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Japanese Guqin Handbooks 在日本出版的琴譜 1 
The tradition of Shin-Etsu (1639-1695); further discussion also under Caotang Yin Yang Yuanzheng: Qin players in Japan after Shin-Etsu  2  

Japan is known to have preserved, and adapted, much from Chinese culture.3 However, the known guqin tradition in Japan prior to the 20th century came almost exclusively from the tradition brought to Japan in 1676 by a student of Zhuang Zhenfeng named Jiang Xingchou (1639-1695).4 In Japan, as the monk Shin-Etsu, Jiang played and taught his interpretation of the qin tradition. The music he taught survived in a variety of handbooks published or simply hand-copied in Japan. Almost all of the music, based on the samples below, seems either to have been brought from China, or adapted/created by Jiang based on his Chinese training.5 Likewise almost all of the lyrics paired to these melodies seem also to have been brought from China.6

Relevant materials covered or mentioned in this section include:

  1. Melodies I have reconstructed from Japanese Handbooks7
    "Reconstructed" means transcribed to staff notation and recorded on qin; the lyrics are sung where indicated. Most are settings of ci lyrics, of which the Japanese handbooks have many.8 There is data on their ci structures here.

    1. # 2. 清平樂 Qing Ping Yue (XII/168; with singing)
    2. # 3. 浪淘沙 Lang Tao Sha (XII/169)
    3. # 4. 東風齊著力 Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li; (XII/170)
    4. # 7. 秋風辭 Qiu Feng Ci (XII/177; with singing)
    5. # 9 子夜吳歌 Ziye Wu Ge (XII/185; with singing)
    6. #10 幽澗泉 You Jian Quan (XII/186)
    7. #12 醉翁操 Zui Weng Cao (XII/190)
    8. #13 八聲甘州 Basheng Ganzhou (XII/191)
    9. #14 瑞鶴仙 Rui He Xian (XII/194)
    10. #15 鳳凰臺上憶吹簫 Fenghuang Taishang Yi Chui Xiao (XII/196; with singing)
    11. #17 鶴沖霄 He Chong Xiao (XII/200)
    12. #18 南浦月 Nan Pu Yue (XII/201)
    13. #20 梅花     Mei Hua (XII/203; with singing)
    14. #21 偶成     Ou Cheng (XII/204)
    15. #22 離別難 Libie Nan (XII/205)
    16. #25 霹靂引 Pili Yin (XII/210)
    17. #26 月當廳 Yue Dang Ting (XII/213)
    18. #27 憶王孫 Yi Wang Sun (XII/215)
    19. #28 草堂吟 Cao Tang Yin (XII/216; related to Li Yun Chun Si [1664])
      Caotang Yin has further information comparing Shin-Etsu's songs with some published in China at the time
    20. #29 長相思 Chang Xiang Si (XII/220)
    21. #30 相思曲 Xiang Si Qu (XII/221; trace from 1573; closest to 1618: listen to six versions; with singing)
    22. #31 竹枝詞 Zhu Zhi Ci (XII/222; with singing)
    23. MW#9 南風歌 Nan Feng Ge (XII/254; 明和本)

    Pieces recorded but not transcribed:9

    1. 調絃入弄 Tiao Xian Runong (a version of Caoman Yin); video (music accompanies panning of Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto)

    Pieces transcribed but not yet recorded include (on request):11

    1. #19 飛瓊吟 Fei Qiong Yin (XII/202)

  2. Japanese handbooks in Qinqu Jicheng Volume XII (QQJC XII)12
    This volume includes three Japanese handbooks. They are all discussed on this page, which has basic information about them and details on the 50 different pieces published there. Few exist from publications in China, so they survive today because of their publication in Japan. All have lyrics, many following a ci pattern (see list). The page also has links to extended comment on a number of these.

  3. The Correct Toko Kinpu13
    This handbook, published in 2001 (Chinese edition 2015) attempts to recreate the most complete such handbook. Originally dated 1710, it is missing 10 pieces from the above-mentioned 50 (four are different versions of the same titles here), but to the remaining 40 it adds a further 17 pieces, making 57 pieces in all. Of these 17, 11 are instrumental, though five of those were almost certainly intended to have them; all other pieces have lyrics.

  4. Doctoral dissertation by Yang Yuanzheng, 200814
    Yang Yuanzheng is currently a professor at Hong Kong University, which keeps an online copy (backup) on its website; see also his (M.A. thesis).

    Yang Yuanzheng, Japonifying the qin: the appropriation of Chinese qin music in Tokugawa Japan, Ph.D. Thesis, Hong Kong University, 2008.

