Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li  
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East Winds Work Together
- Gong mode;2 5 6 1 2 3 5 6
東風齊著力 1
Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li
  Long Life and Good Fortune 3
The subtitle of this song, 除夜 Chu Ye (New Year's Eve), connects it directly the Chinese Lunar New Year - New Year's Eve in particular. In my imagination the lyrics of this song cry out to be sung out loudly at related festivities. Thus on such occasions it might best be sung either a capella (perhaps by everyone present) or accompanied by instruments/an instrument capable of producing a much more robust sound than a qin naturally can (whether or not with silk strings). This might well also be played together with some other appropriate Ming dynasty songs such as Wine Mad (Jiu Kuang) or a song adapted from Engaging with Old Friends (Gu Jiao Xing)4

Playing East Winds Work Together solo on a qin, then, might be something a gentleman would do after returning home from such a party. Perhaps the song would also be sung again, more quietly of course, but now the soft touch of the silk strings and the quietness of the melody would bring a peace that would put mind and spirit into proper balance.5

Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li seems to be the earliest surviving (and perhaps also the only such surviving) traditional guqin melody connected to the New Year.6 According to the Zha Guide it was not copied into any of the other old handbooks (unless in Japan). Although the significance of its actual title is not completely clear ("East Winds Work Together" is a tentative translation), the subtitle 除夜 Chuye (New Year's Eve),7 as well as the lyrics themselves, show that it indeed concerns the Chinese New Year, now commonly called the Spring Festival to distinguish it from the Western New Year.8

As noted at the front of the present tablature, its lyrics are (the ci poem) 除夜 Chu Ye by the Song dynasty poet 胡浩然 Hu Haoran.9 The source of the music is not known: at the end of the tablature there is only the comment "revised by Shin-etsu".

Commentary elsewhere suggests that the subtitle connects Hu Haoran's ci poem to a short Tang dynasty 詩 shi poem by Cao Song.10 That poem is also named Chu Ye,11 also begins with the characters "殘臘" (canla), and also mentions the east wind in the first line. "臘 La" is the name for a 12th month sacrifice to ancestors, and thus canla became an expression referring to the year's end.12 As for Cao's "east wind" (東風 dong feng), it apparently is thought to have inspired Hu's "Eastern Lord" (Dong Jun)13

Another ci poem within the present form was written by the 16th century playwright Gao Lian.14

There are several notable problems with the tablature, most prominent being the one discussed here below.

As for pairing the words and music (see below), the tablature has no divisions, but the standard interpretations of the ci pattern seems to suggest a division into two parts of four lines each. Since by this division the fifth line actually has two rhymes, perhaps the first part of that fifth line should be considered as an intermediary line. This idea is supported by an examination of the lyrics below while listening to the melody. Here the phrase beginning at 00.58 does seem to be an intermediary between the two halves of four lines each (further comment).


Music and lyrics (XII/170) 15 (看五線譜 see transcription; listen to 聽我彈 my solo recording; see 看 combined mp4)
Timings follow 聽我彈、唱 another recording, where I sing the lyrics by Hu Haoran (compare those by Gao Lian).
(See comment on a musical difference between the two recordings.)

Cán là shōu hán, sān yáng chū zhuǎn, yǐ huàn nián huá.
As the worst cold recedes at the end of the twelfth month, .
          And as spring begins everything rolls over, already the year is transforming.
Dōng Jūn lǜ guǎn, yí lǐ dào shān jiā.
Lord of Spring's pipes and flutes
          wind their way into mountain homes,
Chù chù shēng huáng dǐng fèi, huì jiā yàn, zuò liè xiān wá.
Everywhere reed instruments bring glorious tumult.
          there are feasts, and seated arrays of transcendent beauties .
Huā cóng lǐ, jīn lú mǎn ruò, lóng shè yān xié.
In the flower world, golden stoves fill us with heat,
          Wafting ambergris and musk smoke.

Cǐ jǐng zhuǎn kān kuā.
This whole scene is quite remarkable.

Shēn yì zhù, shòu shān fú hǎi zēng jiā.
Profound well-wishing expressed,
          May your
long life and good fortune increase.
Yù gōng mǎn fàn, qiě mò yàn liú xiá.
Jade goblets overflow,
          and no one tires of shimmering streams of wine.
Xìng yǒu yíng chūn shòu jiǔ, yín píng jìn, jǐ duǒ méi huā.
Fortunately one can welcome spring with Long-life Wine,
          And in a silver vase steep a few sprays of plum blossoms.
Xiū cí zuì, yuán lín xiù sè, bǎi cǎo méng yá.
Do not decline drunkenness, in the colorful gardens,
          the myriad herbs are sprouting.

