Sheng De Song: Hymn of Grand Moral Virtue
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22. Hymn of Grand Moral Virtue
- (Zhi mode:2 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 )
盛德頌 1
Sheng De Song  
Tablature issues 3                  
Although a Hymn of Grand Moral Virtue can be found in some Song dynasty melody lists, including the one compiled by Seng Ju Yue (Less Ancient section), it is not possible to prove a connection between the present melody (and/or its anonymous lyrics) and a Song dynasty original.4

Tablature for this title can be found in only two surviving handbooks, Faming Qinpu (1530) and Longhu Qinpu (1571).5 The version in Faming Qinpu has eight untitled sections, while the Longhu Qinpu version has ten titled sections, having divided Faming Qinpu's Section 8 into three. The lyrics are basically the same in both,6 but the music is very different, perhaps unrelated.7 The Longhu Qinpu version also incbrief preface.

The melody and lyrics of this Sheng De Song are unrelated to the melody and lyrics of the Sheng De Song meaning Hymn of Holy Moral Virtue.8 This other Sheng De Song title is also in at least one early list, but tablature can be found only in Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585).

Although I have written out a complete transcription of the 1530 song into staff notation, translated almost all of it, and selected note values that work quite well, I do not yet consider this reconstruction finalized. The main problems are some passages where I do not understand the lyrics well enough to be confident that my musical phrases fit the apparent phrasing of the lyrics. This problem is compounded by the fact that, as in the sample image at right, the original tablature is mostly lacking punctuation for either the lyrics or music.9 Another problem is dealing with mistakes and/or inconsistencies in the tablature.10

On the other hand, there are structures within the music that help solve some of these problems. Thus, after their opening phrases Section 5 largely repeats Section 1, but one octave higher; then the opening of Section 6 repeats the opening of Section 2, after which most of the rest of Section 6 repeats Section 4, in both cases again one octave higher.11

As for pairing the phrasing of the music with the phrasing of the lyrics, my initial impression is that perhaps the 1530 editor paid insufficient attention to making clear how the music and text should fit together. For example, perhaps the lyrics and music originally did fit in performance, but the lyrics were copied down separately from the tablature. The editor (who perhaps could not sing or even play the music) might then have tried to pair the lyrics and music in the usual manner, but in some places couldn't quite figure out how to do it. As a result there are places where there is tablature but no words, others where there are words but no appropriate tablature. Other attempts to explain the problems are equally speculative.12

As for mistakes and/or inconsistencies in the tablature, this seems to be a common problem in certain Ming dynasty handbooks, thus contrasting notably from handbooks such as Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425) and Xilutang Qinpu (1525): although 1425 and 1525 also indicate numerous non-pentatonic notes, they do so in a consistent manner that suggests they were intentional.

None (but the Longhu Qinpu version has one

盛德頌歌詞 Sheng De Song Music and Lyrics14   (Timings below follow 聽錄音 my recording; see also my transcription and this pdf of the original lyrics)
Eight Sections, untitled (but added below from the Longhu Qinpu version15)

These lyrics seem largely to consist of quotes or paraphrases from earlier literature on good behavior, and to appreciate properly the way the lyrics and melody enhance each other one should know the fuller meanings expressed in these sources. As not all the sources have been traced and fully understood, this translation of the lyrics must still be considered as a work in process. Here, to help trace these sources, I have bracketed with 「 」 texts the sources of which I have found. Unforuntately, for those found through internet searches the sources are often not identified (some may in fact be maxims of unknown origin).

Once one knows their meaning well enough, to appreciate more deeply their connection to the melody one should (try to) follow the original lyrics while listening to the music. For this reason these lyrics are presented below, together with a transliteration showing their modern Chinese pronuncation in 拼音 pinyin.)

