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Moon Over the Event Hall
Subtitle: On an Autumn Evening Hearing Cricket Sounds2
月當廳 1
Yu mode: (?3) Standard tuning here seems to give 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 Yue Dang Ting  
  The original tablature (expand) 4                  
This melody survives only from the qin handbook of Jiang Xingchou,5 the Chinese monk who went to Japan after the fall of the Ming and initiated the modern Japanese qin tradition. It is one of his many pieces that have lyrics in the form of a known poetic structure called a cipai.

Regarding the origin of the particular cipai called Yue Dang Ting (Moon Over the Event Hall), the standard (earliest example) of lyrics is seems to have been a poem by 史達祖 Shi Dazu (1163-1220). His lyrics can be seen here). I have not yet seen examples of lyrics in this structure other than those and the ones with the present song.

As for the subtitle, On an Autumn Evening Hearing Cricket Sounds, interestingly, there is another poem that has this same subtitle but is in a different ci form (Pusa Man; further below).

The melody has no preface but beneath the title Yue Dang Ting it says, "On an Autumn Evening Hearing Cricket Sounds", (by) Zou Xushi (Zou Zhimo6). Yue Dang Ting is thus only the name of the ci structure, while the latter name should concern the actual theme of the poem.

Regarding the author of these lyrics, Zou Zhimo (1627-1670), he was "one of the most important and acknowledged masters of Ci-lyrics in the early Qing dynasty". Since Jiang Xingchou left for Japan in 1676 the lyrics would then have been quite recent. In this context it is interested to consider the possibility that Zou's lyrics were at the time already accompanied by a melody.

Here, however, there is a problem, as the first line of Zou's poem is elsewhere punctuated according to the Yue Dang Ting standard of 7+4+4 (as here and with Shi's original poem), here it is paired to lyrics that seem to have the phrasing 6+3+6. My normal method when encountering such an issue is to try to use a phrasing that could be interpreted either way.

Another challenge with this piece is that its modality does not seem to be consistent. Based on the rhyming pattern the ci has eight lines. However, from my analysis these eight lines can be grouped as four double lines, each with its own mood. This is unusual and should be explored further.

Original preface

Music and lyrics 4 (See 看五線譜 tentative transcription; timings follow my recording: 聽我的錄音 listen)
The lyrics here, compared to the standard versions one can find online, are missing several punctuation marks (they have been added here). More seriously, though, in the first line the phrases are punctuated differently. This is indicated below (see also red marks on the tablature itself):

The full lyrics here, with line numbers added to make comparison with the transcription easier, are as follows:

  1. 00.01
    Xiǎo chuāng yān yǔ míng míng, xiǎng sōu liú, chuī zhuì luò yè kōng tíng.
    In my small window misty rain dark and drizzly, resounds with soughing,
            blowing falling leaves in the empty courtyard.
  2. 急杵浮砧,淒淒石竹牆陰。
    Jí chǔ fú zhēn, qī qī shí zhú qiáng yīn.
    Hurried pestel floating mortar,
            depressed stone and bamboo (dianthus flowers?) in the wall shade.
  3. 偏與愁人作楚,細思量、甚事恰關卿。
    Piān yǔ chóu rén zuò chǔ, xì sī liang, shén shì qià guān qīng.
    Tending with anxious people to make sad,
  4. 無端似,空床泣恨,斷軫傳情。
    Wú duān sì, kōng chuáng qì hèn, duàn zhěn chuán qíng.
  5. 年年慣做西風伴,隱荒苔、啼殘青穗余燈。
    Nián nián guàn zuò xī fēng bàn, yǐn huāng tái, tí cán qīng suì yú dēng.
  6. 哀笳遠笛,飛來何處秋聲。
    Āi jiā yuǎn dí, fēi lái hé chù qiū shēng.
  7. 二十五番寒照靜,聽清鉦、歷歷嚴更。
    Èr shí wǔ fān hán zhào jìng, tīng qīng zhēng, lì lì yán gèng.
  8. 偏怨汝,叫回孤夢,短發星星。             (or 偏怨汝,叫回孤夢,短發星星。)
    Piān yuàn rǔ jiào huí gū mèng, duǎn fā xīngxīng.

