Tanpo Huan Xi Shan
 T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
SFGQP ToC   Qin Ci  /  Qin songs 聽錄音 listen with lyrics / 網站目錄
Extended Washing at Creekside 1
Qin settings for the ci pattern of this name 2
Tanpo Huan Xi Sha  
Edited 1682 setting of Tanpo Huan Xi Sha for qin 3        
Most of the songs in this handbook, Shuhuai Cao (1682),4 follow and are named after old poetic rhythms called cipai (other examples). The image at right shows the way the handbook generally lays out these songs: rather than pairing the lyrics and music, the lyrics are given first, then the tablature for the musical setting. Usually there is only brief commentary. Thus on the page shown at right, there is first the title of the piece, Nan Tian Yun.5 Under the title it says that the lyrics were added by Ge Zhongshu;6 then on the next line it gives the name of the ci pattern, Tanpo Huan Xi Sha, and the name of the tuning/mode, wumei. After the lyrics (in small print there is again the title of the handbook and the ci pattern) is a line saying the music/tablature was determined by Cheng Xiong of Yan Shan.7 The next line has in large print "wumei", as though it is the title for the music/tablature. Then underneath that it repeats the name of the ci pattern then tells how to achieve wumei tuning: tigthen the second and sixth strings. (The red marks added to the copy concern the tuning, which is discussed further below).

Although the commentary with the tablature says Cheng Xiong "paired the lyrics with tablature", this does not necessarily mean he created the music himself. Also, the structure of the melody allows it to be used for any any lyrics in the ci pattern Tanpo Huan Xi Sha.

Several other well-known examples of lyrics in the pattern Tanpo Huan Xi Sha are given here in footnotes, with translations: first two poems by Li Qingzhao,8 then two by the Southern Tang poet (and emperor) Li Jing.9

There is no specific evidence for either the lyrics by Li Qingzhao or those by Li Jing having ever in the past been used with the present melody, so the reason they are given here is to help explore how a melody applied to one set of lyrics can also be used with other lyrics, in this case ones that are much better known. And although the 1682 melody can indeed be sung with any of the poems in this form, here they might also be used to further consider whether any or all of the poems might also be recited to the music: there is no contemporary commentary giving details about how these lyrics might have been presented.

The setting for the present lyrics, as well as for the lyrics by Li Qingzhao and Li Jin, is done one note per character except for the two extra notes from the two slides in the first line of each poem. It reciting the seven character phrases, one can give each syllable almost equal duration (pause one beat at the end of each line so the 7 syllables become 8 beats per line) rather than trying to use the note values given for the qin setting. It also seems natural to read the three character phrases within the 8 beat structure by using appropriate pauses.

Preface (XII/358)
None, only the brief comments translated
above. See also the further comment regarding the tuning.

Melody for the 1682 Tanpo Huan Xi Sha
In this recording the melody is played twice; a natural presentation would be first to listen to the melody, then to sing the lyricson the repeat. To follow the lyrics while listening, open the music file in a separate window while reading or singing the lyrics, or follow it while looking at the
enlarged jpg of the original 1682 tablature. This recording and tablature can of course also be used to follow (or sing) any other lyrics in this pattern. Several examples are given below, with translation, and further discussed here.

南田惲 Nan Tian Yun (see transcription; timings follow my recording 聽我的錄音; instrumental only)

    00.00 Added prelude, made from the final three notes, in harmonics

  1. 00.08 Play the first half of the melody
    If desired, sing the first two lines

    00.36 Play the second half of the melody
    If desired, sing the second two lines

  2. 01.06 Repeat the first half of the melody while singing the lyrics of the first two lines
    Xì xì dōng fēng fú liǔ sī, yī yī lián wài yuè hén dī.
    A languid east wind caresses the slender willow branches.
                Beyond the delicate curtains the moon's silhouette traces low.

    Xiān lǐ yáo qín shēn yè jìng, zhuàn yān wēi.
    Idly patterning (music from my) jade qin deep into the evening's stillness,
                I inscribe it into the fine haze.