    This work is divided into three sections:

    1. A Nagasaki import from China (p.9)
      Concerns Jiang Xingchou/Shin-Etsu and his role in Japan
    2. Rediscovering the music of the sages (p.84)
      Ogyu Sarai (荻生徂徠, 1666‐1728) and the Confucian ideology of his re-interpretation of gagaku and You Lan
    3. The gagakuization of the qin (p.141)
      Political implications in Japan of this work.
    4. Conclusion (p.219)

    In addition to its extensive work on Shin-Etsu and his tradition there is also much discussion of Gyokudo, putting it all within the context of Japanese Confucian governing policies:

  5. Qin handbooks from China known to have been in Japan at this time15
    Essential to understanding the repertoire published from Japan is comparing it to the melodies as played in China. The handbooks most directly relevant should be those Jiang Xingchou with him when he arrived in Japan in 1676. According to Yang, who also names three melodies specifically mentioned in correspondence at that time, he brought with him six handbooks. This is a list of the most likely six (see Yang, pp. 35 and 38):

    1. Taigu Yiyin (1511)
    2. Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585) ?
    3. Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin and Boya Xinfa (1589/1609)
    4. Songxianguan Qinpu (1614)
    5. Lixing Yuanya (1618)
    6. Qinxue Xinsheng Xiepu (1664)

    All but 1614 focus on qin songs. Unfortunately, Yang gives no reference for his statement that six were brought, and he only directly names the last four. It is thus not clear whether he is making his own inference, following someone else's inference, or basing this claim on actual historical record. He mentions the first two handbooks on page 35. On that page he also mentions Zheyin Shizi Qinpu (before 1491; handcopy only), Faming Qinpu (1530; not as well known but compiled in Nanjing) and Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425; no songs). However, these last three seem less likely.

    In his dissertation Yang gives several examples of people trying to play directly from several of these handbooks. However, as yet I have not found that any of the melodies in these handbooks was directly copied into one of the handbooks produced in Japan. Interestingly, Lixing Yuanya has five melodies for one string qin, but to my knowledge there is no information suggesting this is connected to the development of the Japanese ichigenkin.

The melodies I have reconstructed aside, most of this section of the website consists of details of various guqin handbooks produced in Japan, together with listings of their content. Because the three handbooks included in Qinqu Jicheng have considerable overlap in content, these contents are given here as three appendices on a single page rather than separately.

The treatment in Japan of the qin was unlike the treatment given any other instrument that arrived there from China. With other instruments, although the physical shape of these instruments changed much less over the centuries than they did in China during the same period, on those instruments a local Japanese music idiom completely replaced the music that had been played in China. In contrast, although there was some attempt to play Japanese melodies on the qin,16 they never really localized it. In fact, only with the qin did the Japanese actually continue to play traditional Chinese melodies.17

Furthermore, although much of the music in these Japanese handbooks certainly includes melodies that were played around that time in China but have not survived in local Chinese handbooks, there is no evidence to suggest that (other than with the 7th century You Lan scroll) there are any other surviving printed or handwritten materials in Japan that preserve any other qin music already lost from China.18 Nevertheless, this was the contention of some famous Japanese Confucianists, in particular 荻生徂徠 Ogyu Sorai (1666-1728). Ogyu Sorai was specifically interested in Japanese court music, gagaku, but his belief in its antiquity was re-inforced by his discovery of the You Lan scroll.19

This and the linked Japan pages attempts as fully as possible to give a summary of qin melodies played in Japan during the Edo period (Tokugawa shogunate, 1603 to 1868), but more specifically after the arrival there of Shin-Etsu just after the year 1676. There are certainly omissions, particularly if there were other uniquely Japanese pieces such as those by Uragami Gyokudo. However, the following outline of the categories of qin melodies to be considered might be useful for context:

The information in this section about qin music published in Japan largely concerns melodies in the first two categories. These largely comprise those from Japanese publications that have been re-published in the modern Chinese compendium Qinqu Jicheng. As mentioned, they are representative of the tradition of qin music brought to Japan in 1577 by Jiang Xingchou (1639-1695), who in Japan became known as the monk Toko Shin-etsu (and other names).25 Over the following 20 years or so he taught a number of students. Many handbooks following Shin-Etsu's tradition were produced later in Japan, generally with the title Toko Kinpu.

