Baishidaoren Gequ: Songs of the Whitestone Daoist
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Songs of the Whitestone Daoist
- A collection of songs and song lyrics by Jiang Kui 2
白石道人歌曲 1
Baishi Daoren Gequ, 姜夔歌曲集  
  A page explaining different forms of music notation 3    
Jiang Kui (ca. 1155 - 1221), introduced separately, was a major poet, music "composer/creator" and critic. However, although his songs apparently received high praise in his day, it is not certain how much the music actually circulated even at that time; and amongst those who did play from his notation, one can also speculate as to what extent these were treated as "creations" and to what extent they were treated as "compositions".4 In fact, there seems to be no record of them having been played outside his own presence, at least not before attempts were made beginning in the 18th century to revive them, a task that therefore had to be based largely if not completely on the written documents, not on living examples.5 Now a number of studies of his work have been published and, for at least some of his songs, performances have been available for some time of the lyrics together with interpretations of the melodies.6

It seems particularly worthwhile to study whether the rhythms suggested in the tablature for Jiang Kui's qin melody Gu Yuan can be used to gain a better understanding of the rhythmic style in Jiang Kui's other melodies. Whether or not they were guided by such details or perhaps simply inpired by Gu Yuan, some players today have adapted for qin (or sung with qin accompaniment) some of Jiang Kui's ci songs.7

My own work in this area8 began with an interest in seeing whether music in the qin tradition could shed light on other early Chinese music traditions, particularly the Tang dynasty music preserved in Japan.9 Most of the information on this page was put here to help consider the possibility of applying this interest to doing my own interpretations of Jiang Kui's songs. However, much of the detail came from material very difficult to understand, and any conclusions given here are very tentative, though hopefully worthy of pursuing further as well as being challenged.10

To begin a practical exploration of rhythmic possibilities within Jiang Kui's scores I did my own transcriptions of all 17 of his ci songs (and made midi files of the same). As with my qin transcriptions, all are in staff notation but treat the notes as though they are solfeggio (as singers might have done). The notes follow Pian (also consulting Picken) except that for purposes of comparison they are all transposed to scales without accidentals and the rhythms are my own (though see #7). Under the notes I have paired the original lyrics, their romanization and, for most of them, a translation adapted from Picken; sometimes there are added comparative comments. Since doing my initial versions of all 17 ci songs I have periodically made revisions, trying to make them more memorable musically without violating the written texts as I understand them. I have also made midi versions of each transcription, and listening to these, as well as hearing them sung or played on other instruments, has provided further inspiration for these revisions.11

As for Jiang Kui ci songs set for qin, in addition to writing out staff notation with my tentative interpretation of all of the 17 ci settings below, for five of them I have also devised qin tablature. Recordings of these five adaptations for qin can be found by following these links:12

Having done this, and found the melodies interesting but difficult to adapt for qin idiom without adding notes, I have since then worked basically with the midi files, mainly in order to use these to help imagine how they might have sounded, but also to be able to make them available to people who might also have an interest in exploring this music. It would be especially good if flautists (especially players of xiao or di, but not limited to that) would play - and adapt - them (more under treatment and intended results).

In all cases the rhythms follow my own feelings about the songs, but they are not intended to be prescriptive any more than I think Jiang Kui's own notation was intended to be prescriptive: these were creations, not compositions. My understanding of traditional Chinese music, other than perhaps ritual music, is that the results should not be staid and in unison, but a free interplay between instruments (or as here, voice and instrument). When played on a flute or other instrument the melody should also be memorable enough that it can be played without having to look at any notation. 14

A number of musical differences become readily apparent when reconstructing songs from Jiang Kui's notation after doing the same with what seems to be the more complete information about the music in early qin tablature (including Jiang Kui's own qin song Gu Yuan, which I have also recorded). The following outline touches on some of these differences:

  1. Rhythm:15 The biggest difficulty in finding out how these songs might have sounded in Jiang Kui's time is deciding on appropriate rhythms, as the form of notation he used may include some rhythmic indications but it is incomplete information that is not well understood. Of course, the texts of Jiang Kui's songs may themselves also give hints at the rhythm, but here the qin tablature paired with qin song texts generally gives even stronger rhythmic hints through its fingerings and ornamentation.
  2. Mode:16 At present it is too early for me to make my own conclusions about mode, but so far the differences seem to include the following:
    • Qin melodies published in the Ming dynasty tend to be 1 2 3 5 6 pentatonic, non-pentatonic notes tending to be 4# and 7b in addition to 4 and 7; the Jiang Kui songs (perhaps excluding ornamentation) can all be written in the scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.
    • Ming dynasty qin publications group their melodies under a variety of named modes, and yet their tonal centers (perhaps with Gu Yuan as well) are almost always 1 (or 6 for a "minor" la - mi mode piece). However, with the Jiang Kui ci melodies the tonal centers (based on the scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7) break down as follows: five have 5 (sol) as the tonal center, five have 4, four have 2, two have 6 and only one has 1.
    • Most qin melodies have a secondary tonal center a fifth above the primary one; this seems rather rare amongst the Jiang Kui songs.
    There are differences of opinion regarding the interpretation of Jiang Kui's note names and I am not an expert in their interpretation. However, I wonder whether the complexity of modal names for the surviving early qin repertoire compared to the regularity of its modal structures might suggest that Jiang Kui's songs, similarly complex in modal terminology, might have been similarly restricted in their actual modality.
  3. Ci tonal patterns:17 Not only here but within the general qin repertoire there are a number of songs that are set for ci lyrics. My reconstructions of them are included here with comment on tonal patterns here. As stated there, for individual ci patterns the character counts are given, and it seems possible to sing multiple lyrics that use the same pattern. However, as yet I have found little specific evidence that this was done. As for whether singing these allows the music to follow the patterns' pingze rules, Joseph Lam has quoted Yang Yinliu and Yin Falu in claiming that, "Jiang Kui himself had only a 63 percent rate of following linguistic tones 'accurately."
  4. Intonation:18 Jiang Kui's ci melodies may have a different intonation from what is played on qin (where this may depend in part on tuning). Such differences are suggested by other reconstructions I have heard, but once again I have not been able to study this issue closely.
  5. Instrumentation (and range):19 With the Jiang Kui songs it is known that he played most of them on flute, but at least once he specified another wind instrument and one can speculate about others that might have been used. As for range, untrained voices typically have a range somewhat more than an octave (compare the octave plus two or three notes available in Jiang Kui's notation system); skilled voices, not to mention flutes, have a much greater range. Is it likely that Jiang Kui would have limited himself to only those notes he could notate?
  6. Syllabic setting:21 As can be seen either from qin tablature paired to lyrics or from transcriptions of the ci songs, both have a largely syllabic setting: one character for each note; if ornamental notes are added (whether directly written in the tablature or not) they add more notes for one syllable, never more syllables for one note.
  7. Repeated notes:22 In the ci songs two notes of the same pitch almost never follow each other, while in the qin songs there are extended passages where several syllables (sometimes as many as seven) are sung to the same repeated note (or octave thereof).

Some of differences in style and intonation seem to originate with the physical nature of the qin itself compared to that of other instruments.23

Although many recents attempts to revive the Jiang Kui songs have diverged greatly from the principles of historically informed performance, this of course does not necessarily make them less appealing.24

What we do know of the songs attributed to Jiang Kui is almost completely based on the materials in Songs of the Whitestone Daoist. According to Prof. Rulan Chao Pian, who transcribed them all in her book Sonq Dynasty Musical Sources and their Interpretation, the official date given for this publication, 1202 (i.e., while Jiang was still alive; other sources have put the dates as 1176-1197), is based on a colophon by Qian Xiwu, but it is not clear in what form they were then originally published.25 She added that the earliest surviving publications were hand-written copies by Tao Zongyi dated 1350 and 1360 (which have not survived), and that the latter then became the basis for later printed versions, of which at least three with the music notation have survived but only from the 18th century.26 Of these latter, I am familiar with two versions, one in six folios,27 the other in four.28 Pian writes that one of the six folio versions seems to be the earliest one.29

In any case, the material in the two collections is almost identical, the main contents being:

The possibility that this was all compiled in 1202, while Jiang Kui was still alive, emphasizes the fact that Jiang Kui may have also done settings for more than the 28 pieces included here. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that any such further songs have survived.

Of most interest here are the 28 pieces with the music included. These are further discussed in a three-part Appendix. The three parts are:

These 28 now seem often to be published separately but under the full title, Songs of the Whitestone Daoist. The fact that they do survive today in written form seems to put them amongst the very few known examples prior to the Qing dynasty where we have lyrics and actual surviving music known to have been created by the same person.

As for the music itself, commentary with the surviving scores suggests that while in many cases Jiang was creating music to fit his own lyrics, in others he was arranging the lyrics to fit melodies that he had heard in various places. In fact, among the 51 ci titles, only the last 13 are directly attributed to him, with the first nine of these said to be "self-done" (zidu) and the last four "self-made" (zizhi); the first 12 of these 13 have surviving music settings. Pian, p.35 says that the terms zidu and zizhi seem to be interchangeable, but does not clarify whether this refers specifically to the music, the words, both or a combination of these. It is also important to note that, although today there have been a number of efforts to reconstruct and perform these songs, and clearly the reprintings just mentioned suggest they have always been highly regarded, it is not clear whether they were actually ever performed outside of Jiang's own circle of friends; and by the time efforts were made in the 18th century to revive them, the actual music was long forgotten (Pian, p. 35).

Although there seems to be no indication that these were intended to be sung without accompaniment by at least one instrument, Jiang only wrote down a single line of music and never gave any indication about how the voice and instrument(s) might or should interact. As for the instruments themselves, and their relation to the vocal line, his preface to the ci song Jue Shao (#13 below) states that he himself always played them on the flute, but his preface to An Xiang and Shu Ying (#10 and #11 below) suggests that he may not have had specific instruments or specific arrangements in mind (translated from Zong-qi Cai [蔡宗齊 Cai Zongqi], How to Read Chinese Poetry, p.287-296):

In the winter of the year xinhai, I took a ship through the falling snow to visit Stone Lake (style of Fan Chengda, 1126-1193). After I had stayed for a month, he handed me paper, requesting poetry and new tunes. I composed these two song lyrics, which Stone Lake held, fondling them in his hands, unwilling to put them down. He ordered a musician and singing girl to practice them. The melodies were harmonious and graceful, and he entitled them "Anxiang" (Secret Fragrance) and "Shuying" (Dappled Shadows).

This passage was then followed by the two poems (Cai also included a translation of and extensive commentary on these in his book). It would be interesting to know whether Fan Chengda was sight-reading the songs, or whether Jiang Kui sang the songs himself before or while writing them down. The lyrics of the two songs do not mention the words "an xiang" or "shu ying", so perhaps the titles were inspired by their mention in a poem by Lin Bu. (Fan Chengda himself also wrote a poem about qin called 聞琴 Hearing a Qin).

白石道人歌曲 Baishidaoren Gequ

Details of the 28 songs with lyrics

All 28 of these songs have been translated and transcribed, and most of their respective commentary translated, in three articles by Laurence Picken, as follows:

Pian also transcribes and discusses all 28 songs on pp. 99-129, 147-154 and 173-188. Her transcriptions also do not include the original notation (except with Gu Yuan). In addition, none gives any indications of note values and she does not include any translations.

Modern Chinese publications with transcriptions and analysis of these songs begin with the two works listed here.

This appendix has been put together by gathering information as I go through the songs looking for connections, or possible connections, to the qin. It is divided into three parts:

  1. Ancient Lament, the only piece written with qin tablature (琴譜).
  2. 10 Ritual Songs, written down in a variation of number notation called "pitch-pipe notation" (律呂譜 lülüpu)
  3. 17 ci songs, written down in a notation system, called 俗字譜 suzi pu

Details of these three are as follows:

  1. Jiang Kui: Ancient Lament (古怨 Gu Yuan)
    This is the only one of his 28 Songs set for qin; see further details here and in Xu Jian, Qinshi Chubian 6.B.1-7. It was written with qin tablature and lyrics paired side by side.

    It might be relevant to try to compare the modality of Gu Yuan to that (or those) of of Jiang Kui's ci songs. If the notes in Gu Yuan are considered to fit in the scale 1 2 3 4# 5 6 7, which Pian (p.43) suggests was the basic Song dynasty scale, then the main tonal center will be 2 ("shang": appropriate to the mode name "ceshang?). If it is interpreted as having 1 as the main tonal center then its scale must be be 1 2 3 4 5 6 7b. On the other hand, if the scale is written without accidentals (which then the main tonal center is 5.)

  2. Jiang Kui: 10 Ritual Songs (越九歌十首 Yue Jiu Ge Shishou, literally, 9 Songs of Yue in 10 pieces)
    Jiang Kui's 10 ritual songs were apparently entitled "9 Songs of Yue" as an allusion to the ancient Nine Songs of Chu (Nine Songs from the Chu Ci 楚辭九歌 Chu Ci Jiu Ge; see further). They were written down in a variation of number notation called "pitch-pipe notation" (律呂譜 lülüpu), shown at right in the first song (expanded; the song titles are placed after the lyrics/notation), the basics of which are outlined in this separate appendix as well as in the chart above [in Chinese]).

