Gu Jiao Xing (1525)
 T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
XLTQT ToC / 1539 version / Shang Modal Prelude / Jiao Qi Yin / Friendship 聽錄音 Recordings with transcriptions / 首頁
27. Engaging with Old Friends (1525)
- Shang mode,2 standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, but played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
古交行 1
Gujiao Xing 3 
  Playing the qin for a friend
This melody, the title of which could have various other translations including Old Friends Melody, Engaging in Old-Style Relationships, and Old-Style Relations Melody,4 seems to connect with two related but somewhat different themes. The explanation with the present version, which has the earliest surviving tablature, celebrates friendship, associating it with the famous friends Guanzhong and Baoshuya. Later on the theme seems instead to concern proper relationships in a more political sort of way, the association being with the scholar Wang Tong. As a result, the actual significance of the melody can be left up to the interpretation of the individual performer.5

Variants on the friendship theme were common within the literati arts (painting, calligraphy, poetry6), the themes often centering on the fact that the literati (i.e., people who had succeeded in the traditional examination system) were often sent away from home for long periods of government service. Especially valued were old friends, and there was the idea that friendships nowadays were not as deep as were friendships in the past.

This attitude is represented by the lyrics accompanying the present version of the qin melody Gu Jiao Xing, in Xilutang Qintong (1525). These lyrics, which accompany the tablature at the end of Section 8 (of 12), are the first two lines of a five-couplet poem by the 9th century scholar-artist monk Guanxiu (823-912).7 The first couplet is particularly famous, and because of the way it was set to music here in 1525, it is tempting to associate it with the famous old Scottish song about old friends, Auld Lang Syne.8

The full poem by Guanxiu has been translated as follows: 9

古交如真金 Old friends are like true metal:
百煉色不回 Smelt them a hundred times, their color won’t change.

今交如暴流 New friends are like rapids:
倏忽生塵埃 So quickly their dust grows.

我願君子氣 I pray for a gentleman’s qi,
散為青松栽 Which spreads like green pine seedlings.

我恐荊棘花 I fear the blossoms of thistles and thorns,
只為小人開 Which are only opened by petty men.

傷心復傷心 With a pained heart, and a pained heart,
吟上高高臺 I chant and climb a tall, tall terrace.

As yet it is not clear why the 1525 version of the melody paired the first two lines of these lyrics with the tablature for the second half of Section 8, given the attribution of the melody to people from a much earlier period and the fact that the commentary does not mention Guanxiu. Also, no other version of this melody includes any lyrics.10

Commentary with the other versions of this melody may stress particular examples of friendship, but in all cases the theme is friendship, not the particular manifestions mentioned. Thus, although the afterword to this Xilutang Qintong version says that the melody was created to celebrate the friendship between Guan Zhong (Guanzi; 720-645)12 and Bao Shu (also called Bao Shuya),13 it then mentions another ancient friendship, the one between Chen Zhong and Lei Yi, famous friends during the 2nd c. CE.14 Specifically the afterword says their story has the same idea, expressed in the prelude to Gu Jiao Xing, called Glue and Lacquer Intonation (Jiao Qi Yin).15

As for Guan Zhong and Bao Shu, Guan Zhong was a minister in the state of Qi, in what is now Shandong province; he is said to have written the earliest Legalist work. Bao Shu was his childhood friend. Accounts of their friendship can be found in various early sources, including Liezi and the Records of the Historian. One of the earliest is Lüshi Chunqiu, translated by Knoblock and Riegel in The Annals of Lü Buwei, p. 675, where it is identified as a fragment from that work, dated 239 BCE, "accepted as probably genuine":16

Guan Zhong and Bao Shu were business partners in Nanyang. When it came time to divide the profits, Guan Zhong cheated Bao Shu, taking more for himself. Bao Shu did not consider him greedy, because he knew that Guan Zhong had a mother to support and was impoverished.

Xilutang Qintong is the only version connecting this melody to Guanzi (it is also the only version with lyrics). The second surviving version, from Feng Xuan Xuan Pin (1539; see chart) has no commentary. In addition, it does not pair short melodies with long ones of the same theme; if it did, #49 Kai Gu would have made a good prelude.

Including the 1525 and 1539 tablatures, versions of this melody survive in at least 21 handbooks from 1525 to 1876.17 Two of these handbooks (1670; copied in 1876), although they have a related or identical version of the same melody, call it Cloud Bamboo Couch (Yun Zhu Ta).18 Eleven of the Gu Jiao Xing (and all of the commentaries except those of 1670) were published between 1525 and 1647, their number and variety suggesting it was played quite actively during that period.

Six of these early eleven publications also included preludes, variously named Glue and Lacquer Intonation (Jiao Qi Yin, three handbooks, as here), or Cutting Through Metal Intonation (Duan Jin Yin, three handbooks from 1552).19 The differing commentaries as well as the differing titles of both the main melody and of the preludes can all been seen as evidence of the melodies' uncertain origins - as well as of their one time popularity.

The third version of Gu Jiao Xing, in Taiyin Chuanxi (1552; again see below), introduces the theme of old-style relationships. This version has a prelude musically similar to Jiao Qi Yin but with its own commentary and entitled, as just mentioned, Cutting Through Metal Intonation (Duan Jin Yin). And this version of Gu Jiao Xing, while also musically similar to its predecessors, also has quite a different introduction.20 Here it attributes the melody to Wang Tong (Wen Zhongzi; 583-616), a famous scholar who is said to have proposed, at age 19, twelve "Plans to Secure Tranquility" to the empire. When these were declined he retired to the countryside in an area northeast of Chang'an, gathering here a large number of disciples. He declined office under the first Sui dynasty emperor.

