Yu Qiao Wenda: Dialogue between a Fisherman and Woodcutter
 T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
Taiyin Xupu  ToC  /  Handbook list   Sun Yü-ch'in repertoire   Such a Dialogue 錄音、五線譜 Listen with transcriptions   / 首頁
Dialogue between a Fisherman and Woodcutter
Standard tuning, shang mode ( 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 ) 2
漁樵問答 1
Yu Qiao Wenda  
  A dialogue 3 (more images)                
Yu Qiao Wenda has long been a popular qin melody, very actively played today and surviving in at least 40 handbooks from 1559 (Taiyin Xupu) to 1922 (see appendix below4). Although 1559 is a relatively late date, the melody was quickly included in many late Ming dynasty handbooks, the number and variety of versions which occured around then suggesting it might have existed for some time before it was written down.5 As for this, some of the commentaries in early handbooks state that it is quite an old melody; one of the handbooks, Yuwu Qinpu (1589), even seems to connect it with the famous 13th century compilation Zixiadong Qinpu.6 However, at present it is not possible to verify such claims. And although all available versions seem melodically related, this piece as played today is considerably expanded beyond the early versions.

The theme of the fisherman and woodcutter, friends who when they get together discuss the meaning of life, can be found in Chinese writings as early as the Tang dynasty and in painting at least from the Song dynasty;7 the continuing popularity of this theme is mentioned further below. As for fishermen and woodcutters individually, the qin melody title Song of the Woodcutter can be found in melody lists said to date from the Song dynasty (example), and versions of Song of the Fisherman have been attributed to Song dynasty players. Since there are suggestions that the melody Dialogue Between a Fisherman and Woodcutter has a similar age, its relatively late appearance in tablature form is somewhat puzzling.

Chinese traditional writing in general, as well as commentaries on versions of this qin melody, often convey the idea that, whereas most people talk about worldly matters that in the end mean little, the dialogue between the fisherman and woodcutter gets right to the essence. The Chinese system put a great emphasis on education. At the same time there was the Daoist idea that one could have great understanding through living in nature, without formal education. By convention, such understanding was often ascribed to fishermen (yu) and woodcutters (qiao, also translated as fuel gatherers).8 However, as can be seen here (for example, in the 1585 preface with its discussion of "making friends with the fish and shrimp"), the literati are not actually referring to real working people but to themselves escaping worldly cares.

At least 15 surviving versions of this melody have lyrics, including most of the versions between 1670 and 1864. The preface to the earliest of those with lyrics, dated 1585,9 says that the melody was quite old, but that there were no lyrics attached to it; on the other hand, there were appropriate lyrics (or indications there had been lyrics), but none of these was accompanied by tablature. The preface goes on to say the author applied lyrics to the melody. Unfortunately there is no suggestion one way or the other as to whether he wrote the lyrics himself, whether he took or adapted them from an earlier but now lost version of this melody, whether they once belonged to an unrelated melody on the same theme, or whether they have no earlier musical connection at all.

Until the 18th surviving published version, Qinyuan Xinchuan Quanbian (1670), almost all instrumental versions are in six sections while the ones with lyrics have 8 to 12 sections (most commonly 9). Since 1670 almost all versions, whether with lyrics or not, have had 8 or more sections, often 9 or 10 sections. However, the 1670 handbook tended to be rather conservative, copying old tablature (see in particuar the comment on this under Shen Qi Mi Pu); and most of the ensuing tablature until the mid 19th century seems either to have had lyrics or been closely connected to versions with lyrics. A comparison of the surviving editions until 1864 suggests that later ones omit or shorten some passages, extend or add others. However, the greatest expansion, beginning in the mid-19th century, added new material mostly to the last three sections. The earliest substantial additions are extended passages in the upper registers (above the 7th position) in sections added on at the end of the earlier versions.10 By the mid-19th century, also, there seems to have been a change in the modality: with the original tonal center being do (1) on the open first string, there is an increase in the occurrence of fa (4), open third string. This perhaps suggests that the open-string tuning should be considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 rather than 1 2 4 5 6 1 2, in which case the tonal center has changed from do to sol.11

The pairing of fishermen and woodcutters is a theme which has remained popular in Chinese writing right up to the modern period. However, although it has been a common motif in Chinese poetry since at least the Tang dynasty,12 the earliest known literary occurrence of this title is perhaps for an essay attributed to the philosopher Shao Yong (1011 - 1077).13 Around the same time the famous poet Su Shi (1037-1101) also wrote on this theme.14

In popular literature the fisherman-woodcutter dialogues appear in at least one opera.15 And the popular novel Xi You Ji (Journey to the West), as attributed to Wu Cheng'en (1500 - 1582), contains such a dialogue in Chapter 10.16

Fishermen and woodcutters, separately and together, have long been a theme in the traditional paintings not just of China but also in Korea and Japan.17

Xu Jian discusses this melody in the chapter on Ming melodies in his Outline History of the Qin. The example he uses, though, seems to be late Qing dynasty, with passages not occuring in the Ming dynasty versions.18

Beginning with 1634 Yu Qiao Wenda is sometimes (also) called Jinmen Dailou.19

Original Preface (1559)20
Compare the preface in 1589 and also see the preface in the prelude, Kaigu Yin. Here in 1559 the preface is:

The Old Man of Apricot Farm says, Someone in the Tang dynasty said,

"Han palace affairs are nothing compared to flowing streams;
      Wei mountain streams have just half run their course."