Qinqu Jicheng re-published three of these Japanese handbooks, all in its Volume XII (目錄), follows:26

  1. 和文注音琴譜 Hewen Zhu(yin) Qinpu (Wabun Chuyin Kinpu), <1676   (Appendix I)
    38 melodies (34-1st); all with lyrics, hence the title; these are said to have been melodies 蔣興疇 Jiang Xingchou took from Hangzhou to Japan in 1676;

  2. &
  3. 東皋琴譜 Donggao Qinpu (Toko Kinpu); this title dates from ~1710 (details) but these are later editions
    Van Gulik27 says that Toko Kinpu consisted of copies of pieces Shin-etsu (Toko Zenji) taught beginners, but there were numerous editions of Toko Kinpu and it has been argued that the earliest had a more substantial number of the more standard pieces; Zha Fuxi himself mentions many of the editions. The earliest (1710), apparently with additional melodies, was not available for QQJC, so Zha Fuxi took two of the many later editions and appended them to Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu:

According to the accompanying commentary on these by Zha Fuxi,28 he also knew of a number of other Japanese qin handbooks, some of which he had seen,29 others of which he had not.30 But his commentary further expressed the opinion that these handbooks (or at least most of their melodies) derived from the ones he did include.

How many of the melodies in these three Japanese handbooks also appeared in handbooks published in China? Of the 38 melodies in Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu only four or five also survive in handbooks published there (Tiaoxian Runong, Gui Qu Lai Ci, Xiang Si Qu, Gao Shan, and perhaps Caotang Yin; see details). And of the 48 pieces in the two Toko Kinpu, all but ten seem to be duplicates (though perhaps sometimes with small editing) from Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu, and of these ten only two seem to be related to melodies in Chinese handbooks (Yu Qiao Wenda and Yangguan Sandie).31

The publication in 2001 of an "Orthodox Toko Kinpu" was intended to clarify which of the qin melodies published in Japan could actually be connected to Shin-Etsu himself.32 As mentioned, because the accompanying web page, Japanese Handbooks in Qinqu Jicheng", is largely based on information in the old Japanese qin handbooks re-published in China (in QQJC), it does not really clarify the issue of where the music came from. The "Orthodox" version certainly helps clarify some of the issues, but at present it seems that there are still many unanswered questions about qin repertoire in Japan at that time.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Japanese Guqin Handbooks, main references
Up to the present my main source of information has been 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng (QQJC). Unfortunately, the material there is incomplete because, as mentioned above, some crucial handbooks were not available to Zha Fuxi.

2. Yang Yuanzheng: qin players in Japan after Shin-Etsu   (expand)   Compare Van Gulik's table   (expand)          
Yang's chart is in his Japonifying the Qin, p. 32. Yang disagrees with Van Gulik about there being an "outer tradition" and so revised his chart accordingly. For Van Gulik see Lore of the Chinese Lute, p.233. Van Gulik's chapter "The Chinese Lute in Japan" is very detailed on the subject. Note, however, that many of the people mentioned here are not in the chart. Also, in quoting Van Gulik here I change "Chinese lute" to "qin" as I find the word "lute" very misleading as well as inaccurate.

3. Chinese culture in Japan
For early Chinese music in Japan see the page on gagaku as well as what is written about Japan by Van Gulik in his Lore of the Chinese Lute.

4. Guqin music in Japan
One can divide this into three periods

  1. Ancient times
    Although the most ancient guqin melody, You Lan, was preserved in Japan, there are instruments that were preserved in Japan, and there is evidence suggesting the qin was indeed played during the Heian period (794‐1185), nothing is known about the actual players or the melodies that were played. Further knowledge is complicated by the fact that literature and painting suggest the Japanese often used the character "琴 qin" when referring to their koto, correctly written "箏 zheng". If there were players prior to the arrival in Japan of Jiang Xingchou in 1676, nothing is known about them or their msuic.

  2. 江戸 Edo or 徳川 Tokugawa period (1603 - 1868)
    By far the most important here is the qin music associated with Jiang Xingchou (Shin-Etsu; 1639-1695), who began teaching soon after he arrived in Japan in 1676. Until the modern period all players apparently followed or developed from this style (see the chart at top; Yang disagrees with Van Gulik's idea of an "outer tradition" shown in Van Gulik's chart at right. Nevertheless, arguments exist about to what extent this music came exclusively from China, or to what extent it was either modified in Japan or, in some cases, newly created in there.

    Other that this, during this period there is the music of Uragami Gyokudo (1745-1820). Although he originally trained in the lineage of Shin-Etsu he then developed a unique style, or at least unique melodies, that apparently did not continue much after him (further detail).

