Gang) apparently refers to Gangzhou, which the Zhongguo Lishi Dacidian identifies as the name given a region in Xinhui County of Guangdong Province during the Tang dynasty. At the end of the Song dynasty this region included Yashan, where the Song dynasty royal family perished after a sea battle (further details). According to the Lingnan School tradition, the Song royal family had brought documents, including private qin tablature, to this area; eventually the tablature was transmitted via Chen Xianzhang (1428-1500), better known as Chen Baisha, a well-known Confucianist of Xinhui.9

The traditional handbook with the most melodies said to be from Gugang Yipu is Wuxueshanfang Qinpu (1836), the handbook most commonly connected to a Lingnan School. Some Lingnan players say that their school's repertoire includes over 30 melodies Huang Jingxing's father had hand-copied from Gugang Yipu.10 This music is said then to have been incorporated into the Wuxueshanfang Qinpu. However, Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu specifically claims only that the following tablature comes from Gugang Yipu:

  1. Shenhua Yin
  2. Huai Gu (#10 and #51)
  3. Bijian Liu Quan
  4. Oulu Wang Ji
  5. Shuang He Ting Quan
  6. Yushu Lin Feng (addendum version)

    Tablature of qin melodies as played by Yang Xinlun also attribute the following to Gugang Yipu

  7. Yu Qiao Wenda
  8. Wu Ye Ti and others.
See, however, the comments under Oulu Wang Ji and Yushu Lin Feng .

Huang Jingxing's study of Gugang Yipu 11

In his preface to Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu Huang Jingxing discusses how he was influenced by studying the 古岡遺譜 Gu Gang Yipu. He wrote (XXII/213):


香山 Xiangshan is in what is today 廣東中山縣 Zhongshan district of Guangdong province.

Unfortunately I do not know what evidence has been provided to support these claims, in particular the source of the claims of connection with Chen Baisha, where and when the Gugang tablature may have been mentioned prior to the Wuxueshanfang Qinpu of 1836, and whether the melodies as written down in the 1836 tablature have been transmitted teacher to student down to the present.

Other related handbooks

In addition to Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu, the following handbooks might also be possible sources for modern Lingnan repertoire:

There is further information in Zha Fuxi's Preface.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu 悟雪山房琴譜 (QQJC XXII, pp. 213-438)
According to Zha Fuxi's preface in the QQJC edition, its version comes from one preserved in Yunnan by 李瑞 Li Rui, who had acquired it from 倪氏 the Ni family that compiled Shuangqin Shuwu Qinpu (1884). The QQJC preface by Zha Fuxi says,


Not yet translated.

2. 黃景星 Huang Jingxing (d. 1842)
Also known as 黃煟南 Huang Weinan

3. Image: Opening pages of Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu (expand)
See QQJC XXII/215.

4. Lingnan School (嶺南派 Lingnan Pai) (see in chart; also Baidu)
This term is better known in application to a group of fine artists from this region (see further). As for a Lingnan Qin School, has been said that such a school originated in the early 19th century with 黃景星 Huang Jingxing (d. 1842), but its musical characteristics have not been clearly defined. An important question is to what, if any, extent it incorporates local (whether ancient or not) characteristics as epitomized by the so-called 古岡遺譜 Gugang Yipu (details below).

In 1836 Huang was one of the editors of Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu. Varying amounts of the music there are said to come from this Gugang Yipu, thought to have been an old hand-copied book then in the possession of the Huang family. Claims have been made that it contained qin tablature (or its music) brought to the Pearl River delta at the time of the final collapse of the Song dynasty. As yet I have not seen any conclusive arguments that tablature from such a handbook did indeed once exist and/or did indeed survive into the 19th century. (My tentative skepticism can be seen from these comments concerning melodies from Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu said to have come from Gugang Yipu.)

