Li Yun Chun Si 梨雲春思
 T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
QXXS  ToC   Caotang Yin  /  Handbook list     Ci poetry   Qin songs Listen with lyrics to my recording 聽錄音   首頁
04. Pear-White Clouds, Spring Thoughts
Shang Yin (shang mode, standard tuning):2 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
梨雲春思 1
Li Yun Chun Si  
  First page of the original tablature (.pdf of entire piece) 3    
Li Yun Chun Si is a setting for qin of ten ci poems. The overall title suggests a romantic theme: both "pear clouds" (i.e., "pear-white clouds") and "spring thoughts" are terms often used within the context of romance. In addition, most of the individual section titles (i.e., ci titles) have similarly romantic implications, and this is usually also reflected in the actual lyrics.4

As can be seen at right, the musical setting is attributed to Yangzhou's Zhuang Zhenfeng,5 style name Die'an (ca. 1624 - after 1667) and the lyrics are attributed to Hangzhou's Mao Xianshu, style name Zhihuang (1620 - 1688).6 It is not clear to what extent the setting of these ten poems was intended as a unit, as opposed to simply a set of 10 independent settings.7 In any case, they were published with little change in at least four later handbooks through 1884.8

At the same time, though, Li Yun Chun Si has an interesting relationship to the piece called Thatched Cottage Intonation (草堂吟 Caotang Yin),9 published in Japan in four sections. Specifically, the titles and lyrics of the four sections of Caotang Yin are the same as for the first four sections of Li Yun Chun Si, but the music of three of the four is almost completely different. The relationship is probably due to the fact that the compiler of the Japanese handbook, Jiang Xingchou (1639 - 1695), had lived in Hangzhou at the same time as Mao and Zhuang, going to Japan in 1676. Why the lyrics are the same but the melodies of three of them seem unrelated is not at all clear.10

According to Zhuang Zhenfeng's own afterword to Li Yun Chun Si he created this piece (by either revising melodies or creating new ones, it is not clear which) to replace what he considered to be quite unsatisfactory settings; since the time frame suggests that the Japanese setting was published later, presumably that was not the referenced unsatisfactory setting (further comment). On the face of it, this seems to emphasize that although the tradition of ci poetry was supposedly intended to allow multiple sets of lyrics to apply to a single melody, within the surviving guqin repertoire the practice seems quite the opposite: more likely the lyrics will remain but a new melody will be applied to it. However, properly evaluating this observation requires searching for evidence that qin players did sometimes substitute lyrics for a specific melody.11

In any case, because all this seems to attest to a widespread custom at the time of making new settings for either existing lyrics or lyrical patterns, the only way to try to recapture the melodic style of qin songs from that time will thus be to try to become familiar with the style by reconstructing as many of these melodies as one can.12

In this, it will be useful also to search for differences in the ways Zhuang Zhenfeng created (or re-arranged) music for quite a variety of lyrics or texts. These include, as well as the present ci settings, a Buddhist chant (Shitan Zhang), four Tang quatrains (Zao Zhao Yin), and prose commentary (Linhe Xiuxi).

Li Yun Chun Si has a rather lengthy preface written in 康熙乙巳 1665 by 王士祿 Wang Shilu.14 It goes as follows (the original, in grass writing, is here as a .pdf).15


    *(: why is there a mark here meaning "repeat [this character]"?)

"By nature I am lazy, without patience to study all the arts, so as for qin I am capable only of understanding (such basic stroke techniques as) 'hook', 'kick', 'slide up into', 'slide down into', 'towards', 'reverse', 'fast vibrato', 'slow vibrato' - things that ordinary masters are good at and tried to teach but that I did not (learn) very thoroughly. Whenever I read the biography of the (Liu) Song dynasty's
Dai Yong I noticed he not only played qin but also that his "New Sounds from Modified Melodies" had three melodies, You Xian, Guangling and Zhi Xi, that were quite new and distinctive, and I admired this. So then put such a recluse amongst green groves and jade torrents stopping to strum (play) a qin: his chanting out of this world, his method so unique, to such an extent that those who are called qin masters by most afficionados are in my opinion rarely up to this standard!