  3. Modern times
    As the chart at top shows, by the 20th century there were few players in Japan. When Van Gulik was in Japan in the 1930s he could not find any local qin players. The revival began after China opened up and people could study qin there again. Thus the modern tradition is based on direct study from China rather than from the tradition of Shin-Etsu. Playing melodies from Shin-Etsu's tradition must thus be based on reconstruction rather than continuing a living traditon.

There are many paintings and books collected in Japan that are important to guqin study. However, a study of this is beyond the scope of this website.

5. Origin of the music
There is summary information on this

6. Origin of the lyrics
Almost all of the qin melodies preserved in Japan are songs with lyrics written with Chinese characters. Where these lyrics cannot be found in existing Chinese sources, to determine whether they were actually written by Japanese people requires some understanding of subjects such as the following:

In Japan Kanshi was most popular in the Heian period (794-1184), but during the Edo period (1603-1868) it was also current among Neo-Confucians. Most common were poems in 5 syllable lines or 7 syllable lines. No independent examples of these have yet been found as lyrics for qin songs found in Japan. Hence, it seems most likely that, if any lyrics unknown elsewhere are found in Japanese qin handbooks, the lyrics most likely originated in China, or were written/adapted by Jiang Xingchou himself.

Poetry written purely in kana, or in a combination of kana and Kanji, should be easily recognizable as Japanese poetry. Several examples of this are discussed here; compare these "扶桑操 fusang melodies" written only in Chinese characters.

Note that among the songs brought to Japan by Jiang Xingchou, those in a cipai form seem to have been most popular (see next footnote); in contrast this form seems rarely to have occurred in Japan. (For the Heian period see Rabinovitch and Bradstock, No Moonlight in my Cup: Sinitic Poetry [Kanshi] from the Japanese Court, Eighth to the Twelfth Centuries; Brill, 2019. Footnote 36 on p.14 says it was rare for Kanshi in irregular verse [雜言 zatsugon] to follow established ci forms).

7. Melodies I have reconstructed from Japanese Handbooks (many follow ci patterns)
These I have always done independently, without looking at other people's reconstructions until my own are complete. Because the tablature omits direct indication of rhythm, I think it is important to have independent interpretations, then to compare and analyze them with those of others.

8. Cipai (lyrics that use the structures of old ci poems)
Cipai deserve special mention here, as qin handbooks in Japan (even compared to
the ones Jiang brought there, which have many qin songs) are unusual in their heavy use of lyrics in this poetic form (for more on this see Cipai and Qin Melodies). The titles of these melodies are generally the name of the cipai, with a subtitle referring to the specific theme of the lyrics. One would think that once one had devised a melody for lyrics that fit a cipai, one would then apply other lyrics to the same melody. However, there is no evidence that this was done. Instead, as with #22 and #23 there seems to be a tendency to make new melodies for the existing lyrics.

The following is a list of melodies in Japanese handbooks that have the names of cipai. The ones I have recorded are so marked (see also this list), and for these there is further data on their different ci structures here.

  1. #2. 清平樂 Qing Ping Yue (recording)
  2. #3. 浪淘沙 Lang Tao Sha (recording)
  3. #4. 東風齊著力 Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li (recording)
  4. #12. 醉翁操 Zui Weng Cao (recording)
  5. #13. 醉翁操 Ba Sheng Ganzhou (recording)
  6. #14. 瑞鶴仙 Rui He Xian (subtitle: Zui Weng Ting; recording)
  7. #15. 鳳凰台上憶吹簫 Fenghuangtaishang Yi Chui Xiao (recordings)
  8. #17. 鶴沖霄 He Chong Xiao (recording)
  9. #18. 南浦月 Nan Pu Yue (compare 點絳唇 Dian Jiang Chun; recording)
  10. #22. 離別難 Libie Nan (#1) (recording)
  11. #23. 離別難 Libie Nan (#2)
  12. #26. 月當廳 Yue Dang Ting; subtitle: On an Autumn Evening Hearing Cricket Sound (recording)
  13. #27. 憶王孫 Yi Wangsun (recording)
  14. #28. 草堂唫 Cao Tang Yin (has four sections, all in different ci forms; recording)
  15. #29. 長相思 Chang Xiang Si (recording)
  16. #30. 相思曲 Xiang Si Qu (recordings of six versions)
  17. #TK34. 賀新郎 He Xin Lang
  18. #TK39. 憶秦娥 Yi Qin E

Sometimes a melody may have "詞 ci" in the title but not be classified as a cipai (e.g., Zhu Zhi Ci). In addition, a melody may have the name of a cipai but lyrics that do not follow its structure.

