Taigu Yiyin
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Prefaces to Taigu Yiyin
Music Bequeathed from Antiquity (1511 and 1515)

By Zha Fuxi1 Painting and poem by Shen Zhou, an admirer of Xie Lin2  

from Qinqu Jicheng, Vol. 1
Beijing, Zhonghua Shuju Chuban Faxing, 19813
See also the Taigu Yiyin Table of Contents

Xie Lin Taigu Yiyin (1511)

Formerly in the collection of Mr. Fu Xihua,4 (the edition copied here) has now been restored (sic) to the Music Research Department of the Culture Bureau's Literature and Arts Research Institute.5 Printed during the Ming dynasty in three folios, it was written (compiled) by the retired scholar (jushi) Xie Lin6 of Huang Shan.7 In front is a foreword by Zhang Peng8 dated 1511; (at the end is there is a poem and) foreword by He Xu9 dated 1512, then an afterword by He Zhuang10 dated 1512. The forewords and afterword emphasize that Xie Lin's qin art was held in high esteem by (the famous literati) Cheng Minzheng,11 Shen Zhou12 and so forth. This is sufficient to prove Mr. Xie was a famous qin player of that period.

In this book, each melody has words alongside. Among these are not a few melodies with words (qin songs) passed down from the period of Tang and Song. But it is also possible that there are some which were made by borrowing from the Zheyin Shizi Qinpu "bianshi".13 How to distinguish clearly which ones are traditional qin songs and which are newly composed "bianshi" is something which still awaits deeper analytical research. This book collects traditional qin songs, and should be regarded as the oldest surviving collection of qin song notation.

Huang Shida Taigu Yiyin (1515)

(This volume is in) the collection of (hand) copies of Ming prints belonging to of Beijing's Mr. Wang Mengshu;14 the original book is already lost. Clearly engraved in the middle of the book's columns is, "Practical Collection of Huang Shida15 of Zhishan;16 it also has three folios. In front of this edition is the personal preface of Mr. Huang. (In the original volume after the preface, the year and the name of the person who wrote the preface are both already indecipherable and [so] lost, but one can deduce that the author of the preface was Huang Shida [himself] and the year was just after 1515.) In all it contains 38 songs. Of these, 36 are exactly the same as in Xie Lin Tai Gu Yi Yin. It is only the final two melodies, the Former and Latter Red Cliff Ballads (Chibi Fu), which are not in Xie's volume.

Huang Shida's own preface clearly points out that these materials were given to him in 1515 by his "honorable fellow students and friends Hu Xianqing17 of Jiji18 and Wang Keming of Xin'an.19 Jiji (Ji Creek [district]) and Xin'an are both near Huang Shan. This clearly shows that, except for the two Red Cliff Ballads, this was printed using an original manuscript which contained Xie Lin's collection. Because of this our edition has only copied Mr. Huang's own preface and two songs, the Former and Latter Red Cliff Ballads.20

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

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Introduction to 謝琳 太古遺音 Xie Lin Taigu Yiyin
By 查阜西 Zha Fuxi; edited by 吳釗 Wu Zhao.

2. Image: Painting by Shen Zhou, an of 謝琳 Xie Lin
The painter, 沈周 Shen Zhou, was 明四大家 one of the "Four great masters of the Ming dynasty". He apparently admired Xie Lin so much that he presented him with a landscape painting, as mentioned here in the preface to a fu poem at the end of Xie Lin's Taigu Yiyin. See also below.

The original of this painting is in the 國立故宮博物院 National Palace Museum, Taiwan. The commentary below is apparently also from the Palace Museum. However, I only found this on different internet sites. The text there says,

Holding a Zither in the Shade of Plaintain, by Shen Zhou (1427-1509)

蕉下不生暑,     The heat of summer does not reach below the plantain,
  坐生千古心。     sitting there yields the feeling of eternity.
抱琴未須鼓,     I hold a zither but need not strum it,
  天地自知音。     for both the heavens and earth already know the music.

詩文題「蕉下不生暑,坐生千古心。抱琴未須鼓,天地自知音。」字裡行間流露著沈周豁然體悟世道,即使抱著琴而未彈奏,在這天地之間,亦已能獲得回響。畫中文士身形在蕉石對比之下雖顯微小,但其流露的達觀自得情態,透過詩文卻更清晰地相互呼應。 | Facebook
Reading between the lines reveals a profound clarity and awareness of the world. Shen realizing that even though he holds a zither, he need not play it, since the heavens and earth have already responded. Despite the small size of the figure compared to the plantain and rock, a mood of philosophic contentment pours out from the scholar, the pairing combined with Shen's poetry and calligraphy clearly echoing each other.

Shen Zhou's fan paintings often feature pure and elegant ideas, this small work with a figure being an excellent example. In the right part here is a garden rock and plantain, below which is a scholar seated alone holding a zither. Although the slope extends off to the left, it is the five-character poem above that takes up most of the space and catches the viewer's attention. The left and right sides of the fan, with the complementary visual effect of poetry and painting, create for a skillfully arranged composition.

