Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu
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Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu
Authentically Transmitted Orthodox Qin Handbook 1
Combines Yang Lun's Taigu Yiyin and Boya Xinfa
1589 and 1609  
  Yang Lun,2 with Zhong Ziqi cut from the pavilion 3       
The most complete versions of Yang Lun's handbook have 63 melodies, of which thirteen seem to be new: seven with new titles and six with titles found in earlier existing handbooks. Melodies I have reconstructed and recorded from this handbook include the following (those without lyrics first):4

  1. Mozi Sings with Feeling (Mozi Bei Ge)
  2. Wild Geese on the Frontier (Saishang Hong; recording pending)

  3. Wine Mad (Jiu Kuang; song version of an old instrumental melody)
  4. A Phoenix Seeks his Mate (Feng Qiu Huang; new version of an older song)
  5. Intonation on Listening to a Qin (Ting Qin Yin)
  6. Pounding Cloth (Dao Yi; an instrumental melody with lyrics)
  7. Lament in a Lady's Chamber (Gui Yuan Cao)
  8. Qingshang Diao (prelude for Pounding Cloth?)

  9. Stanzas of Siddham (Shitan Zhang; a chant; recorded but not memorized)

In addition, I have transcribed but not recorded two further new melodies. Almost all of the melodies I reconstruct are the earliest versions to have survived, but the melodies of two of the above (Jiu Kuang and Shitan Zhang) are related to earlier versions.

Yang Lun apparently published his qin handbooks as a (relatively) young man: before he had passed his civil service exams. Much has been written about him because of his subsequent government career, culminating in his leading an imperial mission to the Ryukyu Islands in 1633. However, there is little information about where the melodies in his qin handbooks originated. This is particularly true of those that survive first from his handbooks, which are the ones I myself have reconstructed and recorded, as just listed above.

Qinqu Jicheng includes two editions of Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu: one published in 1589, apparently the earliest; and the "commonly seen edition" generally said to have been published in 1609.5 Their original publication in Nanjing suggests that they be considered representative of the late Ming Jiang School of qin play. The handbook consists of two parts: Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin, named after its compiler; and Boya Xinfa, meaning "Shared Teachings of Boya". This latter title, as well as the illustration at right, which originally depicted Yang Lun visiting Boya's friend Zhong Ziqi, was apparently considered by some to be an attempt to equate Yang Lun with Boya, the most famous qin player of antiquity, something for which Yang Lun was roundly criticized (though note that Zhong Ziqi was actually famous as a listener, not as a player).

The way both the 1589 and the 1609 Yanglun Taigu Yiyin and Boya Xinfa are included in Qinqu Jicheng means that Qinqu Jicheng has four separate entries for them (more detail in the outline below). These are in the following order (those from 1609 are referred to in the Table of Contents as "又本 extra volumes", referring to the fact that here only piece that were not in 1589 are included in this Qinqu Jicheng reprint of the 1609 edition):

  1589 Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin6   31 of 34 pieces (missing three diaoyi kao), all with lyrics (VII/51)
  1589 Boya Xinfa7   7 pieces; none with lyrics     (VII/53)
  1609 Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin   1 (of the original 34) pieces (2 are missing?)     (VII/175)
  1609 Boya Xinfa 22 of 29 pieces; 7 have lyrics     (VII/179-227)

The fact that Qinqu Jicheng omitted from its reprinting of the 1609 edition those melodies already included in 1589 suggests that the complete 1609 edition was a re-issue of the 1589 edition, with the same content for Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin, but adding 22 melodies to Boya Xinfa. (The three missing melodies from the 1589 Taigu Yiyin were likely in the original, but apparently the 1609 edition in Qinqu Jicheng had only one of these.)

In the 1950s several editions of this handbook were apparently still available in bookstores, and at least one other surviving edition has been reprinted, called Qinpu Hebi.8 Qinpu Hebi may have been published around the same time as the 1609 Qinpu Zhenchuan: as can be seen from its complete Table of Contents, it has the same melody content but adds some further commentary and illustrations. Apparently the whole book is also sometimes given the general name Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin. For example, Van Gulik states that Boya Xinfa is an appendix to Taigu Yiyin.9

Although Zha Fuxi's introduction to the editions in Qinqu Jicheng, Vol. VII,10 says that the two parts of this handbook originally had the name Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu, Zha does not discuss the origin of this title, and makes no mention of the title Qinpu Hebi. QQJC seems to suggest that the 1589 edition it reprints first (QQJC VII/pp.49-168) was called Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu,11 but it also seems possible that this name was added later. Likewise this overall title does not seem to appear in its reprint of the later "commonly seen edition", dated 1609,12 which has those parts of that were not in the 1589 Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu.

Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu begins (QQJC VII/49) with a preface by Li Wenfang, dated 1589.13 The title Taigu Yiyin is mentioned only in the margin that has the page numbers. After that is an image of Yang Lun (top right), framed in the original by a couplet written by Li Zhushi of Nanyang.14 There are then a number of essays, followed by 31 melodies, all with lyrics; at the end of Taigu Yiyin (VII/152) is an afterword by Lü Lan'gu.15 This is then followed by Boya Xinfa (VII/152-168; again the title is only in the margins); its 7 melodies each has a preface, but none has lyrics and there are no separate essays. For both sections, pagination is separate for each melody.