After I met Die'an on the lake he spoke to me about qin, his words all exceeding my expectations. One night, I accompanied friends on a boating trip to Xiling,16 and moored under the first bridge. As the sparse stars suddenly emerged, with the [..] breeze blowing all around, Die'an set up his small table then, joining with the wind and water, played a melody then played again. At the time, the blue sky was like a canopy, the servants and neighbors were silent, and I recited (Chang Jian's) "As lucid notes sound on all seven strings, / Myriad trees purify their mysterious shade." I felt that Hu Ba and Cheng Lian were not far off. He then took out (tablature for) twelve melodies beginning with Taiping Zou and showed it to me. These are all the tunes that Die'an made based on his original ideas but in accord with ancient methods. In unfettered sentiments and far-reaching resonance, the tunes can truly match those of (the above-mentioned) Master Dai. Among these, I especially loved the one called "Li Yun Chun Si". A Tang poem goes, "In a dream I took pear blossoms for clouds." Thus, "pear-cloud" is an expression for dreaming. The dream world is mysterious, deep, and marvelous; it is changeful and elusive - all these qualities are in accordance with the virtues of qin. He has further arranged them with his spiritual thoughts and created elegant melodies for them. When he directed his fingers across the strings, how could any worldly tune by a common qin-performer match him? This piece Die'an also calls "Cottage Stanzas," for he took various tunes/stanzas from a/the cottage (?) and combined them (with new melodies?). And now, since Die'an has asked me to write a preface to this piece, I have happily written the above.

The closing then says, "In the summer of 1665 (1664?) Wang Shilu wrote this while on a boat in West Lake".

Unfortunately this preface does not clarify the precise nature of the "Cottage Stanzas" (草堂闋 Caotang Que). Did they have music attached, and if so how? Zhuang's afterword, next, includes a comment that suggests he may have had some problem with the relationship between the lyrics and music, but it does then seem to say what he did about this. Did he write new melodies, or was his work more a matter of modifying the melodies? Did these have any connection to the Caotang Yin published later in Japan?

Afterword to Li Yun Chun Si

This afterword is as follows:

Once when I happened to be sitting in a friend's studio I saw written music for this, and so took up a qin and tried to play it. The melody was inappropriate, the fingering awkward(?), not like what someone who understands music would create. (But) I liked the ci lyrics, so I straightaway matched them with new sounds. [The lyrics] have characters pronounced with "guttural sounds", and so one needs to make use of huangzhong (yellow bell) pitch to supply the middle sounds. But because the piece has far-reaching meaning, once I had started playing it I could not bear to stop, and when listening I could not get it out my mind. I then changed the name to "Pear-White Clouds, Spring Thoughts".

Translations tentative, particularly the part about gutturals and a yellow bell pitch ("內有喉音字,須借黃鍾,以補中聲。").

Music and lyrics 17 (timings below follow my tentative recording 聽錄音 [and transcription [五線譜] 18)
The 10+1 sections of Li Yun Chun Si are all in shang mode (details). For each section the music is paired to a separate ci patten following the traditional syllabic pairing method. Suggestions are made concerning the possibility of substituting better known lyrics in these patterns, but the lyrics actually given here are all attributed to Mao Xianshu (compare Caotang Yin; the translation is largely the work of 章琛 Zhang Chen19):

  1. 00.00
    鵲橋仙 Que Qiao Xian (Magpie Bridge Immortals)
    The ci setting of this name in Japan has the same lyrics but different music. There are also earlier settings, the most famous one perhaps being this one by 秦觀 Qin Guan.

    Qīng nuǎn pò hán, dān yún gé yǔ, tíng yuàn shēn shēn yīng yǔ.
    Wisps of warmth break the cold, lagging clouds delay the rain,
          Deep, deep in the courtyard orioles sing.
    Yāo táo zhī bàn chū qiáng tóu, jiàn wú shù fēng kuáng dié wǔ.
    Blooming boughs of peach blossoms half-reach over the wall,
          Beholding countless bees and butterflies dancing wildly.
    Liǔ wài xiù ān, huā qián luó wà, mò shàng xuān tiān xiāo gǔ.
    Beyond the willows: horses with embroidered saddles, beneath the flowers: gauze stockings,
          On the roads, the din of flutes and drums.
    Chūn fēng yǒu yì nǎo rén cháng, wèn hé chù jiāng gāo xiāng pǔ.
    Spring winds purposefully vex the heart;
          I ask where [my beloved] is - on the Yangtze shores or Xiang River banks?

