Sizhaitang Qinpu
 T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
Handbook List     Women and the Guqin   complete pdf 首頁
Sizhaitang Qinpu
Qin Handbook of the Hall for Contemplating the Virtuous 1
Madame Zhong's Lament 2            
This handbook, compiled by Madame Zhong, a concubine of Prince Zhao of Chong,3 is the only qin handbook indexed in Zha Fuxi's Guide that is attributed to a woman.4 In the preface at the front of the handbook Madame Zhong says she printed this handbook mainly in order to transmit her own composition, which is included in an appendix.5 Her melody is called Heartfelt Words on Going Through Bitterness (Li Ku Zhong Yan), in 22 sections, all with lyrics throughout.6 The lyrics concern her remaining a chaste widow.

It has been said that the 12 melodies that precede her composition were selected as being good ones for developing the technique she needed to play her own composition. However, whereas her melody uses huangzhong tuning (1 3 5 6 1 2 3), the others all use standard tuning. In addition, hers is the only melody that includes lyrics (details).

The other 12 pieces, which comprise the main section of the handbook (see the Table of Contents) can be grouped as follows:

The sources of the five melodies that do not appear in earlier handbooks are unclear; none, it seems, has ever been attributed to Madame Zhong herself.

Of these thirteen pieces the only one I have reconstructed and recorded so far is:

After these melodies there is an afterword by "Ceremonial Companion" Liu Dongju.7 However, there is no specific commentary with any of the individual melodies.

The appendix then begins with with a preface by Shen Yingwen.8 After this is Madame Zhong's own composition, mentioned above. Then the handbook ends with an afterword by Li Ledun9 of Wuxing (Zhejiang, north of Hangzhou?).

The handbook is well printed, and seems to have few errors in tablature.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 思齊堂琴譜 Sizhaitang Qinpu (QQJC IX/1-97)
Online sources sometimes give the pronunciation as Siqitang Qinpu. Meanwhile 49553 齊 gives chai, ci and ji as pronunciations along with qi and zhai. The correct pronunciation for the handbook title must be related to what it is trying to express.

10734.192 思齊 (which does not mention the pronunciation) first has "見賢者之善行而思與之齊一也 to see the virtuous deeds of the ancient worthies and to think about being the same as them"; it gives as its source 論語里仁, a chapter in Lun Yu (CTP). Here "emulate the virtuous" is a paraphrase for "thinking of the virtuous with a mind toward being the same as them". The entry next points to its use as the title of 詩經 Shi Jing poem #240, 思齊, suggesting the meaning or result is "holy" (聖 sheng). In contrast, 7/444 does give some information regarding the pronunciation of the "齊" in "思齊". It specifies the pronunciation "si qi" when quoting Lun Yu, but si zhai when referring to Shi Jing #240; in the Shi Jing poem the expression is applied to the mother of 文王 Wen Wang, with commentary defining it as "dignity" or "respect" ("莊 zhuang").

Compare 思齊 to 10734.246 思齋 (also) "Sizhai": only a nickname for various people, none relevant).

2. Image: Madame Zhong's Lament
The opening page of a song she is said to have written, called Heartfelt Words on Going Through Bitterness (歷苦衷言 Li Ku Zhong Yan; 22 verses)

3. 崇昭王妃 Madame Zhong, a concubine of Prince Zhao of Chong
The preface in Qinqu Jicheng Vol. 9 makes no effort to identify either her, the prince or the location, and the only personal information I have found about her other than that she was a widow of Prince Zhao of Chong is that her family name was 鍾 Zhong and she came from 董村 Dong Village ( Based on the information in the next paragraph about the prince, she likely lived in Runing, Henan. She is not in the female players section of Qinshi Xu.

Regarding Prince Zhao of Chong (崇昭王; Bio/xxx), Chinese Wiki identifies him as 朱常__ Zhu Chang__ (; the last character is 氵+ 水 over 聿), saying he died in 1602; 崇王 Chong Prince was apparently the same as 崇簡王 Chong Jian Prince: 14779.211 崇簡王 says the first one, 朱見澤 Zhu Jianze, sixth son of the Yingzong emperor, became 藩汝寧 Protector of Runing [the one in Henan east of 駐馬店 Zhumadian?]) and says he was 五代崇王崇端王朱翊𨰜的庶第二子 the second son of Zhu Yijue (died 1610), who was in the fifth generation of Princes of Chong. Zhao, presumably a cousin in the same generation as .515 朱常淓 Zhu Changfang, was originally enfeoffed in 1581 as 南陽王 Prince of Nanyang but in 1586 because his elder brother had no sons he was made 崇世子 crown prince of Chong. He died in 1602.

4. Qin handbooks attributed to women
Although Sizhaitang Qinpu is the only handbook in Zha's Guide attributed to a women, the later edition of Qinqu Jicheng includes at least one more, Meihuaxianguan Qinpu.

5. Preface by Madame Zhong
The title seems to be 題重鐫琴譜引 Drawing on the theme of re-engraving this qin handbook.

6. Heartfelt Words on Going Through Bitterness (歷苦衷言 Li Ku Zhong Yan)
According to the Zha Guide entry, this qin song by 崇昭王妃鍾氏 Ms. Zhong, a concubine of Prince Zhao of Chong (, survives only in her own handbook (1620; see QQJC IX/73). The autobiographical lyrics include a vow to be a chaste widow. The tuning/mode is 黃鐘調 huangzhong diao (1 3 5 6 1 2 3 ). It is probably not coincidental that this mode has also been used for other songs by women lamenting their fate, most famously Hujia Shibapai.

The melody has 22 verses. The lyrics of first verse are as follows:


Lyrics not yet translated.

7. "Ceremonial Companion" Liu Dongju
儀賓劉東聚 (Bio/xxx)

8. 沈應聞 Shen Yingwen

9. Afterword by Le Ledun
南京尚寶寺卿吳興李樂頓首謹跋 ; Li Ledun (Bio/xxx; ;"李東 Li Dong"?; Bio/xxx.

Table of Contents for Sizhaitang Qinpu

  1. 洞天春曉 Dongtian Chunxiao (18 sections; from 1602; IX/19)
  2. 圯橋進履 Yi Qiao Jin Lü (7; from 1525; IX/29)
  3. 鷗鷺忘機 Oulu Wang Ji (3; earliest surviving example of the modern version; IX/31)
  4. 秋思         Qiu Si (8; earliest of 3; IX/33)
  5. 秋月昭茅亭 Qiu Yue Zhao Maoting (12T; only here - unrelated to 1425; IX/36)
  6. 靜樂吟 Jing Yue Yin (1; only here; IX/42
  7. 蒼梧怨 Cangwu Yuan (15; from 1525; IX/43)
  8. 碧玉吟 Biyu Yin (5; jue mode; only here - unrelated to Biyu Yi; IX/48)
  9. 漁歌     Yu Ge (18; from 1525; IX/51)
  10. 渭濱吟 Weibin Yin (14; from 1539; IX/59)
  11. 漢宮秋 Han Gong Qiu (14; from 1589; IX/60)
  12. 水龍吟 Shui Long Yin (4; from 1589; IX/66)

    跋 Afterword (IX/67)

  13. 歷苦衷言 Li Ku Zhong Yan (22; only here; IX/73)
    Madame Zhong's own composition, with preface (further details)

    Afterwords (IX/94-97)
    Mostly comments about the royal concubine?

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