As for the logic of a connection between this melody and Wang Tong (Wenzhongzi), Wang Tong argued that relations between people in ancient times were more honorable than they were in his time; thus the music is interpreted as being not so much about friendship as about a well-ordered society. More specifically, the 1552 preface to Gu Jiao Xing says Wang Tong wrote it as a complaint that nowadays relations were all about wealth and power.

In later handbooks the most common attribution is this latter one to Wen Zhongzi. One of the versions published in 1670 adds that it is a revision by Zhou Donggang.21 Rather unaccountably, 1670 also has the earliest known tablature for a piece it calls Yunzhu Ta; a marginal note at the front says it is the Zhou Donggang Gujiao Xing, and it seems almost identical to that version, but there is no mention of why, given this, it was included there as a separate piece. It attributes Yun Zhu Ta to the famous Tang dynasty qin player Dong Tinglan.

Other recordings have also been made of this melody; to my knowledge all of them are of the 1614 version.

Afterword22 (compare 1552)
The original 1525 Gujiao Xing afterword is as follows ("Baozi" and "Bai Shu" are Baoshuya; "Zhong" is Guan Zhong):

(During the 7th century BCE) Guan Zhong and Bao Shu (Baozi) did business together, (but when it came to sharing the profit Bao Shu would) each time take more than Zhong. Zhong would then say, "Life is something my parents gave me but the one who really knows me is Baozi. When wealthy (Baozi) did not consider me greedy, but knew I (acted that way) because I was poor." Thus this piece was created. Later, (during the 2nd century C.E.), Chen Zhong and Lei Yi returned (to this idea and so someone) created a Glue Prelude (Jiao Yin: compare Jiao Qi Yin) to continue this.

Translation tentative; two characters unclear. The quote is from 世紀 the Shi Ji.

Prelude: Glue and Lacquer Intonation (膠漆吟 Jiao Qi Yin; 五線譜 see transcription; timings follow 錄音 my recording)
Alternate title: Chant of Intimacy (see Introduction); there is also a 15 minute video (297 MB) introducing it for a NYQS meeting.

00.01     1.
01.06     2. (harmonics)
01.44     3.
02.33         Closing harmonics
02.48         End

Main melody: Engaging with Old Friends (古交行 Gu Jiao Xing; 五線譜 see transcription; timings follow 錄音 my recording)
12 sections, untitled (the 1539 version has 10; no existing versions have section titles)
Compare this 1525 version with my earlier recording of the 1539 version, as well as these recordings of the 1614 version

00.01     1.
01.02     2. (harmonics)
01.38     3.
02.18     4. (1539 still #3)
03.00     5. (harmonics; 1539 #4)
04.09     6. (1539 #5)
05.05     7. (1539 #6)
05.57     8. (ends with:
06.30         lyrics; 24

古交如真金,百鍊色不回。 Gu jiao ru zhen jin, bai lian se bu hui.
Old relationships are like true gold, in 100 smeltings the color does not get lost.
今交如暴流,倏忽生塵埃。 Jin jiao ru bao liu, shu hu sheng chen ai.
New relationships are more like a flash flood, they suddenly can cover everything in muck.
07.01     9. (1539 still #7)
07.52   10. (harmonics; 1539 #8)
08.40   11. (1539 #9)
09.22   12. (1539 #10)
10.24         Closing harmonics
10.40         End

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Engaging with Old Friends (古交行 Gujiao Xing; III/93)
The title could also be rendered as Old Friends Melody, or Going with Old-Style Relations, or it could follow several other translations, as shown below. 3/xxx; 3308.105 古交 Gujiao (also written as 故交) gives this only as the name of a place in 山西 Shanxi, "formerly" called 交城 Jiaocheng (it is in fact also the modern name for a town between 呂梁市 Lüliang City and Taiyuan in Shanxi; it was the hometown of 華國鋒 Hua Guofeng). There is another poetic reference below.

It is a bit puzzling that the title was not written "故交行", i.e., with gujiao written "故交". Of this 13466.39 says 舊友 old friendships, giving as its earliest references poems by 慮照鄰 Lü Zhaolin (637-689) and 杜荀鶴 Du Xunhe (846-904); 5/430 has four different references: 吳均 Wu Jun (469-520), 方干 Fang Gan, 三國演義 San Guo Yan Yi and 孫犁 Sun Li (20th c.). None of these references is to anything that might connect this to the present melody. Thus, for example, the entire Wu Jun poem is as follows:

南朝梁吳均《擬古·攜手曲》 (Nǐ Gǔ·Xiéshǒu Qū: Imitating Old: Hand in Hand Songs)

Note that gu jiao in the lyrics below, although written "古交" here, is also sometimes written "故交" in the supposed source (Guanxiu).

2. Shang mode (商調 shang diao) and the two 1525 Shang Modal Preludes (商意 Shang Yi)
Xilutang Qintong has two shang modal preludes, one solo (QQJC III/82) and one with lyrics (QQJC III/92). In general, the main characteristics of this mode are that the tuning is standard (with the relative string tuning considered as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2, with 1 = do/gong), the main tonal center is 1 and the secondary tonal center is 5 (sol/zhi), but 2 re/shang) is also prominent, often leading down to do. Within this there is quite a bit of variety but interesting similaries among the many Ming dynasty shang modal preludes (outline). For more on shang mode see Shenpin Shang Yi.

