Xilutang Qintong
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Xilutang Qintong
Qin Anthology of the Hall in the Western Foothills 1
Compiled by Wang Zhi2
1525 (not 1549)
Is this Wang Zhi himself?3    

Xilutang Qintong has 170 melodies,4 18 with lyrics.5 Tablature for 105 of the titles occurs here for the first time. For further information see:

There are also further details about all the Xilutang Qintong melodies that I have reconstructed (made recordings and trancriptions):6

  1. Tiaoxian Pin (#1. String Tuning Melody)
  2. Gong Yi (#2. Defining Gong Mode)
  3. Xiuxi Yin (#3. Purification Ceremony Intonation)
  4. Yang Chun (#4. Sunny Spring)
  5. Kangqu Yao (#5. Ballad of the Highroad)
  6. Chonghe Yin (#6. Intonation on Balanced Vital Force)
  7. Gukou Yin (#7. Gukou Allure)
  8. Yi Qiao Jin Lü (#8. Going for Shoes under the Bridge)
  9. Da Guan Yin (#10. Intonation on Being Free of Worldly Emotions; commentary and recording under under Guanghan You)
  10. Liu Shang (#12. Floating Wine-Cups)
  11. You Lan (#15. Secluded Orchid)
  12. Shang Yi (#16. Shang Modal Prelude [compare #25)
  13. Feidian Yin (#20. Intonation on Lightning Flashes; commentary and recording under Feng Lei)
  14. Feng Lei (#21. Wind and Thunder)
  15. Chun Jiang (#23. Spring River)
  16. Shang Yi (#25. Shang Modal Prelude [compare #16])
  17. Jiao Qi Yin (#26. Glue and Lacquer Intonation)
  18. Gu Jiao Xing (#27. Engaging with Old Friends)
  19. Yanyi Ge (#28. Doorbar Song)
  20. Huai Gu Yin (#32. Cherish Antiquity Intonation)
  21. Xing Tan (#34. Apricot/Gingko Tree Forum)
  22. Qing Ye Yin (#40. Clear Evening Intonation)
  23. Jiang Yue Bai (#41. White Moon over the River)
  24. Xue Chuang Ye Hua (#42. Evening Talk by a Snowy Window)
  25. Qiu Feng (#43. Autumn Winds)
  26. Chun Jiang Wan Tiao (#45. Spring River Evening View)
  27. Ying Zhou (#46. Yingzhou [a fabled isle])
  28. Yi Ye Zhi Qiu (#47. Knowing Autumn from a Singe Leaf)
  29. Meishao Yue (#48. Moon Atop a Plum Tree)
  30. Jue Yi (#52. Defining Jue Mode)
  31. Mengji Yin (#53. Covered Brambles Prelude Prelude)
  32. Cangwu Yuan (#54. Cangwu Lament)
  33. Lienü Yin (#63. Exemplary Woman Prelude)
  34. Cai Zhen You (#64. Roaming to Gather the True)
  35. Juezhiyu Yi (#65. Defining Juezhiyu Mode)