      (00.00; from Closing harmonics
1.   (00.15;   1571: 盛德頌)
(1. 1571: Hymn of Grand Moral Virtue)
For everyday matters, whatever you say you should be able to say to anyone.
(Compare Sima Guang, 資治通鑑 Zizhi Tongjian: 「平生所為未有不可對人言者」)
動履必端詳,「居處必靜」。 When moving be dignified and serene, at home be calm. (?)
When traveling around follow customs, when stopping follow rules,
(? Compare 徐幹,中論,法象 3.   禮記,玉藻 37 has 周還中規,折還中矩。)
戰競自持。 Be on guard and self-restrained.
「正其衣冠,尊其瞻視, "Adjust clothing and cap, and throw a dignity into your looks,
so that, thus dignified, you are looked at with awe."
(Translation from 論語,堯曰 2, except that it had no "則")
歎談,「口不出非禮之言」, Speak resoundingly, the mouth should not make inappropriate sounds;
Go in and come out respectfully, the feet should not walk on inappropriate ground.
(「口不道非禮之言,足不踐非禮之地。」 is in 邵雍 [?])
寧肯作「嬰兒之態」。 Prefer having the outlook of a young child.
「脫凡近,游高明,」 Avoid partial learning and go around with brilliance,
而「有丈夫之志,」 and have a brave person's aims,
with no flattery, no arrogance, no self-deceit.
2.   (01.15;   1571: 出入尊高) (2. 1571: Going in and out, respect the elderly)16
「吾日三省吾身」, Every day on three matters of conscience examine oneself,
「三網」正而「五常」精神。 In the "Three Cardinal Relationships" be correct and with the "Five Constant Virtues" be nurturing.
君子當容人,無為人容。 A moral and cultivated person must be tolerant, not just require the tolerance of others
唾面必便自乾。 If someone spits on you, just allow it to dry naturally.
出門時,如見大賓。 When leaving home, be (courteous and polite) as if greeting an important guest.
尊高年,表其長。 Respect the elderly and praise their merits;
慈孤弱,幼吾其幼。 show compassion to the weak and poor, love them like your own children.
入虛室,如有人, When entering an empty room, act as though others are present.
惡禮不接於心術, Do not intentionally show a lack of etiquette and decorum. (周易傳義附錄: 卷八下)
"Lascivious sounds and lewd sights: do not keep them in the ears and eyes." (禮記樂記30; 史記樂書31)
3.   (01.55   1571: 立治正中) (3. 1571: When standing up (in court) be correct at the core)
立治朝,「垂紳正笏」, When standing up in court, "hang your sash down and correctly hold your writing tablet" (禮記玉藻 32 [紳垂])
"When presenting ideas be fully honest; (說苑尊賢 35, but no "其")
退思補過。」無疎慵, when getting back ideas amend errors." Do not be heedless and lax;
「讜言正論」。 "Candidly speak and correctly advise."
不避顏色,不避顏色。 Do not ignore appearance; do not ignore appearance.
To help rulers emulate Yao and Shun emphasize an honest attitude.
(Repeat these two lines.)
嚙雪猶能持漢節。 (Su Wu) chewed on snow so that he could still maintain his Han Credentials.
羅雀掘鼠,獨守孤城中。 (Zhang Xun) netted sparrows and dug for rats, while singlehandedly defending the isolated city (of Suiyang).
(Ban Chao) came back alive through Yumen Pass (Gansu), but did not hope for a fief in Jiu Quan.
(Repeat melodic line without lyrics; 1530 original had 醴泉 40946.3: near Xi'an)
(陳宜中 Chen Yizhong [Wiki]) wished from Annan to go to Yashan.
(A naval battle there in Guangdong in 1279 ended the Song dynasty.)
負宋衛王赴海死 (?)
(The end of Section 3 has a gap in lyrics. This analysis moves the gap here and suggests as content:
"負宋衛王赴海死. Holding in his arms the Song Prince of Wei (the infant Song emperor, Lu Xiufu) jumped into the sea and drowned.")
舟遇颶風。 (Then 張世傑 Zhang Shijie [Wiki] and his) ships (sank when they) met a big storm (typhoon in March?).
(So [Wen Tianxiang's] unyielding righteousness filled his breast. (See 1571; 1530 had 止氣: helplessness)
4.   (03.00;   1571: 敬思劬勞) (4. 1571: Reverent attention and diligence)
百行內,百行內, With all behaviour, with all behaviour,
孝順孝順父母為先, 。 show filial obedience: parents come first,   .
(再作) (Repeat)
In winter make them warm, in summer cool; evenings arrange everything, mornings ask after them.
(禮記,曲禮上 15
「出必告,反必面」。 When going out tell them; when returning show yourself. (禮記,曲禮上 17
「出入 而敬扶持之,」
When they enter or leave help and support them,
(禮記,內則 4:「出入,則或先或後,而敬扶持之。」)
When in pain or having an itch, then reverently care for and scratch them.
(In Li Ji this line precedes the previous one; for 癢 the pu had 養)
In their reception room ask of their daily life, give them marrow, and offer them sweet delicacies.
( 骨髓 gǔsuǐ = bone marrow, but for 骨 the pu had 骨+修, not in dictionary; LHQP: 脩随)
「必請所與」, ,當不忘, 。 You must invite them to have the leftovers, must not forget responsibilities.
懷躭、乳哺,鞠育劬勞之慈, When pregnant and suckling, nurture diligently with kindness,
Vast as the boundless heavens is (a mother's) untiring heart.
5.   (03.55;   1571: 三握三吐) (5. 1571: Thrice grasp [hair] and thrice disgorge [food]); (10.1369: 梁元帝﹕三握再吐....)
大聖人,周公大聖人,戒伯禽, A great sage, Zhou Gong the great sage, admonished (his eldest son) Bo Qin, (when he sent him to Lu to rule on his behalf, as follows, so worthy men would continue to visit):