  2. 01.00
    點絳唇 Dian Jiang Chun (A Touch of Red Lips)
    Li Qingzhao wrote several ci poems in this form. And Japanese handbooks have at least two, a Dian Jiang Chun like this, and a Nan Pu Yue.

    Xì yǔ xié fēng, shí'èr gāo lóu yān jǐ cùn.
    Fine rain, a slanting breeze,
    twelve high towers [blocked by] how many inches of mist?
    Sheí xiāng sī rèn, chuán yǔ qīng luán xìn.
    With whom to make acquaintance
          And deliver a
    missive by blue simurgh?
    Juàn yǐ zhū lián, zhǎng bào xīn chūn hèn.
    [She] stands languidly by the pearl curtain,
          Always harboring regrets about spring.
          mèn mèn mèn.
          so so sad!
    Luàn hóng chéng zhèn, yòu shì Qīng Míng jìn.
    Disorderly red petals form an array,
          As again the Clear Luminous Festival approaches.

  3. 01.44
    好事近 Hao Shi Jin (Approaching Bliss)
    in Japan as well as a ci of this name by Fan Chengda, one by Li Qingzhao, and many by other women poets.

    Dú zì bù tái jiē, jīng xùn hǎi táng kāi biàn.
    I walk in solitude on the mossy steps,
          Surprised to find the begonias in full bloom.
    Guài dé dōng huáng yǒu yì, yě dào shēn shēn yuàn.
    I marvel that the God of the East (i.e. of Spring) has the intent
          To also visit my deep, deep abode.
    Xī huā cháng shì wèi huā chóu, xiū dù chūn fēng miàn.
    I cherish the flowers, always worried for them,
          Humbled and jealous of the face of spring wind.
    Bì mén bù guǎn sháo huá, fù yǔ yīng hé yàn.
    Shut the door and stop caring about the season’s splendor –
          Give it up to the orioles and the swallows.

  4. 02.27
    畫堂春 Hua Tang Chun (A Painted Hall in Spring)
    Two ci in this pattern
    by Qin Guan are given here (translated on another site) and here.21

    Jiè wèn dōng fēng lái jǐ shí, jīn táng yàn zǐ shuāng fēi.
    When will the east wind come?
          In the hall ornamented with gold, swallows fly in pairs.
    Fú huā làng ruǐ nòng chūn huī, fēng dié fēi fēi.
    Flower petals, frivolous and free, frolic in spring sunlight;
          Bees and butterflies in flurries.
    Mén xiàng lún tí zá dá, yuán lín hóng zǐ fāng fēi.
    On the gate lane, carriage wheels and hooves leave disorderly imprints;
          In garden and grove, reds and purples fragrantly bloom.
    Hǎi táng zì xī shì huā fēi, zhuó yì pái huái, zhuó yì pái huái.
    And begonias are cherished as flowery consorts –
          I take care to linger. I take care to linger. (The repeat of this last phrase has a different melody.)

  5. 03.20
    少年遊 Shao Nian You (Youthful Travel; in harmonics)
    See the comment in the
    footnote for #4 Hua Tang Chun about the first line. The most famous example of a poem in this cipai seems to be one by Liu Yong. 22

    Zuó yè dōng fēng rù huà píng, yī zhěn bù shèng qíng.
    Last night as the east wind seeped through the painted screen
          I propped myself on a pillow overwhelmed with emotion.
    Chuī xiāo qín shǐ, dēng lóu chǔ kè, huí shǒu yě wú píng.
    Like the xiao flutist from Qin, or the sojourner of Chu who climbed the tower –
          No basis for me to look back.
    Xiǎo lái shù diǎn cuī shī yǔ, bǎi shé liǎng sān shēng.
    Since the morning there have been several drops of poetry-urging rain,
          And two or three cries of the blackbird.
    Mǎn jìng xīn chóu, yī chǎng yōu mèn, dōu fù yǔ fāng zūn.
    A mirror-full of fresh sorrow, one wave of unspoken melancholy –
          Give them all up to the fragrant cup.

  6. 04.09
    風中柳 Feng Zhong Liu (Wind Amidst Willows)
    No references at or XII/592xxx. However, there do seem to be earlier songs called Feng Zhong Liu with phrasing similar to here.