    Pian transcribes and discusses these 10 songs on pp. 173-188. There are also transcriptions together with commentary and translations in the cited article by Picken. There are, of course, numerous works in Chinese.

    Jiang Kui's preface to this section suggests he created both the lyrics and music himself. As translated by Picken, p.201 (Chinese original) it says:

    The men of Yue delight in sacrifices to spirts and ancestors. Their spirits are numerous and their ancient sages worthy. Following the 'Nine Songs' (of Qu Yuan, 400 BCE) I made words about them and also fitted these with tunes; to allow their being sung in worship of the same."

    Rhythm and instrumentation for the ritual songs
    Jiang Kui's surviving scores give little indication of note values or of the intended instrumentation (compare the
    ci melodies). Nevertheless, some transcriptions, such as those by Yang Yinliu, have added rhythmic interpretation. Neither Pian's nor Needham's transcriptions include note values, but Pian, p.177, does include Yang Yinliu's rhythmic interpretation of the first ritual song (on pp.166-7 she also includes a rhythmic interpretation of one of Zhu Xi's songs from lülü notation as transcribed in Qiu Zhilu).

    Regarding the instrumentation, Picken (p.218) translates the following from the paragraph Rules for the character "zhe" (折字法 Zhe zi fa) in Jiang Kui's "text of 1202" (in Folio 2 of the 6-folio edition).

    Ch'ih and ti (two cross flutes) make use of the character chê (lit. "break"). Suppose there is a character chê above, and a character wu (short for wu-i = eb) below. Then the sound will be slightly higher than that indicated by the character wu. The rest (i.e., the sounds of the other instruments) are all determined by the lower character. Bronze (=metallophones), stones (=lithophones), string (=chordophones) and gourd (=mouth organs) do not use chê-characters; they take the same sound instead.

    This together with Jiang Kui's preface suggest that these songs were intended more for a ritual ensemble than for personal use.

    The 10 ritual songs are as follows (the songs have no separate introductions; translations of the song titles as well as the linked translations of the lyrics together with transcriptions are all by Picken):

    1. 帝舜楚調 Di Shun Chu Diao (original lülü notation)
      Emperor Shun, Chu mode (translation and transcription)
    2. 王禹吳調 Wang Yu Wu Diao (original lülü notation)
      King Yu, Wu mode (translation and transcription)
    3. 越王越調 Yue Wang Yue Diao
      King of Yue, Yue mode (
      translation and transcription)
    4. 越相側商調 Yue Xiang Ceshangdiao
      The Minister of Yue, Ceshang mode (
      translation and transcription)
    5. 項王古平調 Xiang Wang Gu Pingdiao
      The King of Xiang, Guping mode (
      translation and transcription)
    6. 濤之神霜調 Tao Zhi Shen Shuangdiao
      The Spirit of the Billows, Shuang mode (
      translation and transcription)
    7. 曹蛾蜀側調 Cao E Shu Cediao
      Cao E, Shuce mode (translation and transcription)
    8. 龐將軍高平調 Pang Jiangjun Gaoping Diao
      General Pang, Gaoping mode (
      translation and transcription)
    9. 旌忠中管商調 Jing Zhong Zhongguan Shangdiao
      Honored Loyalty, Zhongguan shang mode (
      translation and transcription)
    10. 蔡孝子中管般瞻調 Cai Xiao Zi Zhongguan Banzhandiao
      Cai: A Filial Son, Zhongguan Banzhan mode (
      translation and transcription)

    As can be seen, the titles all end with an indication of the mode within which the piece was to be played. Picken comments extensively on the modes, adding (p.217),

    It may at first surprise that the "dominant" in the Western sense, or more generally, the fifth above the final, does not play a conspicuous part as subsidiary final in these songs...."

    From my experience this is very different from the modes of qin music published during the Ming dynasty, where the fifth above the main tonal center (which is also usually the final) does perform a very important function (see Modality in Early Ming Qin Tablature).

  3. Jiang Kui: 17 ci songs (詞調十七首 Ci Diao Shiqi Shou)
    This section, unlike the previous, has no separate preface; likewise it has no explanation of the music notation system, called 俗字譜 suzi pu (see further), it uses for the 17 ci settings it includes. This notation system, not found in the rest of Jiang Kui's 28 Songs, was at one time explained as a type of flute tablature system, showing which holes to stop in order to play a certain relative pitch. Generally translated as "popular notation", suzi pu is outlined in the chart above (in Chinese), with further details in this linked chart (with English). The sample at right is ci #6. Understanding this system is complicated by the fact that there are many variations and elaborations within it (see Pian pp.59-60).

    These songs are all transcribed in Pian, pp. 99-129 (she omitted the original notation and gives no indication of note values). They are also transcribed together with commentary and translations by Laurence Picken (again without the original notation, but he does give some indication of note values). There are also some other reconstructions of individual melodies in English publications. For example, Liang Mingyue includes several transcriptions with his article "The Tz'u Music of Chiang K'uei". Chinese reconstructions dating from the 1950s were listed here.

    Rhythm of the ci melodies
    The notation has some
    secondary symbols indicating pauses or note extensions and, mainly through the lyrics, an indication of the musical phrasing, but there is no direct indication of rhythm. This has led to widely differing interpretions.

    Picken (1966, p.127) writes that the melodies can be interpreted quite rhythmically.

    Yang and Yin, and Ch'iu, have published transcriptions of the songs in which notes associated with one or other of the duration signs are appropriately lengthened or shortened. Ch'iu has done this with great consistency, and has then divided up the resulting string of notes into common-time bars, with a crotchet to a syllable - except where an added sign indicates a minim or a quaver. Of the seventeen songs only one (Song 1), when treated in this way, yields a tune that is not merely measured but clearly composed of rhythmically and melodically balanced phrases. There are, however, a priori grounds for expecting certain of the tunes to be rhythmically 'four-square'.

    Pian (p.72) has a different point of view:

    Jiang Kwei's tsyr songs, as noted earlier, have pauses mostly after the rhyme or other phrase and line endings of the poems. This indicates that the melodic phrasing is closely related to the form of the texts. Whether this relationship fits into a general framework of meter, with notes of simple proportions as adopted by Yang Inliou in his transcriptions, or presupposes a rubato-like, free rhythm, such as one hears in the present-day traditional style of chanting poetry, is difficult to determine. On the other hand, the typical features of the tsyr - that is, nonsymmetrical stanzas of long and short lines made up of a mixture of odd and even numbers of equally stressed syllables, and the numerous prescribed patterns, each identified by a name - are really suggestive of the additive rhythm of the Near East, which is also characterized by prescribed rhythmic formulas of nonsymmetrical patterns. This idea is, of course, merely speculative and needs further study. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that the concept that Far Eastern music has only "square rhythm" finds support neither in ancient nor in present-day Chinese music.

    Neither of these points of view seems to consider the possibility that the music was fundamentally structured but freely interpreted. And if Pian's comment about nonsymmetrical stanzas is intended to suggest that nonsymmetrical lyrical phrasing implies nonsymmetrical rhythms, in my own experience symmetrical rhythms with non-symmetrical lyrics are often more interesting than symmetrical rhythms with symmetrical lyrics. Of course none of this actually proves anything.

    Instrumentation for playing the ci melodies
    In his preface to
    song #13 Jiang writes, "It is my practice to play all the songs I compose myself on the tung-hsiao (dongxiao end-blown flute). Shang-ch'ing singing on the spur of the moment, joined in." In his preface to song #10 he wrote that his friend Shihu (Fan Chengda) had "caused two singing-girls to practise them" (Picken, p.150). With regard to song 14 he wrote that he "ordered a man to blow" (Picken, p.157), and that he showed song 16 to a palace musician and "ordered him to play it on the ya pi-li (a double-reed pipe, sometimes referred to as the Tartar horn-pipe"; Picken, p.162).

    All this seems to suggest that the main instrument - perhaps usually the only instrument - was most likely a flute, whether end-blown or side-blown.34 Certainly the songs were intended to be sung, but perhaps that this was not always necessary.35 It has also been suggested that a listener might have been inspired to clap and/or otherwise add percussion, whether to mark the beat or the ends of phrases, but once again details of this are not made clear.36 All of this would have been quite flexible as the songs were apparently not intended for performance so much as for personal expression and communication with like-minded friends. In this their musical aesthetic, if not their lyrics, might be compared to that of qin songs.

    In this regard it should also be mentioned that there were also "singing-girls" who played qin, and that Jiang Kui might have intended many of his ci songs to be sung by them and perhaps even accompanied by whatever instruments they played. In fact, Lam (p.87) suggests that Jiang might actually have learned his ci music writing skills from such singsong girls. None of their music is known specifically to have survived, so it would only be speculation to suggest that their quality might have been at least equal to those songs transcribed by Jiang himself (or at least under Jiang's name).

    Furthermore, did Jiang imagine his own songs being played and/or sung outside of this context? On pp. pp.73-4, Lam also translates an autobiographical note dated ca. 1202 where Jiang speaks of his reputation as an improviser of ci poetry and for his knowledge of ritual and music, but nothing about praise for his melodies, not to mention nothing about them being performed by others. (In this regard see also this paragraph from Lam, p.75.)

    All this might also suggest that the ritual songs would have been more likely to have seen performance by larger ensemble, but even for this there seems to be no evidence.

    Outline of the Ci Songs

    As mentioned above these 17 songs were spread out within the four groups outlined there, grouped as follows:

    1. Four ling (#1 to #4), a form not clearly defined
    2. One man (#5), another form not clearly defined
    3. Nine 自度曲 "self-done songs" (#6 to #14); note that the first of these has "慢 man" in the title
    4. Three 自製曲 "self-made songs" (#15 to #17); Pian says "self-done" and "self-made" are interchangeable.

    The 17 individual ci song titles are grouped as follows:

      Four ling

    1. 鬲溪梅令 Ge Xi Mei Ling ("Tune: Plums Blossoms on the Far Side of the Stream"; also read as "...of Li Stream")
    2. 杏花天影 Xinghua Tian Ying ("Relections of Apricot Blossoms"); origin of this and #1 not given
    3. 醉吟商小品 Zui Yin Shang Xiaopin ("Short Drinking Music in Shang Mode"); "learned from a pipa player"
    4. 玉梅令 Yu Mei Ling ("Tune: Jade Plum [Blossoms]"); "created by Fan Chengda"

      One man

    5. 霓裳中序 Nishang Zhong Xu ("Middle Prelude to Rainbow Feather Skirts"); "found amongst old books"

      Nine self-done songs

    6. 揚州慢 Yangzhou Man ("Yangzhou Idling Tune"); first of nine 自度曲 self-done melodies
    7. 長亭怨慢 Chang Ting Yuan Man ("Station post Idling Tune")
    8. 淡黃柳 Dan Huang Liu (Pale Yellow Willows)
    9. 石湖仙 Shihu Xian (The Stone Lake Immortal)
    10. 暗香 An Xiang (Hidden Fragrance)
    11. 疏影 Shu Ying (Scattered Shadows)
    12. 惜紅衣 Xi Hong Yi ("Cherishing a Red Dress")
    13. 角招 Jue Shao (Melody in Jue); "It is my practice to play all the songs I compose myself on the dongxiao."
    14. 徴招 Zhi Shao (Melody in Zhi); Jiang's comment on this (also pertains to #15) includes a very interesting discourse on mode and qin

      Three self-made songs

    15. 秋宵吟 Qiu Xiao Yin ("Autumn Evening Intonation"); first of three 自制曲 self-made melodies; only song without a preface
    16. 淒涼犯 Qiliang Fan ("Qiliang Melody"); more discourse on mode and qin)
    17. 翠樓吟 Cui Lou Yin ("Green Pavilion Intonation"); third self-made melody

    The links below to "facsimile" below refers to the version as printed in the Siku Quanshu edition, with commentary (if present) then suzi pu ("popular notation").

    Details of the 17 Ci Songs
    Two or three of the songs or their commentaries directly mention qin:
    #12, #14 and perhaps #13 ("Wu silk"). There is additional mention of qin arrangements with #4, #5, #7, #10, #11, #14 and #16.

    1. 鬲溪梅令 Ge Xi Mei Ling ("Tune: Plum Blossoms on the Far Side of the Stream"; also read as "...on Li Stream" or "...on Li Stream");
      Facsimile; Picken translation and transcription.
      First of four "令 ling".

      The original lyrics are as follows:

      好花不與殢香人。浪粼粼。                   Hǎo huā bu yǔ tì xiāng rén. Làng lín lín.
      The lovely blossom is not here with him who dotes on its fragrance.
          The waves sparkle.
      又恐春風歸去綠成陰。玉鈿何處尋。   Yòu kǒng chūn fēng guī qù lǜ chéng yīn. Yù tián hé chù xún.
      And I fear, with the spring-wind departed, the green shade will be complete.
          Where shall I seek her green jade hairpin?

      木蘭雙槳夢中雲。小橫陳。                   Mù lán shuāng jiǎng mèng zhōng yún. Xiǎo héng chén.
      With a pair of magnolia oars, in a dream through the clouds,
          For a short space, I lie down stretched out.
      漫向孤山山下覓盈盈。翠禽啼一春。   Màn xiàng Gū Shān shān xià mì yíng yíng. Cuì qín tí yī chūn.
      There is no need to go restlessly seeking beauty under Gushan mountain.
          The bluebird will sing for a whole spring.