三握髮,一飯三吐哺,起以待士, You may have to grasp your hair three times each (to stop washing it), and while eating three times disgorge food from your mouth, so as to entertain scholars,
恐失天下之賢。 Fearing (otherwise) losing the favor of these worthy people.
「自卑而尊人」,先彼後己。 Humble yourself, honor others (禮記,曲禮上 15); first others then yourself.
謙恭遜順, Be polite, modest and yielding,
「和顏悅色」,相近相親。 frank but amiable; close and intimate. (論語, 鄉黨 2 & 5 explanation)
燕昭築臺,蔡邕倒屣, King Zhao of Yan [ d. 279 BCE] built a (golden) terrace (for recruiting officials); Cai Yong hurried to welcome guests;
公孫弘開東閣之誠。 Gongsun Hong built an Eastern Chamber (to invite worthy officials).
下榻陳蕃見重於孺子。 Below the bed Chen Fan respected Ruzi (Chen Fan, d. 168 CE, imperial guardian of Han emperor Ling, made a bed for the righteous scholar 徐孺子 Xu Ruzi, then suspended it high above where no one else could use it.)
草廬三往先主曾顧於孔明 Going to the hut three times, the first lord (Liu Bei) finally saw Kongming (Zhuge Liang).
陶侃母截頭髮延賓。 Tao Kan's mother cut her hair to buy food to entertain a guest, (范逵 Fan Kui, who could promote Tao Kan.)
賈生半夜前席,不冠不見黯身, Student Jia (賈誼 Jia Yi, 201 – 169 BCE) for half the night (with the emperor) on the edge of his mat, did not offer a hat (典冠???) or look at his dark body (???)
Whether wealthy or in humble circumstances, mothers are proud. (?)
6.   (05.03; 1571: 存仁施德) (6. 1571: Preserve benevolence, draw on moral virtue)
勿以惡小而為, Just because an evil act is small do not go ahead and commit it;
just because a kind act is small do not fail to do it.
編橋渡蟻,龍顏得第一名。 (Song Jiao saved) ants by making a bridge, then the emperor gave him first place. (宋郊編荻橋渡蟻)
疲癃必使以其所, The old and infirm must be given what they need;
鰥寡孤獨必使得其生。 widowers, widows, orphans and the childless must be enabled to survive.
If a child is about to fall into a well, (or) cannot carry out three years of mourning (???)
(Mengzi, Gong Sun Chou I/6)
哀矜不忍,極濟施仁。 Don't repress compassion; bring benevolence through great aid. (Zha: "拯濟" zhengji)
Apply ancestors' dying requests. (?. 1571 has 「天人使命。」
Compare 「爾用先人之治命,余是以報。」 in《左傳》,宣公十五年 commentary; 治命 is "dying request".)  
城陷江南,不許妄殺一人。 When cities fell in Jiangnan, (曹彬 Cao Bin, 931–999) did not allow the killing of even one person.
Heaven then registered his name, granting (his descendants) a surplus of deserved fortune.
7.   (05.45;   1571: 名清千載) (7. 1571: A clear name for countless years)
「君子居易以俟命。」 A gentleman leads a plain and simple life so that everything is left to fate; (禮記,中庸 14)
「不義而富且貴如浮雲。」 If one is not righteous, then fortune and wealth are like floating clouds. (論語,述而 16)
簞食、瓢飲、在陋巷,在陋巷, Eating from a plain bowl and drinking from a gourd in poor alleyways, poor alleyways:
Others could not have endured this, but (Yan) Hui still enjoyed himself.
(孟子,離婁下 57: 「居於陋巷。一簞食,一瓢飲。人不堪其憂,顏(回)不改其樂。」)
「千萬載   名猶存」。 For countless years one's name still carries on,
(so although) food may be of poor quality
(?; for 羹 geng 1530/1571 had 美 mei),
咬斷菜根,,「怡然自得」。 and you may be able to eat only cabbage stalks (「咬菜根」),   , be happy to have yourself (列子,皇帝 1).
清風蕙帳,明月柴門, Fresh breezes and a beautified canopy, a bright moon over the bramble gate,
Steps (look like) jade as passing rain adds to the moss tracks. (?)
8.   (06.40;   1571:樂守從吾泛起)
(8. 1571: Enjoy staying, follow yourself; Harmonics begin)
棄浮名,樂守丘園, Abandon empty fame, enjoy staying in hilly gardens,
不管他世事紛紛、任紛紛, Not concerned with those worldly affairs in all their number, (or) responsibilites in all their number,
(Or) chasing after everything you want, to be surrounded by luxury.
(07.02; 泛止:1571 第九段:清虛物外) (Harmonics end; 1571 Section 9: Clear emptiness beyond the mundane)
各教中自有樂地,滿腔子都是春意。 Each philosophy includes its own points of happiness, filling the breast with thoughts of spring.
綠遍窗前草不除, In front of a green window grass does not protrude,
清風明月,萬里涵清虛。 Fresh breezes and a bright moon, all around is contained in emptiness.
不愧室漏。「不怨天, Don't be ashamed of a humble home. "Do not lament against heaven; (論語,憲問 35)
不尤人,」「食無求飽。」 do not grumble against others." "When eating do not seek only to be full;"
那更「居無求安,」(comment) Even more, "at home do not seek only conveniences," (論語,學而 14)
「敏于事,慎于言。」 Be earnest in action, cautious in speech.
「談笑有鴻儒,往來無白丁。」 "In talk and laughter have erudition, no ignorant people passing to and fro." (陋室銘; transl.)
Hasten beyond the mundane world, a whole life without ruin, also without fame.
(07.46; 泛起: 1571 第十:坦然安居 1571 Section 10: Calm and at peace; Harmonics begin)
申申如也,身廣體胖。 Easy going, physique broad and body comfortable;
夭夭如也,坦然方寸地,便是安居。 pleasant in manner, calm at heart, and so living at peace.
(08.14; 泛止:曲終) (Harmonics end; melody ends.)