Modal preludes often are intended as preludes for specific melodies. Here this second version, subtitled Autumn Wind Lyrics (秋風辭 Qiu Feng Ci) and with lyrics, is discussed because at first glance it seems intended to be part of a trilogy with #26 Jiao Qi Yin and #27 Gujiao Xing. However, with its lyrics about autumn rather than directly about friendship or human relationships, it seems unlikely that this Shang Yi itself was specifically created to go with them. In fact, it might go better with #43 Qiu Feng (Autumn Wind).

商意 Shang Yi and 古秋風 Gu Qiu Feng (see transcription)
Emphazing that this 1525 Shang Yi song might go better with #43 Qiu Feng (Autumn Wind) is the fact that this Shang Yi is subtitled "秋風辭 Qiu Feng Ci", its lyrics are very similar to those of some other shang modal preludes, and it is especially close to the apparently independent song Old Autumn Wind (古秋風 Gu Qiu Feng; 1511); the melody is also quite similar (compare also the later Qiu Feng Ci preserved in Japan). Here in 1525 the lyrics (with literal translation) are:

秋   風   秋   風   秋   風   生 ,   鴻   鴈   來   也。
Qiūfēng qiūfēng qiūfēng shēng, hóng yàn lái yě.
Autumn winds, autumn winds, autumn winds arise, wild geese are arriving.

金   井   梧   桐   飄   一   葉。
Jīn jǐng  wútóng  piāo yī yè.
By a golden-colored well the wutong tree shakes off a single leaf.

嘆   人   生   能   有   也    幾   許   光   陰。
Tàn rénshēng néng yǒu yě jǐxǔ guāng yīn.
One sighs that human life can only have a limited amount of alloted time.

誰   料   想,   古   往   今   來   興   亡   事?
Sheí liào xiǎng, gǔwǎng jīnlái xīngwáng shì?
Who measures their thoughts: the past receding, the present arriving, the flourishing and perishing of affairs?

總   已   成   春   夢。
Zǒng yǐ chéng chūn mèng.
After all, these have already become spring dreams.

(泛音)想   人   生   能   幾   何!
(fànyīn) Xiǎng rén shēng néng jǐ hé !
(Harmonics) One thinks: human life can have how much of this!

金井 jin jing (41049.52/2: a well in autumn, i.e., golden-colored)
光陰 guāngyīn (1367.151: 謂時間夜;光,日也;陰,月也 passage of time - days and nights)

3. Playing the qin for a friend (closeup)
Further detail here: the friends, if not old friends, are at least elderly ones. For another image featuring qin and books see here.

4. Different translations of the title
The various possible translations of Gu Jiao Xing depend first on whether the character 交 jiao is interpreted as referring to friends/friendship (Engaging with Old Friends; Going with Old Friends) or to relations/relationships in general (Engaging in Old-Style Relationships; Going with Old-Style Relationships). In addition one must consider here two basic translations for "行", here "xing" but also "hang". 34850甲33/34 行 says 曲引、歌行 melody prelude/song, hence, Melody of Old Friends, Melody of Old Friendships, Melody of Old-Style Relationships. On the other hand, since 3308.105 古交 Gujiao (compare 13466.39 故交) has only that it is an old name for 交城 Jiaocheng, a 鎮 prefecture in 山西 Shanxi province, one must consider Traveling in Gujiao as a possible translation for Gujiao Xing. However, there is no apparent connection between that region and this melody; and Zhu Houjiao, the compiler of Fengxuan Xuanpin, was a prince for an area far from there, southeast of the Songshan mountain range in Henan Province.

5. Variety of versions and titles
Regarding the various stories connected both to this melody and its prelude, as with poetry such ambiguity should be considered a strength rather than a weakness. The variety may also be related to the popularity of the piece, or at least its theme.

6. Poems named 古交行 Gujiao Xing (for 故交行 see above)
If internet searches are anything to go by, the best known reference of this title is to the following poem by a prominent Song dynasty literatus, the poet and painter 鄭俠 Zheng Xia (1041~1119). Not much is written in English about him as a poet, but Murck, pp.37-42, describes his social activism, in particular as a painter. The poem reads:


Another 古交行 Gujiao Xing poem is by the Song dynasty recluse/poet 劉學箕 Liu Xueqi (active early 1200s). It begins,


Neither poem is available in translation, and neither has any known musical connection.

7. 貫休 Guanxiu (823-912)
Guanxiu was a scholar-monk, hence also called Monk Guanxiu (僧貫休 Seng Guanxiu). Two of his poems mentioning qin are linked
here. The similarity of the names Guanxiu and Guanzi (mentioned in the afterword) seems to be purely coincidental. Regarding the original poem see the next footnote; for more on the specific lyrics see this later footnote.

8. Comparing the initial couplet with the refrain of Auld Lang Syne   ( part of a 15 minute introductory video)
The initial couplet of Guanxiu's poem was particularly well-known and often independently quoted; the first two lines together were used as lyrics for the 1525 version of Gu Jiao Xing (at 06.30 of the recording linked above) but to my knowledge do not survive in any other musical settings. The full poem is the sixth of a set of nine poems called Ancient Ideas, Nine Poems (古意九首 Gu Yi Jiu Shou) attributed to the scholar-monk Guanxiu (above; full version of the poem below).

