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63. Exemplary Woman Prelude
- "jue mode" ( ! 2 : standard tuning, but 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 ?)
列女引 1
Lienü Yin  
  Fan Ji and King Zhuang of Chu as illustrated in the Lienü Zhuan 3
Surviving lists of ancient melody titles mention both this melody and the one after it, Cai Zhen You (Roaming to Gather the True4). For example, Lienü Yin is #56 in the Most Ancient section of the melody list compiled by the Song dynasty's Seng Juyue. It is also #69 in the first section of the Yuan dynasty Qinyuan Yaolu melody list, while Cai Zhen You is #43 in the third section of the same list. Xilutang Qintong is the only handbook to have actual tablature for either title.5 However, the similarity between the music of the final section of Lienü Yin and that of the modal prelude Jue Diao in the Song dynasty publication Shilin Guangji suggests that Lienü Yin might also date from the Song dynasty.6

Those lists have no commentary, but there is commentary for Lienü Yin in the Qin Cao7 attributed to Cai Yong (133 - 192), where it is the first of the Nine Preludes. As with the 1525 preface of Lienü Yin, the melody is attributed to Fan Ji,8 consort of King Zhuang of Chu (r. 613-591 BCE). Comments on the melody celebrate her devotion to his being an upright ruler.9

King Zhuang, ruling from the Chu capital at Ying, was perhaps the most famous Chu king.10 His prime minister Sunshu Ao was also known as a righteous adviser,11 Zhuang is said to have solidified the power of the Chu king, and Xunzi wrote of Zhuang's importance.12

However (or as a result), there are a number of unreliable anecdotes about King Zhuang. For example, Shi Ji, Chapter 40, reports that he spent a lot of time carousing with women and musicians until an official remonstrated him.

It is in this light that one should consider Fan Ji's fame for admonishing him.13 The outline of the story of Fan Ji as told in Zhu Changwen's Qin History is very well known: because King Zhuang loved to hunt, his consort Fan Ji gave up eating meat for two years; finally he relented. Qin History also records her remonstration, but the wording is different from the wording used here in the 1525 afterword. There seems to be no mention anywhere of her actually playing the qin, only of composing a melody that became a qin tune or song.

The qin melody section of Yuefu Shiji (Folio 58, #11) has a Lienü Cao. The introduction is simply, "Qin Ji says, 'Fan Ji of Chu created Lienü Yin.' "

Yuefu Shiji has only one poem for Lienü Cao, by Meng Jue; it makes no obvious mention of Fan Ji. The poem is as follows (tentative translation):14

Wutong trees await old age together; mandarin ducks can die as a pair.
The righteous wife values and honors her husband, forsaking life also for this. (?)
There are no hurried oaths, the wife's heart is like water in a well.

In addition, Folio 29 in the Matching Songs section of Yuefu Shiji has a Chu Fei Tan that tells the same story.15

Original afterword16

Fan Ji greatly esteemed King (Zhuang of) Chu. She said to the king,

"(translation not completed)"

Music of Lienü Yin
Five sections, untitled (See
my transcription; timings here follow my recording 聽錄音)

00.00   1.
00.51   2.
01.18   3.
01.53   4.
02.33   5. (compare from 02.46 with the Jue Diao melody [listen 聽])
03.16       harmonic coda (ends on 1 over 5)
03.35       end

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 1921.13 "Qin melody, (Fan) Ji admonished King Zhuang to dismiss Yuqiu Zi (33531.24) and promote Shunshu Ao, so she wrote this melody. Meng Jue (Tang dynasty; see Nienhauser) wrote a Lienü Cao; it is different from this." Bio/2501: Fan Ji admonished Zhuang, so Yuqiu Zi introduced Shunshu Ao to become prime minister. Information comes from Lienü Zhuan, Chu Zhuang Fan Ji. (Return)

2. Jue Mode? (角調 Jue Diao or 角音 Jue Yin)
Although Lienü Yin and the following piece, Cai Zhen You, are the last two melodies in the jue mode section, their main note is the open 4th string, and the secondary note is the open 2nd string, making them more like zhi mode melodies. (Note that this is also true of the Jue Diao in Shilin Guangji, which is very similar to the latter part of Lienü Yin.) In addition, Lienü Yin has a number of non-pentatonic or even diatonic notes, giving it a rather antique (or modern) flavor; Cai Zhen You is similar in this way. As for the similar modality, the afterword for Cai Zhen You (see below) begins by specifically identifying the mode as 角音 jue yin; its commentary suggests that it, hence perhaps also Lienü Yin, were copied from old tablature. (Return)

3. Illustration
The China Text Project includes this illustration with its copy of the original text.

4. See separate entry. (Return)

5. See Zha Fuxi's Guide 20/186/-- (same for Cai Zhen You). (Return)

6. Compare the recordings and also see the comments above on mode. (Return)

7. See Qin Fu, p. 744. The introduction ends by quoting the following lyrics:


8. 樊姬 Fan Ji
Besides the Qin Shi biography, the is also a biography in Giles. See also her reputed grave.

9. A 樊妃冢 Concubine Fan's Mound near what is said to have been her grave in 荊州,九里台 Jingzhou (in northwest Jiangling county, not far from the Yangzi river in Hubei province), is commemorated in poetry. (Return)

10. See Constance Cook and John Major, Defining Chu, p.60ff. (Return)

11. He became known as a minister who cared only to be righteous, without concern for whether he had office or not. (Return)

12. Xunzi, Chapter 32.2, 17.8? (Return)

13. Concerning her fame, see the memorials, but not the opera. (Return)

14. Wutong trees are good for making qins. The original Chinese says,


15. 楚妃歎 Chu Fei Tan; lyrics by Shi Chong and others. (Return)

16. The original Chinese says,


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