Translation incomplete; the word count is:

6,3,6。         (compare 7,4,4。, i.e., 小窗煙雨冥冥響,颼飀吹墜,落葉空庭。)
3、4,4.   (compare 3、3,5。)

Some terms:

急杵浮砧 7/456 only 急杵 and 急杵濤心; 5/1243 no 浮砧
作楚 1/1258xx
二十五番寒照靜 250.44xxx (25 cold )

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
separate page)

1. Yue Dang Ting (QQJC XII/213)
The dictionary reference is:

14658.231: 月當廳 Yue Dang Ting, "a cipai; for the structure see 調見「梅溪詞」" (15223.178 a 曲 melody by 史達祖 Shi Dazu [1163-1220]). Shi's ci is as follows (from m.chashiwen.com):



As mentioned above, the word count for phrases is somewhat different from the phrasing given for the same lyrics elsewhere. Elsewhere they are as follows:

小窗煙雨冥冥響,颼飀吹墜,落葉空庭。       (the tablature has: 小窗煙雨冥冥,響颼飀,吹墜落葉空庭。)

The word count is:

7,4,4。   (compare 6,3,6。)
7,4.   (compare 3、3,5。)

For the significance of the subtitle see next footnote.

2. On an Autumn Evening Hearing Cricket Sounds(秋夜聞蟋蟀聲 Qiu Ye Wen Xi Shuai Sheng)
Regarding the subtitle: 秋夜聞蟋蟀聲 (On an autumn evening hearing cricket sounds) 25505.134 is only 秋夜 qiu ye but in addition to being the title of the present lyrics it also the title of lyrics attributed to Zhou's contemporary 張令儀 Zhang Lingyi in what is said to be the ci form called Pusa Man.

As for 菩薩蠻 Pusa Man, translated sometimes as Bodhisattva's Headdress, Bodhisattva's Golden Headdress, Bodhisattva the Barbarian and more, this website has what it calls the standard ci form. The lyrics in this form do have a similar theme, but the actual lyrics are very different and the structure is unrelated to that of Yue Dang Ting, as follows:

共當愁絕處。 只有儂和汝。
涼月照梧桐。 有時差剩儂。

Not translated. Further examples in this form can be seen, e.g., at xungushici.com. A translated example is given here.

3. "Yu mode" (商音 Yu Yin) (? relative tuning seems to be 1 2 4 5 6 1 2)
Yu mode is discssed under Shenpin Yu Yi, with the modality of melodies in general surviving from Ming dynasty tablature discussed under Modality in early Ming qin tablature. According to my understanding (short background), Chinese music was always considered in terms of relative pitch, and the standard relative pitches followed the scale do re mi sol la (1 2 3 5 6). As can be seen in the charts near the top of the modality page, yu mode melodies almost invariably treat the relative tuning as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, and the resulting tonal centers are 6 (la) then mi (3). However, but treating the present tablature that way here gives numerous occurences of 7 but almost none of 1: for the scale to be 1 2 3 5 6 the tuning must be considered as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2.

In neither case, though, would the melody be considered as following the standard custom of yu being a "la-mi mode. Instead the main tonal center seems to be 1, secondarily 5 and 6, but then ending on 2 over 6.

4. The original tablature:
Note the red marks indicating the phrasing of what is said to be the "correct" form.

5. Tracing Yue Dang Ting
Zha Guide 35/__/508 says only here.

6. 鄒祇謨 Zou Zhimo (1627-1670)
Referred to here by his literary name, 鄒訏士 Zou Xushi, Zou is also credited with the lyrics for #22, #23 and #24 of the present handbook. The lyrics for the present melody must have been quite new when Jiang Xingchou took them (or the melodies with them) to Japan in the 1676.

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