As for Auld Lang Syne, this Wiki entry tells of the song's special use on New Year's Eve, but also its use on many other occasions. Regarding its famous refrain,

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

"Auld lang syne" has been literally translated from the Scottish as "old long since", i.e., "old long ago". As for the "old acquaintance" (not "old acquaintances") of the first line, it might be understood as "old friendships". Likewise, for the purposes of comparison, 古交 gujiao might be translated as "old friendships" rather than "old friends".

Going the other way, if one would like to sing Auld lang syne in Chinese, here is a recent translation of the refrain, (source)


往日朋友 怎能相忘?心中能不懷想?
Wǎngrì péngyǒu zěn néng xiāng wàng? Xīnzhōng néng bù huáixiǎng?
當年情景 怎能相忘?朋友的情義長。
Dāngnián qíngjǐng zěn néng xiāng wàng? Péngyǒu de qíngyì cháng.

Qiānnián wàn zǎi yǒngyuǎn bù wàng, péngyǒu de qíngyì cháng.
Jǔ bēi tóng yǐn, huāndù shíguāng, péngyǒu de qíngyì cháng.

As just mentioned, Auld Lang Syne is said in particular to have been intended for singing on New Year's Eve, but has come to be sung on many other occasions. In comparison, Gu Jiao Xing was not intended for any particular time of year, but its opening lyrics (slightly revised translation) are also particularly appropriate at the New Year.

9. Full poem by 貫休 Guanxiu (here: the sixth from Ancient Ideas, Nine Poems [古意九首 Gu Yi Jiu Shou])
The above "rough translation" (as yet unpublished) was kindly sent by Thomas Mazanec. The whole original poem with Romanization is:

古交如真金(kim),百鍊色不回(hwoj)。 Gǔ jiāo rú zhēn jīn, bǎi liàn sè bù huí.
今交如暴流(ljuw),倏忽生塵埃(?oj)。 Jīn jiāo rú bào liú, shū hū shēng chén'āi.
我願君子氣(khjijH),散為青松栽(tsoj)。 Wǒ yuàn jūn zǐ qì, sàn wèi qīng sōng zāi.
我恐荊棘花(xwae),只為小人開(khoj)。 Wǒ kǒng jīng jí huā, zhǐ wèi xiǎo rén kāi.
傷心復傷心(sim),吟上高高台(doj)。 Shāng xīn fù shāng xīn, yín shàng gāo gāo tái.

Also shown here at the end of each phrase (in brackets) is the Tang dynasty pronunciation of the last character; this was added by Mazanec according to "Medieval Chinese Reconstruction (Baxter-Sagart)".

To this Mazanec added the following comment,

"Guanxiu's whole series (of nine poems) is interesting because it adopts the "I'm so lonely" rhetoric at the same time that it stresses the importance of human relations. Poem 4 in this sequence, for example, closes with the couplet, "Some would take yellow gold / And cast their own Zhong Ziqi" 幾擬以黃金,鑄作鐘子期. That is, some make their own companions! And the only people who would understand Guanxiu himself, he claims, are Xie Lingyun and Li Bai (Poems 7 and 8 in the series)."

None of these poems mentions qin, but many other poems by Guanxiu do. For example, there are 15 references to qin in this online collection of 貫休詩全集 Complete Poems of Guanxiu. The first of these concerns searching for a true friend (zhiyin, but compare Sima Xiangru):

卷826_1 「善哉行(傷古曲無知音)」 (ref. "欲取鳴琴彈,恨無知音賞。" in Meng Haoran?)


Regarding 善哉行 Shan Zai Xing (3975.129 樂府瑟調曲之名), there are six of them in the Se diao section of 相和歌辭 Xianghe Geci in the Yuefu Shiji (36/535ff), but none by Guanxiu. The title has been translated as "Grand!", "Excellent!"; it could also be "Excellent, the Song". (善在行 is apparently a mistake.) The subtitle 傷古曲無知音 might be translated as something like, "Grieving Old Song about there being no close friends".

Two more of Guanxiu's poems are quoted here, and the collection also has the anonymous《錦繡萬花谷》(ca. 1189 CE) quoting him as having written Phrases (句 Ju) that include, 「家為買琴添舊價,廚因養鶴減晨炊。」).

10. Inclusion of lyrics
Xilutang Qintong is also the only handbook that pairs lyrics with only one or two sections of a longer melody - in other handbooks, if a melody has lyrics it has them all the way through.

12. Guan Zhong (Guanzi, "Master Guan"; 720-645;
26689.80 管仲 Guan Zhong, full name 管夷吾 Guan Yiwu (also called 管子 Guanzi), was Minister of State for Duke Huan of Qi during the Warring States period. His biography in Shi Ji #62 (see Nienhauser, VII, p.9ff) says that he was very skilled and his policies very influential. For the story of Guan Zhong and 鮑叔 Bao Shu (47070.31: = 鮑叔牙 .32), see above.

Guanzi was later said to have written a book now called 管子 Guan Zi, a political work with much practical advice (especially economic) on governing. An English translation by Allyn Rickett (1921 – 2020) was published in two volumes (over 50 years apart!).