Then and now rising and falling are as easy as turning the hand over, (but) green mountains and blue waters by nature remain unaffected. Whether or not there is gain or loss over a thousand years: this is just what what fisherman and woodcutter talk about, and that is all.

Music 21 (see transcription; timings below are for my recording 聽錄音 from 1559; see also Videos for Learning)
Six Sections, untitled
All melodies in Taiyin Xupu have preludes; the prelude used for Yu Qiao Wenda is Kaigu Yin, which has its own preface and is an abbreviated and slightly modified version of the Sigh for Antiquity (慨古 Kai Gu) published in 1425.

  1. 00.00
  2. 01.05
    01.25 (1579 & 1589 Section 3)
  3. 02.00 (harmonics)
  4. 02.31
  5. 03.06
    03.18 (1579 & 1589 Section 6)
  6. 03.39
    04.15 Harmonic coda
    04.40 End

The recording was made on 5 October 2013 using a guqin newly made by Tong Kin-Woon and silk strings by Marusan Hashimoto, newly strung (24 September 2013). Comments below compare the timing of this version with some timings of modern versions. (Open first string = B flat; replaces recording of 27 September 2013, which had open first string = G#.)

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. References for Yu Qiao Wenda (QQJC III/433)
18586.103 漁樵問答: Name of an Essay, in one folio, by 邵雍 Shao Yong.

  Further references to the theme of fishermen and woodcutters include:

18586.99 漁樵 fisherman and woodcutter. There are quotes from four poems:

  1. 王維桃源記 Wang Wei, Peach Spring Record: 平明閭巷掃花開,薄暮漁樵乘水入。 "At first light in the alleys they swept the flowers from their gates. At dusk fishermen and woodmen came in on the stream." (G.W. Robinson, in Wang Wei, Poems, Penguin, 1973; total [7+7] x 16).
  2. 杜荀鶴,茅山詩 Du Xunhe (846-907), Poem of Maoshan: 漁樵不道處,麋鹿自成群。
  3. 杜甫,閣夜詩 Du Fu, Night on a Watchtower: 野哭千家聞戰伐,夷歌幾處起漁樵。 (7+7) x 4; translation)
  4. 蘇軾,赤壁賦 Su Shi, Red Cliff Ballad: 況吾與子,漁樵于江渚之上。

18586.101 漁樵記 Record of a Fisherman and Woodcutter
A Yuan dynasty play discussed in
LXS about the woodcutter Zhu Maichen and a fisherman named 王安道 Wang Andao.

None has a qin reference and I am not aware of it being in the Chinese opera repertoire today.

2. Shang mode
For further information on shang mode see Shenpin Shang Yi and Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature. The mode of this melody seems to change some time during the 17th century. There is further discussion of this in a footnote below.

3. 漁樵問答圖 Dialogue Between a Fisherman and Woodcutter, by 謝時臣 Xie Shichen
Xie Shichen (1481 - ca. 1561) was a well-known Ming dynasty landscape artist from Suzhou; there are details on him with another online painting. The inscription on the present painting is a poem that says,

(Not yet translated)

Many thanks to 孙小青 Sun Xiaoqing for identifying this. The poem was presumably written by, or at least copied by, Xie himself. The image can also be found elsewhere on the internet, perhaps from it apparently having been auctioned from a private collection in 2005. There are more references and illustrations below.

4. Tracing Yu Qiao Wenda
See Zha's Guide 24/203/398 and appendix below. Only four of the versions seem to have titles for individual sections: 1585, 1611 1625 and 1730.

5. Age of the Yu Qiao Wenda melody
The variety within the tablature from the late 1500s suggest a piece that had been developing for some time: perhaps for a time no one wished to commit to paper something that had so many versions. Or perhaps the fact that some of the versions had lyrics might have also led to delays in writing it down, especially if sung versions or available texts did not fit the formula apparently required for qin songs.

In addition, if a melody was actively played, but not by a master whose disciples might have copied it down, this would likely lead to a variety of forms for that melody. Zha Fuxi's Guide, p. 24, says the melody is "明代嘉慶以前 Ming dynasty before the Jiaqing period (1522 - 67)"; it does not explain the reason for this conclusion about a piece first published in 1559, but one might assume it has to do with the logic that says that melodies in the oral tradition must have existed for some time before being written down. Tablature printed in many copies had a better chance of surviving than hand copied individual pieces or handbooks. And in addition to the known surviving handbooks, there would have also been hand-copied tablature for individual melodies and melody collections, copied out by/for teachers in various regions. But there is no specific information on such tablature for Yu Qiao Wenda.

Regarding the basic form and/or structure of the presumed original melody, I have personally written out transcriptions of the first three surviving instrumental versions, published in 1559, 1579 and 1589 respectively. From this I am not able to conclude that the latter two grew out of the former, rather than from another version, or other versions, then in existence, or at least being played. See also comments in the next footnote and in the chart below, as well as in the analysis in QSCB.

6. Yu Qiao Wenda in Zixiadong Qinpu?
This 13th century compilation was handcopied and did not survive. The Yuwu Qinpu preface (1589) begins by saying, "紫霞洞考,唐人云.... According to Zixiadong (presumably Zixiadong Qinpu), someone in the Tang dynasty said...." It then quotes the 1559 preface verbatim. The instrumental 1589 version does not claim its music is from Zixiadong; since the music of 1589 is quite different from 1559 this leaves open the question of whether this comment suggests that the music of 1559 might have been copied from Zixiadong.

