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Eight Sounds of Ganzhou
- Standard tuning2 : 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
八聲甘州 1
Basheng Ganzhou
  Seeing off a Friend by a River in Autumn 3            
Basheng Ganzhou is the name of a ci poetic structure (see Cipai and Qin Melodies). Translated as here, "Eight Sounds of Ganzhou Song", the title seems to refer only to the poetic structure, with no apparent relation to the lyrics. Thus, "eight sounds" (also translated as "Eight Beats" and "Eight Tones") might also be translated as "eight rhymes", thus referring to the eight rhythming lines into which the poem is arranged. As for what the lyrics convey in the present version, set to lyrics by the famous Song dynasty poet Su Dongpo (1037 - 1101), the subtitle seems more significant: 送人 Song Ren (Seeing off a Friend).

However, this particular structure has also been used for other poems that concern separation. In particular this is what is expressed in the lyrics for the earliest setting, the Basheng Ganzhou by the early Song dynasty poet Liu Yong (987 - 1053). How well this poem also fits the present setting of Su Dongpo's lyrics can be examined by listening to the recording given here together with Liu's version and its translation below.4

A third poem in this form, by Xin Qiji (1140-1207), is also given below for further comparison.5

In contrast, a song of this title in the opera Xi Xiang Ji seems to have quite a different structure.

The original lyrics by Su Dongpo are put together here with a translation by Florence Chia-Ying Yeh in her Seven Lectures on Wang Guowei’s Renjian Cihua, Routledge, 2019 (no page number).

The melody from the present handbook was also transcribed in a book of transcriptions by Wang Di, Xian'ge Yayun.6

Original preface
None; only the statement of the alternate title and the attribution to 蘇東坡 Su Dongpo (presumably the lyrics only).

Music (XII/192; 看五線譜 see transcription; timings follow 聽我的錄音 my recording)
The tablature has no divisions, but the ci pattern clearly divides the melody in two parts of similar length.

有 情 風 萬 里 捲 潮 來 , 無 情 送 潮 歸 。
Yǒu qíng fēng wàn lǐ juǎn cháo lái, wú qíng sòng cháo guī.
An affectionate wind, Rolls up the tide from 10,000 miles away,
        Then, unfeeling, sends it back.
問 錢 塘 江 上 , 西 興 浦 口 , 幾 度 斜 暉 ?       (elsewhere "西湖浦口")
Wèn Qiántáng jiāng shàng, xī xìng pǔ kǒu, jǐ dù xié huī?
I ask: On the Qiantang River, In the bay at Xixing,             (elsewhere: bay at West Lake)
        How many times have we seen the slanting beams of the setting sun?
不 用 思 量 今 古 , 俯 仰 昔 人 非 。
Bù yòng sī liang jīn gǔ, fǔ yǎng xī rén fēi.
No need contemplating the present and past,
        In one instant those I knew are all gone.
誰 似 東 坡 老 , 白 首 忘 機 。
Shuí shì Dōngpō lǎo, bái shǒu wàng jī.
Who is like the old Dongpo?
        With a head of white hair, yet remaining carefree?

記 取 西 湖 西 畔 , 正 春 山 好 處 , 空 翠 煙 霏 。
Jì qǔ Xīhú Xīpàn, zhèng chūn shān hǎo chù, kōng cuì yān fēi.
Remember West Lake and its Western Embankment,
        Just when in spring, the mountains were at their most beautiful. Skyward green, a misty haze.
算 詩 人 相 得 , 如 我 與 君 稀 。
Suàn shī rén xiāng dé, rú wǒ yǔ jūn xī.
For two poets to understand each other
        as do you and I is rare.
(約) 它 年、 東 還 海 道 , 願 謝 公 、 雅 志 莫 相 違 。
(Yuē) tā nián, dōng huán hǎi dào, yuàn Xiè gōng, yǎ zhì mò xiāng wéi.
I promise that one year, I will return east by way of the sea;
        I hope this Councilor Xie will not have to go back on his fine intention.
西 州 路 、 不 應 回 首 , 為 我 沾 衣 。
Xī zhōu lù, bù yìng huí shǒu, wèi wǒ zhān yī.
On the Xizhou Road, you mustn't look back
        And wet your collar with tears for me.
01.59 (end)

It is not clear why the Japanese handbook omitted 約 yuē from the penultimate line.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 八聲甘州 Basheng Ganzhou references (QQJC XII/192 & XII/252; TKKP III/33)
In my transcription I translated the title "Eight Sounds of Ganzhou". Meanwhile, "八聲 basheng has also been translated as "Eight Tones" or "Eight Beats", but I wonder whether it could be "Eight Rhymes (same as 八韻 ba yun), since the poem actually consists of eight rhyming lines.