There is another painting by Shen Zhou here under Seeking Seclusion.

3. 琴曲集成,第一冊 Wu Zhao, Qinqu Jicheng, Vol.1.

4. 傅惜華 Fu Xihua, NFI

5. 文化部,文學藝術研究院,音樂研究所. I don't know if it is still in their library in Beijing.

6. 謝琳 Xie Lin 36661.x

7. Yellow Mountain (黃山 Huang Shan)
Huang Shan is a mountain range in southern Anhui. Folios 2 & 3 add Xin'an [district], Xue Feng [Snow Peak]; these are in Xi County, on the southeast side of Huang Shan. Wang Zhi, the compiler of Xilutang Qintong was also from this region.

8. 張鵬 Zhang Peng (10026.1516 different?)
No further biographical information at present. His preface is discussed elsewhere.

9. 何旭 He Xu 489.xxx; Bio/xxx
No further biographical information at present. His commentary and poem are discussed elsewhere.

10. 何莊 He Zhuang 489.xxx
The afterword by He Zhuang says basically that there is a lot of phoney music around, but this is the real thing.

11. 程敏政 Cheng Minzheng (1445 - 1499; article)
Cheng Minzheng (25638.171; Bio/2320; ICTCL/632), from 休寧 Xiuning in Huizhou, compiled the "earliest important anthology of Ming-dynasty prose writings", 明文衡 Mingwen Heng. He was a member of the Hanlin Academy.

12. 沈周 Shen Zhou (1427 - 1509)
Shen Zhou (17529.199; Bio/1149; ICTCL/744), from 蘇州長洲 Changzhou in Suzhou, was a literatus and painter associated with the 臺閣體 taige ti (cabinet) style of writing. As mentioned in the poem by He Xu at the end of Taigu Yiyin, Shen Zhou (under the name 石田沈先生 Mr. Shitian Shen) wrote some praise for Xie Lin's qin songs (QQJC I/320).

13. 編釋 "Edit-explain" [?]

14. 汪孟舒 Wang Mengshu Playing in the 1950s 
Wang Mengshu, 字希董 style name Xidong, born in the late 19th century, was a noted qin player, painter, calligrapher and book collector. He studied qin with
Ye Shimeng and had two qin said to date from the Tang dynasty: Spring Thunder (春雷 Chun Lei) and Dragon Intoning from Dried Wood (枯木龍吟 Kumu Long Yin, often translated simply as "Dragon's Moan"). He relied on many of his old books to write his 烏絲闌指法釋 (Wusilan Zhifa Shi, Beijing 1955), which explains finger techniques found in the Tang dynasty long hand tablature for 幽蘭 You Lan. At least two recordings of him playing qin can be heard: Guanghan Qiu and Qingye Yin; both seem to be reconstructions.

15. 黃士達 Huang Shida (48904.x)

16. 豸山 Zhishan
37338.xxx; describes "zhi" as an ancient beast of prey, a type of worm, or "explain"; pronounced "zai" is it some sort of fabulous beast. There is a 冠豸山 in western Fujian pronounced "Guanzai Shan", so perhaps this 豸山 is Zaishan. In internet search found a 豸山 in Zhejiang also named 雲山寨 43170.xxx.

17. 胡獻卿 30073.x Hu Xianqing (Wu Zhao has 胡獻清 but the book itself says - 卿)

18. 績溪 28434.15 Jiqi: in northeast of She county, Anhui, aka Huayang.

19. 新安,汪克明 17533.x Wang Keming of Xin'an

20 Further comment
Of the 38 pieces included, 10 appear earlier: (12) He Ming Jiugao, (13) Yi Lan Cao and (26) Meihua Qu (Meihua Sannong) only in Shen Qi Mi Pu; (19) Zhi Zhao Fei, (20) Chu Ge, (23) Zhaojun Yuan (Longshuo Cao), (24) Huangzhong Diao (Shenpin Wuyi Yi) in both Shen Qi Mi Pu and Zheyin Shizi Qinpu; (6) Guan Ju, (9) Wen Wang Qu (Si Shun) and (31) Yangguan Qu (Yangguan Sandie) only in Zheyin Shizi Qinpu.

Of those 10 titles found earlier, only three -- (20) Chu Ge, (23) Zhaojun Yuan and (24) Huangzhong Diao -- are indicated as having non-standard tuning (raise 5th, lower 1st), but (31) Yangguan Qu also uses non-standard (raised fifth).

The preface to Huang Shida's edition is in QQJC I/. It begins,

琴,雅樂也,妙陰陽之理,宣天地之和,上古聖賢制 之,以為治心養性之具也。古之君子左琴右書,朝 絃.... As yet I have not found a text version of the full preface online.

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