The most important Lingnan player of the 20th century is said to have been 楊新倫 Yang Xinlun (1898-1990). Yang traced his lineage to 鄭健候 Zheng Jianhou, while Zheng Jianhou is said to have learned his art from his paternal grandmother, known only as 鄭夫人 Mrs. Zheng. Yang's two most important disciples seem to be 謝導秀 Xie Daoxiu (1940-), sometimes referred to as the head of the Lingnan School, and 區君虹 Ou Junhong (區軍虹? 1945 - ; recording).

5. 何洛書 He Luoshu
Nickname 琴齋 Qinzhai; Huang Jingxing began to study with him in the 1790s. The specific pieces are not yet indentified in this ToC.

7. Gugang Yipu 古岡遺譜
古岡 might also be 古崗 (both pronounced Gu Gang) but 3308.xxx for either form. The name apparently refers to 岡州 Gangzhou (8137.xxx; 剛 2085.xxx), the name of 新會縣 Xinhui County of Guangdong Province during the Tang dynasty.

The Wuxue Shanfang Table of Contents mentions which melodies are said to be from Gugang Yipu. As mentioned further above, according to the modern Lingnan school tradition, some or many of those melodies had been brought to Pearl River delta at the end of the Song dynasty, and here they were preserved. In order to test this theory one should go through the melodies in this handbook and see which have characteristics that one might find in early Ming handbooks but not later ones. To my knowledge no one has yet done such research. My preliminary observation is that it does not.

8. Evidence for Gugang Yipu
Zha Fuxi wrote somewhere (I cannot find the reference?) that he met someone in Guizhou (?) who claimed to have seen a copy of an old Gugang Yipu.

9. 陳白沙 Chen Baisha
His original name was 陳献章 Chen Xianzhang (1428-1500). He was a well-known Confucianist of Xinhui (Wiki).

10. Pieces handcopied from Gugang Yipu
There is no explanation of why these pieces were selected above the others.

11. Huang Jingxing's study of Gugang Yipu

12. 古岡蔗湖琴譜 Gugang Zhehu Qinpu
Facsimile reprints of Qing dynasty tablature some of which is said to come from Gugang Yipu. After the opening essays and illustrations it includes the following melodies (page numbering system not clear, with its own ToC having Folio 2 begin with Huai Gu and pages in reverse order beginning with the second Shuixian Cao):

  1. Yu Qiao Wenda ("悟雪山房"; p.19)
  2. Bijian Liu Quan ("悟雪山房"; p.24)
  3. Yi Qiao Jin Lü ("悟雪山房; p.28)

  4. Jinmen Dai Lou ("說石先生譜"; p.1)
  5. Haiou Wang Ji ("韵石__兄所訂送"; similar to 悟雪山房"; p.6)

  6. Huai Gu ("韵石先生譜"; pp.10-12)
  7. Shui Xian Cao ("張文焯先生譜;莫湘厓兄平生所長者"; pp.13-19)
  8. Yan Luo Ping Sha ("憑啥各譜不同;惟此得自孫鸞嘯本"; pp.20-24)
  9. Shui Xian Cao ("張文焯先生譜;即昭君怨"; seems basically identical to above; pp.31-25 [sic.])
  10. Yueyang San Zui ("即羽化登仙;韵石兄草譜"; story connected to Lü Dongbin?; pp.24-14)
  11. San Zui Yueyang Lou (no comment at front; similar to previous; not in Zha Guide; afterword says "羽化改本 a variation of Yu Hua" [see end of this version]; pp.13-1)

The copy of Gugang Zhehu Qinpu I have seen, published in 2009, was made from an original with the same library number as the book seen in the image here.

13. 嶺南琴韵 Lingnan Qinyun
Published in 2005 together with a CD (metal strings). The five pieces claimed to have Gugang Yipu as their source are: Bi Jian Liu Quan, Wu Ye Ti, Yu Qiao Wenda, Huai Gu and Oulu Wang Ji.

14. 香江容氏琴譜 Xiangjiang Rongshi Qinpu
Includes a DVD (further details

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