7. Earliest paintings on theme of Dialogue between the Fisherman and Woodcutter
As yet I have only found specific references beginning from the Ming dynasty. These include:

  1. 謝時臣 Xie Shichen (above)
  2. 鐘禮 Zhong Li (ca. 1500; Bio/1723), in the 定勝寺 Josho Ji, 長野県 Nagano (view)

Also of potential interest is 吳偉,《漁樵琴酒圖 Wu Wei, Fisherman and Woodcutter with Qin and Wine. Some later images are discussed below.

8. Famous fishermen and woodcutters
The most famous example of a knowledgeable woodcutter is Zhong Ziqi. See also the Woodcutter's Song and Fisherman's Song.

9. Earliest surviving qin versions with lyrics: 1585 (see page 1 of my transcription) and 1589 (Zha Fuxi recording)
The preface to the 1585 edition is as follows,

Yu Qiao Wenda is an old melody. Examining the tablatures bequeathed to us, they have had fingering but no words for the music; examining historical qin materials, they have had words that could go with sounds (from such sources as these, including this by Shao Yong?) but no accompanying fingering. Now sounds and words have been paired with tablature, so that those good at playing can know such tunes' ancient subtleties, and resonant melodies that are pure and elevated. (Thus can one) appreciate fishermen and woodcutters, enjoy rivers and mountains, make friends with fish, shrimp and deer, face the bright moon and clear winds, and forget self and the material world. Moreover, with regard to such subtle beauty, how could those with cravings for instant gratification be able to appreciate this?

The 1585 lyrics are included in an appendix below. Its melody, meanwhile, is divided into 9 sections, with 3, 7 and 9 beginning with four doublestops then the rest in harmonics. Its lyrics form a dialogue (it begins, "The fisherman asked the woodcutter, 'What do you seek?' The woodcutter answered the fisherman, 'Many oaks and a thatched cottage....'". In general the melody uses material of earlier published versions, but in adding lyrics in the form of a dialogue the melody becomes much changed, especially towards the end. Specifically, 1585 Section 1 begins with music very much like that of the other early versions. Then the first part of Section 2 seems to use material from what is Section 2 in 1579 and in 1589. This is followed by a passage very similar to what in 1559 is the beginning of Section 2; in 1585 this begins on the lyrics "木能生火" (i.e., at the beginning of a statement by the woodcutter) in the middle of Section 2, then a melody like that of the "Woodcutter to Fisherman theme" accompanies lyrics from "因木求財" (the beginning of a statement by the fisherman) to the end of Section 2. The double stops at the end of Section 2 of the other versions now begin Section 3 of 1585, but they do so in a strange way. Sections 3, 7 and 9 all consist of the same four double stops followed by an extended passage in harmonics. Sections 7 and 9 apply the lyrics "漁乃喜曰" to the double stops, fitting them perfectly. However, Section 3 begins. "樵曰:「昔日"; in other words it seems to confuse the character 曰 (said) with 日 (day). Otherwise it seems to suggest that the lyrics and music were of independent origin and do not quite fit in some places. After Section 3 the 1585 version continues to use motifs from the other versions, but the actual music is very different.

As for the 1589 song version, its lyrics (see in another appendix below), have the fisherman and woodcutter speaking in alternate sections but without the words "___ said"). In other ways, also, they are quite different from those of the first surviving version with lyrics, from 1585, though the music is related. In fact, the lyrics adapted to the various versions of Yu Qiao Wenda are often very different from each other, reinforcing the probability that the melody was indeed very popular at that time. Meanwhile, my comparison of the original tablature (linked above with the recording by Zha Fuxi (see here) indicates that the latter uses a somewhat different pairing method from the common practice, which basically assigns one note to each right hand stroke and some left hand strokes but not to slides. In the 1589 version lyrics also seem to be attached to slides and perhaps not as much attention is paired to lining up the musical phrases with the song phrases. My conclusion on this is based on the way Zha Fuxi seems to have to add right hand strokes in certain places to make the two fit. (In this, to my ears, he does a brilliant job.)

There is further comment on all this in the tracing chart below.

10. Modern version vs. older versions of Yu Qiao Wenda
The timing of my present recording of the 1559 version is 04.40; timing of the previous recording was 04.21, but the melody could easily be played in under four minutes (perhaps suggesting that the conversation was rather agitated). Modern versions are all much longer.

The versions commonly played today seem to come either from the Yu Qiao Wenda in Qinxue Rumen (1864; Qin Fu/640-41) or the one in Qinxue Congshu (1910; Qin Fu/946-55). The latter seems to be an elaboration of the former; in particular, although both versions have 10 sections and in general are very similar, the 1910 tablature adds quite a bit in the latter part of Section 4, in the harmonics of Section 5, in the latter part of Section 9 and in the harmonics of Section 10. Both versions are available in recordings from the 1950s.

  1. The 1864 version is 5.22 in one recording by Xu Yuanbai, 7.53 in another: the only significant musical difference seems to be the speed at which it is played. The same melody, somewhat elaborated, is 7.01 in a recording by Wu Jinglue (7.12 according to the transcription in Guqin Quji, I, pp. 129-134);
  2. The 1910 version is 8.38 in a recording by Shen Caonong (10.25 according to the transcription of a performance by 楊葆元 Yang Baoyuan in Guqin Quji, II, pp. 98-105). In the recording by Sou Si-tai it is 10.19. Again the differences seem mostly to do with the speed at which the melody is played.

