Rui Long Yin: Auspicious Dragon Intonation
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五音琴譜 Wuyin Qinpu (1579)   ToC   /   Shui Long Yin 首頁
29. Auspicious Dragon Intonation
Yu Mode:2 5 6 1 2 3 5 6
瑞龍吟 1
Rui Long Yin
Section 1 Tablature3            
This melody, the title of which could also be translated as Lucky Dragon Intonation,
4 seems to be the earliest surviving version of a melody later known variously as Water Dragon Intonation (Shui Long Yin)5 or Dragon Intoning on the Sea (Canghai Long Yin).6 It may or may not be coincidental that the pronunciations of rui and shui are not dissimilar.7

Normally when I reconstruct any particular melody I look for the earliest printed version. However, it was not until after I had reconstructed the earliest published version called Shuilong Yin (1589) that I realized its melodic connection to this earlier published Rui Long Yin (1579); hence most of my general comments for this melody have been put under Shuilong Yin.8

Rui Long Yin, like Shuilong Yin, is a ci pattern (cipai). Rui Long Yin originally became well-known after being popularized through a famous poem by Zhou Bangyan.9 The poem is also known as Zhangtai Road, from the opening phrase. My tentative translation is as follows,10

Auspicious Dragon Intonation (Big stone, Spring vista [?])

Zhangtai Road:11
Here one still sees bits of fallen plum branches, as peaches try to blossom.
Quiet are the lanes by people's homes, nesting are the swallows, all return to their old places.
In gloom I stand still and wait,
And so I think of your mad little ways, of casting quick glances into doorways.
As morning came, a light and simple golden, you protected yourself from the wind with deflecting sleeves, daintily laughing.
Having then come as Master Liu I now arrive again, visiting neighboring homes and searching within, where together we danced and sang.
Only Autumn Maiden in an old home, has fame as once before.
Intoning a poem I commit it to paper - perhaps you recall the Yan Terrace phrases.
Do I know who your companion is now, drinking in a famous garden, east of the city leisurely strolling?
Such matters go away with the solitary geese.
Seeking spring is exhausting, as I feel the emotional sadness of departure.
The willows of home hang in golden strands. Returning late, a fine rain swirls around the pond.
Bitter thoughts descend on the courtyard; by the window the wind keeps blowing.

The romantic nature of these lyrics would seem to put the theme of a melody called Rui Long Yin rather at odds with one called Shui Long Yin, but I have not found another poem associated with this the ci pattern of Rui Long Yin that has a theme suggesting any possible connection to the later title. As for the ci pattern itself, the traditional pairing method cannot be used to match the text either of Rui Long Yin or Shuilong Yin (q.v.) to any part of the music here.

Original preface 12
None here

Five Sections, untitled

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Auspicious Dragon Intonation (瑞龍吟 Rui Long Yin) (Qinqu Jicheng, Vol. IV/234)
Neither 21606.114 nor 4/605 has a separate entry for 瑞龍 rui long. However, 21606.114 瑞龍吟 Rui Long Yin says it is "詞牌名。(詞範)調見周邦彥片玉詞、花菴詞選,歷代詩餘云,一名章臺路, the name of a cipai. (Ci Fan): a melody selected from Zhou Bangyan's Pianyu Ci and Hua'an Ci; a historical poetic ci form, also called 章臺路 Zhang Tai Lu" (after the opening phrase of the poem). This suggests that the present melody title may have been inspired by a poem (中文) by Zhou Bangyan (1056-1121) about the entertainment quarters of old Chang'an. In structure the cipai is said to have three sections, 133 characters and oblique tone rhymes (仄韻 ze yun).

On the other hand several temples in Japan use the name Rui Long (in Japanese the temples are called 瑞龍寺 Zuiryuji), so perhaps this suggests the title simply refers to an auspicious dragon. The largest of these Japanese tmeples is a Zen Buddhist temple in 高岡市 Takaoka, Japan. The English pages of their website do not discuss the origin of the name. (The one in Osaka seems to have what they consider the relic of a miniature baby dragon - perhaps this is the lucky dragon.)

2. Yu mode (羽調 Yu Diao)
The primary tonal center is yu (la), secondarily jue (mi). For further information on yu mode see Shenpin Yu Yi and Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature.

3. Image
From QQJC IV/234

4. Lucky Dragon
Lucky Dragon and Auspicious Dragon can in Chinese also be 祥龍 xianglong.

5. Shuilong Yin 水龍吟
separately. That title also refers to some musically related and unrelated pieces (see chart).

6. Canghai Long Yin 滄海龍吟

7. Comparing the pronunciations of 瑞龍吟 and 水龍吟
Although 瑞龍吟 and 水龍吟 are in today's Mandarin pronounced Rui Long Yin and Shuilong Yin respectively, and my dictionaries give no other pronuncation for 瑞 and 水 other than rui and shui, the sounds are phonetically similar enough that, for example, the character 瑞 is used for "s" in such names as 瑞典 for Sweden and 瑞士 for Switzerland. These romanizations are presumably based on earlier pronunciation. For example, in Cantonese, the pronunciation of which is less changed over the last 500 years than that of Mandarin is, the initial sound of both 瑞 and 水 are romanized as "s" (i.e., seoi6 and seoi2 respectively).

The possible mixing of these two titles is of particular interest to a study of how melodies may have existed in the oral tradition before being commited to written (particularly printed) tablature.

8. Earliest title
The gap between the current handbook (1579) and the one with the earliest Shuilong Yin is only 10 years, so it is not definite that Rui Long Yin was indeed the earliest title. The similarity of pronunciation between rui long and shui long is cause for speculation. I have not seen information on how widely circulated Wuyin Qinpu was. One must also remember that quite like many melodies circulated for some time in the oral tradition before they were written down.

9. Zhou Bangyan 周邦彥 (1056-1121)
Information moved to

10. Rui Long Yin original Chinese
The original text of the poem is as follows (note: 3 sections; 133 characters):





11. Notes on the translation of Rui Long Yin
Zhangtai Street housed famous brothels in Han dynasty Chang An.

12. Original preface
Although there is no preface here, there are some with the related versions called Shuilong Yin and Canghai Longyin (see chart).

13. Music
See chart. The main difference between the early versions this melody seem to be at the end. Here as a last section an earlier passage is repeated, followed by the closing harmonics. In the earliest Shuilong Yi the last section has instead new material, then a different harmonic closing passage.

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