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Cranes Pierce the Clouds
- Standard tuning2 : 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
鶴沖霄 1
He Qiong Xiao  
  The original tablature3            
The Zha Guide lists this melody only in Japan.4 The tablature there is somewhat problematic, mainly with some missed pairings between tablature and words. The transcription by Wang Di (#53, p.125) tries to solve these. My solutions are somewhat different.5

There have also been a number of online recordings of a melody with this title said to be from 東臯琴譜 Toko Kinpu but as arranged by 李祥霆 Li Xiangting. However, as can be seen and heard by comparing his interpretation with the original tablature shown at right, Li's version has little connection to the original.

Lyrics, by He Ning (10th c)6, have the structure of a cipai called 春光好 Chun Guang Hao. He Ning apparently wrote two of these, those they differ by one character.7

The lyrics for the present song, from Verse 2, add an extra character in the second line.

Original preface

Music (看五線譜 tentative transcription; timings follow my recording: 聽我的錄音 listen)
The lyrics are as follows:

Píng yè ruǎn, xìng huā míng, huà chuán qīng.
Waterside fern leaves are supple, apricot blossoms bright,
        painted boats buoyant.
Shuāng yù yuān yāng chū lǜ tīng, zhào gē shēng.
Swooping in pairs mandarin ducks emerge from the green sandbank,
        rowing songs resound.
Chūn shuǐ wú fēng wú làng, chūn tiān bàn yǔ bàn qíng.
The springtime waters are without wind or waves;
        spring days are half rainy, half clear.
Hóng fěn xiāng suí Nánpǔ wǎn, jǐ hán qíng.
Powdered ladies (and gentlemen) mingle on evenings in Nanpu,
        barely containing their affections.
01.01 end

Translation is tentative. There are several places called Nanpu ("south bank"), including one in Wuchang/Wuhan; see also the next song in the handbook, Nanpu Yue.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
separate page)

1. Cranes Pierce the Clouds (鶴沖霄 He Chong Xiao (QQJC XII/200)
48157.42 and 12/1145 have only 鶴沖天 He Chong Tian (see in 1511): Cranes Pierce the Heavens
  (or A Crane Pierces the Heavens, i.e., a person becomes an immortal in the form of a crane); score has some textual problems.

2. The handbook calls the mode 商音 Shang Yin. (Return)

3. Original tablature from Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu
An image search for 鶴沖天 He Chong Xiao led to numerous entries of people playing recordings of a melody with this title said to have been arranged by 李祥霆 Li Xiangting from 東臯琴譜 Toko Kinpu. However, his version is so different from the original tablature shown above (expand) that it should be called a new piece partially inspired by the earlier one.

Tablature for Li Xiangting's version can be found in his "古琴實用教程" (p.37), called a "Practical Guqin Tutorial Texbook". His version seems to use as a sort of prelude a melodic motif very similar to what is in mm.9-12 in my transcription, but played on open strings. It then pairs his tablature to the He Chong Xiao lyrics, sometimes using melody related to the original but completely changing the way it is played (e.g., no double stops and transposing it so that his do (1) is played on the open third string instead of the open first string. (Compare his treatment of the melody Chang Xiang Si.)

4. Tracing He Chong Xiao
Zha Guide 35/--/506 lists this title only in Japan.

5. Problems with the tablature
The most problematic area is the lack of tablature paired at "棹歌聲" in line 2. This happens to be right after the place where the other poem in this form has one fewer character (i.e., before 半春間. My solution is to move move the pairing up until "風", there taking/adapting one or two extra marginal figures included there.

6. 和凝 He Ning (10th c)

7. Ci form 春光好 Chun Guang Hao
Also called "一名愁倚欄令 Chou Yi Lan Ling" (Sadly Leaning on a Fence Occasion), this is one of a number of melodies in the present handbook that have lyrics in the form of cipai (see list).

The poem set here by He Ning is actually the second of a set of two poems in this form. The first one is as follows (see 全唐詩,卷893_29):

Shā chuāng nuǎn, huà píng xián, duǒ yún huán.

Shuì qǐ sì zhī wú lì, bàn chūn jiān.

Yù zhǐ jiǎn cái luó shèng, jīn pán diǎn zhuì sū shān.

Kuī sòng shēn xīn wú xiàn shì, xiǎo méi wān.


Not yet translated. Compare in particular the first half of the second line of the first of these He Chong Xiao poems:



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