These two common modern versions both retain clear connections with the earliest surviving versions. This begins with the opening phrase, which is very similar; other connections are less obvious: e.g., examining the tablature one can see that Section 4 of both 1864 and 1910 begin with elaborations of the earlier fisherman and woodcutter theme, but if only listening to a recording this is harder to hear (in this regard it should be noted that the transcription in Guqin Quji, I, pp. 239-234, of Wu Jinglue's performance, though it is stated to be from Qinxue Rumen, is actually elaborated from it).

By contrast, the earliest versions have six sections and, according to my personal reconstruction, the earliest version (1559) should take about 4.20 to play. Later versions, in addition to elaborating on this base, began (perhaps with 1611) to add extensive passages in the upper register directly after the harmonics in the middle (usually Section 5). In all the earlier versions the sections after these harmonics have only a few notes played at 6.4 and 5.6; these are brief and it never goes higher.

In addition, although a version such as the one in Qinyuan Xinchuan Quanbian (1670; this handbook was particularly noted for copying earlier melodies from Shen Qi Mi Pu) has many characteristics of the earliest versions, after the harmonics it does have these extensive passages in the upper register. On the other hand, many of the versions from about 1600 until 1864 seem to be most closely connected to the 1585 and 1589 versions with lyrics (mostly the latter, in spite of the credit sometimes given to Yang Biaozheng, compiler of the former), even when they do not have lyrics. It should be noted that neither 1585 nore 1589 has extensive passages in the upper register.

It must be emphasized that these comparisons are very preliminary and this needs to be studied in greater detail, in particular by people with access to the full set of Qinqu Jicheng.

11. Mode in Yu Qiao Wenda
As is common with Ming dynasty shang mode melodies, the main note in the early versions of Yu Qiao Wenda is 1 (do); secondary notes 2 and 5; many phrases are paired so that the first one ends on mi, the second one on do. The modern versions, though related, seem to have a somewhat different tonal sense. Already in the early versions 4 (fa) is more common than usual. Common contemporary understanding says that if a melody in standard tuning is played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2, then the open third string must generally be avoided: could it be that a simple tendency to go ahead and play it anyway had led to the modal changes mentioned here? In the later versions of Yu Qiao Wenda the 4 becomes more important than 3. So in these later versions, to have the fewest number of notes outside the standard pentatonic scale 1 2 3 5 6 requires considering the open third string as do (i.e., the tuning becomes 5 6 1 2 3 5 6). In this case the main note is still the open first string but this has now become 5, with 2 as the secondary tonal center; all the 4s become 1 (later versions do retain some 3s, which now become flatted 7s, but they are less common than the new 1s). These note relationships now correspond most closely with the modality of old melodies in 徵調 zhi diao, though those early melodies all use the open first string as 1 (do).

An incomplete study of early tablature suggests that the new modal sense for Yu Qiao Wenda may survive earliest from the version published in 1670, where it is connected to 周東岡 Zhou Donggang (QQJC/XI, p.343). However, the melody remains grouped with shang mode melodies until 1836, where it is called 徵 zhi.

The change of modality seems somewhat different from the modal changes in the early Yushan School melody Qiujiang Yebo: the latter has the standard pentatonic scale (1 2 3 5 6), but in the earliest versions sometimes 3 is flatted; later the flatted 3s are replaced by 4s, but both non-pentatonic tones are dropped by 1673.

Another modal characteristic that should be mentioned is the flatted mi (3). Most shang mode melodies in Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425) have flatted 3s as well as non-flatted ones; these flatted 3s gradually or suddenly disappear from the versions published later. Yu Qiao Wenda has no flatted 3s to begin with. Perhaps it is also significant that the prelude in 1559 to Yu Qiao Wen Da, Kaigu Yin, has a flatted 3 in its 1425 version but in 1559 that note is changed to 2 (re).

12. Fishermen and woodcutters as a motif in Chinese poetry
See Lundbaek (next footnote), p. 14; see also a footnote above.

13. Shao Yong, Dialogue between a Fisherman and a Woodcutter 邵雍,漁樵問答 or 漁樵對問 or 漁樵問對
The essay is said to be an yiwen (佚文 532.3 = 逸文 39824.9), suggesting it is not among the standard works of Shao Yong, but rather available only in later texts attributed to him. It has been copied below as an appendix. The Wiki page on Shao Yong (1011–1077) does not at present (2009) mention this essay, but there is a translation by Knud Lundbaek (Hamburg, C. Bell Verlag, 1986 [details]). It uses the above title, but it might be better called A Fisherman Lectures a Woodcutter. The woodcutter asks a few questions, but it is mostly the fisherman (Shao Yong himself) discussing his philosophical ideas.

14. Su Shi, Leisurely Conversation between a Fisherman and Woodcutter (蘇軾,漁樵閑話 Su Shi, Yu Qiao Xianhua)
The original 佚文 casual essay has been copied below as an appendix (any translations?)