This is said to be the earliest Legalist work, though it was probably written during the 4th to 1st centuries BCE. The sources of the Guanzi are unclear; its survival is apparently due to a compilation by Liu Xiang. (See ICTCL, p. 341 and 344, which lists a translation: Kuan-Tzu, A Repository of Early Chinese Thought, W. Allyn Rickett, trans. Hong Kong, 1965.) Chapter 58 of the book discusses pitches and note associations; it has the earliest known description of determining pitches and the origin of notes through the sanfen sunyi method. In the following passage the book gives two sets of five note associations (translation from W. Allyn Rickett, Guanzi, Vol. 2; pp. 260-263).

....(As for) alluvial deposits....when this type of soil is observed, it is called "five shi" because it is five time seven or thirty-five chi down to the water table. It gives forth a sound corresponding to the jue 角 note. Its water is dark green in color, and its people are strong in physique....

(There follows Rickett's translation of four other associations between musical notes and various types of soil. The passage ends with the following):

Whenever one hears the zhi note....It sounds like a hog that has become aware of being mounted by a smaller pig and squeals in alarm....
Whenever one hears the yu note....It sounds like the neighing of a horse in the wilds....
Whenever one hears the gong note....It sounds like the mooing of a cow that has fallen into a pit....
Whenever one hears the shang note....It sounds like a sheep that has become separated from its flock....
Whenever one hears the jue note, it sounds like a pheasant ascending a tree to crow....The sound is piercing in order to be clear....

The original Chinese (from this external link) of the whole passage is as follows:

見是土也,命之曰五施, 五七三十五尺,而至於泉,呼音中角,其水倉,其民彊。


Guanzi is also mentioned in connection to the melody Mu Ge.

13. Bao Shuya 鲍叔牙
Here called Bao Shu 鮑叔 but his full name is 鮑叔牙 Bao Shuya; see 47070.31 = .32. For the story of Guan Zhong and 鮑叔 Bao Shu see above.

14. Chen Zhong and Lei Yi 陳重雷義
Chen Zhong and Lei Yi were great friends in the 2nd c. CE. 42618.586 陳重 says that people in their home county (宜春 Yichun, in Henan) referred to them as 膠漆自堅 Strong as Glue and Lacquer. Thus Glue Prelude apparently refers to the previous melody, Glue and Lacquer Intonation (膠漆吟 Jiao Qi Yin), "jiaoqi" being a term used for good companions, as on a qin.

15. Glue and Lacquer Intonation (膠漆吟 Jiao Qi Yin; also called Cutting Through Metal Intonation)
The translation "Chant of Intimacy" comes from Prof. Jonathan Chaves. This is both properly evocative and finesses the problems caused by trying to translate the title literally. In this regard, "jiao qi" (glue and lacquer) suggests the combination of two substances but it could equally be "jiaoqi", i.e., a single substance, perhaps an indeterminate adhesive substance. What is clear is that here (as elsewhere) the term is a metaphor for "close friendship", so other possibilities include "Friendship of Glue and Lacquer" and "Friends Bonded Like Glue".

As for the individual characters, translating "漆 qi" should not be an issue: clearly it refers to the sap of the lacquer tree, used to cover the entire body of the qin; on the other hand, qi is often translated as "varnish", and "varnish" can indeed be a synonym for "lacquer", though it is also described as a resin (e.g., "樹脂 shuzhi"). As for the character "膠 jiao", not only is it commonly translated as "glue" but, in English, friends stick together "like glue". Furthermore qin strings made from the traditional silk are best boiled one of the types of 膠 jiao. On the other hand, in qin making some adhesives have sometimes been described scientifically as a resin (樹脂 shuzhi) or perhaps even rosin (松香 song xiang.

This melody, in three sections, is used here in 1525 as a prelude to Gujiao Xing, and although the two melodies do not seem to share any obvious musical motifs, they do have some stylistic resemblances and musical characteristics; for example, they both use unexpected fingers to play some notes, ones that at first may not seem the most natural, but which after repeat playing seem clearly to be describing the play of someone wanting to bring out the greatest possible variety of colors.

Elsewhere jiao and qi are described as substances used in qin making. It is presumably for this reason that jiaoqi came to be used to mean "best friends", and it is thus appropriate that Jiaoqi Yin is the title used in Xilutang Qintong for its prelude to Gujiao Xing, a melody extolling old friendships.

For the use of 膠漆 jiao qi in qin making see the commentary here. However, that commentary does not really clarify the specifics of what jiao qi together is referring to physically. Outside of qin making, though, it clearly means simply "very close friendship", as in the following dictionary reference.

30504.50 膠漆 jiaoqi makes no mention of a qin melody, though there is one analogy with 琴瑟 qinse. There are two definitions:

  1. "相持不解 Inseparable", quoting a comment "寒而膠漆之作,不堅好也 if you try to apply glue and lacquer when it is cold, they do not harden well (?)"; this was apparently made about a passage from Yue Ling in the Li Ji that says, "季秋之月...是月也,霜始降,則百公休(注)喻交誼之堅也 The end of autumn:...In this month the hoar-frost begins to fall; and all labours cease (for a season). (Comment:) An analogy for the strength of friendship" (? I don't see the connection.) It then has passages from Zhuangzi and Wen Xuan.
  2. "喻交誼之堅也 An analogy to the strength of friendship". The references are as follows:
    • Shi Ji 79, 范睢蔡澤列傳 the biographies of Fan Sui (or Fan Ju) and Cai Ze
      Tells of Cai Ze asking whether a ruler has "與有道之士為膠漆 the ability to grow as close as glue and lacquer to gentlemen possessing the Way" (GSR VII/249);
    • 世紀鄒陽 Shi Ji 83 Zouyang;
    • 後漢書 Hou Han Shu;
    • 韓非子 Hanfeizi;
    • 孔融 Kong Rong;
    • 文選,劉峻,廣絕交論 Guang Jue Jiao Lun (Parting Company Expanded, a poem by Liu Jun (462–521) from Wen Xuan)
      The poem includes the line 「心同琴瑟,言鬱郁于蘭茝;道協膠漆,志婉孌于塤箎。」; this compares the relationship of qin and se to that of jiao and qi;
    • 憶昔詩 Recalling the Past by 杜甫 Du Fu (includes the line "宮中聖人奏雲門,天下朋友皆膠漆。").

