Yiqiao Jin Lü
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8. Going for Shoes under the Bridge
  - gong mode,2 standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6
圯橋進履 1
Yiqiao Jin Lü  
  Zhang Liang meets Huangshi Gong 3  
This melody concerns an incident which led to Zhang Liang gaining the skills to become the chief strategist guiding
Liu Bang in his effort to establish a new dynasty. The origin of the story is Chapter 55 of the Book of History, the biography of the Marquis of Liu (Zhang Liang's later title).4

Zhang Liang's countryside and family having been destroyed by the Qin, Zhang attempted to gain revenge by assassinating the emperor. When this failed, he went into hiding in Xiapei, which happened to be Liu Bang's home region.5 One day while walking by himself Zhang Liang saw an old man deliberately drop his shoe down an embankment. The old man asked Zhang to fetch it, then put it on him. Zhang Liang swallowed his initial resentment and did it. In return the old man, later known variously as the Grand Duke (Taigong) or Lord of the Yellow Stone (Huangshi Gong6), said Zhang Liang could be taught, and asked him to return at dawn five days later. When Zhang Liang did so the old man was already there, berating him for being late. This was repeated three times until Zhang Liang finally got there at midnight. At this point the old man gave Zhang Liang a book and said that with it he could become the teacher of kings. Zhang Liang read the book, which was called Tai Gong's Art of War.7 This is what enabled him eventually help Liu Bang establish the Han dynasty.

From at least the Yuan dynasty there have been operas relating this story, perhaps the earliest being the Yiqiao Jin Lü compiled by Li Wenwei.8

As for qin versions of Yiqiao Jin Lü, altogether they can be found (with some variations in title) in at least 36 handbooks from the present one (Xilutang Qintong, 1525) to Shimengzhai Qinpu (1914).9 There is also a lot of melodic variety within the 35 versions, which range in length from three to nine sections. Most have seven sections or more.

The version in Wuzhizhai Qinpu (1722) is of particular note, as it seems to have been the source for many later versions.10 Wuzhizhai Qinpu is also the first to identify it as good for beginners, a claim repeated with some later publications. This aspect is certainly in line with the story of a student achieving success by showing respect for the teacher.

Yiqiao Jin Lü in Fengxuan Xuanpin (1539), the second surviving version, is one of those with three titled sections and lyrics.11 The lyrics tell the story from Zhang Liang's point of view. The only other version with lyrics seems to be the fourth, Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585). The lyrics there are completely different from those here. The lyrics, on the one hand, do make interpretation more problematic, at the same time the lyrics also may provide further clues as to how the melody was perceived at that time.12

The 1525 version, in seven titled sections, has a short afterword (q.v.) that says the Marquis of Liu was so moved by the events along the embankment that he wrote this melody. Although this version has seven sections, the sections are shorter and so it seems quite comparable in length to the 1539 version with lyrics. On the other hand, although a melodic relationship between these two versions can clearly be seen by careful examination of the tablature, my attempts to play the two suggest the melodic connections might be difficult to hear. (I have written out a transcription 1539 version but not learned to play it properly.)

The 1525 version is very melodic, with many musical couplets, the second part of the couple often an elaboration and/or extension of the first part. This is something that seems to be lost in later versions.13

There seem to be some modern versions available, but I do not yet know if they were handed down directly or come from reconstruction.14 A version can be found in at least one modern introductory qin book, and online one can find recordings, but I have not yet found transcription and recording together, or a reliable description of the source of the music itself.

Afterword 15
The commentary in 1525 is as follows:

The (future) Marquis of Liu met the Lord of the Yellow Stone, went for his shoes under the bridge, and received a book called, "The Reader of this is a Teacher of Emperors". Moved, he wrote this (melody).  
Music of Yi Qiao Jin Lü (Timings follow 錄音 my recording)
Seven sections, titled16
The original section titles, left, do not quite follow the outline of the story in Shi Ji 55. The order at right follows that story, rounded off by giving a separate name for the latter part of Section 7.

    Order of titles in 1525

  1. 解后 Unexpected meeting (repeated)
  2. 訂期 Fix a date
  3. 跪進 Kneel to present a shoe
  4. 可教 Teachable (harmonics)
  5. 始至 Arrive to begin
  6. 再至 Again arrive
  7. 終至 Finally arrive (on time)
    曲終 Melody ends

    Order of titles according to the story?

  1. 解后 Unexpected meeting (between Zhang Liang and Taigong)
  2. 跪進 (Zhang Liang) kneels to present the shoe (to Taigong)
  3. 可教 (Taigong declares that Zhang Liang is) teachable
  4. 訂期 (Taigong) fixes a date (for Zhang Liang to begin his studies)
  5. 始至 (Zhang Liang is late when he) arrives to begin
  6. 再至 (Zhang Liang is also late when) again he arrives
  7. 終至 (Zhang Liang) finally arrives (on time)
             (Closing: Zhang Liang is given Taigong's Art of War)

Each of the last three sections (#5-#7), one for each of the arrivals by Zhang Liang, begins with a similar phrase, thus reinforcing the connection with the Zhang Liang story. The "closing" stands out because the music changes somewhat here (encompassing four short phrases, in the original tablature it is simply the second part of the last section, leading up to the closing harmonics.)