15. Dialogue between a Fisherman and Woodcutter: Stories in Chinese opera
LXS has two entries with related titles. However, the first of these seems more focused on the conversation:

  1. Leisurely Conversation between a Fisherman and Woodcutter (漁樵閑話 Yu Qiao Xianhua, p. 130; as above)
    The story involves the four occupations of 漁、樵、耕、牧 fisherman, woodcutter, ploughman and herdsman. (四___? Not 四業﹕士、農、工、商.; there are references to a 漁樵耕牧四詠 by 郭真順 Guo Zhenshun [1312 - 1436 ! ; Bio/2024; writer, wife of 周伯玉]).
  2. Record of a Fisherman and Woodutter (漁樵記 Yu Qiao Ji, p.93; see also 18586.101)
    Also called 風雪漁樵記; full title 朱太守風雪漁樵記; once called 王鼎臣風雪漁樵記. Story begins with the friendship of 朱買臣 Zhu Maichen with the woodcutter 楊孝先 Yang Xiaoxian and fisherman 王安道 Wang Andao. Early in the play they drink and talk on a snowy evening. They main story concerns Zhu's activities after this.

In these I have not found any references to qin.

16. Journey to the West (西遊記 Xi You Ji)
See separate page. A number of websites have the complete Chinese original novel online. The version used here is from www.millionbook.net/gd/w/wuchengen/xyj/index.html, with the dialogue being Chapter 9.

17. Fisherman and Woodcutter Dialogue: Images from art Depicted also in Korea and Japan    
At top is an older image, as are these. Here at right (expand) the left image is by Yi Myong-uk (see below); the right one is attributed to 松亭 Shotei (1912).

Here are some current online references:

18. Analysis of Yu Qiao Wenda in Qinshi Chubian
QSCB, Chapter 7b (pp.141-3, Ming dynasty melodies), includes examples from a modern performance based on the version in Qinxue Rumen (1864). The first example (see also the transcription of the Wu Jinglue performance in Guqin Quji Vol. 1, pp. 129-134) is the phrase at the end of Section 1 (GQQJ/129), repeated up a fifth in Section 2 (GQQJ/130) and up an octave in Section 6 (GQQJ/132). There are hints at this beginning with the second surviving version (1579; also in 1589), but this phrase is not developed until much later.

19. Awaiting for an Imperial Audience at the Palace Gates (金門待漏Jinmen Dailou)
Beginning with Guyin Zhengzong (1634) Yu Qiao Wenda is sometimes (also) called Jinmen Dailou. 41049.xxx; 3/945 only dailou. I am not yet sure why this would be another title for Dialogue between a Fisherman and Woodcutter, unless that is a topic that came up in one of their conversations.

There is also a melodically unrelated Jinmen Dailou in 1876. It has no commentary other than a note under the first section that says, "琴史亦唐狄梁公所作 Created by Duke Di of Liang during the Tang dynasty."

20. Original 1559 preface
The original preface (QQJC III/433) is (translation):


The couplet at the beginning seems clearly to refer to the second line of a poem by 李益 Li Yi (748-827; ICTCL; Wiki) called "同崔邠登鸛雀樓 With Cui Bin climbing Stork Pavilion", as follows:

鸛雀樓西百尺牆,汀洲雲樹共茫茫。 West of Stork Pavilion is a 100 foot wall; sandbanks, clouds and trees are boundless.
漢家簫鼔空流水,魏國山河半夕陽。 Han palace flutes and drums are as nothing compared to flowing streams; Wei mountain streams have just half run their course.
事去千年猶恨速,愁來一日即為長。 Affairs 1000 years past seem to have gone quickly; yet if sadness comes for one day it seems long.
風煙並是思歸望,遠目非春亦自傷。 Wind and smoke: it is like longing to return; gazing in the distance it is not springtime and this brings grief.

Cui Bin (崔邠,字處仁,貝州武城人) was another Tang poet. Stork Pavilion is 48475.9 鸛雀臺 Guanque Lou, on the north side of Xi'an. "汀洲 Dingzhou" in the poem seems to mean "sand bank" (17488.8 水中沙土積成之小平地也; compare 汀州 Dingzhou, in Fujian). 漢家 18531.150. In ancient times the 魏國 State of Wei had extended east of Xi'an, i.e., not in the direction of the setting sun; however, 5875.57 says 夕陽 can refer to the west side of a mountain or the end of life. (半夕陽 2752.xxx.)

Further regarding the second line of this poem 孙小青 Sun Xiaoqing suggests that "漢家簫鼔 The Han court's piping and drumming" might have been an allusion to 夕阳簫鼔 Xiyang Xiaogu, well-known pipa music. He says the change to "漢家事業 The Han court's undertakings" conforms to the style of the poem.

21. Music of 1559 version
My teacher Sun Yü-ch'in originally taught me the standard 19th century version of Yu Qiao Wenda. Since leaving Taiwan my focus has been learning the earliest versions of any particular melody. For a long time I was not able to reconstruct this earliest known version to my satisfaction. Two issues causing me problems were:

  1. Uncertainty: I had not worked on other pieces from this handbook, and so wondered whether this tablature accurately described the melody as played by someone: each of the other early versions had some appealing motifs that seem to have contributed eventually to the modern version, but also seem to be missing something for their lack of other motifs. I thought perhaps in this case I would eventually do a version that combined music from several early handbooks, but as yet I have never done this with any of the early melodies I have reconstructed.
  2. Textual issues: possible mistakes in the 1559 tablature. The first of these somes at the end of the third phrase of Section 1, which ends on a 7th diad (c over D): no other version has a diad here, some ending the phrase on c, others on d (my solution is to play the dissonance but then slide from the c to d, making an octave). Then the first two phrases of Section 4 have a left thumb "cover" (罨 yan) on the 6th string followed by a left thumb pluck (對起 duiqi) written with the number 7 underneath it: i.e, played on the 7th string, suggesting something is missing; since writing the string number under duiqi is not idiomatic, I have moved it to before the duiqi and added a pluck. Other than these two problems there are two of three places where something is not written clearly on available copies, but the intended figures are easily determined. More important, quite a few of the phrasing indications seem to be missing: structures needed to be found that would reveal this phrasing.