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center is 2, secondary 6. The music written for the second verse is almost identical to that for the first. In Picken the notes with "粼" and "橫" are one pitch higher; with "夢" it is a sixth lower, but "殢" is the same; the mode is not affected.

      Regarding the text: 鬲 46667: li (specific ritual vessel), ge (hinder), e (yoke). Picken uses "Ge" in the sense of "blocked by the stream", hence "far side of the stream". Others use "鬲" as the name of the river, usually "Ge River" ("Plums by the Ge River") but sometimes "Plums by the Li River" (Li Xi Mei Ling); I have not yet found a dictionary or gazeteer reference to "鬲" used as a river name.

      Jiang Kui's preface says only that he "作此 created this" himself to express how he felt upon returning to Wuxi (from Gushan in Hangzhou's West Lake) in the winter of 1196.

    2. 杏花天影 Xinghua Tian Ying ("Shadows of Apricot Blossoms")
      Facsimile; Picken translation and transcription.

      The original lyrics are:

      綠絲低   拂鴛鴦浦。想桃葉當時喚渡。            Lǜ sī dī fú yuān yāng pǔ. Xiǎng Táo Yè dāng shí huàn dù.
      又將愁眼與春風,待去。倚蘭橈、更少駐。   Yòu jiāng chóu yǎn yǔ chūn fēng, dài qù. Yǐ lán ráo, gèng shǎo zhù.

      金陵路,鶯吟燕舞。算潮水知人最苦。           Jīn Líng lù, yīng yín yàn wǔ. Suàn cháo shuǐ zhī rén zuì kǔ.
      滿汀芳草不成歸,日暮。更移舟、向甚處。   Mǎn tīng fāng cǎo bù chéng guī, rì mù. Gèng yí zhōu, xiàng shén chù.

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Pian's transcription has the main tonal center as 5; Picken, however, with 11 of the 58 notes interpreted differently, ends up with 2 as the main tonal center. Is it significant that for this piece the original text does not name the mode?

      After the first phrase the music of the second half repeats that of the first half.

      In the preface Jiang Kui mentions looking from Jinling (the Nanjing area) north across the Yangzi River towards Chu. Presumably this inspired the lyrics; nothing is said about the music.

    3. 醉吟商小品 Zui Yin Shang Xiaopin ("Short Drinking Music in Shang Mode")
      Facsmile; Picken translation and transcription.

      The original lyrics are:

      又正是春歸,細柳暗黃千縷。暮鴉啼處。  Yòu zhèng shì chūn guī, xì liǔ àn huáng qiān lǚ. Mù yā tí chù.
      夢逐金鞍去。一點芳心休訴,琵琶解語。  Mèng zhú jīn ān qù. Yī diǎn fāng xīn xiū sù, pípá jiě yǔ.

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center is 5. Picken (transposed to this scale) interprets the first note and the note on 點 dian as 6 instead of Pian's 2; this does not affect the mode.

      The preface includes the comment, "Learned from a pipa player", this is the shortest of the ci melodies. The poetic structure in the first line is repeated in the second but this does not seem to be reflected in the music.

    4. 玉梅令 Yu Mei Ling ("Tune: Jade Plum [Blossoms]")
      Facsimile; Picken translation and transcription
      "Created by 范成大 Fan Chengda".

      The original lyrics are as follows:
          (timings follow the recording of my adaptation for harmonics on the qin: listen; see my transcription)

      00.07 (preceded by a glissando showing the relative tuning of the seven strings)
      疏疏雪片,散入溪南苑。     Shū shū xuě piàn, sàn rù xī nán yuàn.
      春寒鎖舊家亭館。                 Chūn hán suǒ jiù jiā tíng guǎn.
      有玉梅幾樹,背立怨東風, Yǒu yù méi jǐ shù, bèi lì yuàn dōng fēng,
      高花未吐,暗香已遠。         Gāo huā wèi tǔ, àn xiāng yǐ yuǎn.

      公來領客,    梅花能勸。         Gōng lái lǐng kè, méi huā néng quàn.
      花長好願公更健。                 Huā zhǎng hǎo yuàn gèng jiàn.
      便揉春為酒,剪雪作新詩, Biàn róu chūn wèi jiǔ, jiǎn xuě zuò xīnshī,
      拚一日,    繞花千轉。         Pàn yī rì,     rào huā qiān zhuǎn.
      01.30 (end)

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center is 6 (la-mi mode). Music for lines 6 and 7 is the same as for lines 2 and 3. In line 6 "客" is sometimes written "略". The relative notes in Picken are the same as Pian. The overall phrase structure is:


      This fits with 21296.431 玉梅令, which says it a 詞牌 cipai in 66 characters.

      The original preface is:

      石湖家自制此聲,未有語實之,命予作。石湖宅南,隔河有圃曰苑村,梅開雪落,竹院深靜,而石湖畏寒不出,故戲及之。 Picken translates "石湖家自制" in Jiang Kui's preface as saying the melody was made by "a member of (Fan Chengda's) family"; perhaps it could also mean a member of his household, the only thing certain being that Fan Chengda gave it to Jiang. Jiang Kui says he subsequently "戲及之", translated by Picken as "by way of amusement I wrote this"; the original "及" was perhaps an understatement by Jiang Kui suggesting he just casually put his words together with the music, with no indication whether or not he made changes in the music.

    5. 霓裳中序 Nishang Zhong Xu ("Middle Prelude to Rainbow Feather Skirts")
      Facsimile (another edition: Qiangcun Congshu); Picken translation and transcription
      This is the only ci song in the "man" section (even though the next piece is actually called "揚州慢 Yangzhou Man").

      The original lyrics are as follows:
          (timings follow the recording of my adaptation for the qin: listen; see my transcription)

      00.06 (preceded by a glissando showing the relative tuning of the seven strings)
      亭臯正望極,亂落江蓮歸未得。                     Tíng gāo zhèng wàng jí, luàn luò jiāng lián guī wèi dé.
      多病卻無氣力,況紈扇漸疎,羅衣初索。     Duō bìng què wú qì lì, kuàng wán shàn jiàn shū, luó yī chū suǒ.
      流光過隙,嘆杏梁雙燕如客。                         Liú guāng guò xì, tàn xìng liáng shuāng yàn rú kè.
      人何在?一簾淡月,彷彿照顏色。                 Rén hé zài? Yī lián dàn yuè, fǎng fú zhào yán sè.

      幽寂,                                                                Yōu jì,
      亂蛩吟壁,動庾信清愁似織。                         Luàn qióng yín bì, dòng Yǔ Xìn qīng chóu sì zhī.
      沈思年少浪跡,笛裏關山,柳下坊陌。 Chén sī nián shào làng jì, dí lǐ guān shān, liǔ xià fāng mò.
      墜紅,無信息,漫暗水涓涓溜碧。                 Zhuì hóng, wú xìn xī, màn àn shuǐ juān juān liū bì.
      飄零久,而今何意?醉臥酒壚側。                 Piāo líng jiǔ, ér jīn hé yì? Zuì wò jiǔ lú cè.
      01.40 (end)

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center is 5, secondary 2. Compared to Pian, Picken interprets three differently from Pian: "漸" a note lower, "蛩" a fifth higher, "坊" a note lower; however, this does not affect the mode. Regarding the text, elsewhere l.1 江蓮 jiāng lián is 紅蓮 hóng lián. In the music there seem to be parallels between many phrases in one section and their counterparts in the other. Parallels between such paired phrases can be brought out by interpreting them using the same rhythms, but none of these respective pairs of phrases seems to be identical.

      43292.11 霓裳中序第一 Nishang Zhong Xu Diyi ("Middle Prelude to Rainbow Feather Skirts, #1") says it is 詞牌名 the name of a cipai. "Nishang" are also mentioned in a Tang dynasty "Song of the Rainbow Feather Garments" (霓裳羽衣曲 Nishang Yu Yi Qu), which in turn is connected to a poem by Bai Juyi called 霓裳羽衣舞歌 Dance Song of the Rainbow Garments. It makes no mention of Jiang Kui. The entry does not mention the structure, which here is 101 (50+51) characters, as follows:


      5, 7.

      More poems in this style can be found online. For example, has examples with 102 and 103 characters.

      Jiang Kui himself wrote that this melody was "found amongst old books": his preface says he found the notation when, while visiting Changsha (district?), he climbed up to 祝融 Zhurong (? there is a temple of this name on Hengshan, a famous mountain south of Changsha). Here he heard ritual music but also obtained an old book of music scores from one of the musicians there. Unfortunately, he does not specify the type of notation he found in the old book, though perhaps it somehow indicated rhythm because he wrote of it, "音節閒", which Picken translates as "the notes and rhythm have an easy elegance".37

    6. 揚州慢 Yangzhou Man ("Yangzhou Idling Tune")
      Facsimile (two other editions: Qiangcun Congshu; not identified); Picken translation and transcription.
      First of nine 自度曲 self-done melodies (i.e., like #7 it is not grouped as a "man": further comment")

      The original lyrics are:

      淮左名都,竹西佳處,解鞍少駐初程。     Huái zuǒ míng dū, zhú xī jiā chù, jiě ān shǎo zhù chū chéng.
      過春風十里,盡薺麥青青。                         Guò chūn fēng shí lǐ, jǐn jì mài qīng qīng.
      自胡馬窺江去後,廢池喬木,猶厭言兵。 Zì hú mǎ kuī jiāng qù hòu, fèi chí qiáo mù, yóu yàn yán bīng.
      漸黃昏,清角吹寒,都在空城。                 Jiàn huáng hūn, qīng jiǎo chuī hán, dōu zài kōng chéng.

      杜郎俊賞,算而今重到須驚。                     Dù láng jùn shǎng, suàn ér jīn chóng dào xū jīng.
      縱豆蔻詞工,青樓夢好,難賦深情。         Zòng dòu kòu cí gōng, qīnglóu mèng hǎo, nán fù shēn qíng.
      二十四橋仍在,波心蕩、冷月無聲。         Èr shí sì qiáo réng zài, bō xīn dàng, lěng yuè wú shēng.
      念橋邊紅藥,年年知為誰生?                     Niàn qiáo biān hóng yào, nián nián zhī wèi shuí shēng?

      12674.26 "揚州慢:詞牌名,宋姜夔自度中呂宮曲 Yangzhou Man: name of a cipai, (from) a song created by Jiang Kui in zhonglü gong (mode)". As yet I do not know of other lyrics using this 98 (50+48) character pattern

      4,4,6; 5,5; 7,4,4; 3,4,4.
      4,7; 5,4,4; 6,3,4; 5,6.

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center is 4. The second section copies or adapts only a few phrases from the first, towards the end. Picken interprets four notes differently from Pian (on "青", "詞" and "深" a note lower, on "無" a fourth lower), but this does not affect the mode.

      "杜郎 Du Lang" is the poet 杜牧 Du Mu; "豆蔻詞工 dòu kòu cí gōng", i.e., "cardamon poetic skill", says he could poetically describe a lovely young girl as "cardamon".

      The preface says that "千巖老人", i.e., 蕭德藻 Xiao Dezao, commented on its sadness.

    7. 長亭怨慢 Chang Ting Yuan Man ("Station post Complaint Idling Tune"; also "Lament of Departure")
      Facsimile; Picken translation and transcription (compare Yang Yinliu and Yuan Jung Ping)
      Like #6 it is not grouped as a "man": further comment

      The original lyrics are as follows (translation adapted from Picken, pp. 147-8):

      漸吹盡枝頭香絮,是處人家綠深門戶。   Jiàn chuī jǐn zhī tóu xiāng xù, Shì chù rén jiā, lǜ shēn mén hù.
      Rising breezes having ended, branch tips become fragrant fleece.
              In local people's homes green shades the doorways.

      遠浦縈回,暮帆零亂向何許。   Yuǎn pǔ yíng huí, mù fān líng luàn xiàng hé xǔ.
      By distant creeks going round and round,
            at sunset sails scatter towards what places?

      閱人多矣,誰得似、長亭樹。   Yuè rén duō yǐ, shuí dé shì, cháng tíng shù.
      I have experienced people of all kinds,
            (but) who can find comparisons with the trees at the Tall Pavilion?

      樹若有情時,不會得青青如此。   Shù ruò yǒu qíng shí, bù huì dé, qīng qīng rú cǐ.
      Trees, even if they have sentient phases,
            could not attain greenness like this.

      日暮望,高城不見,只見亂山無數。   Rì mù wàng, gāo chéng bù jiàn, zhǐ jiàn luàn shān wú shù.
      Now at sunset looking out, the high city walls cannot be seen;
            I see only scattered mountains without number.

      韋郎去也,怎忘得、玉環分付。   Wéi láng qù yě, zěn wàng dé, Yù-huán fèn fù.
      Mr. Wei has departed:
            How can I forget to fulfill Jade-Ring's requirements (for propietry.)?

      第一是早早歸來,怕紅萼無人為主。   Dì yī shì, zǎo zǎo guī lái, pà Hóng-è wú rén wéi zhǔ.
      The first is (that I) quickly return,
            Lest Red-Calyx have no one to take care of her.