(Translation tentative.16 )

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 東風齊著力 Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li references (QQJC XII/170; TKKP III/24; Zha Guide 34/--/502)
For 東風 14827.317/1 has 爾雅 Er Ya say "谷風也 wind from valleys" but then quotes 李白 Li Bai associating it with spring ("東風扇淑氣,水木榮春暉。...."). .317/2 has "春風也 spring winds", quoting 禮記,月令 (see next) suggesting it refers to winds at the beginning of the year, adding the winds 解凉 resolve what is cool or cold. Modern dictionaries suggest these winds are generally good, so "dong feng" might best rendered as "spring breezes".

As for 齊 qi, it could refer to an ancient region in Shandong but more likely suggests a cooperative effort (or perhaps something nimble). The present interpretation of "齊著力" ( is thus "cooperatively making an effort".

As for Dong feng qi zhuo li, 14827.323 東風齊著力 says,

Name of a cipai about which see The Residue of Poetry from Grass Hut (Caotang Shiyu, ca. 1195). The standard form is from the ci poem New Year's Eve by Hu Haoran. The Yueling Chapter in the Book of Rites (ctext) begins, "孟春之月....東風解凍 In the first month of spring....the east winds resolve the cold." In addition, there is the shi poem Chu Ye by Cao Song of the Tang dynasty. Thus we have Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li.

No further comment yet found elsewhere on this melody, and it is not in Wang Di Xian'ge Yayun.

Further vocabulary items:

For an analysis of the cipai itself see, e.g., in That page ends with the statement that during the Song dynasty, "此調祇有此詞,無別首宋詞可校。 This pattern had only these lyrics, so there are no other Song ci to compare it with." So far later listings begin with the one below by Gao Lian of the Ming dynasty. Others online include ones by 曹溶 Cao Rong also from the Ming and quite a few from the Qing dynasty (see, e.g. on this site).

Hu Haoran's poem was also included in the 全宋詞 Complete Song Dynasty Ci Poems.

2. Gong Mode (compare main transcription to that using 1 2 4 5 6 1 2)
According to my analysis of the guqin melodies published in the Ming dynasty, their musical modes are determined by primary and secondary tonal centers. The common term for mode is 調 diao, but the Japanese guqin handbooks from the end of this period call them "音 yin" and say the present melody is in "宮音 gong mode". Characteristics of gong mode melodies from this period, as outlined under the 1425 Shen Pin Gong Yi, show that their relative tuning is generally considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, with the primary tonal center being 1 (do), i.e., notes equivalent to the open third string. However, a transcription of the present melody suggests something else, in particular that the mode of the second half is rather different from that of the first half. Discussing this requires reference to my transcriptions.

Although my transcriptions use staff notation, they treat the actual music as traditional Chinese notation did (notation for early Western music also apparently did so): as indicating relative pitch. I choose the pitch names (whether do re mi, A B C or 1 2 3) based on how someone singing solfeggio would most naturally do it: avoiding accidentals and focusing on the Chinese standard pentatonic scale of do re mi sol la (1 2 3 5 6; see rationale).

Using the relative tuning 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 (as with my transcription) to play the first half (i.e., the first four sections) of Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li generally reveals an avoidance of do. In fact, most phrases in the first half end on 6 (la), there are five occurences of 7 and one of 4# (3 times in a row). However, if my understanding of the structure is correct, the first half suddenly ends on 5 descending down to 1. If, instead the tuning were to be considered as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2, this would make the first half completely follow the standard pentatonic scale 1 2 3 5 6 except that the passage (m.10) formerly with a row of three F#s would now be a row of three 7s.

Meanwhile, if in the second half the tuning is also considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, the music there largely follows the traditional pentatonic scale of 1 2 3 5 6 (except for a 4# in m.19, and four 7s in mm.31-32). Most phrases end on 5 or 2 (which is a 5th above 5), making 5 the tonal center, but then the closing harmonics are centered on 1 and 5, with the closing note being an inverted 1-5 diad. If, however the tuning of the second half was considered as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 that would make 4 the primary tonal center.

The four 7s in mm.31-32 at first sounded so strange that for my first recording (the one with singing) I changed the finger position 6.4 to 6.2, making them four 1s]). Later, however, I decided that the way the music is written is so interesting that in the second recording above I played the musicc as written.

To sum up, the tonal center of the first half is 6, secondarily 3 (i.e., a "la-mi mode), and the tonal center of the second half is 5, secondarily 2 (i.e., a "sol-re mode), but both halves end on 5 over 1 (as if a do-sol mode.