    01.36 Repeat the second half of the melody while singing the lyrics of the final two lines
    Qíng zài shù shēng jiāng duàn chù, chén fēi yī qū wèi zhōng shí.
    Sentiments remain present as these few notes are about to stop,
                but the worldly dust flies away even before the melody reaches its end.

    Shuí shì zhīyīn shuí jiě tīng, yǒu huā zhī.
    Those who know music are the one's listening knowledgeably,
                and there they are: the flower branches.

    02.11 End

    Thanks to 姚瑩 Yao Ying for help with the translation.

Compare the earliers lyrics below.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
separate page)

1. References for Extended Washing at Creekside (攤破浣溪沙 Tanpo Huan Xi Sha)
13333.xxx. Also translated as New Form of Washing at Creekside. "Extended", of course, means "extended version", referring to the three extra words. According to the Zha Guide 36/---519 a melody of this title appears only here.

2. Ci form "Extended Washing at Creekside"
Comparing the 平仄 pingze structure of this "Extended" form suggests it gets its name from the three extra syllables at the end of each of the two lines:

    The basic Huan Xi Sha ([7+7+7] x 2) has several pingze forms; one is: By comparison, the extended Huan Xi Sha has the overall form (7+7+7+3) x 2. Chinese Wiki gives its pingze structure as follows:

Perhaps it is relevant here to ask, considering the Chinese fondness for couplets, how a musical setting might have been affected if the lyrics were considered as (7+7) x 3 rather than as (7+7+7) x 2. Here, however, my question along these lines is rather different: singing lyrics that are (7+7+7), might there ever be an inclination to consider this as (7+7) + 7 and give the third 7 the same length (or number of beats) as the (7+7), thus turning (7+7+7) into a musical couplet? Musically the third phrase might then be treated not as 7 but as 4+3, and a melody could be created in which the 4 has the same number of beats as the first 7, and the 3 has the same number of musical beats as the second 7? If this were done with Huan Xi Sha, then it could be sung to the present melody (as I have interpreted it) for "Extended Huan Xi Sha". One might then even see some logical connection between the original Huan Xi Sha and its extended form. And if it were played and/or sung freely, this structure could give it a sense of unity without it being obvious how that was done.

To experiment with the possibility of considering the phrasing of Huan Xi Sha lyrics as having four lines repeated ([7+7+4+3] x 2), with four beats on each line, try to use the above melody for Tan Po Huan Xi Sha (again, 聽 open in a separate window) to sing (or recite) the following poem in the form Huan Xi Sha by Li Qingzhao. The full poem (but with the translation of last two lines of each verse somewhat modified from the version in Complete Poems, p. 21, On Spring) is as follows,

小院閒窗春色深,重簾未卷影沈沈,倚樓無語         理瑤琴。
Xiǎo yuàn jiān chuāng chūn sè shēn, zhòng lián wèi juǎn yǐng chén chén,
yǐ lóu wú yǔ lǐ yáo qín.

I idle at the window In the small garden.
The spring colors are bright.
Inside, the curtains have not been raised
And the room is deep in shadow.
In my high chamber silently
I play my jade zither.

遠岫出山催薄暮,細風吹雨弄輕陰,梨花欲謝         恐難禁。
Yuǎn xiù chū shān cuī bó mù, xì fēng chuī yǔ nòng qīng yīn,
lí huā yù xiè kǒng nán jìn.

Far-off mountain caves spit clouds,
Hastening the coming of dusk.
A light breeze brings puffs of rain
And casts moving shadows on the ground.
The pear blossoms are now fading -
It is not possible to forbid this.