No specific friendships are mentioned in the above entry; specifically there seems to be no connection made between this phrase and the story of the friendship between Chen Zhong and Lei Yi, as mentioned with the melody Gu Jiao Xing.

Another famous friendship also associated with glue and lacquer is that of the poets Yuan Zhen (779-831; style name Weizhi) and Bai Juyi (772-846). Of this Bai Juyi himself wrote in his 祭微之文 (Offering Text for Weizhi; translated by Anna Shields, One Who Knows Me: Friendship and Literary Culture in Mid-Tang China; Harvard-Yenching Institute Monographs 96, 2015; p.303)

"Alas, alas Weizhi! In the last years of the Zhenyuan reign we first sealed our friendship. In our progress and pauses, successes and obstacles, there was nothing that we did not experience together. [The firmness of] metal and stone, [the tight bond of] glue and lacquer - even these aren't sufficient comparisons [for our closeness]. Our vicissitudes through death and life have reached across thirty years; the poems we matched back and forth number nine hundred. But since this is widely known in the world, I shall not recount it here. As for the turning point of rank and honor, or sorrow and disaster, amid melancholy longing and sleepless nights, the vows in our hearts shared the same destination, and we exchanged feelings more than once. But this is all laid out in our literary works, and I shall not retell it here."


All this proovides ample evidence that the meaning of the title "Glue and Lacquer Intonation" would have been clear to any listeners. As for the two alternative titles, the significance of Cutting through Metal seems clear, but that of Cloud Bamboo Couch still seems somewhat obscure.

In all, the title (and present melody) Jiao Qi Yin is used in three handbooks:

  1. 1525 (III/90; prelude to Engaging with Old Friends)
  2. 1614 (VIII/96; comes before Jing Guan Yin)
  3. 1647 (X/78; comes before Qingye Wen Zhong [Qilin Bei Feng])

None of these versions has a preface (in 1525 no preludes have their own preface). However, there is one in Taiyin Chuanxi (1552), where the same melody is called Cutting through Metal (Duan Jin Yin).

16. Account in 呂氏春秋 Lüshi Chunqiu
The original text here is:

17. Tracing Gujiao Xing (also Yun Zhu Ta)
Zha Fuxi's Guide 16/166/-- lists Gujiao Xing in 17 handbooks from 1539 to 1876, somehow omitting the occurrences in 1525 (Xilutang Qintong) as well as 1552. It also lists Yunzhu Ta (see next footnote) as a separate melody, though it is virtually the same. There are thus at least 22 occurrences in 19 handbooks. Details are in the tracing chart below.

The connection between the titles Gujiao Xing and Yunzhu Ta is unclear.

18. Cloud Bamboo Couch (雲竹榻 Yun Zhu Ta)
43170.106 has only 雲竹 yunzhu. Zha Fuxi makes no connection between this melody and Gujiao Xing but the existing Yun Zhu Ta are clearly a version of it, if not identical to it. The Zha Guide 42/275/-- lists Yunzhu Ta only in 1876 (XXV/429), but that version is a copy of the one published in 1670 (XI/481). The 1670 handbook actually has two related pieces called Gujiao Xing as well as the one called Yun Zhu Ta that seems to be a copy (including its afterword) of the first 1670 Gujiao Xing (XI/341). 1876 also has a Gujiao Xing, but it is said to be "from 1673".

Under the title of the 1670 version of Yun Zhu Ta is a statement that it is 東崗刻古交行 the (Zhou) Donggang version of Gujiao Xing; its preface then says 董庭蘭作 Dong Tinglan created it. The former statement must be referring to the first version of Gujiao Xing in 1670, which says it is 周東崗校譜 tablature revised by Zhou Donggang. Although the two tablatures seem to be almost identical throughout, the Gujiao Xing preface there does not say who created the melody and makes no mention of Yunzhu Ta. The version of Gujiao Xing at XI/505 also makes no mention of Yun Zhu Ta.

The 1876 preface to Yunzhu Ta does not mention Gujiao Xing, but it expands on the 1670 preface by saying that it is 琴史 Qin Shi that says this melody 董庭蘭作 was created by Dong Tinglan (this is not in Zhu Changwen's biography of Dong Tinglan), adding that it is the same as Cloud Bamboo Chant (雲竹偈 Yun Zhu Ji), a title that can be found in at least one early melody list, where it is said also to have been called Qiu Shui (see under Shenhua Yin). However, the 1876 afterword says that, although the melody originated with Gujiao Xing, they are actually much different. Based on what is written above, this is a puzzling comment, presumably based on the fact that the 1876 Yun Zhu Ta is in fact rather different from the 1876 Gujiao Xing (it being a copy from 1673).