The 1609 edition in QQJC (VII/169-219), as mentioned above, includes only essays and melodies that were not already printed in the 1589 edition. Taigu Yiyin (VII/169-170) has some essays plus a different image (top right) of Yang Lun.16 The reader, looking at this together with this 1609 image can speculate as to whether they depict Yang Lun at different ages.17 Boya Xinfa (VII/171-219) begins with a new preface, dated 1609, by Yu Yan,18 of Maoshan.19

In his Guide, Section 3, Zha Fuxi has a short general introduction plus a table of contents (melodies only) for the 1609 edition.20 At that time Zha apparently had seen only this later edition. In addition to the preface by Yu Yan he mentions the preface by Li Wenfang (which he says is undated) and an afterword by Lü Lan'gu. Its table of contents includes 63 melodies: 34 for Taigu Yiyin and 29 for Boya Xinfa.21 The pagination for each section of the 1609 edition is continuous.22

A comparison of the contents of the 1589 Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu with those of the 1609 edition (whether called Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu or Qinpu Hebi) shows the following:

  1. The tablature for the first part (Taigu Yiyin) seems to have been the same for both the 1589 and 1609 editions, but the 1609 edition in QQJC changes the picture of Yang Lun and expands on the essays, while Qinpu Hebi has the larger illustration above (QQJC had only the left half) and adds considerably more illustrations and essays.23
  2. As for Boya Xinfa, the edition of 1589 has only seven melodies, none with lyrics, while the 1609 editions have 29 melodies, seven with lyrics.24

There are also a few other differences.25

The fact that in the 1589 edition of Taigu Yiyin the pagination is not continuous, but instead separate for each melody, perhaps explains why the melodies are in a somewhat different order from what they are in the book as printed in QQJC.26 However, it also leaves open the possibility that that the surviving 1589 edition is incomplete, and that it originally included more than seven melodies. The fact that Zha Fuxi makes no comment on this perhaps suggests that this was not the case. In that case the added melodies were presumably created or re-created by Yang Lun later in his career, or at least written down later.

As for new melodies, an examination of all the versions of Yang Lun's Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu/Qinpu Hebi shows that they introduced seven new melodies with new titles27 plus at least six new melodies for older titles.28 The following outline mentions these plus several other melodies of particular note:29

  1. Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin (31 melodies [of 34], all w/lyrics; VII/49 - 152)
    A reprint of Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu, 1589, but missing several diaoyi kao. See especially:

    Ting Qin Yin (VII/73); new song, with lyrics by Han Yu
    Qiu Sheng Fu (VII/85); new song, with lyrics by Ouyang Xiu
    Feng Qiu Huang (VII/111); new melody for song of older title (see Wenjun Cao)
    Qian Chibi Fu (VII/126ff); new melody for song of older title (compare 1511)
    Dao Yi (VII/129ff); new melody and lyrics; qingshang mode (compare Dao Yi Qu)
    Le Ji Yin (VII/134); compare 1552; ruibin mode; lyrics almost same as for Yu Ge Diao
    He Wu Dongtian (VII/117ff); greatly expanded from 1525; the only one with lyrics
    Han Gong Qiu Yue (VII/119ff); compare 1525: the earliest version with lyrics
    Jiu Kuang (VII/61ff); a qin song (my recording is linked there) related to the 1425 melody
    Su Wu Si Jun (VII/123ff); new or related to Li Ling Si Han (same tuning); for story see Han Jie Cao; for for recording: Zha Fuxi

  2. Yang Lun Boya Xinfa (7 melodies, none w/lyrics; VII/153 - 168)
    A reprint of the same 1589 Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu; five are new versions of old titles:

    Gao Shan (VII/153-4; p.1 Gao Shan; Qinpu Hebi p.1 Gao Shan)
    Liu Shui (VII/154-5; p.1 Liu Shui; Qinpu Hebi p.4 Liu Shui)
    Chonghe Yin (VII/156; as above, new p.1 in QQJC; Qinpu Hebi p.7)
    Shenhua Yin (VII/161-2; Qinpu Hebi p.97)
    Zhuangzhou Meng Die (VII/163-5; Qinpu Hebi p.100)

    The other two melodies seem to survive first from this 1589 Boya Xinfa:

    Jishan Qiu Yue (VII/157-161; Qinpu Hebi p. 39); new melody, from 1602 also called Xi Shan Qiu Yue (chart)
    Saishang Hong (VII/165-8; Qinpu Hebi p.67); first of at least 33

  3. Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin 又本 extra volume (includes only 1 [Gong Yi Kao] of the 34 melodies); VII/169 - 170)
    A partial reprint from the 常見本 commonly seen edition published in 1609