  36. Nan Feng Chang (#66. Southern Winds Rhapsody)
  37. Qing Yun Ge (#68. Song of Auspicious Clouds)
  38. Shishang Liu Quan (#75: On a Rock by a Flowing Spring)
  39. Dongting Qiu Si (#76. Autumn Reverie at Dongting)
  40. Zui Yu Chang Wan (#77. A Drunken Fisherman Sings in the Evening)
  41. Yu Ge (#82. Song of a Fisherman)
  42. Yushu Lin Feng (#87. Jade Tree in a Breeze)
  43. Chunxiao Yin (#89. Spring Dawn)
  44. He Wu Dongtian (#91. Cranes Dance in the Grotto-Heaven)
  45. Yao Tian Sheng He (#96. Jade Sheng Heavenly Crane)
  46. Chun Si (#97. Spring Thoughts)
  47. Boya Diao Ziqi (#98. Boya Mourns Ziqi)
  48. Huangzhong Yi (#99. Yellow Bell Modal Prelude)
  49. Li Ling Si Han (#100. Li Ling Thinks of Han)
  50. Taicou Yi (#101. Defining Taicou Mode)
  51. Ding Hui Yin (#102. Fixed on Mental Pursuits)
  52. Yize Yi (#113. Meaning of Yize Mode)
  53. Chutai Yin (#114. Dwell at the Source)
  54. Yuan You (#115. Wander Afar)
  55. Yi Guanshan (#120. Thinking of Guanshan)
  56. Han Gong Qiu (#121. Autumn in the Han Palace)
  57. Dalü Yi (#122. Meaning of Dalü Mode)
  58. Kongtong Yin (#123. Kongtong Prelude)
  59. Kongtong Wen Dao(#124. Discussing the Dao at Kongtong Mountain)
  60. Jiazhong Yi (#125. Meaning of Jiazhong Mode)
  61. Yueshang Yin (#126. Yueshang Intonation)
  62. Yueshang Cao (#127. Yueshang Melody)
  63. Zhonglü Yi (#128. Defining Zhonglü - with next)
  64. Xiaoyao Yin (#129. Carefree Intonation - with previous)
  65. Xiaoyao You (#130. Carefree Roaming)
  66. Linzhong Yi (#131. Linzhong Prelude)
  67. Shenren Chang (#132.Rhapsody on a Celestial)
  68. Yingzhong Yi (#136. Meaning of Responding Bell Mode)
  69. Han Jie Cao (#137. Han Credentials Melody)
  70. Song Yu Bei Qiu (#148. Song Yu Mourns Autumn)
  71. Wumei Yi (#153. Meaning of Wumei Mode)
  72. Linqiong Yin (#154. Linqiong Melody)
  73. Feng Qiu Huang (#155. A Phoenix Seeks his Mate)
  74. Gu Guan Yu Shen (#156. Encountering Spirits in an Isolated Mansion)
  75. Biyu Yi (#157. Defining Green Jade Mode)
  76. Qiu Yue Yin (#158. Autumn Evening Intonation)
  77. Qiu Xiao Bu yue (#159. Autumn Night Moon Walk)
  78. Yu Nü Yi (#160. Defining Jade Lady Mode)
  79. Xian Pei Ying Feng (#161. Fairy Jade in the Wind)
  80. Qingyu Yi (#168. Defining Qingyu Mode) 3
  81. Taoyuan Chunxiao (#169. Spring Dawn at Peach Spring)