To use the extended melody without the three added characters, the third set of seven characters in each of the two lines in the original can be rendered as follows:

  1. Because the music to the words translated "In my high chamber silently" is all played on one pitch, it is easy to render "zhòng lián wèi juǎn" on four beats (e.g., either assign four characters to the cluster with 換鎖 [which requires 7 strokes, but in many qin settings would not necessarily be assigned seven characters] or change the 7-stroke 換鎖 to a 北鎖, which calls for 4 strokes. For "yǐng chén chén" there are already only three strokes/notes.
  2. The music to the words translated "The pear blossoms are now fading" is all played on four pitches (do re sol do, plus an octave of sol), so with a bit of adjustment to the fingering "xì fēng chuī yǔ" can also be done on four beats in almost as minimal a manner. For "nòng qīng yīn" there are again just three strokes/notes.

Although for me this works musically, by itself this cannot be considered as evidence that in the past anyone ever actually felt such a relationship between the two ci forms.

3. Image: Setting for qin of the song Tanpo Huan Xi Sha (XII/358)
The above tablature set the melody using a tuning called 無媒調 wumei diao, previously described as fixed by loosening the third and sixth strings from standard tuning. Here, however, it is described as fixed by tightening (tuning up) the second and sixth strings from standard tuning; this later is a rare tuning, surviving previously only in a melody published in 1618 called Baitou Yin.

However, with no discernable change to the melody it can also be played using standard tuning (further comment). The necessary changes in fingering have been marked in red. Playing in harmonics the final three notes of each poem setting is the only other change.

4. 抒懷操 Shuhuai Cao (XII/358; 1682)
Most of the poems in this handbook apparently were written in honor of, perhaps praising, Cheng Xiong (see below). Many, if not most, also use a ci form (玉樓春 Yu Lou Chun, 風入松 Feng Ru Song, 高山流水 Gao Shan Liu Shui, 水調歌頭 Shui Diao Ge Tou, 千秋歲引 Qian Qiu Sui Yin, 滿江紅 Man Jiang Hong, etc.). Search this outside link: 讀古詩詞網.

5. 南田惲 Nan Tian Yun
2798.77 identifies Nantian as a place name but no mention of 南田惲 Nan Tian Yun. South Field Consultation? Its lyrics are as follows:

6. 格正叔 Ge Zhengshu
No further information.

7. 燕山程雄 Cheng Xiong of Yan Shan
頴庵 Ying'an was his style name. See further.

8. Tanpo Huan Xisha lyrics by Li Qingzhao
Because in this recording the melody is played twice, both sets of Li Qingzhao lyrics can be sung with it. To follow the lyrics while listening, open the music file in a separate window while reading the lyrics of each Li Qingzhao poem, or follow it while looking at the enlarged jpg of the original 1682 tablature. This recording and tablature can of course also be used to follow (or sing) the original 1682 lyrics, given above.

    (Timings follow my recording 聽我的錄音; instrumental only)

    00.00 Added prelude, made from the final three notes, in harmonics

  1. 00.08 Begin melody
    揉破黃金萬點輕,             剪成碧玉葉層層。
    Róu pò huáng jīn wàn diǎn qīng, jiǎn chéng bì yù yè céng céng.
    Crushed gold, thousands of feather-light dots;
            Layer-cut into jade-green, leaves on leaves.

    風度精神如彥輔,             太鮮明。
    Fēng dù jīng shén rú yàn fǔ,       tài xiān míng.
    Carried off with panache like that of Yan Fu

    梅蕊重重何俗甚,             丁香千結苦粗生。
    Méi ruǐ chóng chóng hé sú shén, dīng xiāng qiān jié kǔ cū shēng.
    Plum petals piled layer upon layer are very vulgar;
                  Lilacs in a thousand clusters are depressingly coarse.

    熏透愁人千里夢,             卻無情。
    Xūn tòu chóu rén qiān lǐ mèng,       què wú qíng.
    Their scent pervades the faraway dream of one who's sad --

  2. 01.06 Repeat melody for these other Li Qingzhao lyrics
    病起蕭蕭兩鬢華,             臥看殘月上窗紗。
    Bìng qǐ xiāo xiāo liǎng bìn huá, wò kàn cán yuè shàng chuāng shā.
    After my sickness / my temples have turned grey.
                I lie and watch the waning moon / Climb up the gauze window screen.