This translation of the lyrics is still in process: the general meaning should be here, but more work can be done in particular to trace the sources of these lyrics. See also the original with transliteration.)

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Hymn of Grand Moral Virtue (盛德頌 Sheng De Song) (compare 聖德頌)
23537.167 has only 盛德 but its quote from the Great Preface (大序 Da Xu) to the 詩經 Shi Jing also mentions "頌 Song", saying that such a hymn is a description of the beauty of grand moral virtue: 「盛德,謂天德之盛行者也。(詩、大序)頌者美盛德之形容。」 5960.366 大序 writes out the Da Xu; it says it comes before the first poem, 關雎 Guan Ju, but doesn't say when or by whom it was written. In my Chinese edition of the Shi Jing it comes before the hymns (頌 song), which are Shi Jing Mao numbers 266-305. I haven't found a textual relationship between any of those hymns and the lyrics here.

23537.167-.173 all concern 盛德 sheng de, but none mentions the qin and the reference just quoted is the only one to mention 頌 song. .171 盛德舞 concerns a Han dynasty shengde dance. 7/1430 adds nothing.

Online I have found a few direct references to 盛德頌 Sheng De Song:

  1. In a biography of 劉聰 Liu Cong (Wiki) in 崔鴻《十六國春秋別傳》 Cui Hong's Annals of the 16 Kingdoms:「朕時與武子俱為《盛德頌》,卿稱善久之。」
  2. As an essay attributed to 晉陸雲 Lu Yun (士龍 Shilong) of Jin. It begins, 「余行經泗水,高帝昔為亭長於此。瞻望山川,意有慨然,遂奏章以通情焉,並為之頌雲爾。」

My opinion from reconstructing the melody is that it is more coherent than the patched-together lyrics, and so probably came before it.

2. Mode: Zhi? (徴調 zhi diao)
Faming Qinpu does not mention the mode, and in fact does not seem to mention mode at all. However, Longhu Qinpu includes its Sheng De Song among its zhi mode pieces. As for my transcriptions, I always use staff notation as relative pitch, so that "C" is actually "do" or "1"; the standard Chinese pentatonic scale is C D E G A (1 2 3 5 6) and I select the relative pitch names accordingly (i.e., selecting my "1" based on the scale that most avoides accidentals).

As a result, in the Faming Qinpu version of Sheng De Song the tonal centers are on zhi (5, so) and shang (2, re), as would be expected from zhi mode melodies. Then, although the basic scale remains as 1 2 3 5 6, there are many occurences of 4 (F) and 7 (B), plus a few of 3# (F#). This seems to to be related to the tonal center sometimes seeming to shift: if 5 is the tonal center it is natural to hear 7 (a third up), instead of 1; if 2 is the tonal center it is natural to hear 4 (a third up) instead of 3. The occasional 4# could reflect the fact that in some qin melodies it is common to have both the natural third and the sharp third (see, e.g., under shang mode).

3. Image: Tablatures issues (at end of the Sheng De Song tablature from Faming Qinpu)
For much of the tablature there is little problem working out the pitches; at the end, though, there are serious interpretation problems. In the sample above there are two main issues:

  1. The first red mark in the tablature (which is written from top to bottom and right to left) indicates an obvious mistake: the left finger is already in the 10th position but the instructions are then to slide down to the tenth position. My solution is take the cluster by the second red mark, here paired to the character 居, move it to the position of the first mark, and pair it with the character 無. This also makes the text correspond with the relevant quote from Lun Yu (論語,學而 14; see below)
  2. The third red mark comes at the beginning of a lengthy passage ending the main body of the melody (i.e., until the closing harmonic passage); it is written with what seem to be only vague instructions as to how to play it.