This is the 1670 preface (XI/489 after "東崗刻故交行" [compare the 1670 Gujiao Xing preface]):


The 1670 afterword for Yunzhu Ta (XI/491) is the same as for the 1670 Gujiao Xing (XI/350):


The 1876 preface (XXV/429) is then as follows:


And the 1876 afterword (XXV/432) is:


Some characters were not clear.

19. Intonation of Cutting Through Metal (斷金吟 Duan Jin Yin)
As with the musically related 1525 Glue and Lacquer Intonation (above), this melody is also used as a prelude to Gujiao Xing. It can be found under this title in three handbooks (Zha Guide 18/176/--):

  1. 1552 (IV/73)
  2. 1557 (III/340; identical)
  3. 1561 (II/477)

Unlike with Jiao Qi Yin, the two preludes called Duan Jin Yin (1552 and 1557) have their own identical preface. The preface begins by quoting an afterword to the 易經 Yi Jing called 繫辭 Xi Ci (q.v.), which says,

"二人同心,其利斷金 ...
When two people are of one heart, they can cut through metal.

The full preface to 斷金吟 Duan Jin Yin is as follows:

友山考譜曰:二人同心,其利斷金。夫惟彼此之心不同,則物能間;物能間,則猜疑生;猜疑生,則反面而讐矣。古之所謂君子之交者,信義相與,肝胆相照。與之處常,心無不同;與之處變,「心無不同」。是則所謂斷金云爾。若夫見利則親如骨肉;少有利害,曾路人之不若;或深情侯貌以至老死,莫得其心,卒為反道之羞!挨宰! See also 13929.56 斷金, where the definition is "喻力能破堅也 analogy for the strength to break metal".

20. Wang Tong and the 1552 preface (IV/72)
This introduction, also found in several later handbooks, tells the story of Wenzhongzi creating this piece, as follows,

Youshan, having examined the tablature, says, "Wen Zhongzi said, If relationships are based on advantange, when the advantage is no longer there, stuggle ensues. If relationships are based on influence, when the influence is gone, opposition ensues. Relationships nowadays are based on influence and advantage. A person who had the Dao regretted that new ones were not like the old ones, and thus created this melody."

This introduction is completely different from that of 1525. As for the source of this attribution to Wang Tong, Wong Tong expert Prof. Ding Xiang Warner writes (personal communication, 11/2015):

As yet I have found no reference to 古交行 anywhere in the Zhongshuo nor in any other Sui and Tang sources that pertain to Wang Tong. There is a passage in the Zhongshuo -- in fact, just preceding the (attribution to Wang Tong of the melody Fen Ting Cao) -- that seems to be the locus classicus for the quotation cited in the 1552 preface of the 太音傳習 Taiyin Chuanxi. But as you shall see, this differs drastically from the quotation cited in TYCX. Here is the Zhongshuo version of the quotation in its entirety (ZZ [SSBY], 6.5a/ll. 3 - 4):

Based on the text you supplied of the 1552 TYCX preface, I can only surmise the following:

1) Its author was paraphrasing rather than quoting the text verbatim.
2) Depending on the context, it is possible that his quotation of Wang Tong actually ends at "勢盡則反" and the ensuing statement (from 今之交 to 故作是曲) is the author's own explanation of the impetus for someone else's composition of 古交行 Gujiao Xing.

Compare the introduction to Duanjin Yin

21. 周東崗 Zhou Donggang; also written 周東岡 Zhou Donggang
For Zhou himself see
main entry. As for his connection to Gu Jiao Xing, the preface in Qinyuan Xinchuan Quanbian (1670; XI/349; not yet translated; compare its Yunzhu Ta preface) says,


There is also an afterword (XI/350), as follows:


Though Qinyuan Xinchuan Quanbian was not published until 1670, over a century after the first appearance of both these pieces, it is said to contain old versions of many melodies. Nevertheless, since at present I haven't found any earlier connection of either Zhou name with either of these titles, the possible connection between these melodies and either Zhou name must at present be considered only as speculation.

22. Afterword
The original 1525 afterword is as follows:


This afterword to Gu Jiao Xing, in mentioning the friendship between Chen Zhong and Lei Yi, suggests that they perhaps created the melody themselves; this should be interpreted as their story inspired someone at a later time to create ("zuo") a melody on this subject.

Zha Fuxi in his Guide did not mention the 1525 version of this piece; thanks to Sun Xiaoqing for helping me read the original.

23. Music of the Xilutang Qintong version
The first half of the 1539 version is quite similar to here, but it then gradually becomes more different.

Reconstructing the 1525 version was complicated by a lack of punctuation in several sections. In particular, Sections 1 punctuates the first phrase but then after that seems to have none; and Section 9 also punctuates the first phrase and the last two phrases but is missing punctuation in between. On the other hand, at several places in Section 9 there are marks in the tablature indicating where punctuation might have been, suggesting the possibility that an original copy had more but these got lost in the re-printing. In other sections, once again either punctuation is missing or there are some very long phrases.

In my transcription added punctuation marks (those marked with tied circles) reflect my interpretation of what the original phrasing might have been.

24. Lyrics in Xilutang Qintong (1525)
As mentioned above, these two lines (the first of which is often quoted independently) are the first two lines of a five-couplet poem by the 9th century scholar-monk Guanxiu. Here the two lines are paired to the tablature at the end of Section 8 following the traditional pairing method.