    歎    萬種愁生,三分春半,    看吹綿    滲雨交戰。
    Tàn wàn zhǒng chóu shēng, sān fēn chūn bàn, kàn chuī mián shèn yǔ jiāo zhàn.
    Sigh – all kinds of sorrows arise; of three parts of spring, half is gone.
          Behold the battle of wind-blown catkin and seeping rain.
    記得柳困花羞,鷪慵蝶倦,    滿園韶麗    何曾見。
    Jì dé liǔ kùn huā xiū, yīng yōng dié juàn, mǎn yuán sháo lì hé céng jiàn.
    I remember willows afflicted, flowers abashed, orioles listless, butterflies weary,
          Never did I see the garden full of beautiful blooms.
    朱顏暗改,屈指流光如箭,    幾囘憶舊    空成怨。
    Zhū yán àn gǎi, qū zhǐ liú guāng rú jiàn, jǐ huí yì jiù kōng chéng yuàn.
    It brings changes to my rosy face – time counted on my fingers, dashing like an arrow.
          How many times did remembrance turn into grievance, and in vain?
    Huáng hūn jìn, zhè bān chóu, hé chù xiāo qiǎn; qiáng lì xiàng, lí huā tíng yuàn.
    Twilight approaches; for sorrow like this, where can I go for relief?
          I make an effort to stand in the pear-blossom courtyard.

  7. 05.04
    謁金門 Ye Jin Men (Visiting Golden Gate; in harmonics)
    36573.7 Cipai name;
    Wei Zhuang wrote one in this form

    Dōng fāng xiǎo, huā dǐ shù shēng tí niǎo.
    In the east dawn breaks;
          in the flowers a few notes of a bird’s song.
    Zhǔ gōng shuāng què qíng yún yǎo, qióng lóu rén qǐ zǎo.
    From the waterfront palace's twin gate towers fair clouds are indistinct,
          In the jade mansion she has risen early.
    Luó yī shàng jué hán qiào, yì chén chén, kàn huā lǎo.
    In her gauze robe she still feels a biting chill;
          With a sinking heart she watches the flowers get old.
    Shì wèn Jiāng nán chūn qù liao, hé chù xún fāng cǎo?
    She tentatively asks: after spring’s departure from Jiangnan,
          Where is fragrant grass to be found?

  8. 05.51
    醉花陰 Zui Hua Yin (Drunk in the Blossom's Shade; "slow down")
    poem in this form by Li Qingzhao is 7+5 for the first line.

    攪牕花影鶯聲碎,春風惱人如醉。                 (not 7,5: one extra character)
    Jiǎo chuāng huā yǐng yīng shēng suì, chūn fēng nǎo rén rú zuì
    Shadows of flowers disturb a window as oriole songs come in fragments.
          The spring wind brings on vexation like drunkenness.
    Wú shuì yǐ lán gǎn, shēn guī zhòu xián, yàn ní kōng yù zhuì.
    Unable to sleep, I stand by the railing.
          The deep recess of the boudoir is empty in the day,
          Bits of mud are about to fall from the swallow’s nest.
    楊花無力因風起,閒逐游絲細。                     (in 1664 起 was written 走尺)
    Yáng huā wú lì yīn fēng qǐ, xián zhú yóu sī xì.
    Willow catkins with no strength of their own are blown upwards by the wind –
          Idly chasing the fine gossamers.
    Cǐ jì mù yān píng, lì jǐn xié yáng, zhū hù chóng chóng bì.
    Here and now, as evening mists settle
          I stand out at sunset,
          The crimson gates form multiple barricades.

  9. 06.41
    一剪梅 Yi Jian Mei (A Sprig of Plum Blossoms)
    Li Qingzhao also wrote one in this form

    Wén dào chūn lái chūn yòu guī, hóng mǎn huā zhī, lǜ mǎn huā zhī.
    I heard that spring came and went away again.
          Red covered the flower branches.
          Green covers the flower branches.
    Zhà qíng zhà yǔ tà qīng shí, qíng yě chóu méi, yǔ yě chóu méi.
    One moment the weather is fair, the next moment it rains – it is the “walk on green” season.
          Fair weather brings sorrow to my brows.
          Rain also brings sorrow to my brows.
    Lán qiáo yǒu lù zǔ jiā qí, xīn zài tiān yá, mèng zài tiān yá.
    The path to the Blue Bridge, the place of our tryst, is blocked.
          The heart is on the sky’s edge.
          The dream is on the sky’s edge.
    Lèi líng huā piàn shī chūn yī, pà tīng juān tí, mò tīng juān tí.
    Tears douse the flowers and wet my spring clothes.
          Afraid of hearing the cuckoo’s song.
          Do not listen to the cuckoo’s song!