It is not common but not unknown for a melody suddenly to end on 1 (do) after throughout seeming to have a different tonal center. Unfortunately I cannot say that these details answer the question of whether the person or persons who created the melody were doing this by deliberate design, or whether they simply liked the way it sounded. Of course, one also has to consider the possibility that the person who copied down the melody just got it wrong. If so, that would to me be quite ironic, given the beauty of the result.

3. Image: Long Life and Good Fortune (壽山福海 Shoushan Fuhai)
The calligraphy above was by the Taiwanese artist 張李德和 Zhang Li Dehe (1893-1972; her husband was 嘉義醫士張錦燦 a doctor in Jiayi named Zhang Jincan). She grew up in Taiwan under Japanese rule and died while visiting her eldest son in Japan. There is an account of her in Chapter 6 of Yuko Kikuchi, ed., Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan (DeGruyter). Her calligraphy here was copied from, where the description dates it to 1943 and says it is in the Jiayi Museum:


Regarding the words of the calligraphy, "Long Life and Good Fortune", it is in line 7 of Hu Haoran's poem and literally means "life long as mountains and fortune deep as the seas". 5798.4 壽山福海 identifies it as the title of a poem by 劉基 Liu Ji (Wiki: 劉伯溫; 1311-1375). The complete poem is,



I have not yet located a translation.

4. Engaging with Old Friends (Gu Jiao Xing)
Here there is a discussion comparing the lyrics of this poem with those of the famous old Scottish song Auld Lang Syne, but the melody Gu Jiao Xing only includes the first two lines of a five line poem. For the effect discussed here the whole poem should be matched to a melody derived from the complete Gu Jiao Xing.

5. Raucus to proper balance
In another fantasy I play this music played for some traditional musicians such as members of a rustic wind and percussion (chuida) ensemble, then tell them that is is the way some highfalutin layabout imagined how your music sounded - or should have sounded. Based on what you hear, can you imagine what they might really have heard? Can you show me how it should really sound?

6. Melodies for the New Year
There is some discussion here about programs for the New Year.

7. 除夜 Chu Ye (New Year's Eve; also "除夕" Chu Xi
42606.2 除夕 ("舊俗以陰曆十二月未日之夜未除夕") and 46202.20 除夜 ("卽除夕也") identify both as popular old terms for Lunar New Year's Eve. First references for each are:

The "除 chu" in "除夜 Chu Ye" suggests "getting rid of": evening for getting rid of what happened in the old year?

8. References to spring and the new year
For example, the "Three Yangs" (三陽 San Yang; 10.153), from 三陽初轉 in the first line, refer specifically to the first three months of the new year (compare the phrase 三陽開泰 the great brightness of spring brings great contentment).

9. 胡浩然 Hu Haoran; Bio/xxx; Song dynasty poet apparently known only for a couple of Spring Festival poems) called New Year's Eve (除夕 Chu Ye). Currently some other of his ci poems can be read here.

10. 曹松 Cao Song; Bio/xxx; a Song dynasty poet apparently known only for a couple of Spring Festival shi poems) called New Year's Eve (除夕 Chu Ye). See next footnote.

11. 除夜 Chu Ye, a 詩 poem by 曹松 Cao Song
This Tang dynasty poem also apparently entitled 除夜 Chu Ye (New Year's Eve) but otherwise not actually mentioning, was in the form (5+5) x 4. The poet, Cao Song (828 - 903), was quite well-known: over 100 of his poems survive. The one called Chu Ye is as follows:


Canla (the last day of the year) is about to end,
        the spring wind can be heard arriving (from the east).
There's little time left for tonight,
        but the coming and going years are still arguing for equal share.
Daybreak and darkness still fight to the last.
        The way to spring is filled with fragrant air.
In the early morning I will hold high my glass,
        and respectfully give my first toast to Lord Yao!

Thanks to 劉成漢 Lau Shing Hon for this translation. Two other poems by Cao Song are translated here. Could the lyrics be sung to another melody structured (5+5)x4, such as Bie Gu Cao?

As for toasting Emperor Yao, during the 15th day of the New Year it was common to toast 天官大帝 Tianguan Dadi (the Heaven-controlling Great Emperor, a common appellation for 帝堯 Emperor Yao) as this was said to be his birthday. It has also been said of Yao that his nine sons all became drunkards and so he said wine itself was a good thing, but it could hurt many people.

Compare 除夜 Chu Ye by 文天祥 Wen Tianxiang (1236-1282)
This more famous poem, said to have been written while in prison, has a different tone.