    豆蔻連梢煎熟水,             莫分茶。
    Dòu kòu lián shāo jiān shú shuǐ,             mò fēn chá.
    I boil a drink of cardamom leaf tips
                Instead of tea.

    枕上詩書閒處好,             門前風景雨來佳,
    Zhěn shàng shī shū jiān chù hǎo, mén qián fēng jǐng yǔ lái jiā,
    It is good to rest on my pillows / and write poetry.
                Before the door / Beautiful in wind, shadow and rain,

    終日向人多醞藉,             木犀花。
    Zhōng rì xiàng rén duō yùn jí, mù xī huā.
    All day (they) bend toward me, Delicate and subtle,
                The fragrant cassia blossoms.

    02.11 End

    Translation of first poem: Chang et.al, p.96; 彥輔 Yan Fu is identified as 樂廣 Yue Guang, a 晉 Jin dynasty statesman. .
    Translation of second poem: Rexroth and Chung, p.80 (here the word is order modified in last two lines)

Compare the original 1682 lyrics above.

9. 李璟 Li Jing (916-961; Wiki)
Li Huan was second emperor of the Southern Tang dynasty.
The two 攤破浣溪沙 Tanpo Huan Xi Sha poems by Li Jing are as follows; the former seems to be the better known (translation by Daniel Bryant in Sunflower Splendor, p. 300; Wade-Giles here changed to pinyin):

    (Once again, timings follow my recording 聽我的錄音; instrumental only)

    00.00 Added prelude, made from the final three notes, in harmonics

  1. 00.08 Begin melody
    菡萏香銷翠葉殘,             西風愁起碧波間。
    Hàn dàn xiāng xiāo cuì yè cán, xī fēng chóu qǐ bì bō jiān.
    The lotus flowers' fragrance fades, their blue-black leaves decay;
                The sadness of the west wind rises over the green waves.

    還與容光共憔悴,             不堪看。
    Hái yǔ róng guāng gòng qiáo cuì, bù kān kàn.
    My features too are worried and worn like all these things,
                and I cannot bear to look upon them.

    細雨夢回清漏永,             小樓吹徹玉笙寒。
    Xì yǔ mèng huí qīng lòu yǒng, xiǎo lóu chuī chè yù shēng hán.
    In the fine rain my dreams return from faraway Qisai (a remote outpost);
                Through a low tower blows the cold sound of jade pipes.

    簌簌淚珠多少恨,             倚欄干。
    Sù sù lèi zhū duōshǎo hèn, yǐ lán gàn.
    How manuy teardrops, and what end to my remorse,
                As I lean upon a balustrade?


  2. 01.06 Melody repeated for the second poem
    手卷真珠上玉鈎,             依前春恨鎖重樓。
    Shǒu juàn zhēn zhū shàng yù gōu, yī qián chūn hèn suǒ chóng lóu.
    I myself have rolled the pearl screens up to their jade hooks,
                And as before, spring regret locked in my storied tower.

    風裡落花誰是主,             思悠悠。
    Fēng li luò huā shuí shì zhǔ, sī yōu yōu.
    Who is truly master of the falling blossoms borne by the wind?
                Long and brooding thoughts.

    青鳥不傳雲外信,             丁香空結雨中愁。
    Qīng niǎo bù chuán yún wài xìn, dīng xiāng kōng jié yǔ zhōng chóu.
    Black birds bring me no news from beyond the clouds;
                In vain the wisteria blossoms knot my sorrow in the rain.

    回首綠波三楚暮,             接天流。
    Huí shǒu lǜ bō sān chu mù, jiē tiān liú.
    I look back to the dusk over the green rapids of Chu
                Flowing on to reach the sky.

    02.11 End

    (Bryant footnote: "The legendary goddess Xiwangmu, 'Queen Mother of the West,' was said to have sent messages to a Chinese emperor by way of these birds."

Return to Qin Poetry and Song or to the Guqin ToC.