  10. 07.37
    千秋歲 Qian Qiu Sui (A Thousand Autumns)
    Section 10 plus the coda has a pattern comparable to that of the two sections of
    this poem by 張先 Zhang Xian and this one by 黃庭堅 Huang Tingjian

    Xié yáng xiàng mò, dù yǔ shēng shēng qiè.
    In the setting sun, along the lane
          cuckoos call out intensely.
    柳絮風,梨花雪。                        (Huang Tingjian same; Zhang Xian has 7 characters)
    Liǔ xù fēng, lí huā xuě.
    Willow-catkins in the wind.
          pear-blossoms snow.
    Zhǐ dào chūn wèi zhǔ, sheí zhī chūn wèi kè.
    One took spring as the host.
          Who knew it was only a guest?
    Wàng bù jiàn, yún shān dié chù qiān céng bì.
    I gaze far but cannot see –
          where mountains and clouds merge, a thousand layers of green

    尾聲 Weisheng (Coda, in harmonics)
    This pattern could simply be a near-repeat of Section 10 but the overall pattern makes it seems more likely that the two together were intended to make a complete Qian Qiu Sui.

    慵把彩毫攜,莫把金樽歇。         (Others also begin part 2 with 5+5 3+3 5+5)
    Yōng bǎ cǎi háo xié, mò bǎ jīn zūn xiē.
    Too weary to take up a colorful brush,
          do not put down the golden cup!
    Mèn yān yān, chóu mài mài.
    My spirit weak and weary.
          Sorrow throbbing, throbbing.
    Yǒu lèi shī qīng shān, wú jù tí hóng yè.
    I have tears to wet my blue robe,
          but no poems on red autumn leaves.
    知心  惟有夜半穿窓月。               (知心也? 知心者? All the old ci patterns seem to have 3+7 here.)
    Zhī xīn wéi yǒu yè bàn chuān chuāng yuè.
    As for knowing what is in my heart,
          it is only the midnight moon that comes through the window.
    08.56 (曲終 end)

These 10 poems from Qinxue Xinsheng were translated by 章琛 Zhang Chen in 2018.

Footnotes (Shorthand/I references are explained on a separate page)

1. Pear-White Clouds, Spring Thoughts (梨雲春思 Li Yun Chun Si) (XII/78)
Attributions for the present song setting are given at the beginning of the entire melody (see image above, discussed further below). The 10 sections are numbered and further identified by the ci form they use, as follows:

  1. 鵲橋仙 Que Qiao Xian (Magpie Bridge Immortals)
  2. 點絳唇 Dian Jiang Chun (A Touch of Red Lips)
  3. 好事近 Hao Shi Jin (Approaching Bliss)
  4. 畫堂春 Hua Tang Chun (A Painted Hall in Spring)
  5. 少年遊 Shao Nian You (Youthful Travel)
  6. 風中柳 Feng Zhong Liu (Wind Amidst Willows)
  7. 謁金門 Ye Jin Men (Visiting Golden Gate)
  8. 醉花陰 Zui Hua Yin (Drunk in the Blossom's Shade)
  9. 一剪梅 Yi Jian Mei (A Sprig of Plum Blossoms)
  10. 千秋歲 Qian Qiu Sui (A Thousand Autumns) (extends to coda)

15403.23 has only 梨雲: "clouds that are white like pears"; quotes suggest a connection to spring and romance. "Chun Si", the name of an unrelated melody, is also a term suggestive of romance.

There seems to be an unrelated melody in the pipa repertoire called Li Yun Chun Si. The only explanation I have seen suggests that the original name is Chun Si and that perhaps Li Yun was a woman's name.