Actually, although Liu Yong and Su Dongpo poems in this structure are both very well known, the title itself seems rarely to be translated, much less explained. For example, Zhongtong Wei, in his essay analyzing four translations of Liu Yong's poem (pdf) never actually translates the title itself (though there is a reference to "Eight Tones Ganzhou").

As for Zha Guide 35/--/504, it says only here; 甘州 Ganzhou is today called 張掖 Zhangye (Gansu province). The subtitle, 送人 Song Ren (Seeing off a Friend, is related to the actual lyrics. Meanwhile, the 中文大辭典 entry says the following about sounds of Ganzhou:

1475.459 詞牌名 name of a cipai 詞譜)and 曲牌名 name of a qupai. It says, "碧鶴漫志」甘州仙呂調,有曲破,有八聲,有漫,有令,按此調前後段八韻,故名八聲, 乃慢詞也。" It then goes on to give other names, "與甘外偏之曲破、甘州子之令詞不同。樂章集亦注仙呂調。周公謹詞名甘州。 張炎詞因柳永詞有「對瀟瀟暮雨灑江天」句,更名「瀟瀟暮雨」。《白樸詞》名「宴瑤池」。"

This seems to say there is 曲破 qupo (breakdown tune? as found in early opera?), 漫 man (overflow, leisurely, random) and 令 ling (command, cause). And perhaps there is a connection between "8" and there being 8 rhyming lines.

Notice also the mention of "仙呂調 xianlü mode", otherwise mentioned here.

The poem by Liu Yong seems to be earliest known version in this form. For more on him see, for example, "Liu Yong (? - ?) and Dancing Renzong" (this pdf) by Stephen Owen.

Related poems that seem to have a different structure include:

I have not yet worked out the actual connection between these and the present ci pattern.

2. Shang Mode
The Japanese handbooks say "商音 Shang Yin". Here the primary tonal center is 1, secondary centers are 2 and 6. For further details of shang mode characteristics during the Ming dynasty see under Shen Pin Shang Yi.

3. Image: Seeing off a Friend by a River in Autumn
This image turned up in a search for "八聲甘州" but then subsequently turned up with other connections (for example, here), never identifying the painter or saying much about the background. However, based on what Florence Chia-Ying Yeh wrote with her translation (search here), Su Dongpo probably wrote about saying farewell to a friend by the Qiantang River just as he was about to return from exile there back to the capital. She writes, "Hangzhou is situated on the banks of the Qiantang River, which is known for the huge tidal bore that happens there every August" (see line 1).

Unfortunately, the end of the inscription at the top of the painting is not clear, nor are the seals; the painter thus seems not to be identified. The part that is clear says (thanks for this to Sun Xiaoqing), "秋江送別,壬午年初春寫于愛蓮居,戈(丈?)(鑒?)平并識." The most recent "壬午年" years were 2002, 1942, 1882, etc; the location of "愛蓮居 (Lotus Lover's Lodge?)" is not clear, though it seems there may have been one in Hangzhou.

4. Basheng Ganzhou lyrics by Liu Yong (987 - 1053)
This earliest known version of a poem with this structure is discussed in a podcast by Professor Xinda Lian (Denison University; part of a series from Lingnan University entitled "Long Song Lyrics (manci) of the Song Dynasty"):

Liu Yong’s use of leading words (lingzi).

"Eight Beats of a Ganzhou Song" is the title used by Xinda Lian for his translation, to which his podcast added further analysis. This material was also published in Zong-qi Cai (ed.), How to Read Chinese Poetry, p.264.