The textual issues are in fact quite minor, and in late 2011, while adding commentary and art references (in particular the image at top), I focused again on the 1559 tablature and this time found I was able to come up with an interpretation based solely on the 1559 version that to me made it into a complete and logical whole that did not need additions from other versions (although that could also be interesting). By the time I made a recording this earliest known version had become one of my favorite melodies.

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

Appendix I: Chart Tracing Yu Qiao Wenda 漁樵問答;
based mainly on Zha Fuxi's Guide, 24/203/398.

    (year; Vol/page)
Further information
(QQJC = 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng; QF = 琴府 Qin Fu)
 1. 太音續譜
      (1559; III/441)
6 sections; transcription and recording; preface (plus prelude with its own Preface); shang mode (1245612); sections 1-3 have some similarity to 1-5 of modern 10-section versions; opening of 4th hints at modern's 6th; 2nd section has "fisherman to woodcutter" theme ("F-W" theme), with first half repeated in 5th and 6th (compare 1579 and 1589); 3rd and end of 6th are in harmonics.
 2. 五音琴譜
      (1579; IV/221)
6 sections; no commentary; this transcription (tentative) shows it to be quite different from 1559, but sections 1-4 are recognizably similar to 1-5 of modern version; 5th section starts like modern's 6th, but in 1579 (and 1589) the 6th repeats the "F-W" theme from 3rd, then closes with harmonics
 3. 重修真傳琴譜
      (1585; IV/369)
9 sections, titled; ,transcription, page 1 (tentative); Sections 3, 7 & 9 have four doublestops then harmonics; 商 shang mode; melody uses material of earlier published versions, but in adding lyrics in the form of a dialogue the structure is much changed (details); not in 1573. See also the 1585 preface; not in 1573.
 4. 玉梧琴譜
      (1589; VI/32)
Lyrics; 6 sections; this transcription (tentative) shows that its music is more like 1579 than 1559, but its preface (after saying "according to Zixiadong", presumably referring to Zixiadong Qinpu) quotes the 1559 preface verbatim. 3rd section bracketed by "漁 (fisherman)...樵 (woodcutter)": this is the F-W theme); 6th is then "漁至樵 fisherman to woodcutter"
 5. 真傳正宗琴譜
      (1589; VII/92)
L; 8; Original tablature from 楊倫太古遺音 Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin as reprinted in 1609; 商音 shang yin; 8 sections, titled simply by who speaks (contrast 1585): 1. 漁樵問敘; 2. 漁; 3. 樵; 4. 漁 (泛音 harm.); 5. 樵; 6. 漁; 7. 樵; 8. 漁樵並樂符(ends with 泛音 harm.). New lyrics (like 1625, 1709 and 1730). The preface begins, "按斯曲,想亦隱君子所作也....It seems as though this piece was also created by a recluse...." Reconstructed by Zha Fuxi; compare his recording with the original tablature.
 6. 琴書大全
      (1590; V/478)
6 sections; similar to 1589, though sectioning is different
 7. 文會堂琴譜
      (1596; VI/217)
6 sections; similar to earlier versions
 8. 藏春塢琴譜
      (1602; VI/343)
6 sections; same preface and music as 1589
 9. 陽春堂琴譜
      (1611; VII/460)
L; 8 sections (3 and 8 in harmonics), titled; lyrics ("問今古幾經蕉鹿....", again different from previous)
In 太古正音 Taigu Zhengyin  
10. 理性元雅
      (1618; VIII/242)
L; 12 sections; lyrics are new
11. 太音希聲
      (1625; IX/164)
L; 8 sections, titled; lyrics (both are completely different from 1585, but related to 1589, 1709 etc.);
Sections 2-7 alternate between fisherman and woodcutter (also as in 1589, 1709, etc.)
12. 樂仙琴譜
      (1623; VIII/376)
8 sections and new preface, but music is like older versions: compare Secs. 1-3 to 1559 Sec. 1;
Section 4 has F-W theme; 5th and 8th sections are harmonics
13. 古音正宗
      (1634; IX/295)
6 sections; 4 and end of 6 are harmonics; Section 3 has modified F-W theme; "also called 金門待漏 Jinmen Dailou"
14. 義軒琴經
      (late Ming; IX/427)
5 sections; 3 and end of 5 in harmonics; Section 2 has F-W theme
15. 陶氏琴譜
      (late Ming; IX/465)
L; 9 sections (unnumbered); lyrics as 1589
16. 徽言秘旨
      (1647; X/85)
Called 漁樵 Yu Qiao; 8 sections;
Guide says lyrics as 1589 but I cannot find them
17. 徽言秘旨訂
      (1692; fac.)
Same as 1647?
18. 琴苑新傳全編
      (1670; XI/351)
9 sections, 5 & 9 harmonics; F-W theme in 4 and 8; further comment. Still "商 shang", but see mode: more fas; latter half has extended passages above 7th position: compare modern version? Preface says, "是曲周東岡譜,蓋述隱者隨遇自樂之意,其聲優裕平順,出落自然,得隱逸之風調。 This melody uses the tablature of Zhou Donggang to describe the idea of recluses who, although they enjoy themselves, their sounds are magnanimous and smooth....(rest not yet translated)".