      算空有并刀,難剪離愁千縷。   Suàn kōng yǒu Bìng dāo, nán jiǎn lí chóu qiān lǚ.
      Truly, even with Bing(zhou sharp) shears
            It is difficult to cut separation sadness's thousand threads.

      Comparing versions Compare Yang Yinliu (source, p.10)
      In comments on modality, all notes are given relative pitch; i.e. "1" is "do" or "gong" based on its position in the scale 1 2 3 4(#) 5 6 7 1, no matter what its absolute pitch is. Thus, the transcription at right by famed musicologist 楊蔭瀏 Yang Yinliu (1899–1984) uses the note F as the main tonal center, but this is actually the relative pitch 4 (fa); this is because Yang's collection of notes for this (hexatonic) melody, like that of Picken, is 4 5 6 7 1 2; this can readily be tranposed to 1 2 3 4# 5 6. Bian (p. 106) considers the collection of notes to be 3b 4 5 6 7b 1, but with 3b as the tonal center this also transposes to 1 2 3 4# 5 6 . They are thus essentially in the same mode as my own transcription, which considers 1 (written "C") as the tonal center. To sum up, the differing note collections used by Picken, Bian and myself can be seen as transpositions, not as modal changes. However, changing the note collection from 1 2 3 4# 5 6 to 1 2 3 4 5 6, but keeping 1 as the main tonal center, would be a clear modal change. This brings us to the version of Chang Ting Yuan Man by Yuan Jung Ping.

      The beautiful and rightly popular YouTube performance by Yuan Jung Ping, discussed further below, begins with a 30 second prelude, presumably his own creation. He then presents the full melody twice on the qin, the first time reciting the lyrics as he plays, then on the repeat singing them. His version is based mostly on that of Yang Yinliu. Yang apparently wrote out as fixed notes his own interpretion of some symbols in the original that seem to suggest ornamentation; these are the notes at right that have no words (characters) assigned to them. Yang's version is thus somewhat more elaborate than the interpretations by Picken and Bian. Because of this alone it can be easily seen that Jung Ping and most other online interpretations are in this way mostly similar to Yang. In addition, as can be seen from Yang's transcription, Jung Ping adds further notes of his own creation. The resulting beauty is perhaps the best evidence that such elaboration was almost certainly the sort expression Jiang Kui would have been adding (or expecting) himself. On the other hand, Jung Ping also makes one less historically explainable change: in the mode. The relative pitch 4# (fa sharp), discussed in the previous paragraph, occurs 8 times in my transcription; Yang, Bian and Picken also interpret this note the same way. However, in his version on the qin Jung Ping always plays this note as 4.38

    8. 淡黃柳 Dan Huang Liu (Pale Yellow Willows)
      Facsimile; Picken translation and transcription.

      The original lyrics are:

      空城曉角,吹入垂楊陌。 Kōng chéng xiǎo jiǎo, chuī rù chuí yáng mò.
      馬上單衣寒惻惻。             Mǎ shàng dān yī hán cè cè.
      看盡鵝黃嫩綠。                 Kàn jǐn é huáng nèn lǜ.
      都是江南舊相識。             Dōu shì Jiāng Nán jiù xiāng shí.

      正岑寂,明朝又寒食。     Zhèng cén jì, míng zhāo yòu Hán Shí.
      強攜酒,小橋宅。             Qiáng xié jiǔ, xiǎo qiáo zhái.
      怕梨花落盡成秋色。         Pà lí huā luò jǐn chéng qiū sè.
      燕燕飛來,問春何在。     Yàn yàn fēi lái, wèn chūn hé zài.
      唯有池塘自碧。                 Wéi yǒu chí táng zì bì.

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center is 2 (re). Picken's version interprets one note differently (the note with 成 is two notes higher). The two sections are of different lengths and I have yet to find musical parallels between the two.

    9. 石湖仙 Shi Hu Xian (The Stone Lake Immortal)
      Facsimile; Picken translation and transcription

      The original lyrics are:

      松江煙浦。是千古三高遊衍佳處。       Sōng Jiāng yān pǔ. Shì qiān gǔ Sān Gāo yóu yǎn jiā chù.
      須信石湖仙,似鴟夷翩然引去。           Xū xìn Shí Hú xiān, sì Chī Yí piān rán yǐn qù.
      浮雲安在,我自愛綠香紅舞。               Fú yún ān zài, wǒ zì ài lǜ wǔ.
      容與。看世間幾度今古。                       Róng yǔ. Kàn shì jiān jǐ dù jīn gǔ.

      盧溝舊曾駐馬,為黃花、閒吟秀句。   Lú Gōu jiù céng zhù mǎ, wèi huáng huā, xián yín xiù jù.
      見說胡兒,也學綸巾攲雨。                   Jiàn shuō hú er, yě xué guān jīn qī yǔ.
      玉友金蕉,玉人金縷。 緩移箏柱。      Yù yǒu jīn jiāo, yù rén Jīn Lǚ.   Huǎn yí zhēng zhù.
      聞好語。 明年定在槐府。                      Wén hǎo yǔ.   Míng nián dìng zài huái fǔ.

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center is 5 (sol). Although the lyrics are written here with four lines in each stanza, in fact the first section has six phrases that follow the rhyme scheme, the second section has five. Picken's version interprets one note differently (the note with 湖 is three notes lower).

      Note mention of the 箏 zheng zither (guzheng) in the second verse. Also:

      • 三高 San Gao (10.1024): Fan Li, Zhang Han and Lu Guimeng, all from 江蘇省吳江縣 the Wujiang district of Jiangsu
      • 鴟夷 Zhiyi (or 鴟夷子皮 Zhiyi Zipi: Accommodating Old Wine-Skin): nickname of Fan Li
      • 盧溝 Lu Gou (23580.211): River name ("Gourd-Channel"); later traversed by the 盧溝橋 Lugou Bridge, a.k.a. Marco Polo Bridge, near Beijing
      • 金蕉 jin jiao (41049.1135: 金爵): golden wine vessel; by extension, noble friends (earliest reference: 高憲,焚香詩:正要金蕉引睡,不妨玉隴 知音。)
      • 金縷 Jin Lü (41049.1221): "golden threads", also "willow branches"; song title 鄴中記 suggests it was a song from the time of Shihu
      • 槐府 Huaifu ( "scholar tree/official office", hence Picken's "among the statemen".

      There is no preface here, only the comment (subtitle?) "Long life to Master Shihu! "Shihu is Fan Chengda).

    10. 暗香 An Xiang (Hidden Fragrance [or: Subtle Fragrance] )
      Facsimile, Picken transcription and translation

      The original lyrics of An Xiang are as follows:
          (timings follow the recording of my adaptation for the qin:
      listen; see my transcription)

      00.07 (preceded by demonstration of tuning, in harmonics)
      The moonlight of the old days, How many times has it shone upon me?
          Playing the flute by the plum trees?

      I called my jade lady to rise,
          Ignoring the chill, to pick blossoms with me.

      He Xun is now aging,
          His pen, once spring wind, is wholly forgotten.

      但怪得,竹外疏花香冷入瑤席。     (但怪得,竹外疏,花香冷入瑤席。 would go better with l.8)
      He's only bemused by the few flowers past the bamboos,
          Whose cold fragrance enters the banquet hall.

      The River Country,

      Is just now lonely and still, I sigh that the road is too long to send a blossom,
          And the evening snow begins to pile up.

      Tears fall freely before the green wine pot,
          The red calyses are speechless, disturbed by reminiscence.

      Long shall I remember the places where we held hands:
          A thousand trees press against West Lake's cold green.

      Petal by petal, all blown away,
          When shall I see them again?
      02.00 (end)

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center is 4, secondary 6. The music for lines 2 to 4 is repeated in lines 6 to 8, but leaving off last two notes (lyrics have two fewer characters). Picken interprets the two notes one step lower, the ones with "攀" and "相"; this does not seem to affect the mode. For the music of the second section to be closely related to that of the first is true also of most of these 17 ci songs. In parrticular, the three associated with Fan Chengda are like this.

      Of 暗香 14360.27/4 says it is, "詞牌名。「詞譜」宋姜夔自度曲 the name of a cipai. Ci Pu says it was initiated by Jiang Kui." It does not mention the character count, which is 97 (49+48). For other examples see, e.g.,



      Of this piece and the next one, Shu Ying, Jiang Kui wrote, "授簡索句,且徵新聲,作此兩曲。 (Fan Chengda) gave me notepaper asking for some verses, also asking for new tunes, (so) I made these two songs." See Picken's translation (also see Cai), and also compare this with #4 Yu Mei Ling, where the melody is said to have come via Fan Chengda himself. In fact, though, it is not exactly clear what (in particular, in what form) Fan's contribution was.

      Examining the relationship of these melodies to their lyrics raises as many questions as do questions concerning the source of the lyrics. For the three associated with Fang Chengda (as with most of the other ci songs) the music of the second half is closely related to that of the first half. In the case of An Xiang and Shu Ying, they seem almost like two versions of a single melody. Both are basically eight lines, divided four+four, and for both melodies the final three lines of each half have almost the same melody. With An Xiang the musical differences result from line four having the word count 3+4+5 while line eight is 3+3+4; with Shu Ying the word count and music in lines two to four are identical to those of lines six to eight [if you ignore the characters "猶記" between lines four and five] except that the notation symbol on 來 calls for a note an octave higher than the one on 香 [this may or may not be intentional]).

      The translation above is from How to Read Chinese Poetry, pp.287-8;
      Another translation is available online in the Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry, "Hidden Fragrance", pp. 277-8):

      Further notes on the translation:

      Flute: Jiang uses the word "笛 di", which usually refers to a transverse flute, but may actually be referring to the vertical flute commonly called a 簫 xiao. Note that the rhyme throughout the poem necessitates syllables ending with final "i" at the ends of most lines.

      Jade lady; a literal translation for yuren, referring often to a beloved or simply "lovely lady", as here.

      Send a blossom: The Chinese says only "寄 send", but there is a long custom that in late winter or early spring people would send friends a twig with plum blossoms.

      The An Xiang preface is as follows:


      It has been said that Jiang Kui's 17 ci songs were originally published without titles; however, this preface states here that Jiang used the titles An Xiang and Shu Ying respectively. These two titles are discussed further here, in connection to the melody Mei Hua.

    11. 疏影 Shu Ying (Scattered Shadows [or: Hidden Shadows])
      Facsimile, Picken transcription and translation

      The original lyrics are as follows:
          (timings follow the recording of my adaptation for the qin:
      listen; see my transcription)

      00.06 (preceded by a demonstration of the tuning, in harmonics)
      A mossy branch was decorated like jade, had a small green bird / on the branch spending the night.

      As guests we met / by the corner of a fence in the early evening, we were speechless as we leaned back on slender bamboo.

      Zhaojun was not used to the faraway desert, and secretly recalled her life north and south of the river.

      I imagine her jade rings / on a moonlit night returning / and turning into a solitary flower ("plum flower"?).

      I recall,

      Deep in the palace a long time ago, a princess was asleep / when a flower landed on her brow.

      Don't behave like spring wind / which does not care to be loaded (with plum blossoms?). Make early arrangements for a gold wedding chamber

      or you'll let your petal go with the waves / and then complain like a sad tune from a jade-dragon flute.

      I'll wait for that time / and look again for her hidden fragrance / coming through a small window into a scroll painting.
      02.02 (end)

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center is 4, secondary 6.

      ZWDCZ first has Shu Ying with An Xiang: 暗香疏影 14360.28/2 says it is, "詞牌名 the name of a cipai" (why not "two cipai?). 22505.142/2 疏影 also says it is, "詞牌名 the name of a cipai", but before referring to Jiang Kui's ci poem it mentions, "宋林逋山園小梅詩 Lin Bu's shi poem, "How Plums Flowers Embarrass a Garden" (also a qin melody).

      As for the structure, it has a character count of 110 (54+56). For other examples see, e.g,



      Further on the structue, by moving "I recall" onto a interval line (not counted) the structure of lines 1 to 4 becomes identical to that of lines 5 to 8. There is further comment on the musical structure above under An Xiang. Picken has eight notes different from Pian: at "深" it is a fifth higher, at "香" an octave higher; more significantly those at "修", "昭", and "歸" (repeated at "金", "還" and "幽") are a half step lower. These latter change all the upper octave notes I transcribe as "4" in Pian to "3", but do not affect the 4s or 3s in the lower octave, and overall it does not seem to change the mode.

      The translation above was adapted from that in the Anchor Book of Chinese Poetry, pp. 278-9. In particular, it had to be re-aligned to place "I recall" on a separate line.

      This song shares the same preface as Song 10 so the main comments are there as well as under the melody Mei Hua.

    12. 惜紅衣 Xi Hong Yi ("Cherishing a Red Dress")
      Facsimile, Picken translation and transcription.

      The original lyrics, which mention qin in line 1, are as follows:
          (timings follow the recording of my adaptation for qinlisten; see my transcription)

      00.07 (preceded by a demonstration of the tuning, in harmonics)
      簟枕邀涼,琴書換日,睡餘無力。     Diàn zhěn yāo liáng, qín shū huàn rì, shuì yú wú lì.
      細灑冰泉,並刀破甘碧。                     Xì sǎ bīng quán, bìng dāo pò gān bì.
      牆頭喚酒,誰問訊、城南詩客?         Qiáng tóu huàn jiǔ, shuí wèn xùn, chéng nán shī kè?
      岑寂,高樹晚蟬,說西風消息。         Cén jì, gāo shù wǎn chán, shuō xī fēng xiāo xī.