  • In addition I have written out transcriptions for some others, including:

    1. Long Gui Wan Dong (#83)
    2. Moufu Kuang Jun (#94)
    3. Fugu Yi (#150)
    4. Lishan Yin (#151)
    5. Yu Shun Si Qin (#152)

    However, I have not worked out their rhythms to my satisfaction.

    Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

    1. Qin System from the Hall in the Western Foothills (西麓堂琴統 Xilutang Qintong
    35587.845 西麓 Western foothills; various nicknames. The book was compiled by 汪芝 Wang Zhi of 歙縣 She county in Anhui province. "Qintong" seems to refer to the musical analysis placed at the front of the book. However, little effort seems to have been made to connect the actual melodies in the handbook with this theoretical system.

    2. 汪芝 Wang Zhi
    See further details

    3. Illustration from Xilutang Qintong
    See QQJC III/58 and compare the image at the top of this page.

    4. 170 melodies
    See further details on their sources.

    5. Lyrics in Xilutang Qintong
    To my knowledge, in all other handbooks if a melody has lyrics it has them throughout. Here, although the same pairing method is used, there are also melodies with lyrics in only one or two sections as well as melodies with lyrics at the beginning of each section. Melodies in the three categories are as follows:

    Melodies with lyrics in only one or two sections (I have not yet learned #s 5 & 9 though I did learn earlier versions of 8 & 9)

    1. Kangqu Yao (7 [6L]; Ballad of the Highroad; [4+4]x2)
    2. Gujiao Xing (12 [8L]; see also 1539; [4+4]x2)
    3. Xing Tan (11 [10L]; Apricot Tree Pavilion; 7x4)
    4. Jiang Yue Bai (9T [4 & 5L]; White Moon over the River; 8x7 & 8x6)
    5. Ji Rang Ge (8 [7L; from YFSJ]; Song of Striking the Rang; [{4+4} x 2] + 6)
    6. Nan Feng Chang (7 [4L]; Southern Winds Rhapsody); 5 strings; [5+8] x 2)
    7. Zhaojun Yuan (9T [7L; Zhaojun's Lament; (7+7)x7)+3+(7+7)x1))
    8. Chu Ge (10T [7L, from Yue Fu]; Song of Chu; can be applied here to 1425, but also see this pdf from 1510: [7+7]x2)
    9. Yu Shun Si Qin (9T [5L]; Emperor Shun [while on Mount Li] Thinks of his Parents; 5 strings; 8 irregular lines)
    10. Feng Qiu Huang (10 [3 & 8L, from YFSJ]; A Phoenix Seeks his Mate; [7+7]x4 + [7+7]x3)

    Melodies with lyrics at the start of each section (I play #1 and #2)

    1. Yanyi Ge (6L; same lyrics repeated six times; Doorbar Song; 3+3+3+3+3+4+3)
    2. Qing Yun Ge (5L; Auspicious Clouds Song; 5x[4+4]x2)
    3. Moufu Kuang Jun (9L; same lyrics repeated 9 times; Moufu Admonishes his Lord; [5+4] + [4+3+3] + [4+6])

    Melodies with lyrics throughout (I play #5 and earlier versions of the others)

    1. Shang Yi #2 (1L; Meaning of Shang; also "Qiu Feng Ci"; further comment)
    2. Si Xian Cao (5L; lyrics like 1511 [irregular], with refrain, but not identical; Melody Recalling a Worthy)
    3. Yasheng Cao (7L; lyrics like 1511, with refrain, but not identical; Proximate Sage Melody)
    4. Yi Yan Hui (7L; lyrics like 1511, with refrain, but not identical; Remembering Yan Hui)
    5. Boya Diao Ziqi (3L; Boya Mourns Ziqi; diff. from 1511 [one irregular section]; here 3 irregular sections)

    In addition, Xilutang Qintong has at least two further melodies to which lyrics could easily be added from an existing poem:

    1. Yao Tian Sheng He (9 [8L, Jade Sheng Heavenly Crane]; although it does not pair lyrics, there are lyrics [{5+5} x 4] that almost fit one section
    2. Han Gong Qiu (8 [5L, Autumn in the Han Palace]; although it does not pair lyrics, its lyrics [{5+5} x 5] do fit one section

    Other handbooks tend not to have instrumental melodies with lyrics in only some sections. For the structures of melodies that are actual qin songs see here.

    6. Melodies learned from Xilutang Qintong
    By "learned" I mean completed my dapu (reconstruction), including working out my interpretation of the notes and note values, writing this out as above.

    The melodies listed above are all the earliest published versions of those titles. This is because, in general I have focused my dapu on the earliest version of any particular melody. Thus, except for #2 Gong Yi and several melodies that I reconstructed from Fengxuan Xuanpin before I realized the 1549 date usually given for Xilutang Qintong was wrong and that it was in fact published in 1525, i.e., before Fengxuan Xuanpin.

    Xilutang Qintong Dapu Conference

    Huangshan, December 2013

    This dapu conference focused on Folios 6, 7 and 8 (the first 24 pieces) in Xilutang Qintong. Huangshan (Wiki) was a particularly appropriate place because the compiler of that handbook, Wang Zhi, was said to be a native of that region. The organizers subsequently posted photographs from the event. As of this writing these can still be seen here:


    Because of that event, earlier in 2013 I particularly worked on melodies from these three Folios 6, 7 and 8 that i had not already reconstructed. Here is an account.

