Zhuzhi Ci 竹枝詞
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Qin as
Qin in
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Analysis History Ideo-
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Bamboo Branch Lyrics 1
Yu mode (羽音 Yuyin) 2
Zhu Zhi Ci (Zhuzhi Ci)  
  Zhu Zhi Ci as preserved in Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu3          
As a qin melody Zhu Zhi Ci (Bamboo Branch Lyrics) is preserved only in Japan.4 The lyrics themselves follow a song form said to come from a Tang dynasty folk tradition in Sichuan: the region of Chengdu, or along the Yangzi river; at least 22 lyrics in this form are preserved in the Yuefu Shiji, Folio 81, but that work does not include the present lyrics, which are anonymous. The source of the present melody, as well as of its lyrics, is not clear, but it seems generally to be thought that Jiang Xingchou brought them with him to Japan in the 1660s.

The opening four notes here are the same as those of Yi Wangsun (XII/215) except that in most editions of the Yi Wangsun the first two clusters are played in harmonics. Doing the same for Zhu Zhi Ci would provide a more easily singable note sequence, but none of the surviving Zhu Zhi Ci does this.

Nevertheless, the connection or comparison between Zhu Zhi Ci and Yi Wangsun is also interesting because of their relative structures (絕句 jueju? 詞 ci?5).

In the reconstruction of Yi Wangsun an effort was made to treat that 3-character variant on the jueju form not as a separate line but as an extension of the third line; in the third line the note values can be changed so that the 10 characters fit into the four bars per line structure. Likewise, with the Zhu Zhi Ci melody, it is possible to repeat the last three characters of the third line in such a way as the overall rhythm is similar to that of the adjusted Yi Wang Sun.

The tablature in the Zhengben (TKKP) is basically the same as here, although there is some awkwardness also found in some other TKKP versions. For example, one difference can be seen on the characters "歌喉 ge hou": in Hewen the instructions are to play "挑剔 tiao ti" then "對起 duiqi", which is idiomatic, while Zhengben has only "剔 ti" then "對起 duiqi", which is not so much so. Then with "那 na" Hewen uses "夕" the ring finger to play the note in the 10th position, which is very natual, while TKKP awkwardly has the ring finger plays it at the 9th position.

Meanwhile, in her book of transcriptions Wang Di (#31, pp.98) omits the cluster indicating the third note after the harmonics sign, then seems to make up for this by changing some notes at the end. She also ignores the unattributed lyrics that accompany the Japanese edition, instead applying two sets of YFSJ Zhu Zhi Ci lyrics by Liu Yuxi. These are:

  1. 山上層層桃李花,雲間煙火是人家。銀釧金釵來負水,長刀短笠去燒畲。
  2. 楊柳青青江水平,聞郎江上唱歌聲。東邊日出西邊雨,道是無晴還有晴。

The second of these poems is sung on her accompanying CD.6

Although the present Japanese setting (see below) does not use lyrics by Liu Yuxi, as in YFSJ they are also 7x4 and so the guqin melody can be used to sing the Liu Yuxi lyrics.

Original preface
None; has only a brief comment from "Qin Guan" saying perhaps the melody belongs in shang mode.

Melody and Lyrics (see transcription; timings follow 聽錄音 my recording) 8
Here the melody is played twice, with the original lyrics sung during the repeat.

00.00 First playing
00.44 Second playing (with singing)
01.30 End

The original Zhu Zhi Ci lyrics accompanying this melody are as follows:

非商非羽聲吾伊,     Fēi shāng fēi yǔ shēng wú yī,   (吾伊 is the sound of reading)
    Without (the notes) shang or yu the sound is like reading;

宛轉歌喉唱豔詞。     wǎn zhuǎn gē hóu chàng yàn cí.
    through the sinuous song line one sings beautiful lyrics.

斷腸那何人不識,     Duàn cháng nà hé rén bù shí,
    As for heartbreak, who does not know it?

一腔清韻有誰知。     yī qiāng qīng yùn yǒu shuí zhī.
    As for a clear melody, who does know it?

These original lyrics are unattributed, and as yet I have not been able to find their source. The translation is tentative - as is the singinhzhii.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Bamboo Branch Lyrics (竹枝詞 Zhu Zhi Ci) (XII/222; TKKP IV/45)
Zhu zhi ci were (ABC) "ancient folk love poems" or "classical poems on local themes". Although called a ci, Zhu Zhi Ci and its form (7,7,7,7.) is evidently not a cipai.

There is a good account of this in ChinaKnowledge.de. It says the earliest and best known writer in this form was 劉禹錫 Liu Yuxi (772-842).

26424.104 竹枝詞 references 劉禹錫 Liu Yuxi, but it has no mention of a cipai and does not quote any lyrics.

26424.103 竹枝 gives more detail, saying zhu zhi were poems in the Songs of Recent Times (近代曲辭 Jindai qu ci) section of Yuefu Shiji. Here Yuefu Shiji actually has 22 lyrics in this pattern ([7+7] x 2): one by Gu Kuang, nine plus two by 劉禹錫 Liu Yuxi, four by Bai Juyi, four by 李涉 Li She and two by 孫光憲 Sun Guanxian (see Folio 81).

2. Yu mode
The mode is not very focused, but with relative tuning 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 the melody ends on la (yu, 6).

3. Image: Zhu Zhi Ci as preserved in Japan
From the Meiwa edition (QQJC XII/255/6). See also the Hewen (XII/215) and TKKP (IV/37) editions.

4. Tracing 竹枝詞 Zhu Zhi Ci
Zha Guide 35/--/510: only surviving in Japan.

5. Structures
I am not clear if they are universally accepted either as 絕句 jueju or as 詞 ci. More under Poetry with lines of regular length

6. Recording based on Wang Di transcription
Other recordings can be found on the internet (search for "竹枝詞" "古琴").

7. Preface
Also no preface in the other editions, but after the title is the following comment,

Master Kinzen says, this melody perhaps belongs with shang mode."

Here "琴川公" perhaps refers to 杉浦琴川 Sugiura Kinzen (1671-1711), sometimes said to have been an early editor of this handbook. The handbook had placed this melody in yu mode, but see my transcription and the comment at the top of it.

8. Melody
Recorded in the Studio for Seeking Solitude, December 2020. The close observer will note I sing "非 fei" on the upbeat. This is based on the way I would speak it. The Liu Yuxi lyrics, on the other hand, do not suggest beginning with such an upbeat.

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