There is further related comment below.

My general practice is to avoid changing notes: even if non-pentatonic notes originally seem odd, they may eventually prove interesting. However, throughout this piece the tablature has too many such passages, often unplayable, and intermediate positions on stopped sounds are rarely indicated, except on slides. To me this suggests careless editing in the original.

4. A Song dynasty melody?
For the qin melody list of 僧居月
Seng Ju Yue see Tong Kin-Woon, Qin Fu, pp.1695-6. The presence of this title in the Less Ancient section of this list suggests that it existed during the Song dynasty, but does not establish whether it was a close or distant version of the present melody or was instead a musically unrelated one with the same title. Many if not most of the lyrics seem to draw on various old sources, but some them do refer to a specific event at Yashan that marked the end of the Song dynasty, and these have led me to the following speculative attempt to show how the present version might nevertheless have at least partially originated in the Song dynasty.

The lyrics at the end of Section 3 of the 1530 tablature have several references to events at 崖山 Yashan/Yaishan, the scene in March 1279 of the last battle of Song resistance to the Yuan conquest. However, just here in the tablature there is a gap in the lyrics, so that tablature that would normally have 17-19 characters paired to it (according to what was then an apparently obligatory strict pairing method) instead has none; such a gap in the middle of a melody is very unusual. Some of this can be fixed by taking 10 characters from a repeated melodic passage (beginning "安南..."; at the time, repeated tablature often did not have words paired to it) and moving them plus the ensuing Section 3 phrases down. However, this still leaves 7 to 9 notes unpaired. To my ears the most natural place to add this text would be in the middle of the passage connected to Yashan. So the speculation is that, if the present melody did originate in the Song dynasty, then shortly after the battle someone expanded it so as to add (and/or perhaps revise) lyrics that include mention the Song demise. This, however, would have been a dangerous thing to do: at that time it would not have been politically feasible to lament the Yuan conquest openly, so any lyrics that might have been seen as mentioning the battle might then have had to be deleted, leaving a gap if the added music remained. If the 1530 version was based on a Yuan dynasty copy of the tablature to which someone had tried to add the the lyrics referring to the battle, perhaps by then some of them were no longer remembered and so a gap remained. (The 1571 version has no such gap, the melody being shorter here.) This may just be fantasy, but what better explanation is there for the extremely unusual gap? If it is true, what would the most likely subject of these missing lyrics have been? My own suggestion is that it was connected to someone who was at the battle (such as Liu Xiufu?), but making that sort of speculation requires first adding further historical detail.

Connected to this is the feeling that the lyrics here are so long, detailed and didactic that it is difficult to imagine them being sung out loud from beginning to end.

Today claims have been made by the Lingnan Qin School that an old qin handbook called Gugang Yipu includes tablature someone with the Song dynasty court brought to 崖山 Yashan (sometimes written as 厓山, called 厓門山 Yamenshan or 崖門 Yamen, or Romanized as Yaishan). In 1279 the remnants of the Song court had fled to this region and were living on Yashan, then an island in the Pearl River estuary of what is today Guangdong Province. My Historical Atlas of China (image) shows Ya Shan as a small island above a bay called the Yellow Reeds Sea (黃茅海 Huangmao Hai): presumably the battle took place in that bay. The Wikipedia article on the 崖門戰役 Battle of Yamen, dated March 1279, includes a picture of a park in nearby 新會 Xinhui commemorating the battle (also search for 崖門古炮台 Yamen Gupaotai or "Yamen Fort"). Note, however, much of the area here in the delta has silted up since the battle, there is no longer a Yashan island, and the bay is further down what modern maps call the 崖門水道 Yamen Water Route, which runs down through the area to Huangmao Hai.

On the Song dynasty side four major figures should be mentioned:

  1. 陳宜中 Chen Yizhong (Wiki); he had been a Prime Minister before the Song court fled Hangzhou, but by the time of the battle at Yashan was living in 占城 Champa (often referred to as Annan); in fact there is no record of him actually trying to go to Yashan.
  2. 陸秀夫 Lu Xiufu (42620.114; Wiki); he was one of the admirals of the Song fleet at Yashan; when the battle was lost, 負宋衛王赴海死 holding in his arms the Song Prince of Wei (the infant Song emperor) he jumped into the sea and drowned.
  3. 張世傑 Zhang Shijie (Wiki); he was the other fleet admiral; when the battle was lost he and about 10 ships were able to flee, but it is said that shortly thereafter they sank in a great storm (the lyrics say 颶風 jufeng, often translated as "typhoon", but this would have been in March or April, long before the normal typhoon season).
  4. Wen Tianxiang; he had earlier written the famous Zheng Qi Ge to protest the conciliatory attitude of the Song government towards the Mongols. Captured by the Mongols, he was forced by them to watch the battle. He wrote a poem about this, Crossing the Lingding Sea (過零丁洋 Guo Lingding Yang; Lingding Yang is presumably either the same as or part of Huangmao Hai).

