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XLTQT ToC / Jieshi Diao You Lan / Yi Lan / illustrations / Guqin and Orchids Listen to my recording   首頁
15. Secluded Orchid
- gong mode,2 standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6
幽蘭 1
You Lan
    Afterword 3      
The You Lan found in Xilutang Qintong (1525) is musically unrelated to other surviving versions of the title, including the You Lan preserved in a 7th century Japanese manuscript, or the You Lan that first appears in Taiyin Xupu (1559) then later six other handbooks through 1876.4 It is also unrelated to the other melodies with orchid themes: Yi Lan, Yi Lan Cao and Pei Lan.

The version of You Lan in Xilutang Qintong, as I understand it through reconstruction, is quite melodious; it also seems quite adventurous in places, particularly where it departs from the standard pentatonic mode. Non-pentatonic passages include a descending sequence (using 1/gong = do) 5-4-3-2 in the middle of Section 4; repeated flatted 7s at the beginning of Section 7; flatted 7s with 1s and 2s at the beginning of Section 9; several places in Section 10. Understanding these passages has been complicated by the fact that the tablature here has long stretches with no punctuation, so my decisions about phrasing must be strongly influenced by my personal understanding of the mode as well as of other structures in the music.5

Mention in the afteword of "21 Hejian Zage" (Miscellaneous Melodies of Hejian)" is quite puzzling. The famous melody list called Qin Cao has two versions, one with a section called Hejian Zage, the other a section called Hejian Yage; it is the Yage not the Zage that includes a You Lan (no "cao"): it is #6 of the Hejian Yage! The connection between these two versions of Qin Cao is not clear to me; both lists include an 猗蘭操 Yi Lan Cao in their list of 12 cao.

Original afterword6

I once saw that a written list called "21 Hejian Zage" (see above) included a You Lan Cao. (The title) seemed to suggest a lofty hermit who had embraced the Dao but was unacknowledged and sunken in obscurity. He was like a fragrant orchid in a valley, no longer revealed to the world, but still in control (of his own essence).

Music of You Lan
Ten sections (timings follow
my recording)

00.00   1. (harmonics)
00.43   2.
01.15   3. (begins with harmonics)
02.07   4. (begins with harmonics)
02.45   5.
03.17   6.
03.55   7.
04.43   8.
05.43   9. (begins and ends with harmonics)
06.31 10.
07.34       Harmonic coda
07.54       end

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 幽蘭 You Lan references (QQJC III/79)
See the early You Lan references

2. Gong mode (宮調 gong diao)
For more on gong mode see Shenpin Gong Yi and Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature. Standard gong mode melodies published around this time treat the tuning as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, with 1 (the open third string) as the primary tonal center (most phrases end on gong) and 5 as the secondary tonal center. The lack of punctuation in the present tablature means that instead of using phrase endings to confirm the mode, the above understanding of the mode led to many decisions about phrase endings.

3. Illustration: Original afterword for You Lan (QQJC III/81)
Translation below - but see also problems and further notes.

4. Tracing You Lan (see chart)
Zha's Guide 19/181/-- lists this title in 8 handbooks, but the other seven seem to be musically unrelated to the present melody. Zha does not include the afterword here, and some of the characters are not clear in the original. The other seven occurrences are mentioned in the chart under the 1425 Yi Lan.

5. Reconstructing the You Lan in Xilutang Qintong
Difficulties, in addition to the lack of phrasing, include some fingering errors, imprecise finger position indications (e.g., 六七 6/7 apparently used to mean both 6.2 and 6.4), and instructions in many places to "從 ┐ 再作 repeat from ┐", but with none of the ┐ included anywhere.

6. Afterword (QQJC III/81)
The original Chinese (see above) seems to be:
嘗觀載記所稱『河間雜弄二十一』中有《幽蘭操》。 蓋遠引之士抱道不偶,沉晦側微。如芳蘭在谷,不自顯見,其意自有所屬云。

Notes on the afterword:
Thanks to 劉成漢 Lau Shing Hon for help with the translation.

Some of the original characters are hard to distinguish.

Appendix: Chart Tracing You Lan
Based mainly on Zha Fuxi's
Guide, 19/181/--
Compare Yi Lan

    (year; QQJC Vol/page)
Further information
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
    . 碣石調幽蘭
      (1525; III/79)
A "Towering Rock Melody" (Jieshi Diao); 4;
Unrelated to any modern version; preserved in Japan
  1. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/79)
Gong mode; 10
Earliest version; handbook also has an unrelated Yi Lan 
   . 太音續譜
      (1559; III/444)
Mode not stated; 8;
This 幽蘭 You Lan is not related to 1425 or 1525, etc.  
  2. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/308)
Gong mode; 11; elaboration of You Lan from 1525
  3. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/48)
Gong mode; 8; like You Lan from 1525
  4. 徽言秘旨訂
      (1692; X/--)
Missing: should be 4th of 7 gong mode You Lan from 1525;
  5. 自遠堂琴譜
      (1802; XVII/315)
Gong mode; 10; like You Lan from 1525
  6. 裛露軒琴譜
      (>1802; XIX/73)
Gong mode; 7; like You Lan from 1525
  7. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/190)
Gong mode; 10

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