(Another apparently unrelated reference mentioning 梨雲 Li Yun is 杏雨梨雲

2. Shang mode (商音 Shang Yin)
There is further discussion of the modal characteristics of qin melodies during the Ming dynasty under Modality in early Ming qin tablature, with further specifics on shang mode melodies under Shenpin Shang Yi. During the Qing dynasty perceptions of mode apparently changed, as can be seen by the changing mode names in later occurrences of this piece.

Here, as with some other late Ming dynasty melodies, the note fa appears on a number of occasions (clearly heard on the present recording). Otherwise, as with other Ming dynasty melodies in shang mode, throughout the whole piece the open first string is treated as do (1; transcribed as "C"), which is also the main tonal center (all sections also end on do). As with these other melodies the secondary tonal centers are sol (5) and re (2; shang), but shang seems somewhat less prominent and there are no flatted 3s.

3. Image: Opening page of Li Yun Chun Si (compare .pdf of Caotang Yin from QQJC XII/216)
Copied from QQJC XII/78. Just under the title "Li Yun Chun Si" it says, "商音十段 shang mode, 10 sections". The next two lines to the left of that say,


The first line says, "The sounds were harmonized by Maestro Zhuang Zhenfeng, (style name) Die'an, of Sanshan (Yangzhou)"; the second says, "The ci lyrics were adapted by Master Mao Xianshu, (style name) Zhihuang of Qiantang (Hangzhou)". An afterword gives more details, suggesting Zhuang perhaps originally heard the melodies from a friend and arranged them for qin.

On the fourth line from the right it says, "Section 1, Magpie Bridge Immortals". Then after this the lines alternate between the song lyrics and the paired qin tablature.

4. Romantic themes
Rules such as those laid out here suggest the qin should only be used for moral self-cultivation or high-minded bonding with others having similar airms. However, as can be seen from this program, there not only have been many qin songs with romantic themes, their use for seduction (albeit elegant and high-minded, not vulgar and licentious) is a significant motif in popular media.

Still, I personally am wondering how some of these songs might have sounded if sung by one of the Eight Sirens of Nanjing (金陵八艷 Jinling Ba Yan aka 秦淮八豔 Qinhuai Ba Yan).

5. 莊臻鳳諧音 Musical setting by Zhuang Zhenfeng
All the commentary I have seen seems to assume that Zhuang Zhenfeng (ca. 1624 - after 1667) "created" or "composed" the music, but the Chinese term "諧音 xie yin" could mean simply that he arranged a pre-existing melody. In the afterword Zhuang himself says he rejected an earlier melody and "諧新聲 arranged new sounds". This, plus the fact that he apparently created other melodies in the book, suggest the melody really was his own, though even this is not completely conclusive. See, for example, Section 2 of Caotang Yin: the three other sections of this piece (which has the same lyrics) seem to have a completely different melody but that of Section 2 is clearly related (further comment).

6. Mao Xianshu (1620—1688;
錢塘毛先舒(字)稚黃 From Hangzhou, style name Zhihuang, he was one of the 西陵十子 Ten (poetry) masters of Xiling who flourished in Hangzhou at the beginning of the Qing dynasty. (西陵 is the same as 西泠; the ten were 陸圻、柴紹炳、沈謙、陳廷會、毛先舒、孫治、張綱孫、丁澎、虞黃昊、吳百朋). Zhuang's biographical entry refers to a comment Mao made about Zhuang. As for Mao's work on the present text, at the front of the piece it says he "較詞 jiao ci", literally, "revised the lyrics". Although this may mean he merely adapted very similar lyrics, it seems more likely that "revised" means he created new lyrics to replace earlier ci lyrics in the same pattern.

7. A suite or 10 separate melodies?
All melodies are in the same mode, and some musical phrases are repeated (for example, the melody of the last line of Section 4 is almost the same as that of the first line of Section 5). However, based on my preliminary transcription, there is not a sufficient number of such musical phrases and motifs to prove that the collection of songs was intended as a unified whole.

8. Tracing Li Yun Chun Si
Zha Guide 33/255/491 lists Li Yun Chun Si in five handbooks, omitting the 草堂吟 Caotang Yin published in Japan. In some places the 1664 edition is not very clearly printed. However, the four 19th century publications are seem to be based on the original 1664 tablature, rather than someone else's playing/interpretation of the melody, and these are clear enough that in almost every case they can be used to determine what was intended by the original.