Perhaps the most likely subject for the missing line (mostly like 4+4 characters or 7 characters) would be a reference alluding to Lu Xiufu, the only one of the above leading figures not so mentioned in these lyrics. (My thanks to 楊劭允 Yang Shao-Yun for clarifying the Yashan references for me and making this suggestion about Lu Xiufu).

Another possibility for the missing line might be one from Wen Tianxiang's Crossing the Lingding Sea; the complete poem is as follows, together with an online translation by 陈耀国 YK Chan, copied here with his kind permission:

人生自古誰無死?  留取丹心照汗青。

Hardship endurance began with my scripture exam,
  Sporadic struggles lasting over four decades thence.
A kingdom vanquished, in the wind catkins fly.
  Like duckweeds struck by heavy rain I fall and rise.
Retreat from Panic Beach tells a panicky action,
  On Lingding Sea I lament my lone incarceration.
Since the beginning of time who can ever not die?
  My unwavering devotion shall in history shine!

One of these lines might serve well for the gap in the present lyrics. However, there is no real evidence to support a connection between this poem and the lyrics of the present melody other than the subject matter and the fact that so much of the Song De Song lyrics consists of quotes from earlier sources.

Also note that this melody did not make it into any list of melodies claiming connection to the Gugang Yipu.

5. Tracing the Hymn of Grand Moral Virtue (盛德頌 Sheng De Song)
Zha Fuxi's Guide
15/--/339 does not include Longhu Qinpu so it only lists the Faming Qinpu version; there are thus two surviving occurrences, as follows:

  1. Faming Qinpu (QQJC I/366-369)
  2. Longhu Qinpu (Qin Fu, pp. 260-254)

Differences between the two are outlined in the next two footnotes.

6. Differences in lyrics between the 1530 and 1571 versions
The textual differences amount mainly to words missing from Longhu Qinpu (1571), though there are also changed words here and there, plus a few additions. The extra phrases added (one each) in Faming Qinpu at the end of sections 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7, all applied to the multiple fingering technique 搯撮三聲 taocuo sansheng, are all missing from 1571. Although the sections in 1571 are titled, they are not numbered.

7. Differences in music between the 1530 and 1571 versions
The music of these two seems on the surface to be related only by the fact that they are both in the same musical mode and have almost the same lyrics. See also the comment with the 1571 section titles.

8. Hymn of Holy Moral Virtue (聖德頌 Sheng De Song) (Zha Fuxi's Guide 26/217/414; compare 盛德頌)
29727.289 has only 聖德 (高德、天子之德). A piece of this title survives only in Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585; see #48 in the Table of Contents). The lyrics there are as follows (copied from

  1. 第一段 天開景運

  2. 第二段 握符民社

  3. 第三段 遠略洪謨

  4. 第四段 劇秦美新

  5. 第五段 視聽惟聦

  6. 第六段 丕業建極

  7. 第七段 統治萬姓

  8. 第八段 奕世萬年

Elsewhere this melody has been connected to Yan Shigu, presumably because he is credited with a fu poem of this title. However, the text of his fu has not been attached to any known qin melody. It begins,


See more in the China Text Project (Section 150).

9. Punctuation
The tablature, in Folio 3 of the 1530 edition of Faming Qinpu, is on folio pages 45-51. Punctuation seems largely confined to pages 48 and 49. The 1530 edition may be a reprint (it is "新刊 xin kan"); perhaps other editions had either more punctuation or no punctuation.

10. Mistakes and/or inconsistencies
The main problem is due to the fact that many indicated finger positions suggest non-pentatonic notes, but these are most commonly 4 (fa) and 7 ti); and whereas the non-pentatonic notes seem to be clearly intended in some places, in others they would lead to strange and unlikely dissonances (e.g., diads on f and g together). This then brings into question the notes which seem to sound good either as pentatonic or non-pentatonic notes.

The problems center around a tendency to write only 五, 六 or 八 for intermediate positions such as 5.6, 6.4 or 7.6. This is particularly noticeable if one compares Section 1 (after the opening phrase) with Section 5 (after the opening passage with runs [滾 gun]). The latter has basically the same melody an octave higher but, in a number of places, the indicated slides of one lead to a pentatonic note (e.g., position 6 on the 6th string: E) while the corresponding indicated slides of the other indicate the non-pentatonic equivalent (e.g., position 10 on the 6th string: F).

See also the comment regarding the above image.

