Qin Yuan Yao Lu
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Qinyuan Yaolu
Anonymous; Qinshu Cunmu #99, 2 11 lines
Facsimile edition published in Beijing 3
琴苑要錄 1

This anonymous handbook is said to date from the 13/14th centuries, but it mostly copied earlier material.

Table of Contents (Beijing facsimile edition)
(Page reference 1/1 means second part of double page 1)

I. Qin Cao 琴操 (missing the Five Melodies and 21 Hejian Zage: see the
Pingjin Guan edition Table of Contents)
    QSCM #10, #12 and #18 are all Qin Cao.4

A. 12 old laments (古操十二章 Gu Cao 12 Zhang) 1/1
     Compare the Pingjin Guan edition
  1. Jiang Gui Cao (將歸操)
  2. Yi Lan Cao (猗蘭操)
  3. Gui Shan Cao (龜山操)
  4. Yueshang Cao (越裳操)
  5. Ju You Cao (拘幽操)
  6. Qi Shan Cao (岐山操)
  7. Lü Shuang Cao (履霜操)
  8. Zhao Fei Cao (朝飛操)
  9. Bie He Cao (別鶴操)
  10. Can Xing Cao (殘形操)
  11. Shui Xian Cao (水仙操)
  12. (Huai Ling Cao 懷陵操 missing!)
B. (9 Preludes) (yin; this title is missing) 6/1
      Compare the
Pingjin Guan edition
  1. Lienü Yin (see 1525)
  2. Boji Yin
  3. Zhen Nü Yin
  4. Si Gui Yin
  5. Pili Yin
  6. Zou Ma Yin
  7. Konghou Yin
  8. Qin Yin
  9. Chu Yin
  Finger methods diagram #1 (complete pdf)  
II. Zequan Heshang (則全和尚): Rhythm and Finger Methods (節奏指法) 11/1 (pdf; compare these)
      QSCM, #97 but not QSDQ Folios 8 or 9; precursor of the illustrations paired with symbolic representations?
      Discussed in Qinshi Chubian, Chapter 6c6 (Rhythm and Finger Methods and Chapter 6b3 (Diaozi and Caonong)
  1. (Preface) - by the unnamed editor?
    - "琴者禁也禁其邪淫則其聲正也...." Mentions Zequan at the end) 11/1
  2. Finger methods 12/1
    - "凡下指先落指在絃上方用力不可自空中下指遊...."
  3. Finger diagrams and explanations 13/1
    - 23 right then 10 left (complete pdf)
  4. Rhythm (discusses Zui Weng Yin; quotes Yi Hai) 29/2
    - "凡琴操各有格如宮商角徴羽五調不轉絃但宮調...."
III. 琴書 Qin Shu (Qin Book) 34/2
QSCM, #96 (not #44)
  1. (製琴 Making a Qin -- Why not this section title?)
    制造 Construction; quotes 李勉 Li Mian, 琴記 Qin Ji (琴說 Qin Shuo?)
    and 齊松 Qi Song, 琴記 Qin Ji; 34/2
    製琴法 Construction methods 36/2
    Boiling wood for brightness method 40/1
    Mixing for bright qin method 40/2
    Taking off brightness and bringing out brightness method 41/1
    Making strings method 41/1
    Boiling strings method 42/2
    Wrapping strings method (with illustrations) 43/1
  2. 辨徽 Explaining the studs (hui) 44/1
  3. 辨音 Explaining the tones (yin) 45/2
  4. 彈法 Playing method 47/2
  5. 琴說 Discussing Qin (beginning with 琴錄 7 rules) 49/2
    Rules: 10 uglies, 5 no-plays 50/1
  6. 辨曲 Distinguishing melodies 50/1
  7. 曲名 Melody names (99+57+97) 50/2
  8. (指法 Finger techniques)
    Figures for right hand strokes 54/1
    Figures for left hand strokes 54/1
    Method of combining these figures 54/2
    Right hand finger techniques 54/2
  9. 善琴 Praising the qin 56/2
    Begins with Zhi Xi Preface (止息序 Zhixi Xu; compare
    Lü Wei).5
IV. Qin Sound Rules Diagrams (Qin Sheng Lü Tu 琴聲律圖)
QSCM, #113 (two titles); by Qu Zhan of Xiping (西平麴瞻) 59/1

V. Cutting Qin Methods (碧落子, Zhuo Qin Fa 斲琴法)
     QSCM, #125, by Biluozi (石汝礪 Shi Ruli) 60/1

  1. Fixing the size of materials 60/2
  2. Size of the qin body 61/1
  3. Paring the surface method 62/1
  4. Tuning the sounds method 62/2
  5. Comparing the size of old qins method 63/2
  6. Qin color style method 65/1
VI. Cutting Workmens' Secrets (斲匠秘訣)
QSCM, #133, anonymous

    目錄 Table of contents (66/1)
  1. 選材 Selecting Materials (66/1)
  2. etc. (20 items)
VII. Qin Commentary (琴箋 Qin Jian) 73/2
QSCM, #92; by (Song) Cui Zundu (崔遵度), aka Cui Jianbai (字堅白); discussed in QSCB, Chapter 6c4.  
VIII. Continuation of Qin Commentary (續琴箋) 75/2
QSCM, #132; author unknown

  IX.  Fengsu Tong, Discussion of sounds (風俗通,音聲論) 77/2
         This passage from
Fengsu Tong is also quoted in QSDQ, but the end is different.
         Tacked on at end: a passage from the Xin Lun by Huan Tan discussing the origins of the qin.6

   X.  Qin Discussion (琴論) 78/2
QSCM, #67; by Yao Jianji (姚兼濟)

In the Beijing reprint of Qinyuan Yaolu there is here (p. 80/1) a brief comment by 馮水 Feng Shui (modern) on this edition. After that is an appendix called 太音大全手訣 Hand mnemonics from Taiyin Daquan; these are the same as can be found in Taiyin Daquanji (See QQJC, I, p.79ff). There is then another afterword by Feng Shui.