      虹梁水陌,魚浪吹香,紅衣半狼藉。  Hóng liáng shuǐ mò, yú làng chuī xiāng, hóng yī bàn láng jí.
      維舟試望故國,渺天北。                      Wéi zhōu shì wàng gù guó, miǎo tiān běi.
      可惜柳邊沙外,不共美人游歷。          Kě xí liǔ biān shā wài, bù gòng měi rén yóu lì.
      問甚時同賦,三十六陂秋色?              Wèn shén shí tóng fù, sān shí liù bēi qiū sè?
      01.40 (end)

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 (7 occuring only once) the main tonal center is 4, secondary 6 and 1. Picken has two notes different from Pian: "邊" is a fifth higher, "美" is two notes lower; this does not affect the mode. If the scale were considered as 1 2 3 4# 5 6 7 (4# occuring only once), the tonal center would be 1.

      As for the structure, it has a character count of 88 (43+45). For other examples see, e.g,



      This structure is unusual in that it opens the fourth line instead of the fifth line with a two character phrase.

      Note the mention of 琴 qin in line 1 ("with zither and books I pass the day").

    13. 角招 Jue Shao (Melody in Jue [or Jiao])
      Facsimile, Picken translation and transcription (my tentative transcription).

      The original lyrics are:

      為春瘦,何堪更、繞西湖盡是垂柳。                 Wèi chūn shòu, hé kān gèng, rào Xī Hú jìn shì chuí liǔ.
      自看煙外岫,記得與君,湖上攜手。                 Zì kàn yān wài xiù, jì dé yǔ jūn, hú shàng xié shǒu.
      君歸未久,早亂落香紅千畝。                             Jūn guī wèi jiǔ, zǎo luàn luò xiāng hóng qiān mǒu.
      一葉凌波縹緲,過三十六離宮,遣遊人回首。 Yī yè líng bō piāo miǎo, guò Sānshíliù Lí Gōng, qiǎn yóu rén huí shǒu.

      猶有,                                                                     Yóu yǒu,
      畫船障袖青樓,倚扇相映人爭秀。                     Huà chuán zhàng xiù, qīng lóu yǐ shàn, xiāng yìng rén zhēng xiù.
      翠翹光欲溜,愛著宮黃,而今時候。                 Cuì qiào guāng yù liū, ài zhù gōng huáng, ér jīn shí hòu.
      傷春似舊,蕩一點、春心如酒。                         Shāng chūn sì jiù, dàng yī diǎn, chūn xīn rú jiǔ.
      寫入吳絲自奏。問誰識、曲中心,花前友。     Xiě rù Wú sī zì zòu. Wèn sheí shí, qū zhōngxīn, huā qián yǒu.

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center of this song is 6 (la, secondarily 2 [i.e., not a la-mi mode]). Picken has two different notes: his "歸" is a note lower while his "畫" is 3 notes lower. None of these differences affects the mode.

      Both Pian and Picken agree that there is a note missing from near the beginning of the piece. On p.126 Pian wrote that because of this two of the earlier editions repeated the final note of the first line; she adjusted by putting "西" and "湖" on the same note; Picken adjusted for this by dropping the character "是". Again this does not affect the mode.

      Considering the relationship between the two sections of this piece, it is somewhat puzzling that neither Pian nor Picken mentions what otherwise seems to be the most logical missing note: the first one. Adding a note at front with the same pitch as "畫" from Section 2 (and treating "猷有" as a connecting phrase) makes the two sections identical to each other (though the phrasing is actually somewhat different in one or two places and Section 1 has two added words [and notes] in the last phrase).

      The original preface included the comments, "I created this and then 寄 spent time with it", "Yu Shangqing is a good singer", "It is my practice to play on the dongxiao all the songs I myself create," and "Shangqing on the spur of the moment joined in." For "寄" Picken has "sent"; it could also mean "left with", but if that were the case how did they play it together?

      Picken says that "silk from Wu" ("吳絲 wu si) in the last line is a reference to the silk strings on a qin.

    14. 徴招 Zhi Shao (Melody in Zhi Mode)
      Facsimile; Picken translation and transcription.

      The original lyrics are:

      潮回却過西陵浦,扁舟僅容居士。   Cháo huí què guò Xī Líng pǔ, piān zhōu jǐn róng jū shì.
      去得幾何時,黍離離如此。               Qù dé jǐ hé shí, shǔ lí lí rú cǐ.
      客途今倦矣。漫贏得,一襟詩思。   Kè tú jīn juàn yǐ. Màn yíng dé, yī jīn shī sī.
      記憶江南,落帆沙際,此行還是。   Jì yì Jiāngnán, luò fān shā jì, cǐ xíng hái shì.

      迤邐。                                                   Yí lǐ.
      剡中山,重相見,依依故人情味。   Shàn zhōng shān, zhòng xiāng jiàn, yī yī gù rén qíng wèi.
      似怨不來遊,擁愁鬟十二。               Sì yuàn bu lái yóu, yōng chóu huán shí èr.
      一丘聊復爾。也孤負,幼輿高誌。   Yī qiū liáo fù ěr. Yě gū fù, yòu yú gāo zhì.
      水葓晚,漠漠搖煙,奈未成歸計。   Shuǐ hóng wǎn, mò mò yáo yān, nài wèi chéng guī jì.

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center of this song seems to be 1 (do), making it the only one of the Jiang Kui ci melodies with this modal characteristic. However, the secondary tonal center is 4, and some cadences on 1 seem more like tones leading to 4.

      As with #13 Jue Shao most of the music in the second section is identical to that in the first, even where the phrasing of the lyrics is different. Here in particular, even though in the last line of each section the phrase lengths are different, the music of both verses is identical except for the first four notes of verse 1 being different from the first five of verse 2! The Picken and Pian versions are the same as each other when transposed to the relative scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.

      Jiang's comments on this piece and the next include a very interesting discourse on mode and qin. Picken's translation of Jiang Kui's preface to this melody is as follows (romanization changed; footnotes are in the .jpg file):

      'A shao in the zhi mode.' ("An ionian series with a' as final.")

      The scenery of Yue is mysterious and remote. On the several occasions when I went to and fro between Xixiang and Qianqing my sensibilities were enhanced.

      The men of Yue are good at making boats with a curled sail and a square bottom. The boatman while walking sings, slowly dragging it. As when one lies on a bed, there is no unsteadiness but firm stability. Thus one secures the best conditions for surveying the distant scene. My longing for home not yet being fulfilled, I composed Zhi Shao to convey that longing.

      Concerning Zhi Shao and Jue Shao. In the year of enthronement, Zheng He (1111), Prefect Dasheng composed several tens of songs. The melodies were of various kins. I examined Tang Tianchi's Shenglü yaojue (Necessary secrets of notes and pitches). He said: "The zhi modes with two auxiliaries (bian) (that is, modes corresponding to Western major scales) are not generally admired. Therefore from ancient times, tunes in the zhi mode have been few indeed. Zhi is a mode that rejects the 'mother'. If huangzhong zhi (a, b, c#, d, e, f#, g# in the full helptatonic form) takes huangzhong (d - the fundamental of the entire system) as 'mother', and does not use huangzhong, the sound is harmonious. Therefore old scores of the Sui and Tang periods do not use the 'mother' note. The qin players do not have modes of the meidiao (go-between) mode and shangdiao (mixolydian mode) type. All are chi. Moreover all prepare the mother-string but do not use it." This saying is examined in the book on the qin that I wrote.

      But in huangzhong (gong) (d, e, f#, g#, a, b, c#), (a) is accepted as the 'resting note' (the final) of the zhi mode (a, b, c#*, d, e, f#, g#* - where the auxiliaries are marked with an asterisk). If one does not use the note huangzhong (d), then naturally one establishes linzhong gong (a, b, c#, [d#*], e, f#, g#* - the basic lydian eries on a). Therefore, Prefect Dasheng's chi mode blended in the 'mother' note (to avoid ambiguity between zhi and gong modes?): ibe ograse resembles the scale of d (huangzhong yun), aother phrase resembles the scale of a (linzhong yun). Accordingly, at the appropriate time there are words falling on the rhymes (that is, on notes harmonically suited to act as line- and stanza-finals). I ordered a man to blow and listened to them. He conveyed the notes of the prince (doh) among ministers (re), people (mi), affairs (so) and things (la). The clear ones were high and strong, the turbid ones, low and lost (?). What Wang Baochang said about 'those distant from the Palace being in subordinate' was correct.

      From repeatedly examining Tang scores and methods of stringing the qin, I determined his meaning. Even if huangzhong zhi (a, b, c#, d, e, f#, g#) does not use the mother note (d), it may not make much use either of the auxiliaries, bianzhi (g#) (ruibin) and biangong (c#) (yingzhong). For if it does not use huangzhong (d), but uses ruibin (g#) and yinzhong (c#), it then is linzhong gong (a, b, c#, e, f#, G# - the hexatonic series obtained by omitting the lydian fourth, d#). The zhi modes of the remaining eleven scales (yun) are like this. Their principle may be called good, but they do not have the 'clear' (qing) notes (the upper octaves of lower notes - because the final of the mode is a fifth above the fundamental of the entire musical system) and can only just reach to them. Qin and se (zithers using the zhi mode) rarely take part in the Banqueting Music (Yanyue). Hence the omission of zhi modes from the Banqueting Music is possible.

      This particular tune is one I composed a long time ago. Following the old tune: Qi tian yue, a man in the zhenggong mode (lydian on d), the first two measure (pai) are in the chi mode. Accordingly I completed it. Since it makes blended use of the 'mother' note, it is not defective when compared with the songs of Dasheng.

      This tune is in accordance with the Qin History: it is described as huangzhongxia zhidiao (? the zhi-mode with huangzhong [d] below). Jue Shao is described as: huangzhong qing juediao (? the jue-mode with huangzhong above)."

    15. 秋宵吟 Qiu Xiao Yin ("Autumn Evening Intonation"); first of three 自制曲 self-made melodies
      Facsimile; Picken translation and transcription.

      The original lyrics are:

      古簾空,墜月皎。坐久西窗人悄。             Gǔ lián kōng, zhuì yuè jiǎo. Zuò jiǔ xī chuāng rén qiāo qiāo.
      蛩吟苦,漸漏水丁丁,箭壺催曉。             Qióng yín kǔ, jiàn lòu shuǐ dīng dīng, jiàn hú cuī xiǎo.
      引凉飔、動翠葆。露腳斜飛雲表。             Yǐn liáng sī, dòng cuì bǎo. Lù jiǎo xié fēi yún biǎo.
      因嗟念,似去國情懷,暮帆煙草。             Yīn jiē niàn, sì qù guó qíng huái, mù fān yān cǎo.

      帶眼銷磨,為近日、愁多頓老。                 Dài yǎn xiāo mó, wèi jìn rì, chóu duō dùn lǎo.
      衛娘何在,宋玉歸來,兩地暗縈繞。         Wěi niáng hé zài? Sòng Yù guī lái, liǎng dì àn yíng rào.
      搖落江楓早。嫩約無憑,幽夢又杳。         Yáo luò jiāng fēng zǎo. Nèn yuē wú píng, yōu mèng yòu yǎo.
      但盈盈淚、灑單衣,今夕、何夕恨未了。 Dàn yíng yíng lèi, sǎ dān yī, jīn xī, hé xī hèn wèi liǎo.

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center of this song seems to be 5 (sol).

      Picken has different notes in four places: "近" is one note lower and the notes with "人" "雲" and "夢" are all a fourth higher, making them the same as the opening note and also making the scale (if transcribed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 then 1 is eliminated, giving 2 3 4 5 6 7 (5 is still the main tonal center).

      The first section has six rhyming phrases but is here aligned as four lines. This makes it easier to see that in the first section the music of the first two lines is identical to that of the second two lines. The second section has five rhyming phrases but likewise is here aligned as four lines. Parellels between the two sections are brought out in the second section by starting each line on an upbeat and in one place (the last line) changing the punctuation from before "淚" to after it (the original had no punctuation).

      This is the only notated song without a preface.

    16. 淒涼犯 Qiliang Fan ("Qiliang  Transgression/Variation")
      Facsimile; Picken translation and transcription.

      The original lyrics are:

      綠楊巷陌秋風起,邊城一片離索。     Lǜ yáng xiàng mò qiū fēng qǐ, biān chéng yī piàn lí suǒ.
      馬嘶漸遠,人歸甚處,戍樓吹角。     Mǎ sī jiàn yuǎn, rén guī shén chù, shù lóu chuī jiǎo.
      情懷正惡,更衰草寒煙淡薄。             Qíng huái zhèng è, gèng shuāi cǎo hán yān dàn bó.
      似當時、將軍部曲,迤邐度沙漠。     Sì dāng shí, jiāng jūn bù qǔ, yí lǐ dù shā mò.