11. Repeating sections in a different register
This is also found it quite a few other qin melodies. In some cases the phrasing of the lyrics have changed but the musical phrasing seems unchanged. To my knowledge there have been no studies of the significance of this.

12. Pairing lyrics and music
The pairing of lyrics and music in qin melodies is discussed further elsewhere. The problems outlined here bring into question whether these songs were ever in fact sung - or even intended to be sung.

Specific examples of pairing problems include:

  1. A passage at the end of Section 3 that would normally have 17-19 characters paired to it has no lyrics at all (further comment).
  2. The pairing at the beginning of Section 5, with its repeats and glissandos followed by slides, is awkward.
  3. In the last phrases before the closing harmonics of Section 8 ("往來無白丁...無譽"), the editor seems to surrender any attempt to direct the player how to play the music, much less pair it with the lyrics.

The latter two examples, in particular, suggests that perhaps this was an instrumental melody to which someone who didn't understand it very well simply added lyrics. This seems to have been quite common in some handbooks, such as Zheyin Shizi Qinpu,

13. Chinese preface
The original preface in Longhu Qinpu says:


14. Chinese lyrics, with modern pronuncation
The translation above was arranged on the basis of meaning as well as musical phrasing. Here the same lyrics are arranged purely on the basis of the musical phrasing: although they range in length from 6 to 16 characters, in my transcription most lines have exactly four bars, with the time signature mostly in cut time (2/2). To appreciate properly how the lyrics and music enhance each other one should understand the lyrics well enough that they can be followed here rather than with the translation.

  1. 00.00   (1571: 盛德頌)
    Píng shēng shì, wèi yǒu bù kě duì rén yán zhě.

    Dòng lǚ bì duān xiáng,"jū chù bì jìng."

    "Zhōu xuán zhōng guī, zhé xuán zhōng jǔ," zhàn jìng zì chí.

    "Zhèng qí yī guān, zūn qí zhān shì, yǎn rán rén wàng zé ér wèi zhī."

    Tàn tán,"kǒu bù chū fēi lǐ zhī yán."

    Rù jìng chū gōng, "zú bù jiàn fēi lǐ zhī dì."

    Nìng kěn zuò "yīng ér zhī tài."

    "Tuō fán jìn, yóu gāo míng," ér "yǒu zhàng fū zhī zhì."

    Wú chǎn, wú jiāo, wú zì qī.

  2.   (1571: 出入尊高)
    "Wú rì sān xǐng wú shēn","sān wǎng" zhèng ér "wǔ cháng" jīng shén.

    Jūnzǐ dāng róng rén, wú wéi rén róng.

    Tuò miàn bì biàn zì gān. Chū mén shí, rú jiàn dà bīn.

    Zūn gāo nián, biǎo qí chǎng. Cí gū ruò, yòu wú qí yòu.

    Rù xū shì, rú yǒu rén, è lǐ bù jiē yú xīn shù,

    "Jiān shēng luàn sè, bù liú yú cōng míng."

  3.   (1571: 立治正中)
    Lì zhì cháo,"chuí shēn zhèng hù", "jìn sī jìn qí zhōng,

    Tuì sī bǔ guò." Wú shū yōng,"dǎng yán zhèng lùn".

    Bù bì yán sè, bù bì yán sè."Zhì jūn Yáo Shùn" zhòng qǐ chún fēng. (repeat)

    Niè xuě yóu néng chí hàn jié. Luó què jué shǔ, dú shǒu gū chéng zhōng.

    Shēng rù Yùmén Guān, bù yuàn Jiǔquán nà fēng. (repeat, without lyrics)

    Ānnán yù qù Yáshān.

    Fù Sòng Wèi Wáng fù hǎi sǐ.

    Zhōu yù jù fēng.

    Gāng cháng zhèng qì tián qí xiōng.

  4.   (1571: 敬思劬勞)
    Bǎi xíng nèi, bǎi xíng nèi. Xiào shùn, xiào shùn, fù mǔ wèi xiān. (repeat)

    Dōng wēn ér xià qìng, hūn dìng chén shěng.

    Chū bì gào, fǎn bì miàn".

    「出入 而敬扶持之,」「疾痛疴癢,而敬抑搔之。」
    "Chū rù   ér jìng fú chí zhī," "jí tòng kē yǎng, ér jìng yì sāo zhī."

    Shàng táng shàng wèn qǐ jū, jìn gǔ suǐ, gōng gān zhǐ.

    「必請所與,」_ _ _ _,當不忘,_ _ _。
    "Bì qǐng suǒ yǔ," _ _ _ _, dāng bù wàng, _ _ _.

    Huái dān, rǔ bǔ, jú yù qú láo zhī cí.

    Hào tiān wǎng jí, (mǔ?) xīn zī.