When it was published in 2007 王迪 Wang Di's 絃歌雅韻 Xian'ge Yayun had probably the largest number of transcriptions from Japanese handbooks. See in particular #s 31-54 (24 transcriptions on pp. 98-126). Wang Di sometimes made changes from the original, and the book does not indicate the edition(s) she used. This sometimes makes it difficult to follow what she is doing. For example, she sometimes changes notes and/or substitutes different lyrics in the same pattern as the originals. Her first two transcriptions are good examples of this:

Zhu Zhi Ci (changes notes; substitutes different lyrics)
Yi Wang Sun (substitutes different lyrics)

The third, the short Nan Xun Cao, seems to be the same as in the original.

9. Recorded but no transcription
Usually I do not have confidence in my reconstructions unless I have made a transcription, enabling me better to examine the structure. These melodies, however, are quite straightforward have and structures similar to other melodies I have reconstructed.

11. Transcription but no recording
Here the transcriptions are tentative, as I am not yet confident of the structures I have found.

12. Japanese handbooks in Qinqu Jicheng Volume XII (QQJC XII)
This page was begun many years ago, when I first reconstructed melodies from Japanese handbooks. Only in 201i8 did I see a copy of the "Correct Toko Kinpu". As a result the pages in this section are not quite unified.

13. The Correct Toko Kinpu
It is not yet clear to me how accurate this is as a reconstruction of the 1710 original, as I have not yet seen either the 2001 Japanese edition or the volumes on which it was based. Thus, for example, I do not know whether the original was actually printed or just hand copied. In addition, often melodies from handbooks are handcopied and circulated separately. They may claim to be from a particular handbook, but it may be difficult to know how accurate the copy was.

14. The doctoral dissertation by Yang Yuanzheng, 2008
楊元錚 Yang Yuanzheng is a professor at Hong Kong University. His book 古吳汪孟舒先生琴學遺著 (Valued Writings of Qin Studies by Mr. Wang Mengshu of Old Wu. Beijing, 2013) is also very useful to this study.

15. Qin handbooks from China thought to have been in Japan at this time
There may be more, but it is not yet certain, for example, whether the six mentioned here were complete copies or hand copies. Some further handbooks exist in Japanese libraries, but I have not yet seen a study of this.

16. Japanese melodies for qin
Two terms seem to be used here:

  1. "扶桑操 Fusang Cao" (just three melodies, but see here)
    This seems mostly to include melodies and/or lyrics created in Japan but in a Chinese style, but it may also include those in Japanese style (waka)
  2. "歌、和歌 Waka (grouped under Fusang Cao but has four examples specificially of waka)
    This seems to refer more directly to melodies and lyrics in Japanese style. The four waka melodies in Toko Kinpu Zhengben may be the earliest surviving written evidence of attempts to create Japanese melodies for guqin. If many more attempts were made they don't seem to have been written down.

In fact, examples (at least, surviving examples) of the latter are very few, as the qin never did gain the widespread popularity that other Chinese instruments acquired in Japan, specifically the 箏 koto, 三味線 samisen, 琵琶 biwa or 尺八 shakuhachi. Even after centuries, the appeal of the qin in Japan seems to have remained concentrated amongst Sinophiles. This attitude is captured well in the following quote from the essay Dankin 談琴, by Matsui Ren 松井廉 (1857‐1926), translated in Yang (op.cit.) as follows,

From of old, the qin music of national songs has never become popular in the world. Sugiura Kinzen’s effort on waka ...... is [one of these efforts in vain]. It is because qin players are Confucians, not gakunins (musicians). Confucians like [Chinese] poetry, not national songs. For those who master the national songs, there are koto and biwa ready to accompany the songs. There is no need for them to play the qin. Therefore, efforts to compile the qin version of the national songs are all wasted in vain. After all, it is better to follow the old saying: "To transmit and not to invent, to believe in and to be devoted to antiquity."
古來 以國語蒙琴音皆不遂行于世。琴川之于和歌......是也。蓋奏琴者不在伶人而在儒家。 儒家喜詩而不喜邦歌。善唱邦歌者,古來自有箏及琵琶在,固不要琴也。 是以邦歌譜皆屬作者徒勞,畢竟不如"述而不作,信而好古"也。

And of attempts to create specifically Japanese melodies for the qin Van Gulik wrote (p.230, edited)

"...The shogun ordered the official musician Tsuji Buzen-no-kami together with Onada Tosen to work out (qin) versions of Japanese songs. When these versions were ready, they were played in the palace of the Shogun. 德廟命伶宮辻豐前守輿廷賓,謀被本邦之樂於七絃,曲成也,進奏於殿中。"

These attempts, however, seem to have had scant success. The majority of Japanese qin players aimed at singing the qin melodies in as purely Chinese a way as possible...."