      追念西湖上,小舫攜歌,晚花行樂。 Zhuī niàn xī hú shàng, xiǎo fǎng xié gē, wǎn huā xíng lè.
      舊游在否?想如今、翠凋紅落。         Jiù yóu zài fǒu? Xiǎng rú jīn, cuì diào hóng luò.
      漫寫羊裙,等新雁來時系著。             Màn xiě yáng qún, děng xīn yàn lái shí xì zhe.
      怕匆匆、不肯寄與誤後約。                 Pà cōng cōng, bù kěn jì yǔ wù hòu yuē.

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center in Pian is 2; in Picken it is 5.

      This melody is particularly striking in that, according to Pian's transcription transposed to 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, it has 2 as the tonal center. Several other of his ci melodies seem to have this characteristic, but within qin melodies published in the Ming dynasty only those in qiliang mode seem to do so (the note 商 shang is also "2", but pieces in shang mode do not have shang as their tonal center).

      It may also interest some to know that the scale 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 2 conforms to what in Western music is called "melodic minor", Dorian minor or "jazz minor" (Wiki: minor scale and Jazz minor).

      The differences between the Picken and Pian transcriptions of the Qiliang Fan melody seem particularly significant here. Although my adaptation of Pian to the scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 makes 2 the main tonal center, what Pian has as Bb (18 occurrences; transposed to F in my transcription) Picken interprets a half step higher, and what Pian has as upper octave Eb (5 occurrences; I transpose to C) Picken interprets a half step lower (the lower octave Ebs are not changed). In addition Picken interprets one note to be an octave lower than in Pian. The result is that my adaptation of Picken to the scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 makes 5 the tonal center. In theory I prefer Pian's interpretation because of the association of qiliang mode with having 2 as the tonal center.

      The use of the word "犯 fan" in the title is puzzling. Jiang Kui's preface includes a discourse on mode and qin that seems to suggest that fan means "changed": 犯宮 fan gong mode is a variation of gong. On the other hand, "fan" more commonly refers to some sort of transgression. Could its use in the title suggest that music having such a tonal center is a transgression on standard ideas of music (hence suitable for mournful pieces)? (犯 20703/4: 詞曲變調之名, with reference to Jiang Kui and .47 犯聲 and .43 犯調. None of these seems to discuss 變調 in terms of tonal centers.)

      The discussion of these issues is not clear to me, either from the original or from Picken's translation, as follows (romanization changed; footnotes are in the .jpg file):

      'Mournful: a fan : xianlü mode of fanshang mode.'

      "The lanes and roads of Hefei are all planted with willows. When the autumn-wind springs up at evening they flutter sang-sang. After our clan guest-house was closed for the night, I could hear, from time to time, a horse neigh. Going out of the city, in all directions stretched a waste of mist and rough vegetation. I could not master my black mood and wrote this by way of relief.

      There is a qiliang (mournful) tune for the 7-strings zither. I borrowed this as a name. Whenever tunes are called fan (clashing), this means that they are of the kind in which a gong mode clashes with a shang mode, or a shang mode with a gong mode. If the dao mode has g as final (lydian series on g) and the shuang mode also has g as final (mixolydian series on g), their finals being the same, then in tunes in the dao mode there is a clash with the shuang mode, and in tunes in the shuang mode there is a clash with the dao mode. Others behave in like manner. The Handbook of Music (Yue Shu) of Tang times says: "Of clashing modes there are the zheng, pang, pian and cegong modes. Fan-(clashing) gong is zhenggong, fanshang is panggong, fanjiao is piangong, fanyu is ce-(gong)." This is incorrect. The finals of the twelve gong modes (one on each degree of the dodecatonic series of the pitch-pipes) are all different, and the gong modes do not readily clash with each other. The twelve gong modes most readily clash with shang modes (with the same final), while the jue modes clash with yu modes (that is: lydian clash with mixolydian, and aeolian clash with dorian series with the same final).

      When I returned to the capital, I showed this song to a palace musician, Tian Zhengde, and ordered him to play it on the ya bili. Its harmony was most beautiful. It is also called: 'Image of Auspicious Crane, the Immortal'."

    17. 翠樓吟 Cui Lou Yin ("Green Pavilion Intonation"); third self-made melody
      Facsimile; Picken translation and transcription.

      The original lyrics are:

      月冷龍沙,塵清虎落,今年漢酺初賜。 Yuè lěng Lóng Shā, chén qīng hǔ luò, jīn nián Hàn pú chū cì.
      新翻胡部曲,聽氈幕元戎歌吹。             Xīn fān hú bù qǔ, tīng zhān mù yuán róng gē chuī.
      層樓高峙。看檻曲縈紅,檐牙飛翠。     Céng lóu gāo zhì. Kàn kǎn qū yíng hóng, yán yá fēi cuì.
      人姝麗,粉香吹下,夜寒風細。             Rén shū lì, fěn xiāng chuī xià, yè hán fēng xì.

      此地,                                                         Cǐ dì,
      宜有詞仙,擁素雲,黃鶴與君遊戲。     Yí yǒu cí xiān, yōng sù yún, huáng hè yǔ jūn yóu xì.
      玉梯凝望久,嘆芳草萋萋千里。             Yù tī níng wàng jiǔ, tàn fāng cǎo qī qī qiān lǐ.
      天涯情味。仗酒祓清愁,花銷英氣。     Tiān yá qíng wèi, zhàng jiǔ fú qīng chóu, huā xiao yīng qì.
      西山外,晚來還卷,一簾秋霽。             Xī shān wài, wǎn lái huán juǎn, yī lián qiū jì.

      With the note collection considered as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the main tonal center seems to be 5 (sol). In Picken's transcription the music from 今年 in the first line of section 1 is identical to the music from 黃鶴 in the second line of section 2; in Pian one phrase (杖-愁) is different; two other notes are also different (see 歌 and 樓 plus 千 and 涯) but this does not affect the modality.

    Most people assume these 17 ci are more interesting musically than the 10 ritual songs. I do not know how valid this assumption is.

Pian's book also includes her transcriptions of the music for all of the other songs known to have survived in other collections said to date from the Song dynasty.39

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Songs of the Whitestone Daoist (白石道人歌曲 Baishi Daoren Gequ)
23191.129 白石道人歌曲 outlines the contents of this book, in four folios plus an addendum, as follows (.127 is 白石道人詩集; .128 is 白石道人詩說):

The lülü and popular notations tell the basic notes, but do not specify how they were to be performed. For transcriptions and further details see:

Modern Chinese publications with transcriptions and analysis of these songs begin with these two works:

Regarding Pian's transliterations, such as "Sonq" for "Song" (or more specifically for "Sòng" or "Song4"), she is using "Gwoyeu Romatzyh" (Wiki), the "Harvard romanization system" devised largely by her father 趙元任 Zhao Yuanren. It indicates tones through different or extra letters rather than through numbers or diacritical marks.

The present Appendix in particular has detail that extends beyond the aim of reconstructing some of the songs. It was put here in part to help decide which songs to work on first, in part in hopes that it might help interest others in doing this kind of work.

2. 姜夔 Jiang Kui (1155-1221; Wiki; Renditions; silkqin)
James J. Y. Liu began his review of Lin Shuen-fu's book as follows (see JSTOR):

Chiang K'uei 姜夔 (ca. 1155-ca. 1235), poet, composer, musicologist, critic, calligrapher, and connoisseur of art, epitomizes the aesthetic sensibiity of his age....

6335.117 姜夔 begins "(江西)鄱陽人字堯章 from (Jiangxi) Poyang, style name Yaozhang, 號白石 nickname Baishi (White-stone)". See also Nienhauser, ICTCL (Chiang K'uei), p.262ff. QSCB Chapter 6b1-6 says he belonged to the School of Poetic Meter (格律派 Gelü pai, but on this ICTCL 675, 858 are both Ming references), also known as the Delicately Restrained School (婉約派 Wanyue Pai, see ICTCL 263 [Jiang Kui], 327 [same time]).

3. Page explaining different forms of music notation
From a modern publication that includes the 6 volume version; it is only in Chinese. For English there is a basic outline more specific to Jiang Kui's music in this appendix, which includes two charts, a general one for note/pitch symbols and another one for secondary symbols (duration/deflection) in suzi notation.

4. Jiang Kui's Songs: should his "作品 zuopin" be considered as "creations" or "compositions"?
Differentiating between "composing" and "creating" music (in Chinese both can be "zuo") does not concern value judgements. In theological terms it might be compared to discussions about whether God is a "creator", giving people free will, or a "composer", whereby everything is predestined or preordained.

Pian (p.38) writes the following of Jiang Kui as a "composer":

Jiang Kwei is one of the few known composers of the Sonq period (fn.: "The other two are Shyong Pernglai...and Fann Cherngdah...."). His fondness for experimenting with theoretical modes and his interest in recovering old forgotten music show that his approach to music was an intellectual one...."

This may have been true - especially with regard to the ritual songs. But equally likely could he not have been a creative person who simply enjoyed making music with friends, especially with lady friends? He picked up inspiration from here and there (including old and perhaps exotic sources he may not have completely understood), and this resulted in his musical works, which he created and probably modified while playing. Also having intellectual interests, and perhaps a desire to be accepted at court and/or by respected scholars, he then justified his creations by trying to fit them into modes that they could approve of. This also affected the notes he selected to write down: the one word for one note pairing method was apparently required by tradition, but if Jiang was a typically skilled flautist, his flute version would likely have included many other notes, and in addition he would have "ornamented" the melody with different notes each time he played it.

This latter scenario is never described in Song dynasty sources, but then there are also no descriptions to suggest that Jiang, like modern composers, sat down a desk and (perhaps based on thorough studies of how to compose in the correct musical modes, then following those rules or expanding/breaking them) wrote out melodies in such a way that others could play them just as he wrote them.

In re-creating Jiang's melodies, then, deciding which approach to use is clearly crucial. However, among modern scholars little attention seems to be made to the the possibility of the freer approach. My own prejudice, perhaps influenced by my understanding of methods used in the modern re-creation of early Western music, says that only the latter approach will ever be successful in bringing to life the essence of what Jiang created, but this will only be true to Jiang (i.e., HIP) after considerably more rigorous attempts to understand the Song dynasty musical idiom of that time.

So where does one begin a discussion about whether Jiang created or composed music? As further discussed here, the usual Chinese word, with Jiang Kui and elsewhere, is 作 zuo, in general terms commonly translated as "make", but with music most often translated into English as "compose". The problem with this is that it evokes what might be an incorrect image:

Making this distinction is complicated by the fact that academically minded people, such as many traditional Chinese literati, wished at times to treat written materials as sacrosanct. Often not musicians themselves, they may treat Jiang Kui's symbols that apparently suggest ornamentation and perhaps note length as though Jiang Kui was trying to use these to define exactly how the piece was to be played. The result may be transcriptions/performances all in quarter notes, half notes and whole notes where symbols might indicate so. Nowadays the tendency to do this is encouraged by an acceptance of the Western idea that this is the way "great music" should be. But this is not even typical of Western music outside the Common Practice Period. If applied, for example, to early Western music the results would generally be what people of that time would have considered unmusical performances.

There is a comment with Ci #16 that Jiang Kui ordered a palace musician to play one of his songs. If the musician was supposed to follow the notation written by Jiang Kui this would be an example of a piece that might rightly be called a "composition" rather than a "creation", even if Jiang Kui himself didn't always play it the same. However, my own examination of his opus strongly suggests to me (though it does not prove) that what Jiang Kui (or his contempories) actually wrote down was to be considered as "creation" rather than "composition".

There is a very limited amount of information available to pursue this issue. At present, for example, there are almost no specifics about the extent to which Jiang Kui's contemporaries actually heard his music; as for now my comments are based largely on an absence of such information.

5. Revival of interest in Jiang Kui songs
This is out of my area of expertise and I do not know how to evaluate to what extent early efforts were influenced either positively or negatively by the then modern practices.

6. Performances of Jiang Kui songs
Qin performances are mentioned in the next footnote; as for efforts using other instruments, I have not done a survey of this but one can find a number of online examples. See, however, further comment below about Historically Informed Performances.

7. Playing Jiang Kui ci songs on the qin
Chang Ting Yuan Man as played by 袁中平 Yuan Jung Ping (translated as "Lament of Departure") is widely available on the internet; he has also performed a version of 鬲西梅令 Ge Xi Mei Ling.

As part of a "Concert of Ci Songs and Qin Music From Southern Song Dynasty" (University of Michigan, 2011; video formerly online at Vimeo), four members of the 德愔琴社 Deyin Qin Society of Hong Kong presented 10 of the 17 ci (i.e., skipping #s 4, 5, 9, 12, 15, 16, 17). The video does not identify the names of the pieces or of the performers.

An outline of the video content is as follows (qin solos were by Sou Si-tai [蘇思棣 Su Sidi]):

06.50   1. Shan Ju Yin from 1722 (qin solo)
12.30   2. Yu Ge from 1722 (qin solo; ends at 25.20)
27.00   3. Gu Yuan (qin and female voice)
31.40   4. Ci #2 Xinghua Tian Ying (xiao, qin, male voice, percussion [paiban and drum]; sung twice);
34.50   5. Ci #14 Zhi Shao (for same; once through)
38.45   6. Ci #8 Dan Huang Liu (for same)
41.30   7. Ci #1 Ge Xi Mei Ling (singer and percussion switch roles)
43.30   8. Ci #3 Zui Yin Shang Xiaopin (same)
45.45   9. Ci #13 Jue Shao (same)
49.20       Break
50.45 10. Ci #11 Shu Ying (switch back to male voice)
54.25 11. Ci #6 Yangzhou Man (same)
57.50 12. Ci #7 Chang Ting Yuan Man (switch to female voice again)
61.10 13. Ci #10 An Xiang (same)
65.00 14. Fan Canglang from 1425 (qin solo)
70.00 15. Xiao Xiang Shui Yun not from 1425 (qin solo)
82.50       Yang Guan Sandie from 1864 (encore by the ensemble)

Some of these have been extracted and put on YouTube without visuals or credit.