There are empty spaces between heaven and earth, and time is just passing me by.
Nearing the road's end there is alarming wind and rain, the remote frontier fills with ice an snow.
Life ends as does the year, and my life and experience will be forgotten.
No more Tusu wine dreams at New Year; lights are turned off before the evening has ended.

Translation very tentative.

12. 殘臘 Canla: the last day of the year in the lunar calendar
16860 no 殘臘; also not at 臘 30682. The original meaning of 臘 la is "dried meat". Because of the 臘 la sacrifice, "臘月 la yue" became a name for the last month of the year. "臘 La" is often also used for "蠟 la" meaning "wax". For example, 臘梅 and 蠟梅 are both used to refer to the plant wintersweet (image).

13. 東君 Dong Jun
See in 1491 Yang Guan.

14. 花朝 Hua Chao by 高濂 Gao Lian (fl. 1573-1581)
"Hua Chao" ("Birthday of Flowers"?) is the subtitle for another poem in this form, by the famous playwright, poet and essayist Gao Lian. The birthday of flowers is said to occur on the 12th day of the second lunar month. The character count, as with Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li, is as follows:



Here is the actual text:

Gāo yǔ rú sū, nuǎn fēng yù zuì, jǐn zhàn qún fāng.

Jiāo yuán qī jìng, huā qì àn fú xiāng.

Chù chù hóng xīn bái nèn, wǔ sī sī, liǔ qiàn wēi huáng.

Dòu chūn fēng, zhī tóu hú dié, shā shàng yuān yāng.

Jǐng wù mèi sháo guāng.

Xǐ liáng chén, shān róng shuǐ yàn chūn yáng.

Huǎn xún fāng cǎo, yuē yǒu zài hú shāng.

Fú zuì bàng huā suí liǔ, gèng háo yín, fēng yuè cháng yáng.

Yuàn dōng jūn, hái lián wǒ bèi, shōu shí xiū máng.

Also not yet translated, but it seems related more to later in spring than to the time of New Year.

15. Further comment on the music and lyrics
The character count for this melody is as above. Note that each piece can be divided into two sections, with the last three lines of each section having a character count identical to that of the last three lines of the other. As of this writing I have not tried to use any other ci poem in this format to sing with the present melody.

For a different interpretation of this melody see a performance on YouTube, at present linked here. It says it was played and sung by 秋月 Qiu Yue on 31 December 2021 based on the version in the Corrected Toko Kinpu as well as another tablature it refers to as the "桂川本 Katsuragawa Volume" (this seems to refer to the source of the present volume, i.e., the one called 和文注音琴譜 Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu in QQJC).

For Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li these two sources (referred to here as TKKP and HWZYQP) are basically identical. Here are some further details:

Musically and structurally it does not make much sense for the second half of the poem to begin with a double slide left over from first half. However, there does not seem to be any available outside analysis trying to determine if this is a mistake and if so what sort of mistake

My own interpretation has the first half of the piece end on 1 (do or C; this is the end of line 4 in my transcription). This differs from the tablature as printed, which has line 5 (此景轉...) begin with a slide - almost certainly a mistake. Further in this regard, the lack of clarity with the interlineal explanations written next to the song words "煙斜" in HWZYQP is particularly unfortunate. Later in the piece there are the phrases "林鐘同音" and "太簇同音", seemingly an attempt to specify the relative pitches to be played. Next to 煙斜, however, 林鐘 and 太簇 appear together with 和音, 和合 and some other marks that are completely illegible. Perhaps if they were legible they could help solve the problem of the seemingly unpaired slides. As it is my tentative solution is to pair the 勾剔歷 with 花叢裏 (TTTP omitted the 勾 and in in HWZYQP it is clearly intended as a correction rather than an extra note), then interpret the two figures next to 滿 as two separate instructions instead of one being a correction of the other (i.e., first pluck sixth string 9th position paired with 爇, then pluck open sixth string paired with 龍. TKKP omitted plucking the open sixth; playing both assumes the editor was confused). Adding these two omitted strokes then pushes forward the next lyrics and thus allows the 潑剌 to be paired with the 此景 at the beginning of the next phrase. (A problem with this is the pairing of 幸有 with 勾剔歷 as shown in my transcription m.14 and m.31).

There are several other places where the tablature here is problematic. The transcription hopefully make clear my understanding of how to solve these problems. (In my transcription, circled figures are my interpretation of the problematic figures, which are usually in squares below, connected by lines.).

16. Last line
Elsewhere, for example in 《檮杌閑評,第二十一回》 (ctext, #36), the last line is changed to "試看取,千悶爆竹,歲火交加。"

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