The five handbooks are:

  1. Qinxue Xinsheng (1664; XII/78; .pdf)
    "商音 Shang yin". Zha Guide, based on the original preface (原註), says 又名草堂闋 also called Caotang Que
  2. Yiluxuan Qinpu (ca. 1802; XIX/230; .pdf)
    "商音 shang yin; from 1676"; same section titles and melody, but no lyrics; no commentary
  3. Erxiang Qinpu (1833; XXIII/151; this handbook also has Wuye Wu Qiufeng; see also Zhang Ziqian)
    "宮音 Gong yin" and some pu clarified by using decimals, but melody, section titles and lyrics seem same; adds a lengthy Afterword
  4. Tianwenge Qinpu (1876; XXV/369)
    "徴音 Zhi yin", but section titles, melody and lyrics seem to be same; no commentary except that source is given as 梅華庵 1833
  5. Shuangqin Shuwu Qinpu Jicheng (1884; XXVII/345; .pdf)
    "黃鍾均,商音 Huangzhong jun, shang yin". Same section titles, melody and lyrics but called simply "梨雲 Li Yun" and has a brief further comment.

As for Thatched Cottage Intonation (草堂吟 Caotang Yin), said to be in 羽音 yu mode but still using the first string as gong, note that the words Caotang Que (草堂闋 31629.173xxx; Thatched Cottage Stanzas) are mentioned in the preface to the Li Yun Chun Si in Qinxue Xinsheng (see XII/77, first line on bottom). It is presumably for this reason that Zha Guide p.33 says Qinxue Xinsheng listed Caotang Que as an alternate title. However, it is not clear why the setting published in Japan of the lyrics of the first four sections here, which have mostly different music, is called Caotang Yin.

From modern times there is also available a transcription by 張子謙 Zhang Ziqian of at least half of the virtually identical Li Yun Chun Si from 1833. Zhang's original seems to have been an unpublished manuscript, but it can be found online on several websites such as here. The transcription is into jianzipu (number notation) and it includes the original tablature and lyrics. A few short phrases without tablature or lyrics were added at the beginning of each section. In addition, the manuscript/online version, which seems to be the only one available, is incomplete, consisting only of sections 1, 2, 7, 8, 10 and the coda (pp.43-46), then commentary (pp.68-69). I do not know of any recordings.

9. Thatched Cottagel Intonation (草堂吟 Caotang Yin
See next footnote.

10. Comparing Caotang Yin and Li Yun Chun Si (pdf of first sections)
Although the lyrics of the four sections of Caotang Yin are the same as those of the first four of the ten sections in Li Yun Chun Si the music seems to be almost completely different except for in Section 2 (點絳唇 Dian Jiang Chun in both), where for the first two thirds they seem almost the same (Caotang Yin mainly adding some ornaments) but then in the last third become almost completely different again. The significance of these similarities and differences is not clear.

The melodies for the first section of each version are combined into a comparative transcription in this pdf, which has the 1664 Li Yun Chun Si on the upper line and the 1676 Caotang Yin underneath it. Based my own examination of this section although the music is different, as are the musical contours, both can largely be sung to the same rhythm. I haven't examined any of the sections in Caotang Yin closely enough to know how their differences might be significant (e.g., to the mode). By the time Jiang Xingchou went to Japan (1676) Qinxue Xinsheng had already been published. This suggests that Jiang's version was not the one rejected by Zhuang Zhenfeng. From my observation Section 1 of Caotang Yin is quite playable. Perhaps a careful reconstruction of the two could shed further light on the significance of the differences.

11. Substituting lyrics
A systematic search for such a practice is beyond my current capabilities. At present the closest evidence for this is given with the 1573 melody Shi Yin, structured (7+7) x 4; see in particular this footnote. It may or may not be signficant that Zhuang Zhenfeng used different melodies for each of his settings of the quatrains in Zao Zhao Yin.

12. Recovering the song tradition
Another important aspect is vocal technique/style, regarding which see further.

13. Introduction
In addition to the preface and afterword here, there are some interesting additional comments (or changes) in these other handbooks:

None of these says anything about whether Li Yun Chun Si should be considered an integrated piece or a suite of separate ci lyric settings: a sort of song cycle.