8. My work with Jiang Kui songs
In doing these reconstructions I have tried to explore how understanding the early surviving qin repertoire might provide some clues, and my approach here is more that of a musician than a musicologist. This has not involved original work on the texts themselves: my note selection almost completely follows what is on pp. 101-122 of Pian (at the same time making comparisons with Picken) but transposing them and giving them rhythmic values in accordance with the following guidelines:

There is more regarding this way of interpreting mode here and more regarding such rhythmic interpretation here.

One characteristic fairly easy to see in a number of the ci songs is that many have two verses, with the second verse having music quite similar to that of the first verse. The structural similarity is emphasized in several cases in which the second verse begins with two characters that might stand out as connectors. In Picken's translations this can be seen clearly in ci 17, where the words "That place" are on a separate line at the beginning of the second verse. The same structure seems to apply to the beginning of the second verse of ci numbers 5, 7, 10, 11, 13 and 14 as well as 17.

In my own reconstructions I have tried to use this characteristic. However, this is quite speculative since as yet I have not found any critical comment on this and other people reconstructing these melodies generally have not given it special attention.

9. Inspiration from the Cambridge Tang dynasty music research project
The Cambridge project has re-interpreted gagaku (the Japanese court music tradition) in a way that shows its connection to Tang dynasty Chinese music. Since learning of this I have thought it would be essential to compare that music with music of the qin tradition, a tradition which claims much of its origins in the Tang. However, I have found the writings from the Cambridge project very difficult to follow. In addition, the general attitude seems to be that the court music tradition and the literati music tradition (i.e., qin music) have little in common.

Could studying the musical works of Jiang Kui be an intermediate step, in particular as Jiang Kui himself created some music written in qin tablature, some in other forms of notation? Most of the information on this page started as background information that I thought might help me achieve the aim of finding out whether Jiang Kui ci songs can be made to sound natural on the qin. To my ears, Yuan Jung Ping has proven that if the accompanying instrument is free to add appropriate addition notes, then the sung melody can be beautiful indeed.

10. Difficulties with Pian's Sonq Musical Sources and their Interpretation
Pian's book, based on her Ph.D. thesis, is a marvelous and essential groundbreaking work. However, it is in many places needlessly difficult to follow: she needed a good editor. This is not so much because of the romanization system used as because of the way the book is organized, with specific topics and many explanations difficult to find. Some examples:

The 2003 copy is basically a reprinting.

11. Transcriptions with midi files
As mentioned above, the transcriptions are all tentative but can be made available to interested parties, especially musicians who would like to explore playing them. Transcribing all the melodies in the scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7, i.e., without accidentals, facilitates one sort of analysis. Transcribing them all with 1 as the tonal center (see below) would facilitate another sort. The transcription program allows them easily to be transposed, whether for the purposes of playing them on other instruments or in order to compare the results with Jiang Kui's own terminology.

It must be emphasized that this is an ongoing process and people with an interest in it are welcome to contact me directly: simply putting the transcriptions and midi files online might suggest that they are considered more than experimental. A major advantage of these files is that they can easily be tranposed up or down to any range or key (there are computer programs for transposing midi files and also for making transcriptions from them). Meanwhile, here is an example (download, then open in separate windows to hear the music together with the transcription):

Another example is linked below.

12. My qin recordings of Jiang Kui ci songs
In all of my qin recordings of Jiang Kui ci I begin by doing a glissando on the seven qin strings to show their relative tuning. Perhaps in future I will re-do this, adding notes in a manner such as that discussed below.

14. Intended results of these reconstuctions
As suggested above, interpreting Jiang Kui's songs begins with deciding whether they are "compositions", in which case the performer is expected to change as little as possible of what was written (unless following clear guidelines from the tradition, presumably ones known to the "composer"), or "creations", where the essence of a successful performance requires much input from the performer. "Composer" is, to my understanding, a concept that originated in the West around the 18th century, and my current feeling is that the best approach to recovering the songs is to treat them as "creations", learn as much as possible from the scores of all of them, then try to expand on this based on the understanding gained by this and other research.

The approach taken by Yuan Jung Ping (further below) in adapting ci # 7 Chang Ting Yuan Man for qin has been to add the sort of notes necessary to allow the song and its melody to sound natural within the qin idiom. An understanding of this can perhaps best be seen by downloading the following files then looking at the transcription while listening to this YouTube of Jung Ping's performance; this further comment concerns the changed 4# to 4, clearly heard on the midi file).

Jung Ping is a master of traditional qin playing style. Perhaps a master of the xiao and/or di (or perhaps another bamboo flute) who has been able to learn something about differences between current and earlier styles could do a similarly informed adaptation of these melodies - or at least have fun trying.

15. Rhythm of Jiang Kui ci songs
It is generally thought that some of the extra symbols with Jiang Kui songs concern rhythm, some concern ornamentation. It has also been said that is not always clear which are which, but some transcriptions try to take them into account anyway. Ornamentation in qin tablature is a major factor in selecting note values, so Jiang Kui's symbols must be similarly important. However, with qin music there certainly are notes without ornamentation that are held a long time, and one always has to consider the possibility that sometimes the ornamentation was written down because these were places where it was not expected, not just where it was most important.

As discussed elsewhere on this page, my own understanding of the rhythms is that they are fundamentally quite regular but they are also often so freely interpreted that listeners may suspect there is no rhythm, though they will be able to sense that the music does have form.

16. Modes in Jiang Kui ci songs
The way modes are discussed here is based on treating the scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 as the Chinese equivalent of the relative pitches do re mi fa so la ti. This, however, is simply an analytical tool, and not the same as assuming that Jiang Kui's symbols would have been intended in this way. In fact, from what Pian writes it seems quite possible that the scale 1 2 3 4# 5 6 7 (and/or perhaps 1 2 3 4 5 6 7b?) might also or instead have been at one time considered the equivalent of do re mi fa so la ti. I do not know whether there is any disagreement about this in interpreting Jiang Kui's use of the "popular notation", or whether at that time singers ever sang solfeggio, but clearly if one were to select the wrong type of scale for a selected mode/melody it would in turn make the interpretation of it wrong as well.

It is important to consider the requirements of "solfeggio" because, from my experience, notating the pitches in a way that avoids most accidentals gives notes the same names as tend to be used by singers who can naturally sing solfeggio. I have not seen studies of this, but from my understanding many traditional Chinese singers can or could do this. As a result, when transcribing into staff notation my own reconstructions from qin tablature, I have not treated "A" as a fixed pitch (specifically the modern Western 440 Hz) but as a flexible "6/la"). Instead, with my transcriptions one should always consider the notes C D E... as though they are the relative pitches do re me....

The relative pitches in my transcriptions are the same as in Pian but they are transcribed based on the scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 the 17 ci songs of Jiang Kui have the following tonal centers (with indications where Picken is different):

Ci  1 : 2
Ci  2 : 5 (Picken: 2)
Ci  3 : 5
Ci  4 : 6
Ci  5 : 5
Ci  6 : 4
Ci  7 : 4 (hexatonic: 1 2 4 5 6 7)
Ci  8 : 2
Ci  9 : 5
Ci10 : 4
Ci11 : 4
Ci12 : 4
Ci13 : 6
Ci14 : 1
Ci15 : 5 (Picken hexatonic: 2 3 4 5 6 7)
Ci16 : 2 (Picken: 5)
Ci17 : 5

A similar comparative chart could also be made whereby, instead of transcribing with the scale as 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1 ("key of C" scale) each melody is transcribed with 1 as the tonal center (TC). Thus:

1 as TC gives the same result as above
2 as TC with "key of C" scale = 1 as TC with "key of Bb" scale (7b 1 2 3b 4 5 6 7b)
4 as TC with "key of C" scale = 1 as TC with "key of G" scale (5 6 7 1 2 3 4# 5)
5 as TC with "key of C" scale = 1 as TC with "key of F" scale (4 5 6 7b 1 2 3 4)
6 as TC with "key of C" scale = 1 as TC with "key of A" scale (6 7 1# 2 3 4 5# 6# 7)
Of course, analysing the scales in this way does not take into account how the mathematics (and resulting intonation differences) of individual note relations may have been affected if there was a required tuning method for each mode. Pian and Picken transcribe in "keys" (without the implications this word has in Western music, for which see Wikipedia) assigned according to their understanding of the then-contemporary terminology, presumably to take into account how this would have affected the mathematical relationship of the notes to each other, and it may indeed have at one time been possible to determine how these mathematics were associated with mode names in actual practice. However, to my knowledge such detail is either not known or highly contested).

From my examination so far, Jiang Kui's music is largely diatonic (7 note scale of whole steps and half steps), occasionally hexatonic (six note scale; e.g., ci #4). Other notes may result from ornamentation, but there is nothing written that clarifies this. Qin music, in constrast, is largely pentatonic, but there are often extra notes in excess even of a diatonic system. These, however, tend to be bunched in such a way as to invite one to consider the possibility that the tonal center is changing in at least some of those passages.

One problem with this analysis is that some specifics of Jiang Kui's notation system depend on knowing the mode, but the descriptions of modes are at times unclear. (For an example see the differences between Pian and Picken on ci16. This, as well as the incomplete information about ornamentation, brings into question whether Jiang Kui's music is really so strictly diatonic (or hexatonic), but I have no other specifics for questioning those transcriptions.

Another way of looking at the issue of non-pentatonic notes is to compare the note collection of the ci songs with that of qin melodies. Gu Yuan is basically hexatonic (six note scale). With the tuning considered as 7b 1 2 3 5 6 1 (as on my transcription) the tonal center is 1 and the basic scale is 1 2 3 5 6 7b; however, there is also the occasional 3b and 4. To avoid accidentals in the basic scale the same relative tuning could be considered as 4 5 6 7 2 3 5, changing tonal center to 5 and making the basic scale 5 6 7 2 3 4; now, however, those occasional extra notes will be 7b and 1. In other words, there is no way to transcribe all of Gu Yuan without using any accidentals.

Perhaps of note here is the fact that in Gu Yuan the passages with non-pentatonic notes tend to be grouped together (end of section 1 and its harmonic repeat; beginning of section 2; end of section 3). In contrast, the Jiang Kui ci (based on a less complete examination) tend to be hexatonic or diatonic throughout. With the five ci I have recorded so far (as listed above), when transcribing them I have always made 1 (do) the primary tonal center. This has generally led to pieces that have either a sharped 4 or a flatted 7, not both, and no other accidentals. Assigning notes for the Jiang Kui transcriptions I have done so far according to the way I have generally done this for qin songs would mean transposing most of them down a fifth to avoid the F# or up a fifth to avoid the 7b.

Since I have been working with pre-existing transcriptions rather than by examining the Jiang Kui's original notation I do not know what method of assigning modern note names is most correct. Perhaps a reinterpretation of the note names could lead to different conclusions about the modality. And because of a lack of information on intonation issues I do not know whether for the actual music such a reinterpretation could significantly affect understanding of the intonation as opposed to the modality.

With qin melodies studying the relation between relative tunings and mode is complicated by the fact the the word "調 diao is used for both tuning and mode. The next footnote below has some brief discussion about how this may have affected intonation.

17. Ci tonal patterns
Regarding pingze, the Wikipedia article Tone pattern gives various references but says nothing about how it would be used in music/song.

18. Intonation (in relation to tuning)
The only descriptions I have seen of qin tuning result in pythagorean tuning, which means all notes played in harmonics follow the cycle of fifths tuning system. With stopped sounds the intonation can be different, but there are no traditional descriptions of mixed intonation systems.

Today other repertoires sometimes use different intonations, and certainly this was also sometimes or often the case in the past, but I have not seen studies of this in relation to the original sound of Jiang Kui's melodies. In addition, it is not yet clear what standards there were in the construction of other instruments. For example, was the quality of a flute evaluated in part by how strictly it followed a certain standard in either intonation or pitch? If so, were there different standards at different times and in different places? If Jiang Kui heard a piece he had created on his own flute played by a flute tuned a pitch higher would he have considered it to be playing in a different mode? If he could play the same melody one pitch higher on his own flute, would that change the mode? To my knowledge there have not yet been any definitive answers with regard to this.

When doing transcriptions on my computer I can easily transpose a melody up or down. However, when listening to the differences on my computer's midi playback system some of the real differences of such transposition are obscured by the fact that the system uses equal temperament (I have not yet figured out how to explore other midi settings and in any case they would still probably not capture many significant color differences).