  4. Yang Lun Boya Xinfa 又本 extra volume (22 melodies w/out lyrics, 7 w/lyrics]; VII/171 - 219)
    Includes 22 of the
    29 melodies from the same 1609 edition, omitting the seven that are exactly the same as in the 1589 edition.
    See especially the following (includes five new melodies):

    Mozi Bei Ge (VII/175ff); new melody
    Shitan Zhang (VII/179); second setting, after 1592
    Gui Yuan Cao (VII/190); new song; lyrics by Li Qingzhao (1084 - ca. 1151), slightly altered plus a coda
    Lou Shi Ming (VII/191); a new setting of the Liu Yuxi lyrics first surviving from 1539
    Canghai Long Yin (VII/205f); a revised version of Shui Long Yin
    Gu Shen Hua Yin (VII/206ff); new melody: compare Shen Hua Yin
    Ba Ji You (VII/206ff); new melody, unrelated to 1425: first in man gong mode
    Feiming Yin (VII/217); greatly expanded from the 1425 version
    Han Gong Qiu Yue (VII/202ff); from Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin (compare 1525, so lyrics added; see the ToC)
    Shuilong Yin (VII/201); earlier in Yuwu Qinpu, but this is the 1st version with lyrics

Some of the titles Zha's Guide lists as new are in fact old melodies with new titles.30 Many of the pieces not listed here as having new lyrics have in fact lyrics that are quite modified from earlier handbooks. Details of this have not been fully studied.

Also noteworthy in this handbook are the attributions given to contemporary "qin friends" for revising or writing the tablature;31 the running commentary alongside some of the melodies;33 and the style of the tablature itself, which is quite uniform throughout but somewhat different from that of earlier handbooks.33

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
  Manchurian Edition (details
1. Authentically Transmitted Orthodox Qin Handbook (真傳正宗琴譜 Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu (VII/51)
(Note that the .pdf copy is of the old edition, so all page numbers referred to here are 4 numbers higher.)
As is discussed here and with the Table of Contents, there have been at least three modern reprints:

  1. QQJC, Volume VII, pp. 51-227, uses the title Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu. It includes two editions, a complete version of the one published in 1589; plus those parts of a 1609 edition that were not previously included in the 1589 edition.
  2. A facsimile reprint called 琴譜合壁 Qinpu Hebi published by Zhongguo Shudian. Originally published in 1609, it seems to have had the same contents as the 1609 edition included in QQJC, though in perhaps a somewhat different order.
  3. The 1991 reprint of the 1802 edition of Qinpu Hebi in turn copied from a Qing dynasty translation into Manchurian by the bannerman He Su (1652-1718). According to www.chinaknowledge.de,

    Hesu admitted that Yang Lun was a master in finger techniques..., but argued that Yang only interpreted music from the elitist viewpoint, and forgot that many of the popular pieces originated in the world of the common people. Hesu therefore included high-standing music pieces....while he decided to only transmit the melodies of popular pieces, without transmitting their song texts.

    As can be seen by expanding the tablature shown at right, because Manchu is written in the opposite direction as literary Chinese, the tablature goes from left to right instead of the reverse. The tablature here is for the 1689 version of Feng Qiu Huang.

"Commonly seen edition" (常見本 chang jian ben) is the expression Zha Fuxi uses for the 1609 edition in his QQJC preface. Furthermore, in his Guide, p. (105) 63, Zha says versions of this edition "書店常見 can often be seen in bookstores" (he wrote that in the 1950s). He makes no mention of the title Qinpu Hebi. Likewise the introduction to the Zhongguo Shudian edition makes no mention of the title Zhenchuan Zhongzong Qinpu. And a comment by Van Gulik suggests he had seen yet another edition with a different name, also dated to 1609.
  Source page (transl.)      
2. Yang Lun 楊掄 (??-1634; 維基百科)
The image at right, from QQJC VII/53, has the inscription "楊鶴浦小像 small image of Yang Hepu" (Yang Lun). He appears here to be a young man and indeed, if my understanding of the timeline is correct, his most notable qin accomplishments occurred while he was a young man. His birthdate is unknown but if, for example, he lived to be 74, then his dates would be 1560-1534 and he would thus have published his first qin handbook at the age of 29 (1589).

Because in addition to his qin activities Yang Lun had a significant government career, there is quite a bit of information available about him, but it mostly concerns official activities, without much personal information. Regarding his career, the online essay 明代揚掄於《真傳正宗琴譜》 by 張雅晶 Zhang Yajing (see appendix) begins by saying that although Yang spent much of his life in Nanjing (Nanjing theme) he was apparently not Han Chinese, but rather from the Bai nationality in Yunnan. He passed his 舉人 juren exams in 1606 and 進士 jinshi 1613, and his most significant government postings were first in Beijing at the 刑部 Bureau of Punishments, then as 尚書郎出守潞安府 Secretarial Court Gentleman in 潞安府 Lu'an District (around the time Zhu Changfang was there?) also with responsibilities nearby in what is today 山西長治市 Changzhi in southeastern Shanxi Province. In 1619 he was called back to Beijing to take part in a 大計 Great Reckoning (a periodic general evaluation of all officials), then became Director in the 行人司 Messenger Office of the Bureau of Rites. In 1639 he was tasked with leading an imperial mission to the 琉球群島 Ryukyu islands, which eventually took place in 1633 (Wiki). Returning to Beijing he was appointed 尚寶司少卿 Vice Minister in the Seals Office, but he died shortly after that, perhaps due to something that happened during the Ryuku trip.