  5.   (1571: 三握三吐)
    Dà shèng rén, Zhōu Gōng dà shèng rén, jiè Bó Qín,

    Sān wò fà, yī fàn sān tǔ bǔ, qǐ yǐ dài shì,

    Kǒng shī tiān xià zhī xián.

    "Zì bēi ér zūn rén", xiān bǐ hòu jǐ.

    Qiān gōng xùn shùn, "hé yán yuè sè", xiāng jìn xiāng qīn.

    Yàn Zhāo zhú tái, Cài Yōng dào xǐ, Gōngsūn Hóng kāi dōng gé zhī chéng.

    Xià tà Chén Fān jiàn zhòng yú rú zǐ.

    Cǎo lú sān wǎng, xiān zhǔ céng gù yú Kǒng Míng,

    Táo kǎn mǔ jié tóu fà yán bīn.

    Jiǎ Shēng bàn yè, qián xí bù guān, bù jiàn àn shēn,

    Fù guì pín jiàn wú jiāo rén.

  6.   (1571: 存仁施德)
    Wù yǐ è xiǎo ér wéi, wù yǐ shàn xiǎo ér bù wéi zhī.

    Biān qiáo dù yǐ, lóng yán dé dì yī míng.

    Pí lóng bì shǐ yǐ qí suǒ, guān guǎ gū dú, bì shǐ dé qí shēng.

    "Rú zǐ jiàng rù yú jǐng", sān sàng ér jǔ wèi néng.

    Āi jīn bù rěn, jí jì shī rén, yòng xiān rén shǐ mìng.

    Chéng xiàn Jiāngnán, bù xǔ wàng shā yī rén.

    Cāng tiān yǒu bào míng yú qìng.

  7.   (1571: 名清千載)
    "Jūnzǐ jū yì yǐ qí mìng."

    "Bù yì ér fù, qiě guì rú fú yún."

    Dān sì, piáo yǐn, zài lòu xiàng, zài lòu xiàng,

    Rén bù kān chù, huí yě bù gǎi qí lè.

    「千萬載   名猶存」,「羹藜含糗」。
    "Qiān wàn zǎi   míng yóu cún", "gēng lí hán qiǔ".

    咬斷菜根, _ _ _ _,「怡然自得」。
    Yǎo duàn cài gēn, _ _ _ _, "yí rán zì dé".

    Qīng fēng huì zhàng, míng yuè chái mén,

    Yù jiē yǔ guò tiān tái hén.

  8.   (1571: 樂守從吾)
    (Harmonics begin) Qì fú míng, lè shǒu qiū yuán,

    Bù guǎn tā shì shì fēn fēn, rèn fēn fēn,

    Cóng wú zhī suǒ hào, féi mǎ qīng qiú rèn zì róng. (Harmonics end)

    (1571 Section 9: 清虛物外)
    Gè jiào zhōng zì yǒu lè de, mǎn qiāng zi dōu shì chūn yì.

    Lǜ biàn chuāng qián cǎo bù chú, qīng fēng míng yuè, wàn lǐ hán qīng xū.

    Bù kuì shì lòu. "Bù yuàn tiān, bù yóu rén," "shí wú qiú bǎo."

    Nà gèng "jū wú qiú ān," "mǐn yú shì, shèn yú yán."

    "Tán xiào yǒu hóng rú, wǎng lái wú bái dīng."

    Qū yú wù wài, yī shēng wú huǐ, yì wú yù.

    (泛起 in harmonics: 1571 Section 10: 坦然安居)
    Shēn shēn rú yě, shēn guǎng tǐ pán.

    Yāo yāo rú yě, tǎn rán fāng cùn de, biàn shì ān jū.

    曲終 Melody ends

My recording is not yet completed.

15. Section titles in Longhu Qinpu (1571)
The sections of the 1571 version, though unnumbered, have titles. Largely taken from text in that section, the titles are as follows:

  1.                 盛德頌
  2.                 出入尊高
  3. (泛起)立治正中 (in harmonics)
  4. (泛止)敬思劬勞
  5.                 三握三吐
  6.                 存仁施德
  7.                 名清千載
  8. (泛起)樂守從吾 (in harmonics)
  9. (泛止)清虛物外
  10. (泛起)坦然安居 (in harmonics)

Although the version in Faming Qinpu (1530) has no section titles, the lyrics in 1571 basically correspond section by section with those in the earlier handbook, with those of sections 8 to 10 here corresponding to those of Faming Qinpu Section 8. As mentioned above the music here seems unrelated to that in 1530. This is perhaps emphasized by the fact that the third section of 1571 has harmonics but 1530 Section 3 does not. On the other hand, the harmonic structure of the last three sections of 1571 corresponds with that of 1530 Section 10, so a closer examination of 1571 might show other connections as well.

16. Section 3 lyrics
See 論語學而 4; thanks to I Lo-Fen and Jeffery Tan for translation help in this section

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