19a. 一峰園琴譜
      (1709; XIII/502)
L; called 漁樵意 Yu Qiao Yi but related to above; its lyrics, only here, begin "執長斤,劈破崐崙....";
3 sections, unnumbered; mode not stated; attrib. 毛仲翁
19b. 一峰園琴譜
      (1709; XIII/508)
L; called 漁樵話 Yu Qiao Hua but music and lyrics as 1611;
6 sections, unnumbered and diff. from 1611; mode not stated
20. 東皋琴譜 (Japan)
      (1709; see XII/276)
L; 8 sections, 2-7 alternating between fisherman and woodcutter; lyrics as 1589, music also seems same; "商 shang"; 1898 edition: copy of? 1709
21. 立雪齋琴譜
      (1730; XVIII/21)
L; 8 sections; "商 shang"; lyrics as 1589
Facsimile edition, Folio 1, p.24
22. 琴書千古
      (1738; XV/372)
8 sections
L; 楊表正 Yang Biaozheng version; lyrics as 1585
23. 琴劍合譜
      (1749; XVIII/316)
8 sections; "商音 shang yin"
24. 穎陽琴譜
      (1751; XVI/81)
8 sections; 商音 shang yin; no lyrics, but 2-7 alternate between "fisherman" and "woodcutter";
same commentary as 1589; music very simlar but not identical; it counts phrases and 點 dian (strokes)
25. 蘭田館琴譜
      (1755; XVI/--)
L; Guide says 8 sections; "商意 shang yi"; new lyrics, beginning "問坤古往今來,任桑田滄海悠悠...."
(missing from QQJC edition)
26. 裛露軒琴譜
      (>1802; XIX/251)
8 sections, titled; 商音 shang yin
"太古遺音 Taigu Yiyin": same as 1589 but without lyrics?
27. 琴譜諧聲
      (1820; XX/201)
8 sections
28. 琴學軔端
      (1828; XX/467)
L; 8 sections; lyrics: almost same as 1585
"楊表正作 by Yang Biaozheng"
29. 悟雪山房琴譜
      (1836; XXII/325)
8 sections; "中呂均徵音 zhonglüjun; zhi yin": first to say "zhi"?
"古岡遺譜 Gugang Yipu" (not 東岡)
30. 琴學入門
      (1864; XXIV/344)
10 sections; "中呂均徵音 zhonglüjun; zhi yin"; gongche notation added (also p.354). There are modern recordings based on this version, which is the one I learned from Sun Yü-Ch'in. With 1st string as do: many fa; if third string = do: main note sol (see mode and compare early versions)
31. 琴瑟合譜
      (1870; XXVI/152)
7 sections
32. 以六正五之齋
      XXVI/238 (1875)
8; 宮調 gongdiao
33. 天聞閣琴譜
      (1876; XXV/374 & 423)
Two versions, both 徵 zhi; #1 (Folio 7, 8 sections) no commentary but in margin has "空山彈 as played by (Zhang) Kongshan"
#2 (Folio 8, 10 sections) has afterword saying "周東岡譜 Zhou Donggang tablature", but in margin has "松仙 Songxian"
34. 希韶閣琴譜
      (1878; XXVI/355 and XXVI/355)
Two: XXVI/335: 金門待漏 Jinmen Dailou (ToC has 金門待詔 Jinmen Daizhao): 商音 shang yin, 9 Sections; see 1634
L; XXVI/446; 8 sections with lyrics almost same as 1589 (but 徵音 zhi yin!).
35. 雙琴書屋琴譜集成
      (1884; XXVII/295)
Two? Has one in 8+1 sections; 徵音 zhiyin;
XXVII/287: 金門待漏 Jinmen Dailou; 6+1 sections
36. 綠綺清韻
      (1884; XXVII/399)
10+1; 商音 shangyin; afterword same as 1670
37. 枯木禪琴譜
      (1893; XXVIII/101)
9+1; 宮音 gongyin; quite similar to 1864 (most differences in 4, 8, 9 and coda);
preface attributes melody to 楊表正 Yang Biaozheng (1585), but no lyrics
38. 琴學初津
      (1894; XXVIII/265)
8+1; 徵音 zhiyin; "又名山水清音 also called Shanshui Qingyin"
Zha (190[232]): almost same as 1864; afterword here says, 「曲意深長,神情灑脫,而山之巍巍,水之洋洋,斧伐之丁丁,櫓聲之欸乃,隱隱現於指下,迨至問答之段,令人有山林之想,奏斯者,必修其指,而静其神,始得。志在漁樵者,此消遣,移情非淺,是曲,傳自何君桂笙,古越之高人,文章蓋世,無學不通,而著述之富,足冠古今,暇更以琴書自樂,綽有安道之風,愧余才疏藝劣,何幸屢荷青眼,教我良多,而奏斯曲者,不亦感君之惠授乎?按楊表正所作遇仙吟,漁樵問答等曲,作正文對音捷要譜,而是曲雖近時趨,然其用意,實深景仰,摹寫漁樵,形容畢露,足為製曲師法。德松客識。」 (See also next.)
39. 琴學叢書
      (1910; XXX/212)
10; 宮調徵音 gong diao, zhi yin; has gongche
"抄本 hand copy"; modern recordings based on this version show it to be an elaboration of 1864. The recording by Sou Si-tai has a translation of what it says is the preface in 1910, but I cannot find that preface. It seems very similar to the beginning of preface in 1894 (The translation is, "This is a profound melody which is nonetheless unconstrained and of open expression. It evokes high mountains and flowing rivers. He who listens carefully may even perceive in the play of the musician the stroke of the axe and the rustling of the paddle; but it is mainly the sequences where fisherman and woodcutter converse with each other that inspire the listener with a feeling of profound nostalgia for this idyllic lifestyle.")
40. 山西育才館雅樂講義
Lyrics almost same as 1589
41. 夏一峰傳譜
p.27 (TKW/2081)
Largely follows 1864
42. 研易習琴齋琴譜
Folio 2, #5
43. 愔愔室琴譜
page 173
Largely follows 1910
44. 虞山吳氏琴譜
page 24