Unfortunately, the qin handbooks have virtually no personal information and nothing about his career. Does this support the suggestion that all the qin work was done before his career took off? Compare this, for example, to the speculation below as to whether some of the melodies might have been added to a handbook later.

In contrast to the above, the qin literature generally says that Yang Lun was from 江寧 Jiangning (apparently a district of Nanjing), and that he was a late Ming specialist on qin song. According to the preface by Zha Fuxi (see below), his style name was 鶴浦 Hepu (elsewhere it is given as 鶴洲 Hezhou). However, the afterword by Lü Lan'gu (VII/156) says the style name was 文浦 Wenpu and that he was from 金陵 Jinling, once again Nanjing. The introduction to the facsimile edition of Qinpu Hebi does not mention a style name, saying he had the nicknames 桐庵 Tongan (Tong'an) and 鶴淑 Heshu. Qin Shi Xu does not include him and Xu Jian's Outline History only seems to mention him in passing, in connection with Yan Cheng's criticisms of qin songs in Chapter 7a2 (p. 127), not in its section on qin songs themselves.

Nevertheless, it is generally thought that Yang Lun was actively involved with the group of qin players living in Nanjing during the last century of the Ming dynasty who were noted for their fondness for qin melodies with lyrics. However, one can only speculate as to what connection he might have had with the apparently contemporary qin master Yang Biaozheng, whose handbooks were printed in Nanjing only a few years earlier than Yang's were. Van Gulik, Lore, p. 185, has some mistakes with both of thesed men (he may be reflecting a Chinese confusion). Thus he calls Yang Biaozheng's handbook 琴譜合壁大全 Qinpu Hebi Daquan, a title I have not yet found elsewhere, and dates it impossibly early (1503). He also has for Yang Lun 楊倫字桐庵, i.e., a different character for Lun (Bio/840: a different person) and gives Tongan as the style name instead of nickname. (See also the next footnote).

For a later mwntion of Yang Lun in old handbooks, 二香琴譜 Erxiang Qinpu (1833; XXIII/88, 杭弦,l.2), has, "楊鶴洲(楊掄)太古遺音則云琴弦非杭州者不可 Taigu Yiyin by Yang Hezhou (i.e., Yang Lun) says that if qin strings are not from Hangzhou they are useless." I have not located this yet in his Taigu Yiyin, suggesting perhaps that there was yet another edition not mentioned here.
3. Images of Yang Lun (see also previous)
Compare the image above with the same scene as redone in the 1802 Qinpu Hebi, where the writing is reversed and Manchu script is added. This reveral can most clearly be seen by expanding the tripled image at right. There the three images are:

As can be seen, the reversed 1802 Qinpu Hebi image in the middle directly corresponds with the earlier image just above it. How does this happen? Does it have to do with the mechanical process of making woodblock prints? (There is a similar phenomenon in this image of Xi Kang.)

In the illustration from the earlier Qinpu Hebi, Folio I/14-15, you can see "楊掄像 image of Yang Lun" written over the bearded figure in the middle. To the right, in the column outside the pavilion, can be seen the characters "鐘子期 Zhong Ziqi". For some this apparently took too far what they considered already too obvious attempts to equate Yang Lun with the great Boya himself (see footnote below). According to Van Gulik, Lore, p. 185, the Imperial Catalogue (ch. 114, leaf 8 recto.) was "much incensed at the fact that on the picture in the first volume the author is shown together with Zhong Ziqi." Van Gulik adds that this "arrogance" must have been recognized early, as "most copies which I have seen were printed from a revised block, where the image of Zhong Ziqi has been deleted from the unorthodox picture." However, this is somewhat puzzling, as one might argue that Yang Lun was actually associating himself with Ziqi, a great listener, not with Boya himself. In addition, there is a certain irony in this criticism in that this handbook seems to be one of the best at crediting the various people who helped compile it (see sample attributions under further comment).

The image from the version in QQJC VII is actually missing the whole right half of that picture (see VII/175-6); that edition is also missing many other illustrations.

4. Melodies I have transcribed from Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu but not recorded
In order to consider a reconstruction as "completed" I must have learned it well enough to play from memory. The following are melodies that I have transcribed but not learned well enough to be comfortable playing. These transcriptions include:

  1. Qiu Sheng Fu (song; VII/89)
  2. Baji You (VII/214)

In addition, although I have recorded the last melody listed above, Shitan Zhang, I have not memorized it. This puts it into a grey area: it is quite easy to play through in segments, but I find it too repetitive to play through without consistently referring to the tablature. This is not necessarily bad - quite possibily it was intended that it be played freely/improvised. That is not something I have tried yet, but if I could learn to do so while considering the tablature itself as a guideline, then perhaps I would consider the reconstruction to be "complete".