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Going for Shoes under the Bridge (Yiqiao Jin Lü 圯橋進履) (QQJC III/69; Guide 15/157/345)
4991 圯 (4992 圮 is unrelated) says its basic meaning is "bridge". Relevant entries are:

No musical references; no mention of 進履 jin lü (though 39827.99 is 進履之謙 Humility of going to fetch the shoes, relating again the same story; the reference here is 漢書張良傳 the biography of Zhang Liang in the Han Shu.

Going for Shoes by the Stream under the Bridge (汜橋進履 Si Qiao Jin Lü)
Zha Guide does not mention this title, but it is the one given this melody in
1836 (see also in 2015). The afterword there says this was the original and correct title, 汜 being the name of the stream where the incident occurred. (However, in the pu margins the title is written "圯橋".)

2. Gong mode (宮調 gong diao)
For further information on gong mode see Shenpin Gong Yi and Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

3. Image: (張良 Zhang Liang earns respect from) 黃石公 Huangshi Gong
The illustration here of Zhang Liang helping Huangshi Gong with his shoes is from 中國的神仙 Immortals in Ancient China, p. 96.

4. Zhang Liang (張良, d. 187 BCE; Wiki)
Zhang Liang's biography is in Shi Ji, Annal 55. See Burton Watson, tr, Records of the Grand Historian, Han Dynasty I; HK, 1993, p.100. Zheyin Shizi Qinpu credits Zhang Liang with having created the melody Chu Ge.

It is said that when Zhang Liang father and grandfather had served as ministers in the 韓 Han state, destroyed by the Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of Qin. Zhang Liang tried to get revenge by inducing a strong man to throw a hammer at Qin Shi Huang while on tour. It was unsuccessful, but recorded as a righteous act in the Zheng Qi Ge of Wen Tianxiang.

5. Xiapei 下沛 (compare 下邳 Xiapei, sometimes pronounced Xiapi, another town in the region)
Part of 沛 Pei district in what is today the Jiangsu/Shandong border region. Presumably 圯橋 the Yiqiao bridge was in this region.

6. Lord of the Yellow Stone (黃石公 Huangshi Gong)
48904.147 calls him a 秦隱士 Qin dynasty recluse, then tells the story with reference to Shi Ji 55 (Zhang Liang/Marquis of Liu, RGH I/99ff), Han Shu 40 高士傳中. In Shi Ji the old man (who is not named) prophesizes success for Zhang Liang, adding that Zhang Liang will see him again in 13 years: as a yellow stone at the foot of 濟北穀城山 Mt. Gucheng in Jibei. He gives Zhang his "Grand Duke's Art of War" (see next) and the prediction proves true.

7. Grand Duke's Art of War (太公兵法 Tai Gong Bing Fa)
太公 5965.73ff has nothing related. Watson's translation of Shi Ji 55 calls it Grand Duke's Art of War.

8. Opera Yiqiao Jin Lü
The full title of the earliest version, compiled in the Yuan dynasty by 李文蔚 Li Wenwei, is 張子房圯橋進履 Zhang Zifang Yiqiao Jin Lü (Chinese text). The entry in LXS, p.28, says this story was also related in later operas of the same or similar title, as well as other titles such as 赤公記 Chigong Ji.

Bio/960 Li Wenwei (no dates give) says he was 元真定人 from Zhending (in Hebei) during the Yuan dynasty, became an official, and wrote such plays as this one and 燕青博魚 Yan Qing Bo Yu.

9. Tracing 圯橋進履 Yiqiao Jin Lü (Zha Fuxi's Guide 15/157/345)
Not mentioned in ancient lists. The versions below include some with the following four variant titles :

進履 Jin Lü
圯橋進履 Yiqiao San Jin Lü
圯橋授書 Yiqiao Shou Shu
圯上進履 Yishang Jin Lü.

There are at least 37 surviving versions of Yi Qiao Jin Lü, all melodically related:

