Juyou Cao
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05. Detained in Gloom
- Standard tuning:2 (5 6) 1 2 3 5 6 played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
拘幽操 1
Juyou Cao
King Wen of Zhou's Youli 3                      
Juyou Cao is the second of the ten Qin Cao4 set to lyrics by Han Yu (766-824). The lyrics, in the voice of Wen Wang (Civil King), father of Wu Wang (Military King), who founded the Zhou dynasty in the 12th century BCE. In the lyrics Wen Wang expresses gloom at his unwarranted detention at Youli.

The Yuefu Shiji entry for Juyou Cao has the Han Yu lyrics together with lyrics attributed to Wen Wang himself. The entry is as follows.

拘幽操:周·文王 Detained in Gloom Lament, by Wen Wang of Zhou 一曰《文王哀羑里》。 Also called Wen Wang's Lament at (being imprisoned in) Youli

Not yet translated. It begins, Qin Cao says, As for Ju You Cao, when Wen Wang was imprisoned at Youli he created it. Wen Wang nurtured virtue.... (translation incompletel. This quote seems to be an abbreviated version of the one in the Revised Edition of Qin Cao) 5

Next in Yuefu Shiji are the lyrics attributed to Wen Wang, as follows (not yet translated):


Elsewhere (e.g., see Qinxue Congshu; XXX/20) the following lyrics may be added:


Finally, there are the lyrics by Han Yu, included below.

Wen Wang (who was then called Chang) is said to have written Juyou Cao while detained at Youli by Zhou Xin, the last ruler of the Shang dynasty.6 As related in Chapter 3 of the Records of the Grand Historian,7 Chang's supporters were able to ransom him by sending to Zhou Xin beautiful women, valuable objects and fine horses. Zhou Xin then made Chang Lord of the West. From this position Chang and his son eventually ousted the wicked Zhou Xin and established the Zhou dynasty.8

This title also appears in at least four later handbooks.9 These latter four are different from 1511, but all seem to use the same melody as each other. All use only five strings but, unusually, all but one (1614) use only strings three to seven. Most five string melodies use strings one to five.10

Original preface11

According to history, Zhou Xin did not have the Dao. The viscount of Ji had remonstrated him without effect, then (to save himself had to) act crazy and became a slave. (Zhou Xin's uncle Prince) Bi'gan remonstrated and died (at the hands of Zhou Xin). When Chang (Wen Wang) heard of this he sighed, and so (Zhou Xin) imprisoned (Chang) in Youli. This melody was written by Wen Wang while detained in this gloomy place. According to the Qin Record (Qin Lu), "Wen Wang was detained in You Li. He was unhappy and dejected. He played his qin and sang this, so it was called Detained in Gloom."

Music and Lyrics: One section12 (translation tentative; 聽錄音 listen with 看五線譜 staff notation)
The setting of Han Yu's lyrics is largely syllabic, following the structure of the lyrics:

目窈窈兮,      其凝其盲。
Mu yao yao xi,   qi ning qi mang.
My eyes are covered, it is cold and I can't see.

耳肅肅兮,      聽不聞聲。
Er su su xi,   ting bu wen sheng.
My ears are diligent, I listen but can hear no sound.

朝不日出兮,      夜不見月與星。
Zhao bu ri chu xi,   ye bu jian yue yu xing.
In the morning the sun does not come out, at night I see neither sun nor stars.

有知無知兮,      為死為生。
You zhi wu zhi xi,   wu si wo sheng.
Knowing and not knowing, whether I will die or live.

鳴呼!臣罪(當)誅兮,      天王聖明。
Ming hu! Chen zui (dang) zhu xi,   tian wang sheng ming.
Call out! The vassal's transgression is punished, the heavenly king's holiness is clear.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Juyou Cao 拘幽操
12249.31 A qin melody written by Wen Wang while detained in 羑里 Youli (29057.1 Yin dynasty jail name; place name, 河南湯陰 in Tangyin county of Henan province, now part of 安陽 Anyang city - see below). YFSJ also has a Ju You Cao attributed to Wen Wang himself, but its lyrics are not set to music here. Zhu Changwen's biography of Wen Wang in Qin Shi says an alternate name is 離憂操 Liyou Cao and that Han Yu's poem was called Youli Melody.