In further addition to the above, for my program Music from the Time of Matteo Ricci I have rearranged Mozi Bei Ge so that it can be sung with the lyrics for Ricci's Eight Songs for Western Keyboard.

As for recordings from this handbook by others they include,

Considering the importance and apparent popularity of this handbook there should be quite a few more.

5. Dating the 常見本 "commonly seen edition(s)"
In both QQJC (VII/179) and the facsimile Qinpu Hebi (Folio IV/2) the date 萬歷三十七年己酉 Wanli 37th year (1509) appears at the end of the preface by 俞彥 Yu Yan to Boya Xinfa. (Zha Fuxi does not mention this preface in his QQJC commentary but he does mention it in his Guide p.105 [63].) Although the versions of the preface in these two reprints seem to have come from the same original woodblock, some of the other contents of these two editions are quite different. On the other hand, the tablature for both editions seems to be identical. So although it cannot be stated as a fact that both were reprinted in 1609, and it seems likely that more of these "commonly seen editions" could have been republished later, it seems very unlikely that any of the tablature itself dates from after 1609.

6. Yang Lun's Music Bequeathed from Antiquity (楊掄太古遺音 Yang Lun Taigu Yi Yin)
Compare the earlier Taigu Yiyin.

7. Shared Teachings of Bo Ya (伯牙心法 Boya Xinfa)
The seven melodies in the 1589 version (compare the 29 of 1609) are:

  1. Gao Shan
  2. Liu Shui
  3. Chonghe Yin
  4. Jishan Qiu Yue
  5. Saishang Hong
  6. Shenhua Yin
  7. Zhuang Zhou Meng Die

As for the title, the basic meaning of xinfa (10531.80; 7/378) is apparently "修心 xiu xin: cultivate the heart/mind". Practically the term is used to describe a teaching method in which the teacher explains things carefully so that the student doesn't simply memorize but can come to a full understanding. In Buddhism it suggests doing this teaching without the aid of scriptures. It is also a neo-Confucian term for nurturing the essence of one's thoughts while examining how these thoughts can be put to use. The significance of using the name of Bo Ya in the title is discussed in a previous footnote.

8. Qin Handbook Matched Well (琴譜合壁 Qinpu Hebi)
"Matched well" could be referring to the lyrics and music. On this see Van Gulik's comment in Lore, p. 185, with regard to Qinpu Hebi Daquan. The facsimile reprint published by Zhongguo Shudian, 2006, has five folios. The first three are Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin; the latter two are Boya Xinfa. This reprint also has two introductory essays.

9. Edition mentioned by Van Gulik
Van Gulik, Lore, p. 185, gives Taigu Yiyin as the overall title, saying Boya Xinfa is a supplement (i.e., there is no mention of the titles Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu or Qinpu Hebi). He says this book is "much better edited" than Yang Biaozheng's "Qinpu Hebi Daquan", another qin song handbook from Nanjing published only a few years earlier. (See also his comment on the illustration.)

10. Introduction to Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu in Qinqu Jicheng, Vol. VII/一 (1981)
Originally written in 1962 by 查阜西 Zha Fuxi, then edited by 吳釗 Wu Zhao for the 1981 publication, it mostly concerns the different editions of this handbook. It begins as follows:



Concerning differing editions see further mention above and below. Zha's preface ends with a quote from Li Lan'gu (see also below), concluding that, "From this one can see that the materials for this handbook must have been received from their teacher."

11. Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu in Qinqu Jicheng
Zha says it is in the 文化部,文學藝術研究院,音樂研究所藏 collection of the Music Research Institute. Presumably this refers to both the 1589 and 1609 editions.

12. Commonly seen edition (常見本 Changjian ben)
Presumably the copy reprinted in QQJC is also now in the Music Research Institute. For its publication date see above.

13. Li Wenfang 李文芳
(Bio/xxx); 己丑 1589; QQJC VII/53. His preface begins,


This seems to begin with some old quotes (合天人之和 => 合天地之和?).

14. Li Zhushi 李柱史
The couplet by Li Zhushi of 南陽 Nanyang (Bio/xxx) might be translated as:

Bai Xue and Yang Chun: never excelled melodies whose sound is other worldly
Gao Shan and Liu Shui: the ancients a thousand times expressed true meaning.

Compare 絕聲 jue sheng, 絕響 jue xiang, etc.

15. Lü Lan'gu 呂蘭谷
The 跋 afterword by Lü Lan'gu (Bio/xxx; Lan'gu/Lanyu: 33297.68xxx) to the 1589 edition (QQJC VII/156) has no further information about Lü, but the same afterword in the 1609 edition (see facsimile edition Folio III, end) identifies Lü as a 長湖居士 retired scholar of Changhu (42022.522 says only that this means a "very long lake").