Of course, all this might be related to the fact that, even in China the tradition (and/or nature) of the qin has always been, while not necessarily Confucian, to eschew mass appeal.

17. Did all the music in Japanese qin handbooks come from China?
Handbooks such as Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu are sometimes said to have only had tablature that was brought to Japan. However, it is clear from Japanese writing of that time that Jiang Xingchou modified some melodies for his students. Quite likely he also created new songs while in Japan, as qin songs seemed the best suit for his "market".

The idea of local creations may be supported by the inclusion of the "fusang melodies", said to refer to melodies created by Shin-etsu in Japan, and the waka (for which no lyrics were included). But even the ones said to be waka do not seem necessarily to have had their music inspired by Japanese idiom.

18. Other early foreign music preserved in Japan
Besides qin music in the Edo period, there is also the Chinese court music brought there during the Heian period. Both of these might appear to be exceptions to the Japanization of foreign music. However, although the Japanese court music tradition consciously attempted to preserve music brought from Tang dynasty China, the research of the Cambridge Tang Dynasty music research project suggests that in the Japanese attempts to preserve this music they actually changed it so much as to make it unrecognizable. However, this can only been heard through its survival in the oral tradition. It is also possible that qin music in the tradition of Jiang Xingchou was at least sometimes changed considerably in actual performance. However, if this did happen there seems to be no evidence to show how this may have been done.

19. The ancient melody You Lan
Yang, pp.111ff, writes about Ogyu Sorai's attempts to show this melody was actually created by Confucius.

20. Melodies brought to Japan by Jiang Xingchou/Shin-Etsu
As can be seen by the discussions on this and the related pages there is some disagreement about which melodies were actually brought to Japan by Jiang Xingchou. For example, it is not clear whether some melodies assumed to have been brought to Japan were actually copied later by Shin-Etsu based on a memory of something he had played before he arrived in Japan. These may include many of the melodies that handbooks say he (or perhaps one of his students) revised.

曲肱軒 Qu Gong Xuan (Kyokkōken shujin)
14610.93: room name of 宋,魏衍 Wei Yan, a Song scholar with probably no connection to here. There are also such online references as 曲肱軒主人 and 曲肱居士. However, I have not yet seen any comment saying what Qu Gong Xuan refers to here.

At least eight melodies are said to come from this collection, as follows:

  1. 醉翁操 Zui Weng Cao
    "東皋三一山人手挍于曲肱軒 Donggao Three in One Mountain Man Personally Examined it in Qu Gong Xuan"
  2. 靜觀吟 Jing Guan Yin
    "曲肱軒秘譜 Qugong Xuan Secret Tablature"
  3. 鳳梧鳴佩 Feng Wu Ming Pei
    "曲肱軒藏譜 Qugong Xuan Collected Tablature"
  4. 鳴鳳朝陽 Ming Feng Zhaoyang
    "曲肱軒藏譜 Qugong Xuan Collected Tablature"
  5. 草堂吟 Cao Tang Yin
    "曲肱軒藏譜,凡四闋 Qugong Xuan Collected Tablature, in four sections"
  6. 竹枝詞 Zhuzhi Ci; in Hewen (IV/45)
    "曲肱軒藏譜,凡四闋 Qugong Xuan Collected Tablature
  7. 小操 Xiao Cao; in Hewen (IV/46)
    "曲肱軒藏譜,凡四闋 Qugong Xuan Collected Tablature
  8. 箕山操 Jishan Cao; in Hewen (IV/47)
    "曲肱軒藏譜,凡四闋 Qugong Xuan Collected Tablature

Yang mentions Qugong Xuan, but without comment.

21. "Japanese melodies" (扶桑操 Fusang Cao)
See above: although the "Japanese melodies" here in Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu do not seem to differ in style from its other qin melodies, Toko Kinpu Zhengben includes pieces that seem to be more purely Japanese (see its "歌、和歌 Waka".

22. Melodies brought to Japan by players not connected to Shin-Etsu
There is actually very little evidence to suggest that any qin players from China were able to overcome the Japanese prohibitions on foreigners living or even traveling in Japan. Nevertheless, Van Gulik (who in his chart calls this the "outer tradition") takes it as a given, typifying this tradition by suggesting that it was furthered especially by people who followed the supposedly Confucian attitude that Buddhists could only corrupt a tradition that had been initiated by the ancient sages. Thus Van Gulik wrote (op.cit., p.248) of the following attitude expressed by one member of this tradition, Murai Kinzan (1733-1815):

(Murai) was not satisfied with the tradition established by Shin-etsu, whom, being a priest, Kinzan deemed unworthy to touch the qin. In 1785 in Nagasaki he met the Chinese scholar Pan Weichuan, and from him learned the qin. Therefore Kinzan considers himself the only Japanese who possesses the real Chinese qin tradition.... He says that later he continued his studies of the Chinese qin on the basis of the materials of Zhu Shunshui...."