Qinyuan Yaolu is mentioned in various places on this site, including,

  1. Han Yu,
  2. Qinshi Chubian, 6A1 (ref. Yi Hai),
  3. Wusheng Qinpu,
  4. Shen Qi Mi Pu Preface,
  5. Zhi Zhao Fei,
  6. Qishan Cao,
  7. Juyou Cao,
  8. Yueshang Cao,
  9. Lü Shuang Cao,
  10. Zuiweng Yin (on rhythm).

I am still not sure about many things concerning this book.7

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 琴苑要錄 Qinyuan Yaolu references
21570.xxx; 中國音樂思想批批判 Zhongguo Yinyue Sixiang Pipan (1965), pp.149/150, mentions two available editions, 瞿氏舊藏明抄本 (Old Ming copybook in the collection of the Qu Family), and 據明抄本傳抄晒印 (A blueprint [?] based on the Ming hand copy). The Qu family edition was in their Iron Qin Bronze Sword Tower (鐵琴銅劍樓 Tieqintongjianlou Shumu). The introduction to Wusheng Qinpu says, "The original copy was in the collection of the Qu family of Changshu, but now it has been returned (sic) to the Beijing Library. It is a sister volume to a hand copy of Qinyuan Yaolu in a collection dating from the Zheng De period (1506-22)." Qinshu Cunmu (see below) makes no mention of Wusheng Qinpu, saying instead that it was together with Qin Shi. (Return)

2. Qinshu Cunmu says it is 舊抄本 an old handcopy, then writes,

The name of the compiler is unknown. Looking at Tieqintongjianlou Shumu, this volume was bound together with Qin Shi

3. Facsimile edition of 琴苑要錄 Qinyuan Yaolu
The facsimile edition I have was apparently printed in Beijing, but it gives no publication details. At the end is appended a 太音大全手訣 Taiyin Daquan Shoujue Hand Mnemonics (an excerpt from Taiyin Daquanji, which can also be seen in QQJC, I, pp.79 - 83). This Qinyuan Yaolu is apparently a copy of the version that was in the Iron Qin Bronze Sword Tower (鐵琴銅劍樓 Tieqintongjianlou The afterword by 馮水 Feng Shui in the Beijing edition begins as follows:

The volume of Qinyuan Yaolu was a Zhengde period hand copy in the Iron Qin Bronze Sword Tower. 烏城周夢坡 Zhou Mengpo of Wucheng once copied it out by hand. I made this copy from his handcopy. According to Zhou, Qinshu Cunmu says it was compiled in the Song dynasty. (So it is important for qin).

Feng Shui is also connected with some other publications from the "early Republic" (see, e.g., in Zha Guide).

4. What is included in this edition of Qinyuan Yaolu actually begins with a section called 古操十二章 12 Old Laments, but the section introduces 20 melodies. If compared with the 平津館 Pingjin Guan edition of 蔡邕琴操 the Qin Cao of Cai Yong (see editions), it can be seen that this Qinyuan Yaolu edition has the first 11 of the 12 cao, then (without a heading) the nine preludes (引 yin) which form the middle two sections of the Pingjin Guan edition. Here the title of the 12th cao and a heading for the nine yin have been added. (Return)

5. Zhi Xi Preface (止息序 Zhixi Xu), from 善琴 Praising the qin
This may be connected to the melody attributed to Lü Wei. It is translated into German by Manfred Dahmer, who dates it to 1035 CE; see Der Lange Regenbogen, Die Solosuite Guanglingsan für Qin; Uelzen, Medinizinisch Literarische Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, 2009; pp. 86-87 and 111-112. The original text is as follows (punctuation and some corrections from Dahmer):


No English translation. The essay in Qin Yuan Yao Lu continues with a passage from Liezi (列子曰: 瓠巴鼓琴,鳥舞、魚躍。師文聞之....).

6. 新論 Xin Lun passage discussing qin
DeWoskin, Song, p.115, includes the translation by Timothy Pokora (see details) of this passage. It includes the following description:

Above it was circular and gathered in, following the model of Heaven; below it was square and flat, following the model of earth....

Clearly this is describing the rounded top and the flat bottom that one finds on all qin. The translation may thus be somewhat misleading. In an article from 2007 on early qin-type instruments Prof. Bo Lawergren interprets this passage as referring to round and square areas on the early qin-types, then compares this with the two sound posts now found inside the qin (in the reverse direction), the rounded one called tianzhu (heavenly pillar), the square one dizhu (earthly pillar). Yuan (圓) means rounded as well as circular and lian (歛 or 斂) seems to suggests the way it meets the flat surface. Fang, in addition to "square", can also suggest rectangular (e.g., it can refer to a wooden tally, which was rectangular).

7. For example, see the Shen Qi Mi Pu Preface comment about Qin Shu. Is this the same book as that mentioned by Wang Shixiang in a footnote of his Guangling San article? In his comments on the Qin Shu in Qinyuan Yaolu, Wang quotes from the version above then adds that 周慶雲,琴書存目 Zhou Qingyun's Qinshu Cunmu includes a Qin Shu written during the 景祐 Jingyou period (1034-38) of the Song dynasty (see QSCM #96 [Folio III, #8]). (Return)

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