This afterword (also in QQJC VII/156) begins as follows:


It also includes the following statement (quoted in Zha's preface, but no further information on "浙東太史余公 the grand scribe/astrologer of Zhedong [east Zhejiang; 淛 = 浙], Master Yu [余 549.xxx; Bio/???])":

This handbook was abridged and edited by Master Yu, Grand Scribe of Zhedong. As for the exquisite finger techniques, they originated with Yang Hezhou (Yang Lun) and Li Siquan. Mister Yang was also able to 'illustrate all the catalpa (printing blocks)' in order to broaden this tradition. Mr. Yang could call it an essential volume."

The 1609 edition also changes "Li Siquan" to "Zhou Tongan" (see below).

16. New Yang Lun image
The image at QQJC VII/176 (top right; see also next) is discussed by Van Gulik (Lore, p. 185).

17. Yang Lun at different ages?
Compare the beard in the 1609 Taigu Yiyin image at VII/176 with the lack of one in the 1589 Taigu Yiyin image at VII/53.

18. 俞彥 Yu Yan
Yu Yan (Bio/1750), style names 仲茅 Zhongmao and 容自 Rongzi, was from 應天府上元 Shang Yuan in Yingtian (today's Nanjing). He became a metropolitan scholar in 1602, then later was a high military official in Nanjing. In his preface he refers to himself as Master of the Eighth Paradise (第八洞天主人 26496.63xxx); the name 茅山 Maoshan is written above the page number, and 洞天主人 Dongtian zhuren (17777.9xxx) seems to have been a rank used at Maoshan (see below). Yu adds that he wrote it at the Pass Away Summer Pavilion (銷夏亭 Xiaoxia Ting); 41354.34 銷夏灣 is a Xiaoxia Bay on the edge of Taihu lake.

19. Maoshan 茅山
Maoshan was one of the most famous centers of Daoism. It is in Jiangsu province between Nanjing and Taihu lake (see Wikipedia, Shangqing School). A number of people mentioned on this site at some time were connected to Maoshan.

20. Zha Guide, pages 63 - 66 (105 - 108 overall). Zha writes that this book could be found in many bookstores.

21. The re-print of the earlier edition had 31 instead of 34 melodies because it is missing three modal preludes, 宮意考 Gong Yi Kao, 徵意考 Zhi Yi Kao and 羽意考 Yu Yi Kao. QQJC includes only Gong Yi Kao from the later edition. No reason is given for this.

22. 1609 edition pagination
Regarding the Taigu Yiyin part, the 1609 edition in QQJC includes only two pages, so the total number and its numbering method is not certain. The 3 folios of the Taigu Yiyin in Qinpu Hebi begin with 27 引 prefatory pages, which include the five modal preludes; this is followed by the melodies on pages numbered continuously 1 to 191. The 1609 Boya Xinfa has 127 pages.

As for Boya Xinfa, in QQJC (VII/179-227) the numbering was continuous, apparently the same as in Qinpu Hebi.

23. Comparing versions of Taigu Yiyin
Although I have looked at both Taigu Yiyin in QQJC as well as the one in the Qinpu Hebi facsimile reprint, I have not yet closely examined all the tablature itself. So I cannot say for certain that there were not changes within the melodies, as happened between the two available editions of Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu. (But see next footnote.)

24. Comparing versions of Boya Xinfa
Although QQJC tried to include from the 1609 edition only melodies that were not already printed in 1589, apparently by oversight it included in the 1609 edition the end of Jishan Qiu Yue (see QQJC, VII/195, and compare VII/165; perhaps the intention was to put here the first page of Jishan Qiu Yue, as there was a difference in the two prefaces). The latter looks as though it might have been traced from the former. (Perhaps also from oversight a folio page [93] is missing from the middle of the 1609 Gu Shenhua Yin [see QQJC VII/215].)

25. Further differences between the 1589 and 1609 editions within QQJC
Zha Fuxi's introduction in QQJC (see above) mentions two specific differences. These are outlined further under Zhou Tongan (here).

26. The most notable difference is that the listing in Zha's guide puts the five 意考 modal preludes in front.

27. New melodies (with new titles) in Yang Lun's handbooks
These include the following new melodies with new titles (compare next):

  1. 聽琴吟 Ting Qin Yin (VII/77)
    Intonation on Listening to a Qin; new song with lyrics by Han Yu (listen)

  2. 秋聲賦 Qiu Sheng Fu (VII/89)
    Autumn Wind Rhapsody, a new song with lyrics by Ouyang Xiu (transcription only)

  3. 箕山秋月 Jishan Qiu Yue (VII/161)
    Autumn Moon at Jishan; 24 sections; jue mode

  4. 塞上鴻 Saishang Hong (VII/169)
    Wild Geese on the Frontier; Guide 29/232/--: first of 33 to 1914; zhi mode; transcription only)

  5. 墨子悲歌 Mozi Bei Ge (VII/183)
    Mozi Sings with Feeling; Guide 29/228/--: first of 32; ToC #39; (listen)