古交如真金,百鍊色不回。 Gu jiao ru zhen jin, bai lian se bu hui.
今交如暴流,倏忽生塵埃。 Jin jiao ru bao liu, shu hu sheng chen ai.
Old relationships are like true gold, in 100 smeltings the color does not go back.
New relationships are more like a flash flood, they suddenly can cover everything in muck. .

Although none of the other handbooks has lyrics, seven of the first nine handbooks each has a passage to which the 1539 lyrics could be paired still following the traditional pairing method. The music of the second to the fifth in particular, while clearly related to 1525, are much more similar to each other. The following locates this passage in the first 10 handbooks:

  1. 1525: end of Section 8 (of 12)
  2. 1539: beginning of Section 7 (of 10)
  3. 1552: middle of Section 8 (of 10)
  4. 1557: Section 10 (of 13)
  5. 1561: Section 10 (of 13)
  6. 1579: end of Section 7 (of 11; melody differs more but still fits)
  7. 1589: beginning of Section 8 (of 11; one extra stroke in first phrase)
  8. 1596: Section 10 (of 13); similar to 1557
  9. 1602: same as 1589
  10. 1614: see end of Section 8 (quite different, with extra strokes and many slides)

Both the 1525 and 1589 tablatures seem in places rather short on punctuation. One can speculate as to whether this means that whoever created these versions was intentionally creating long phrases, or whether the persons who transcribed these versions simply could not discern the actual intended phrasing. Later handbooks have not yet been examined in this regard, but my personal feeling about this can be discerned by examining my transcriptions of these two versions. (My general operating principle when reconstructing melodies is that the music is rhythmic, but that the rhythms are interpreted freely, sometimese perhaps so freely that the listener might not be aware of the rhythmic structures.)

Return to the top

Appendix: Chart Tracing Gujiao Xing (and Yunzhu Ta)
Based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide 16/166/-- and 42/275/--

      琴譜 Page numbers refer to indicated volume in 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng
  1. 西麓堂琴統
      (1525; III/93)
12 sections; L8; C; Zha omits!; misdated; only version with lyrics (further comment; they are paired in the second half of Section 8 (of 12; see footnote below)
Afterword connects the melody to a story about Guan Zhong.
  2. 風宣玄品
      (1539; II/178q.v.)
10; no commentary or lyrics, but the lyrics from the middle of 1525 Section 8 can be paired with the similar music here in Section 7; melody also seems somewhat shorter than 1525, combining 1525 #3-4 into one section and #7-9 into two sections
  3. 太音傳習
      (1552-61; IV/74)
10; C; not in Zha Guide; other than the opening phrase, "友山考譜曰 Youshan examined tablatures and said....", its preface, the first to connect the melody to Wang Tong, can be found in at least three later handbooks; their music, though, is different, esp. after Section 5
  4. 太音補遺
      (1557; III/341)
13; C; other than the opening phrase, "杏莊老人曰 The Old Man of Apricot Village said....", the preface is as in 1552;
the music, however, is quite different (e.g. it splits 1552 Section 5 in two and Section 8 in three [compare next])
  5. 琴譜正傳
      (1561; II/478)
13; not in 1547
no commentary, but music almost identical to 1557
  6. 五音琴譜
      (1579; IV/209)
11; different from others (e.g., divides sections differently from 1589 below)
no commentary
  7. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/28)
11; C; preface (see Wang Tong) same as 1552 (without opening phrase), but music somewhat diff.; music and preface same as 1602 below
  8. 文會堂琴譜
      (1596; VI/225)
13; mostly follows 1557 but differs in some areas
no commentary
  9. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/339)
11; C; identical to 1589
10. 松絃館琴譜
      (1614; VIII/90)
12; divided like 1625; in 1954 Wang Shengxiang was recorded playing his own dapu;
Also online is this recording by Muka Fushimi, and a reconstruction by Tony Wheeler is included in his CD Plain Silk Qin (online)
11. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/75)
12; no commentary
ends with "尾入商泛 end with the shang mode harmonics"
12. 徽言秘旨訂
      (1692; X/--)
12; identical to 1647 so not included in QQJC
13. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/349)
11; C; "周東崗校 as revised by Zhou Donggang"; preface and afterword
  last version to have commentary
      (1670; XI/513)
12; C; "音研本故交行 Gujiao Xing from the Yinyan volume"; preface says "古曲 old melody"; there is also an afterword;
      (1670; XI/489)
11; "趙本雲竹榻 Yun Zhu Ta from the Zhao volume" (this refers to a collection held by 無錫趙鴻雪 Zhao Xuehong of Wuxi). Preface credits Dong Tinglan. Other than the title and preface this seems to be the same as the Gu Jiao Xing pp.349-50.
14. 大還閣琴譜
      (1673; X/353)
12; copied in 1876 below
no commentary
15. 琴譜析微
      (1692; XIII/65)
no commentary
16. 臥雲樓琴譜
      (1722; XV/43)
no commentary
17. 裛露軒琴譜
      (>1802; XIX/244)
11; "雍門譜 tablature of Yongmen"
18. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/213)
12; "大還歌 1673 version"; also no commentary
      (1876; XXV/429)
11+1; called "雲竹榻 Yun Zhu Ta";
"琴苑 1670 version" but diff. preface and afterword
19. 天籟閣琴譜
      (1876; XXI/107)
12+1; "友琴堂選譜 Youqintang xuan pu"; from 1827?
Very similar to 1876 Gu Jiao Xing

Return to the top, or to the Guqin ToC.