14. Wang Shilu 王士祿 (1626-1673)
21297.64 王士祿字子底,山東新城人. He was a poet, as were his brothers 王士祜 and 王士禎 (q.v.): together they were known as the "三王 Three Wangs".

15. Original preface
Reading this is complicated by a number of characters which seem either incorrect or highly idiosyncractic. Thanks to 孫小青 Sun Xiaoqing, 姚瑩 Yao Ying, 劉成漢 Lau Shing-Hon and 章琛 Zhang Chen for their help in deciphering it.

16. Xiling: 西陵
Here 西陵 is the same as 西泠: an old name for Hangzhou (see comment above about the 10 Poets of Xiling).

17. Music and Lyrics
Many of the handbook's finger technique explanations (XII/50-3) are ones I haven't seen actually used before. Some of these included here in Li Yun Chun Si are:

There is further comment on finger technique explanations here. In general, such finger techique explanations are often imprecise; often they also seem just to copy ones from earlier handbooks, without regard for whether they are used in the accompanying handbook or not (i.e., their usage might have changed). I haven't gone through this handbook carefully enough to know whether this is the case here.

18. Tentative recording
The recording is tentative because the lyrics are not yet translated. It is also likely that a singer would make considerable changes in the rhythms. It should be noted, however, that Zhuang Zhenfeng did not specify that the lyrics be sung, and it is possible that his intention was more that people who played and listened should read or have read the lyrics, and in this way elevate their appreciation.

19. Translation of Li Yun Chun Si lyrics
Special terms included in the text include:

There are more; Cao Tang Yin has notes that would be the same for the first four sections here.

20. 鵲橋仙 Que Qiao Xian (Magpie Bridge Immortals)
Qing Ping Yue also concerns Magpie Bridge, but the form is unrelated.

21. 畫堂春 Hua Tang Chun (A Painted Hall in Spring)
Ci in this pattern, such as the two by Qin Guan with no musical setting, do not indicate a repeat of the last phrase, as here. There are in fact at least two other available melodic settings of these lyrics. Regarding these, note that the song of this name from 1687 does not repeat the last phrase or indicate any repetition in the melody. Meanwhile, the Hua Tang Chun in Japan (#4 of its Caotang Yin) has the same lyrics and also repeats the last phrase, but it then adds as a coda (this being its last section) the first line of what is here Section 5, "昨夜東風入畫屏,欹枕不勝情。"

22. 少年遊 Shao Nian You (Youthful Travel
The poem in this pattern by Liu Yong begins, "長安古道馬遲遲,高柳亂蟬嘶...." Currently it is included and translated onthis site.

23. 風中柳 Feng Zhong Liu (Wind Amidst Willows)
Online examples of poems in a pattern called Feng Zhong Liu all differ from the one here, though the connection can easily be seen if the above Chinese text is arranged as follows:

歎    萬種愁生,三分春半,    看吹綿    滲雨交戰。
記得柳困花羞,鷪慵蝶倦,    滿園韶麗    何曾見。
朱顏暗改,屈指流光如箭,    幾囘憶舊    空成怨。

Perhaps the most significant example in a similar pattern is the following, attributed to a 孫夫人 Lady Sun (not the wife of Liu Bei but a lady of the Song dynasty also named 鄭文妻 Zheng Wenqi [or wife of Zheng Wen]; she is also associated with "草堂詞 Caotang Ci"). Her lyrics here are:

別離情緒,等歸來都告。    怕傷郎、又還休道。
蟾枝高折,願從今須早。    莫辜負、鳳幃人老。

Lady Sun's pattern is 66 字 divided as 33 x 2:
      (4,6. 3,4. 4,5. 3,4.) x 2 .
In contrast, the pattern with the 1664 song setting is 67 字 divided 33 + 34:
      5,4,  7 (3+4?).   6,4,     7 (4+3?)
      4,6,  7 (4+3?).  3,3,4.   3,4.  

Clearly there is a relationship, but the differences are significant, the major ones being the arrangement and number of characters in the first half of each line, plus the fact that the last 7 characters of each line in 1664 do not always seem naturally to divide as 3+4. The significance of this is puzzling.

Other possibly related cipai titles are 風中柳令 Feng Zhong Liu Ling ( and 謝池春 Xie Chi Chun, but none of these seems to fit the present pattern either.

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