    Earlier published versions of nine of these 24 melodies had already appeared in Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425); I had reconstructed and recorded all of those nine as part of my Shen Qi Mi Pu Project. Of the remaining 15, all but Shang Yi, which is related to the Shenpin Shang Yi in Shen Qi Mi Pu, have their earliest known version here in Xilutang Qintong. I had completed transcriptions and recordings of six of these 15 from Xilutang Qintong itself when, in anticipation of the conference, I began a project of also reconstructing the other nine of these 15. For the sake of historically informed performance I think it is very important that people work independently on their own versions of a particular melody, then afterwards discuss why they selected the note values they did. My plan was to be prepared to discuss all 15 of these melodies. A few months before the conference I submitted three of these new reconstructions to the organizers; unfortunately, I was not able to attend the conference itself: we had just moved from Singapore back to the New York area. After we got settled back in our home I went on to complete my reconstructions of all 15 melodies. In May 2014 I put together a home-made CD that includes these 15.

    It is my understanding that the organizers of the Xilutang Qintong conference intend to publish a CD of the reconstructions made at that conference. I look forward very much to hearing it, and it is my hope that my own efforts will become part of a further discussion of the parameters within which ancient melodies are and might be interpreted (see comment on different attitudes towards the process of "dapu"). My recordings can also all be heard in mp3 format by following links below to the respective pages on this website.

        西麓堂琴統 卷六至八 Xilutang Qintong Folios Six to Eight

       A CD of the melodies reconstructed and played by 唐世璋 John Thompson

    01.40 01. 調絃品 Tiaoxian Pin (#1. String Tuning Melody)
    01.01 02. 宮意 Gong Yi (#2. Defining Gong Mode)
    01.54 03. 修禊吟 Xiuxi Yin (#3. Purification Ceremony Intonation)
    06.22 04. 陽春 Yang Chun (#4. Sunny Spring)
    04.37 05. 康衢謠 Kangqu Yao (#5. Ballad of the Highroad)
    02.55 06. 沖和吟 Chonghe Yin (#6. Intonation on Balanced Vital Force)
    11.26 07. 谷口引 Gukou Yin (#7. Gukou Allure)
    04.55 08. 圯橋進履 Yi Qiao Jin Lü (#8. Going for Shoes under the Bridge)
    03.06 09. 達觀吟 Da Guan Yin (#10. Intonation on Being Free of Worldly Emotions)
    04.03 10. 流觴 Liu Shang (#12. Floating Wine-Cups)
    07.54 11. 幽蘭 You Lan (#15. Secluded Orchid)
    01.10 12. 商意 Shang Yi (#16. Shang Modal Prelude)
    02.09 13. 飛電吟 Feidian Yin (#20. Intonation on Lightning Flashes)
    06.09 14. 風雷 Feng Lei (#21. Wind and Thunder)
    09.35 15. 春江 Chun Jiang (#23. Spring River)
    68.46         Total for 15 tracks (without breaks)

    Quite a few of these were reconstructed rather quickly in preparation for the conference. Thus, at present, the rendering here of these pieces often tends to be more rhythmic than those melodies I have played for a long time before recording (further comment).

    Perhaps most difficult of these for me was the 1525 Feng Lei. My main sources, such as Zha Fuxi's Guide, said that Xilutang Qintong was produced in 1549, making it later than Fengxuan Xuanpin (1539). So originally I reconstructed the 1539 version, Feng Lei Yin, thinking it was the earliest; it was only while preparing for the conference that I discovered Xilutang Qintong must have been published in 1525, not 1549, and so its version, called Feng Lei, was in fact the earliest, at least the earliest in publication. However, this earliest version proved particularly difficult, perhaps because my version of the 1539 Fenglei Yin was so imbedded in my mind that I had great difficulty imagining the melody in such a different form. However, in April 2014 I did complete my reconstruction of the 1525 Feng Lei.

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