  6. 閨怨操 Gui Yuan Cao; compare Fenghuang Taishang Yi Chui Xiao (VII/198)
    Lament in a Lady's Chambers; Guide 29/232/442: only here, but see further details; listen)

  7. 古神化引 Gu Shen Hua Yin (VII/214)
    Old Metamorphosis;
    Zha Guide 30/233/--: first of four (see under Shenhua Yin)

28. Older titles having new melodies in Yang Lun's handbooks
These include the earliest versions of the following new melodies for titles surviving earlier but with different melodies:

  1. Feng Qiu Huang (VII/115); new melody (compare Wenjun Cao; transcription only)
  2. Qian Chibi Fu (VII/130ff); new melody (compare 1511)
  3. Dao Yi (VII/133ff); new melody and lyrics; qingshang mode (transcription and recording; compare Dao Yi Qu)
  4. Le Ji Yin (VII/138); new melody; ruibin mode; lyrics almost same as for Yu Ge Diao
  5. Lou Shi Ming (VII/199); compare 1539: new setting of the Liu Yuxi lyrics
  6. Ba Ji You (VII/216ff); compare 1425: new melody later called Xie Xian You, in man gong mode

29. Perhaps most noteworthy of these is the song version of Jiu Kuang.

30. Older melodies with new titles
Zha's Guide indicates that these volumes within Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu include 12 new melodies. However, at least five of these are in fact versions of the same melody published earlier with different titles. The five are:

  1. 復聖操 Fu Sheng Cao (see Ya Sheng Cao)
  2. 漢宮秋月 Han Gong Qiu Yue (see Han Gong Qiu; here there are two, one with lyrics, one without)
  3. 客窗新語 Ke Chuang Xin Yu (a version of Ke Chuang Ye Hua, but with new lyrics)
  4. 清商調 Qingshang Diao (also see under Shenpin Guxian Yi)
  5. 滄海龍吟 Canghai Long Yin (see Shuilong Yin)

31. Attributions to "琴友 qin friends"
In Yang Lun's handbook these attributions are normally made under the heading for Section 1 of the particular melody. However, in some cases there are comments like this within the preface itself (e.g., in Jishan Qiuyue). In early handbooks it was not at all common to identify either who originally copied the tablature or who revised it, nor is it clear what either "revised by" or "tablature by" mean. Checking for minor copy errors? Playing old tablature many times, developing ones own version, then copying it down? From my preliminary examination of the 1589 and 1609 editions of Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin and Boya Xinfa it seems that very few were done by the same person.

Here are some sample attributions:

  1. 塞上鴻 Saishang Hong (Wild Geese on the Frontier; VII/169)
    "金陵鄭養居校傳 Revised by Zheng Yangju of Jinling (Nanjing) and transmitted"(1589; 1609 adds "from Korea"; transcription only)
  2. 墨子悲歌 Mozi Bei Ge (Mozi Sings with Feeling; VII/183)
    "建業琴友高(龍)伯校 Revised by qin friend Gao Longbo of Jianye"
  3. 閨怨操 Gui Yuan Cao (Lament in a Lady's Chambers; VII/198)
    "句曲琴友孔行素譜 tablature by qin friend Kong Xingsu of Juqu"
  4. Lou Shi Ming (Inscription on a Crude Dwelling; VII/199)
    "秣陵水雲逸史鄭道光譜 Tablature of the unofficial historian of water and clouds Zheng Daoguang of Moling"
  5. 古神化引 Gu Shen Hua Yin (Old Metamorphosis; VII/214)
    "新安琴友汪善吾校 Revised by qin friend Wang Shanwu of Xin'an, near Huangshan
  6. Ba Ji You (VII/216ff)
    "關中琴友王龍泉校 revised by qin friend Wang Longquan of Guanzhong"

For further attributions see the handbook's Table of Contents. It is perhaps significant that most of such attributions are to melodies without lyrics.

32. Running commentary (compare attributions)
In both Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu and the later "commonly seen edition", some of the melodies with lyrics have added text as commentary or explanation. For example, 復聖操 Fusheng Cao, Section 1 (VII/68), has 音必 to explain the punctuation of 俾 bi; many other melodies have such explanations of pronunciation. Almost always "重 chong" is written where there are repeats in the music, presumably so that the player will keep singing during the repeat. 客窗新語 Kechuang Xinyu (VII/190ff) has a great many explanations of people and phrases. 閨怨操 Gui Yuan Cao adds "呼連 hu lian" in small print between "奩 lian" and "塵 chen" (line 2; VII/198); I am not sure of the significance of that.