Appendix II: Lyrics for Yu Qiao Wenda 漁樵問答;
As paired to the music in 重修真傳琴譜 Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585; earliest)

1. 一嘯青峰

漁問樵曰: 「子何求?」

樵答漁曰: 「數椽茅屋,綠樹青山,時出時還。生涯不在西方;斧斤丁丁,云中之巒。」

2. 培植春意

漁又詰之曰: 「草木逢春,生意不然不可遏;代之為薪,生長莫達!」

樵又答之曰: 「木能生火,火能熟物,火与木,天下古今誰沒?況山木之為性也當生當牿;伐之而后更夭喬,取之而後枝葉愈芝。」

漁乃笑曰:     「因木求財,心多嗜欲;因財發身,心必恒辱。」

3. 上友古人


4. 自得江山

樵曰:             「子亦何為?」

漁顧而答曰: 「一竿一釣一扁舟;五湖四海,任我自在遨游;得魚貫柳而歸,樂觥籌。」

5. 体蓄鱼虾

樵曰:     「人在世,行樂好太平。魚在水,揚鬐鼓髡受不警;子垂陸具,過用許機心,傷生害命何深!」

漁又曰: 「不專取利拋綸餌,惟愛江山風景清。」

6. 戒守仁心

樵曰: 「志不在漁垂直釣?心無貪利坐家吟。子今正是岩邊獺,何道忘私弄月明?」

7. 尚论公卿

漁乃喜曰: 「呂望當年渭水濱,絲綸半卷海霞清。有朝得遇文王日,載上安車齎闕京;嘉言儻論為時法,大展鷹揚敦太平。」

8. 溪山一趣

樵擊擔而對曰: 「子在江兮我在山,計來兩物一般般;息肩罷釣相逢話,莫把江山比等閑。

9. 适意全生

漁乃喜曰: 「不惟萃老溪山;還期异日得志見龍顏,投卻云峰煙水業,大旱施霖雨,巨川行舟楫,衣錦而還;嘆人生能有幾個何。」

Appendix III: Lyrics for Yu Qiao Wenda 漁樵問答;
From 真傳正宗琴譜 Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu (1589; QQJC VII/92; second)
Copied in 1625? See chart and compare earliest.

1. (漁樵問敘)清隱高譂


2. (漁)垂論秋渚


3. (樵)山居雅趣


4. (漁)獲魚縱樂


5. (樵)危岡禁足


6. (漁)驚濤罷釣


7. (樵)浮雲當貴


8. (客漁樵並樂)鳴和彌清


Appendix IV: Original text of 漁樵問對 Yu Qiao Wendui by Shao Yong
(Source: www.ncc.com.tw/fate/paleo/bv/bv_10.htm)
































































































Appendix V: Original text of 漁樵閑話 Yu Qiao Xianhua by Su Shi
(Source: zh.wikisource.org/zh-hant/漁樵閑話錄)























漁曰:「李義山賦三怪物,述其情狀,真所謂得體物之精要也。 其一物曰;臣姓猾狐氏,帝名臣曰巧彰,字臣曰九規,而官臣為佞「鬼虛」焉。佞「鬼虛」之狀,領佩水漩,手貫風輪,其能以鳥為鶴,以鼠為虎,以蚩尤為誠臣,以共工為賢主,以夏姬為廉,以祝駝為魯,誦節義于寒浞,贊韶曼于嫫母。 其一物曰:臣姓潜弩氏,帝名臣曰携人,字臣曰衔骨,而官臣为讒霝{霝鬼}。讒霝之狀,能使親为疏、同為殊,使父膾其子、妻羹其夫。又持一物,狀若豐石,得人一惡,乃鑱乃刻;又持一物,大如長篲,得人一善,掃掠蓋蔽。謟啼偽泣,以就其事。 其一物曰:臣姓狼貪氏,帝名臣曰欲得,字臣曰善覆,而官臣为贪魃{鬼委}。贪魃之状,顶有千眼,亦有千口,鼠牙蠶喙,通臂众手。常居于仓,亦居于囊,颊钩骨箕,环聯琅璫。或時败累,囚于牢狴,拳梏履校,藂棘死灰;僥倖得释,他日复为。呜呼,義山状物之怪,可谓中時病矣!


Return to