對 瀟 瀟 暮 雨 灑 江 天 , 一 番 洗 清 秋。
Duì xiāo xiāo mù yǔ sǎ jiāng tiān, yī fān xǐ qīng qiū.
I face the splashing evening shower sprinkling from the sky over the river,
        And washing clean the cool autumn.
漸 霜 風 淒 慘 , 關 河 冷 落 , 殘 照 當 樓。
Jiàn shuāng fēng qī jǐn, guān hé lěng luò, cán zhào dāng lóu.
Gradually the pressing frosty wind gets more and more chilly, The mountain passes and rivers turn bleak,
        While the last ray of the sun lingers on the balcony.
是 處 紅 衰 翠 減 , 苒 苒 物 華 休。
Shì chù hóng shuāi cuì jiǎn, rǎn rǎn wù huá xiū.
Here and there the red withers and the green decays -
        Slowly nature’s blossoms fade.
惟 有 長 江 水 , 無 語 東 流。
Wéi yǒu Cháng jiāng shuǐ, wú yǔ dōng liú.
Only the water of the Yangtze Silently flows east.
        Thoughts of returning home just would not stop.

不 忍 登 高 臨 遠 , 望 故 鄉 渺 邈 , 歸 思 難 收。
Bù rěn dēng gāo lín yuǎn, wàng gù xiāng miǎo miǎo, guī sī nán shōu.
I cannot bear to ascend the height, and look into the distance.
        I look toward my homeland afar, not to be seen.
歎 年 來 蹤 跡 , 何 事 苦 淹 留。
Tàn nián lái zōng jī, hé shì kǔ yān liú?
I sigh over my wanderings these years;
        What is it that keeps me here?
想 佳 人 、 妝 樓 顒 望 。 誤 幾 回 、 天 際 識 歸 舟。
Xiǎng jiā rén, zhuāng lóu yóng wàng, wù jǐ huí, tiān jì shí guī zhōu.
I imagine my fair one is now gazing earnestly out of her window,
        Mistaking again and again some returning boat on the horizon for mine.
爭 知 我 、 倚 闌 干 處 , 正 恁 凝 愁。
Zhēng zhī wǒ, yǐ lán gān chù, zhèng nèn níng chóu?
How could she know that I, leaning against the balustrade here,
        Am lost in sorrow?

After studying this poem I may change the rhythms a bit to try to accommodate the difference in the pattern of the 7th line (3,4.3,4. here compared to 2,4.3,5. there).

5. Basheng Ganzhou lyrics by 辛弃疾 Xin Qiji (1140 - 1207)
No translation found as yet. It begins with a preface, also not yet translated (copied from here):

At night reading the Biography of Li Guang, I was unable to sleep. And so I read....

The poem then goes as follows:

故 將 軍 飲 罷 夜 歸 來 , 長 亭 解 雕 鞍 。
Gù jiāngjūn yǐn bà yè guī lái, cháng tíng jiě diāo ān.

恨 灞 陵 醉 尉 , 匆 匆 未 識 , 桃 李 無 言 。
Hèn bà líng zuì wèi, cōng cōng wèi shí, táo lǐ wú yán.

射 虎 山 橫 一 騎 , 裂 石 響 驚 絃 。
Shè hǔ shān héng yī qí, liè shí xiǎng jīng xián.
落 魄 封 侯 事 , 歲 晚 田 間 。
Luò tuò fēng hóu shì, suì wǎn tián jiān.

誰 向 桑 麻 杜 曲 , 要 短 衣 匹 馬 , 移 住 南 山 ?
Shuí xiàng sāng má dù qū, yào duǎn yī pǐ mǎ, yí zhù nán shān?

看 風 流 慷 慨 , 談 笑 過 殘 年 。
Kàn fēng liú kāng kǎi, tán xiào guò cán nián.

漢 開 邊 、 功 名 萬 里 , 甚 當 時 、 健 者 也 曾 閒 。
Hàn kāi biān, gōng míng wàn lǐ. Shén dāng shí, jiàn zhě yě céng xián

紗 窗 外 、 斜 風 細 雨 , 一 陣 輕 寒 。
Shā chuāng wài, xié fēng xì yǔ, yī zhèn qīng hán


6. Transcription of Basheng Ganzhou by Wang Di (.jpg)
In her Xian'ge Yayun, #49 (pp.115/6; further details), Wang Di transcribed this melody into number notation, pairing it to Liu Yong's lyrics and considering the relative tuning to be 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 rather than the 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 in my own. She thus has 5 as the main tonic center instead of 1. She changes several non-pentatonic notes, such as the chromatic passage in my m.30 and the flatted Bs in my mm.11 and 37. Her last note should be 5, the same as the previous note, but without changing the tablature it is written as a 6.

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