  1. 1525 (above; 7 sections; III/69)
  2. 1539 (3 sections; lyrics; II/69)
  3. 1579 (6 sections; IV/204)
  4. 1585 (Jin Lü; 7 sections; lyrics; IV/339)
  5. 1590 (3+1 sections; V/474)
  6. 1596 (4 sections; VI/194)
  7. 1611 (7 sections; VII/375)
  8. 1620 (7 sections; IX/29)
  9. 1634 (Yiqiao San Jin Lü, 7 sections; IX/293)
  10. late Ming (6 sections; IX/414)
  11. 1670 (Yiqiao Shou Shu; 8+1 sections; XI/327)
  12. 1691 (Yi Qiao; 7+1 sections; XII/505)
  13. 1702 (9+1 sections; XIII/203)
  14. 1722 (7+1 sections; Wuzhizhai Qinpu; "good for beginners"; [further details]; XIV/441)
  15. 1738 (7 sections; XV/384)
  16. 1744 (7 sections; XVIII/242)
  17. 1749 (9 sections; XVIII/301)
  18. 1751 (10+1 sections; XVI/75)
  19. 1755 (10 sections; XVI/197)
  20. 1760 (7+1 sections; Yiqiao San Jin Lü; XVII/32)
  21. 1766 (7 sections; XVI/449)
  22. 1802 (7 sections; XVII/318)
  23. 1820 (7 sections; XX/152)
  24. ???? (9 sections; not in Zha Guide; XIX/377)
  25. n.d. (7 sections but last 5 are missing; XXII/17)
  26. 1836 (8+1 sections; Lingnan School; "Si Qiao Jin Lü"; XXII/312)
  27. 1849 (7+1 sections; XXIII/371)
  28. 1864 (7+1 sections; Yishang Jin Lü; XXIV/230)
  29. 1864 (7+1 sections; XXIV/325)
  30. 1868 (7+1 sections; XXVI/30)
  31. 1876 (7+1 sections; = "1702"; XXV/193)
  32. 1876 (? sections; ???)
  33. 1878 (7+1 sections; XXVI/325)
  34. 1890 (7+1 sections; XXVI/443)
  35. 1893 (7+1 sections; XXVIII/43)
  36. 1914 ( sections; ???)
  37. 1971 (7+1 sections; #27)

All versions seem to be related, but none seems to include certain distinctive characteristics of 1525 (e.g., none of the others has a short opening section that is repeated, or a purely harmonic section in the middle).

10. Yiqiao Jin Lü in Wuzhizhai Qinpu (XIV/441; 1722)
A close connection can be heard between this version and what is on some modern recordings. Wuzhizhai melodies led to what may be called the Guangling style. The preface here identifies it as "韓自十耕原稿 originally copied by Han Shigeng" (韓石耕?), adding that it is "初學入門之法 good for beginning technique". Meanwhile, a note at the front say it was "金陵派 Jinling School".

11. Yiqiao Jin Lü in Fengxuan Xuanpin (1539)
Here the original section titles and the beginning of the lyrics for each section are as follows:

  1. Haughtily Considering the Sage (傲慢試賢 Ao Man Shi Xian) 螮蝀圯兮難為行。斯時猶木徒杠成....
  2. Offering Hard Work, Respecting the Aged (恭勤敬老 Gong Qin Jing Lao) 圯橋將斷兮,往來行客皆難....
  3. Learning from an Outstanding Book (授以奇書 Shou Yi Qi Shu) 吾觀孺子恭而謙,天賦氣禀全....

Translation incomplete. My reconstruction of this melody is only in handwritten form - it was one of my earliest efforts, when I thought it was the first surviving version. However, I was never able to play it in a manner that I found convincing, and so I set it aside. The 1525 version seems to me more melodic, but this may reflect more on me than on the versions themselves.

12. Problem with lyrics
Although I have reconstruced and can sing a number of qin songs, I am certainly not an expert singer. In addition, many melodies with lyrics, including (according to my current understanding) the current one, do not seem designed for singing. This is a matter requiring study by experts in this field.

13. Structures in the 1525 Yi Qiao Jin L&#uuml;
This conclusion is tentative, as I have not done complete reconstructions of other versions. I tried the 1539 one before the 1525, and my inability to find structures in 1539 meant that it did not help much when I turned to 1525.

14. Modern versions
One version was published in 1971, and on a Guangling website one can find a transcription of a reconstruction from Qinxue Rumen (QQJC XXIV/325) by 許光毅 Xu Guangyi, but the online recordings I have heard seem to be somewhat different. They all seem to be based on tablature that elaborates on (or descends from) the version in Wuzhizhai Qinpu. (Commentary from Zha Fuxi's recording project of the 1950s says 吳子善 Wu Zishan [ca. 1930-] of Fujian played it.)

In addition, according to a note I once made to myself, an introductory qin book dated 1994 included it, but I cannot now find my reference for this.

15. 1525 Commentary
The original Chinese is as follows:


This commentary accords with the story as outlined above.

16. Section titles in Xilutang Qintong
The translation here of these titles is tentative. It is puzzling why the titles are out of order according to the common telling of the story (Taigong presumably must have decided that Zhang Liang was teachable before he would invite him to come study.)

Without further information it is difficult to determine what to do about this problem. Three solutions are most apparent:

  1. Leave the melody and titles as is, assuming either there is a reason for it being this way, or that even if there is an error we shouldn't change what was done;
  2. Keep the music in the same order, but re-assign the titles to follow what seems to be the correct order;
  3. Re-arrange the sections to follow what seems to be the correct order according to their titles. (Perhaps each section was originally written on a separate sheet of paper, then then somehow they were placed out of order).

At least three other versions have section titles, but those titles are completely different from here and so do not shed any light. Examining later tablature might help: if their music follows the same order as the 1525 music as written that could simply mean they followed its misplacement; it would only really be significant if some tablature indicated a melody in the revised order above right.

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