None of the melodies in Shin-Etsu's tradition is overtly Buddhist other than the ubiquitous Shitan Zhang, a piece in many handbooks but with few descriptions of how it might have been played before it was transformed into the instrumental melody called Pu'an Zhou.

23. Melodies adapted for qin from Japanese court music (gagaku)
See Yang, pp.103-129. In Chapter III, Gagakuization of the Qin, Yang gives details of a gagaku performance given in 1738 before the Shogun in Edo where, quite unusually, qin were included in the ensemble. On pp. 145-6 he writes that,

Tachibana Minamikei 橘南谿(1782‐1806), a doctor of Chinese medicine and amateur qin player who lived in Tsu‐han, recorded OnodaTōzen’s qin versions for the gagaku pieces 越天樂 Etenraku, 五常樂 Gojōraku, and 拔頭 Batō in his unpublished manuscript Kingaku zasshi 琴學雜誌 (Gaku‐kin nos. 157‐159).

These three pieces are among the 10 discussed here, but I am not sure if the versions are the same. I am also unsure of how all these might be connected a project overseen by Onada Tozen in 1735 whereby 25 qin notations were made from gagaku melodies (Yang, p.186).

From what I can tell these transcriptions were always performed by qin together with ensemble. And although the fact that I have not yet heard of people describing having heard or played them solo does not mean this didn't happen, it suggests that this was never a signifant trend. On the other hand, such solo performances do seem to fit better Gyokudo's known inclinations.

24. Melodies in an idiomatically Japanese style
Because this page focuses on the melodies from Shin-Etsu and his followers that have now been published in Qinqu Jicheng, the emphasis is on the first two categories above. However, Toko Kinpu Zhengben also includes four pieces that seem to be more purely Japanese (see its "歌、和歌 Waka"; and Zha Fuxi did not include any handbooks such as the one by Uragami Gyokudo (see Gyokudo Collection Qin Handbook, 1791), presumably because it focused on a more idiomatically Japanese repertoire. Perhaps much if not all of this was inspired by gagaku music; in this case is should perhaps be included in the previous category.

25. Preserving ancient Chinese music
This does not mean that text preserved in Japan, particularly from the Togaku reperoire, cannot be used to gain a better understanding of Chinese music from that period (further comment).

26. Handbooks connected to Shin-Etsu (details under Content)
Specifically regarding the titles, the implication seems to have been that, on the one hand, during the lifetime of Toko Shin-etsu (1639-1695) his handbook was called simply the "Qin Handbook with Lyrics having Japanese Pronunciation" (和文注音琴譜 Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu; in Japan "和" could refer to "Japanese") and that, in constrast, the use of his name in titles came later (i.e., "東皐琴譜 Toko Kinpu") means Qin Handbook of Toko's Music).

Then, according to the dates Zha Fuxi gives, Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu was the first, and the earliest; the latter two have in their title the words "Toko Kinpu" (or "Toko Kimpu": "Qin Handbook of Toko") in accordance with the common tradition for titles of Japanese tablature connected to Toko Shin-Etsu.

Regarding the former, Zha Fuxi's dating it to "before 1676" suggests the opinion that it consisted of the music brought to Japan by Shin-Etsu. As for the other two, perhaps the use of the words "Toko Kinpu" in the title seems to suggest that these handbooks consisted of melodies Shin-Etsu taught in Japan, not simply the ones he brought there. However, an examination of the melodies in the handbooks themselves suggests that the actual content was more complex than that. In fact, Van Gulik's writings about this seem to divide the music into, on the one hand, simple melodies that Shin-Etsu would have taught to novices (including both ones he brought to Japan and ones he himself created there, i.e., the Fusang melodies) and, on the other hand, melodies that he would have taught to more advanced students (or perhaps simply played himself). This is discussed further in this entry.

27. Van Gulik on Shin-Etsu's melodies
See R. H. Van Gulik, Lore of the Chinese Lute, in particular pp. 226-227.

28. Japanese handbooks in 琴曲集成 Qinqu Jicheng (Volume XII/165-381)
The original commentary by 查阜西 Zha Fuxi (QQJC XII/ii-iii) was edited for publication in 1992 by 吳釗 Wu Zhao. For more on Zha Fuxi see details of his Guqin Work.