33. Some notes on the tablature in Zhenchuan Zhengzong Qinpu
Regarding the tablature itself, my study has been mostly with earlier tablature, and I haven't studied carefully enough other handbooks from around 1600 to be able to state which of these characteristics found in Zhenchuan Zhenzong Qinpu are unique to it, or new with it. In addition, there are probably some inconsistencies due to the fact that a number of the melodies seem to have been edited by different people (). Some characteristics that I have noted include:

  1. In Yang Lun's handbooks positions between the hui (markers, or studs; see Indicating the pitch of stopped sounds) are usually expressed only by as being "half" (in slides written "半", in stopped sounds sometimes written only as something that looks like the top two strokes of 半, or like ). Where the music is pentatonic this is not a problem. However, in some cases one might wish to consider a non-pentatonic note. For example, "7半" on string six followed by "same" on string five: strictly speaking this should be sol then fa, but since only one position can be indicated one must consider the possibility that the position on the sixth string should be 7.9, i.e., mi. This becomes more complicated in upper positions, where there are more intermediate positions between the markers. Thus positions 6.4 and 6.2 might both be indicated as 6 1/2 (see comment under Baji You), 5.9 and 6.2 might both be indicated simply as 6 (see, for example, my Mozi Bei Ge transcription, measure 77), while 4.4 and 4.6 are both indicated as 4 1/2 (same transcription, measure 96). Since the music seems to have a similar modality to that in other handbooks of that time, this is generally not a major problem.

  2. Several techniques commonly used here are not explained clearly. These include:

    略上 Lue shang: it seems to indicate sliding up after playing an indicated stroke (in my Mozi Bei Ge transcription I shorten it to 田上).

    分開 Fenkai: traditionally this means to pluck a string twice with the left hand at the same marker, but adding a slide up in between. The two plucks are usually written together, with fenkai after, but fenkai might also be written between the plucks. Here the second pluck is often at a lower position, and sometimes it is not even written. Since some handbooks around that time suggest that fenkai is actually like zhuang (撞 written "立" one pluck with a slide up and down), this makes the intention of the tablature unclear. This seems to happen especially when fenkai is followed by a zhuang. (The first such instance in my Mozi Bei Ge transcription can be seen in measure 29.)

    Du: elsewhere this is the same as 歷 li, a right hand indication of a finger going over several strings; but at the beginning of the Mozi tablature (QQJC VII/183) there is a statement that du is like a fast 撞 zhuang (see above). However, zhuang is itself said to be fast (see 立 in QQJC VII/59), and some zhuang within the tablature are said to be "fast zhuang". How are these to be distinguished? (First occurrence in my transcription of Mozi is m. 73.)

    急歷猱 Ji li nao: a fast (ji) run (li), with a vibrato (nao, also called rou) written at the side. See Mozi transcription measures 178, 182, 185 and 210: a vibrato would not seem actually fit with a fast li; at best I put in a very short one.

  3. The expression 急 ji ("quickly") is used inconsistently. For left hand ornaments the upper half (without 心) is used; atop right hand stroke indications a shorter form is used, consisting of only the top two strokes. (The first such instance in Mozi Bei Ge can be seen in measure 2 of my transcription.) However, in some instances this figure is combined with an ornament that suggests that the note cannot be played quickly (e.g., Mozi transcription, m.47). In addition, these two strokes always appear at the top of 掩 yan (having put the left hand ring finger at an indicated position, press down the left thumb at the indicated higher position), while the music idiom suggests that this should not always be done with at the same speed. As a result in my interpretation I often ignore this. (See, e.g., m.31 of my Mozi transcription: I write only the common shorthand form of this technique, without the indication "quickly". In other cases I keep the ji, but do not necessarily play it that way, assuming this to be a mistake in the tablature.)

  4. The printing of some parts of some of the melodies in QQJC VII is not always clear. Also, some punctuation seems either to have become invisible or been omitted. In Mozi Bei Ge I have usually tried to work out unclear notes or phrasings by comparing it to the most similar other version of this melody, dated 1647.

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


Zhang Yajing: "The Ming dynasty's Yang Lun and his
'Authentically Transmitted Orthodox Qin Handbook'"

Copied from
and converted into standard Chinese characters

張雅晶 Zhang Yajing
北京市社科院台灣研究中心主任 Director of the Center for Taiwan Studies at the Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing
時間:2018-05-02; 來源:2016年06期


楊掄,號桐庵,又號鶴浦,明雲南鶴慶府(今鶴慶等縣)白族人。據《明清進士題名碑錄索引》載,楊掄是萬曆三十四年(1606年)「丙午科」舉人第42 名、萬曆四十一年(1613年)「癸醜科」三甲進士第121名。清人周煌所著《中山傳信錄》卷3《封貢事跡》中記載了楊掄出使琉球時的官職和籍貫,官職是「行人副使」,籍貫是雲南籍上元人。



















筆者沒有見過藏於中國藝術研究院的《真傳正宗琴譜》版本,據相關史料記載其譜中共收錄琴曲60首。其中,正集「太古遺音」30首,續集「伯牙心法」 7首,附錄「伯牙心法」22首,「太古遺音」1首。其中,11首首次刊出的琴曲。其題材有抒情、詠史、贊物、宗教等內容。體例也較為完備,書中含有序、自敘、琴論、琴歌曲譜、跋等;其收錄琴歌題材多樣,曲風豐富,快慢曲兼有。可以說,《真傳正宗琴譜》匯錄諸調,考正音文,注明指法,搜採頗廣。
















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