2. Mode
Taigu Yiyin does not directly indicate mode. Here the Juyou Cao tablature only uses the third to seventh strings, in effect making the tuning 1 2 3 5 6.

3. 周文王羑里成 King Wen of Zhou's Youli
This is what is written horizontally over the gate and vertically on the left of the photo above. Youli is now part of Anyang city in Henan province: see reference. It is today a historical site and tourist attraction. Henan province online information says that some buildings here date from the Ming dynasty, adding that, according to one tradition, Wen Wang wrote the Book of Changes (易經 Yi Jing) during his seven years of captivity here (see Wikipedia and under Laozi). There is also here a 伯邑考之墓 tomb that is said to be that of Wen Wang's son Bo Yi Kao.

4. 10 Qin Cao of Han Yu
All ten are set to music in Taigu Yiyin. The various versions of 琴操 Qin Cao are all somewhat different. For example, the one in the Qin Cao in 琴苑要彔 Qinyuan Yaolu (Yuan dynasty; Beijing reprint) has a longer introduction to Juyou Cao than the one here, but it is still much shorter than the one in the Qin Cao of 琴學叢書 Qinxue Congshu (1910; see 唐健垣,琴府 Tong Kin-Woon's Qin Fu, p. 742, or QQJC XXX/20, #5).

5. Preface in Qin Cao
Once completed, the translation of this preface (as here quoted from Yuefu Shiji) will replace the Chinese text above, but it will be kept here.

《琴操》曰:《拘幽操》,文王拘於羑里而作也。文王修德,百姓親附。崇侯虎疾之,譖於紂曰: 『西伯昌,聖人也。長子發,中子旦,皆聖人也。三聖合謀,君其慮之。』乃囚文王於羑里,將殺之。於是文王四臣散宜生之徒,得美女、大貝、白馬朱鬣以獻於紂,紂遂出西伯。文王在羑里,演《易》八卦以為六十四,作鬱厄之辭曰:『困于石,據于蒺薐。』乃申憤而作歌云。」

Meanwhile, the 蔡邕琴操 拘幽操 version of Ju You Cao in the Qin Cao atttributed to Cai Yong as quoted in Qinxue Congshu (XXX/20) is quite a bit longer, as follows,


It then gives lyrics attributed to Wen Wang as above, but also including the six additional lines at the end.

6. Shang dynasty
The Shang dynasty capital under 紂辛 Zhou Xin was at 朝歌 Zhaoge in what is today Henan province. 羑里 You Li is in northernmost Henan. The home of 昌 Chang and the 周 Zhou people was in Shaanxi.

7. See Nienhauser, The Grand Scribes Records, pp. 50 and 58.

8. Compare the account in Investiture of the Gods.

9. Tracing 拘幽操 Ju You Cao (tracing chart)
The chart below is based on Zha Fuxi's Guide 13/130/238.

10. Which five strings?
It is thus unusual for a five string qin melody to use only the top five strings. This presumably is because Chinese tradition says that originally the qin had five strings but Zhou Wen Wang and Zhou Wu Wang each added one: the sixth and seventh strings.

11. Original preface
Not yet online. It begins, 按史,封為無道。箕子諫不行,....

12. Original lyrics
The original lyrics in YFSJ/830 have two differences:

目窈窈兮,其凝其盲。(YFSJ: 目掩掩兮....)

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Appendix: Chart Tracing 拘幽操 Ju You Cao
Based mainly on Zha Fuxi's
Guide, 13/130/238

None has the same music as here.

    (year; QQJC Vol/page)
Further information
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
  1. 謝琳太古遺音
      (1511; I/276 [detail])
1; lyrics; harmonics at beginning and end
5 strings, but uses strings 3-7 instead of 1-5
  2. 新刊正文對音捷要
      (1573; #32)
1; same as 1585?
  3. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/408)
1; same lyrics as 1511;
melody is somewhat similar but it also uses strings 3-7 instead of 1-5;
  4. 理性元雅
      (1618; VIII/318)
1; same lyrics, music seems almost same as 1585, but uses strings 1-5 instead of 3-7;
One of 13 pieces using 5 strings
  5. 自遠堂琴譜
      (1802; XVII/524)
1; shang yin,
Music and lyrics almost same as 1585 (strings 3-7, but corrected?)

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