29. Zha Fuxi's list of Toko Kinpu he had seen
Zha published the following list of the names of handbooks he had actually seen. Some handbooks are not on the list because Zha Fuxi was either unaware of them or had not been able to gain access to them. For others he determined they did not include anything not aleady seen in the three he did include. In any case, in addition to Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu he listed the handbooks he was able to see as follows:

  1. 宿谷慎吏編 Shukutani Chikasato edition; combines two volumes dated 1802 and 1808
    9 folios, 44 melodies; in the 上野圖書館 Ueno Museum;

  2. 兒島鳳林刊本 Kojima Horin edition; 1827
    3 folios, 46 melodies

  3. 德川元子又本《東皋琴譜》 Another Toko Kinpu of Tokugawa Motoko
    33 melodies

  4. 德川元子藏《琴譜雜錄》 Tokugawa Motoko's Qinpu Zalu
    Includes four songs seldom seen elsewhere, 春野 Chun Ye (Haruno),富士 Fu Shi,山里 Shan Li and 山櫻 Shan Ying (
    further comment).

  5. 大原止郎據仁木斯祐 Ohara Shiro's volume based on Niki Siko; 1898
    33 melodies; in the 東京大學圖書館 Tokyo University Library

  6. 鈴木龍刊本 Suzuki Ryu's edition; 1772
    14 melodies (? should be 15)

  7. 菊地遷甫刊本 Kikuchi Sensuke's edition; 1797
    15 melodies

QQJC includes the fifth and sixth of these handbooks. They were apparently copied by the well-known modern musicologist 田邊尚雄 Tanabe Hisao (1883 - 1984).

30. Toko Kinpu Zha Fuxi did not see
The earliest of these seem to have been three books in the collection of 德川元子 (Tokugawa Motoko) in Tokyo, but those books had not been copied, so they were not available to Zha Fuxi for examination. He describes them as follows:

  1. &
  2. 東皋琴譜,杉浦正職重校本 Toko Kinpu double-checked edition by Sugiura Kinsen, two editions:
        桂川月池抄本 A Hand Copy by Katsuragawa Getchi (1751 - 1809), details not known
        幸田子泉舊藏本 An Old Volume Belonging to Koda Shisen (d. 1758), three folios, 57 melodies
  3. 琴譜 Qin Handbook
        幸田子泉舊藏 Old Collection of Koda Shisen (d. 1758), in 7 folios, with 51 melodies.

See also the reference above to the "earliest" of these Toko Kinpu. The Sugiura Kinsen volume is apparently the basis for the new correct edition of Toko Kinpu published in 2001.

31. Pieces in later Toko Kinpu that were not in Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu
The six melodies in the later QQJC handbooks that were among the eight not in Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu and are also not to be found in surviving handbooks published in China are:

  1. Nanxun Cao (or Nanfeng Ge),
  2. Canglang Ge,
  3. Ming Feng Zhaoyang,
  4. Shi Jiao Yin,
  5. Ji Yinzhe and
  6. Yi Lan Cao.

In this regard see also the pieces in the "orthodox" volume mentioned in the next footnote. here is a list of the pieces that, in spite of the fact that it may have been published earlier than them, it has that were not in either Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu or in either of these two Toko Qinpu.

More puzzling is that two pieces in the later handbooks have lyrics but not music: Ye Zuo and Zhou Ye; one, Caoman Yin, has only music, but lyrics are published elsewhere

32. "Orthodox" Toko Kinpu"(「東皐琴譜」正本)
This handbook, the title of which could also be translated as the "Complete Toko Kinpu", was published in a limited edition (50 copies) by the senior Japanese qin specialist 坂田進一 Sakata Shinichi (information from the 秋月齋 Autumn Moon Studio, which also sent the Table of Contents, on which this page was based). It would be interesting to compare this with the 1709 edition mentioned above.

Note also the inclusion in this handbook of more of the advanced melodies, such as Liu Shui and Ou Lu Wang Ji. Here it might be noted that Van Gulik, ibid., said that he initially was quite convinced that all the melodies brought by Shin-Etsu were so simple that he must not have had very advanced students, and perhaps he himself was not such a skilled player either. However, noting mention of other handbooks Shin-Etsu brought with him, Van Gulik added that more recently he had revised his opinion, at least holding open the possibility that Shin-Etsu and some of his followers actually were quite skilled. Here it would be interesting to know how the versions from Japan of such melodies compare with the ones surviving from Chinese handbooks.

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