19. Instrumentation (and range) of Jiang Kui ci songs
This issue is discussed further in connection with particular songs. Here it should be emphasized that it is unlikely any selected instrument would have been limited by the range of any ci melody as written. For example, the stated range of the Jiang Kui ci songs is about 10 notes (octave plus two), but even most skilled human voices, not to mention most music instruments, have a greater range than this. It thus seems unlikely that the mere fact that the notation can only express a limited range means that the actual music was never intended to exceed that range. For example, the range of the qin for Gu Yuan is about three octaves; presumably the voice narrowed this by changing octaves. It thus seems reasonable in adapting Jiang Kui's ci melodies for qin to expand the range of the melody through upper or lower octaves; likewise with other instruments. Similarly, when transcribing qin songs I have sometimes had to guess at where a singer might not follow the octaves indicated by the tablature; likewise Jiang Kui's own transcriptions might also have indicated leaps up where some singers might have actually gone down.

21. Syllabic settings
Gu Yuan does have an instrumental interlude where the melody of section 1 is largely repeated, but in harmonics and without paired lyrics. The absence of several notes at the end mean the lyrics could not be sung with this harmonic passage.

The most notatable characteristic showing the word intensity of qin songs, as mentioned further here, is the fact that those songs are paired one stroke per word - ornaments may or may not have words. Jiang Kui's ci songs are written in notation, not tablature. How syllabic the setting actually is depends on how significant the ornamentation. However, there seem to be some significant differences of opinion about how to interpret Jiang Kui's ornamentation. Is it possible that they are in there because Jiang Kui this was the only method Jiang Kui could imagine using to avoid the syllabic setting requirement?

According to their research into Tang dynasty music by studying the Japanese gagaku tradition, Cambridge Tang dynasty music research project determined that the Japanese gradually slowed it down, adding and emphasizing the ornamentation until the ornamentation actually became the melody. Is it then possible to understand clearly Jiang Kui's settings without a thorough understanding of his ornamentation?

22. Repeated notes
A fundamental of the qin aesthetic is the color of the notes (which in turn is dependent on the silk strings as well as the quality of the instrument itself). Inherent in the present comparison is the fact that in the qin repertoire no note is ever repeated exactly: do followed by do will always be different in color, whether from playing with a different type of pluck, from playing on different strings, in different octaves (concerning which see more above), and so forth. A flute, for example, may be able to do some of this, but there was no way to indicate it in any surviving notation system.

23. Comparing Jiang Kui's qin song with his ci settings
One can speculate about to what extent the aesthetics of qin music is wrapped up in the physical shape of the instrument. One fundamental issue, as mentioned above, is that within the qin repertoire notes are repeated more often than in other repertoires because the way a note can be played on different strings gives it a significant difference in color.

24. "HIP" and Reconstructions of Jiang Kui's Songs:
My understanding of notation for Jiang Kui's songs is that it almost certainly should not be considered prescriptive of how it should always be played. It is either descriptive of a particular performance or, more likely, provides an outline upon which performers can build/expand. It is also clearly incomplete in other ways as well, leaving out such important information as the instruments to be used (Jiang Kui is known to have played flute, but there is nothing to suggest he would have rejected other instruments) or the relationship between the voice and the music (e.g., whether they should be in unison, interact heterophonically, adjust octaves according to the range of voice or nature of the instruments, etc.). Much Western music outside its Common Practice Period was also written with this intention.

Given this, my own standard for credibility in connecting a song to Jiang Kui's intentions is whether one can say for certain that something could not have been done that way. Thus, for example, the first time I heard a reconstruction of Jiang's songs the singer was a clearly Western-trained Chinese soprano who sang in bel canto style. When I questioned why this was done the answer was that we don't know how music was sung during the Song dynasty but we do know it was great music. Since the greatest music today is sung in bel canto style we should sing Jiang Kui songs in this way as well. Such an attitude makes its difficult for me to have a "willing suspension of disbelief" that what I am hearing has more than a superficial connection to Jiang Kui's actual creation.

25. Transmission of the songs of the Whitestone Daoist (白石道人歌曲 Baishi Daoren Gequ)
See Pian, p.34. The colophon by 錢希武 Qian Xiwu can be found at the end of the 6 folio volume. 陶宗儀 Tao Zongyi is mentioned further elsewhere. (Regarding Pian's transliterations, such as "Sonq" for "Song" (or more specifically "Sòng"), she is using the Harvard romanization system).

26. Available Sources for the Songs of the Whitestone Daoist (白石道人歌曲 Baishi Daoren Gequ)
The three 18th century editions are by 江炳炎 Jiang Bingyan (1737, but only printed in 1913 by 朱孝臧 Zhu Xiaozang), 陸鍾輝 Lu Zhonghui (1743) and 張奕樞 Zhang Yishu (1749). Pian (p.33 ff) says there were many other early editions that omitted the tablature/notation. The only reference in her bibliography seems to be to an edition in Volume XVIII of 彊村叢書 Qiangcun Congshu, a compilation by 朱祖謀 Zhu Zumou (1857-1931). And although she also has detailed discussions about other early editions, see also p.99, it is not clear to me yet how this particular edition fits in with other early versions such as the one in 四庫全書 Siku Quanshu (4卷).

So far I have seen two collections, both in the library of Columbia University in New York. The following details are from the card catalogue:

  1. Baishidaoren ge qu [6 juan]
    Title 白石道人 歌曲.[6卷]
    Author Jiang, Kui 姜蘷, approximately 1155-approximately 1235
    Published Taibei Shi : Shi jie shu ju, Min guo 70 [1981]
    Columbia, East Asian, PL2687.C5 A5 1981

  2. Baishidaoren ge qu: [4 juan] / (Song) Jiang Kui
    白石道人歌曲 : [4卷] / (宋) 姜夔撰.
    Published : [Taipei] : Taiwan shang wu yin shu guan 臺灣商務印書館, [1983]
    Ying yin Wen yuan ge Si ku quan shu; di 1488 ce
    景印文淵閣四庫全書 ; 第1488册 (269-303)
    Columbia, East Asian, AC149 .S699 1983
    partially online)

Both are facsimile reprints; there are certainly other such versions (see, e.g., the unidentified one here), but as yet I do not have further details.

27. Six volume edition
The contents of my copy of Baishidaoren Ge Qu in six folios are as follows:

Opening preface
I am not yet sure of the source, the text begins and ends as follows:


The date does not seem to be indicated.

Table of contents (.jpg version, which does not name the 14 Sacred Songs)

卷之一 Folio 1

聖宋鐃歌鼓吹曲十四首 14 Sacred Song (Dynasty) Military Wind and Percussion Songs (lyrics only)
琴曲一首 One qin piece (in standard qin tablature)
側商調 Ceshang mode
調弦法 Tuning method
古怨 Gu Yuan (music and lyrics)

卷之二 Folio 2

越九歌 Yue Jiu Ge: Nine Songs of Yue (also translated as "Ten Ritual Songs"; 10 poems, all with music)
(The music is all written in lülü notation)
古琴譜法 Old and New Notation Method (compares the lülü and gongche systems
折字法 Rules for the character "zhe" (

卷之三 Folio 3

Ling: 19 titles, five of them with two or more examples
(Four of these have music, all using suzi notation:
#5, #14, #15, #16)

卷之四 Folio 4

Man: 19 titles, one with two examples
(Only the first one (
Nishang Zhong Xu) has music, again in suzi notation)

卷之五 Folio 5

自度曲 Zidu Qu: "Self-done songs", 9 titles
(All include music written in suzi notation)

卷之六 Folio 6

自製曲 Zizhi Qu: "Self-made songs", 4 titles
(The first three have music, all written in suzi notation)

Closing line: 嘉泰壬辰至日,刻於東岩之讀書堂, 雲間錢希武。
Dated 1202, Qian Xiwu

Extra comment: 歌曲特文人餘事耳....今將善本勘讐方可人意後十一年庚子夏四月也。

After this there is a 別集 bie ji, an additional collection including 10 more titles (lyrics only), some of them having multiple examples

28. Four volume edition
The contents of my copy of Baishidaoren Ge Qu in four folios are as follows:

Opening prefaces (different from the above; no table of contents)

Folio 1: 皇朝鐃歌鼓吹曲十四首 Imperial Military Wind and Percussion Songs, a somewhat different title, but the same songs as above, followed by Nine Songs of Yue and the qin melody Gu Yuan

Folio 2: The same items as under the above-mentioned 19 ling titles

Folio 3: The same items as under the above-mentioned 19 man titles

Folio 4: The same Self-done Songs and Self-made Songs as above.

There is then the same 別集 bie ji as above, at the end with the same extra comment as above, but without the line from Qian Xiwu giving the date as 1202.

I am working from a photocopy of both the six and four volume versions.

29. Pian, p. 34

30. 皇朝鐃歌鼓吹曲十四首 14 Imperial Military Wind and Percussion Songs
Also called 聖宋鐃歌鼓吹曲十四首 14 Sacred Song (Dynasty) Military Wind and Percussion Songs.Their titles read more like prefaces than titles:

  1. 上帝命太祖受命也五季亂極人心戴宋太祖無心而得天下也
  2. 河之表破澤州也李筠不知天命自憑其勇不能降心以至於叛而死也
  3. 淮海濁定維揚也李重進自謂周大臣不屈於太祖作鐵券以安之猶據鎮叛
  4. 沅之上取湖南也湖南有難乞援於我至則拒焉我師取之
  5. 皇威暢得荊州也我師救湖南道荊州高繼冲懼歸其土
  6. 蜀山邃取蜀也孟昶恃其國險且結河東以拒命兵加國除
  7. 時雨霈取廣南也劉鋹淫虐我師弔其民俘鋹以歸
  8. 望鍾山下江南也李煜乍臣乍叛勢窮乃降而我師朱嘗戮一人也
  9. 大哉仁吳越錢俶獻其國也
  10. 謳歌歸陳洪進以漳泉來獻也
  11. 伐功繼克河東也始太祖之伐河東誓不殺一人又哀劉氏之不祀故緩取之至太宗始得其地
  12. 帝臨墉親征契丹於澶淵也
  13. 維四葉美致治也
  14. 炎精復歌中興也

As yet I have not seen any punctuated versions or translations.

31. Tablature explanation with Gu Yuan
It is called 調絃法 Tiao Xian Fa (Tuning strings method) and is different from the 定絃法 Ding xian fa (Fixing strings method; discussed by Hsu Wen-Ying, The Ku-ch'in, p. 327. Here she writes (text edited here) that Jiang Kui "petitioned to the Royal court of the Southern Song dynasty to regulate the musical tones for rituals, and made a list with analyses of theories on different ways to tune the guqin." Hsu goes on to discuss the different tunings.

32. Ling
"Ling" literally means "command", but Picken (p.132) writes, "this term is applied to short tz'ŭ with a comparatively small number of syllables to the stanza".

33. Man: "idling tune?", "slow tune?", "short tune?", "drawn out melody?"
"Idling" is suggested by Kroll, who has "neglectful", "indolent", "unhurried", "dilatory", "arrogant", etc., as well as "slow". As for Chinese dictionaries, 11385 慢 has 13 entries, none dealing with songs, but see 11385.21 慢詞 man ci and 11385.35 慢調 man diao. The latter seems to say it is a 小令 short form of a ling:


Picken (p.133), however, has the following about "man":

"This term was reserved for longer songs than ling, with a larger total number of syllables to the stanza. The usual meaning of the term is 'slowly' or 'gradually', but in a musical context it indicates not pace but a particular kind of structure: a heterometric stanza with a large number of short lines, and with a comparatively small number of lines of seven or more syllables."

Here man is rendered as "idling tune" in part because it could refer to the mood expressed in the melody (with ambivalence about that mood) or to the nature of the melody itself. The comments above suggest that "man" is a term meaning a song of a certain type, but unfortunately this does not say clearly what type of melody it is and so it does not help very much in reconstructing the melody. For example, an irregular number of characters per phrase does not necessarily signify an irregular rhythm for the melody.

In Ming dynasty qin tablature one often sees the instructions "入慢 ru man" and/or "漸慢 jian man". Perhaps the above comments on "man" suggest that these terms mean that the music becomes more free rather than (though not precluding) slower.

34. Flute
Ci Song #16 mentions a reed-pipe. One can only speculate as to how appropriate Jiang Kui himself would have found it to hear his songs played on other instruments, but there is no reason to believe he would have objected to it.

35. Singing
The suggestion that perhaps the songs did not need to be sung is largely speculative: due to their brevity anyone who liked the melody would presumably have enjoyed hearing it played on an instrument. One can also cite the evidence that Jiang Kui sometimes listened to them played on instruments before they were sung (see, e.g., under ci #16).

36. Percussion
There is little or no mention of either rhythm or percussion in Jiang Kui's own writing. My own attempts at reconstructing his melodies, as with my qin melody reconstructions, are based on an assumption that the music is rhythmic but that the rhythms are freely interpreted. I have not been able properly to study Jiang Kui's rhythmic indications.

As for percussion instruments, if a drum was used to mark the beat, this presumably would emphasize the rhythm, but the most common percussion instrument at that time seems to have been clappers, and evidence suggests that, at least later, these may generally have been used only to mark the ends of phrases. A poem by Lin Bu refers to the percussion instrument/clappers as 檀板 tanban but the more generic name is 拍板 paiban (Wiki).

37. 霓裳中序 Nishang Zhong Xu
Nishang is best known in the title Nishang Yu Yi (details), but at least one old list also includes as a qin melody title Nishang Yin.

Recently I found on YouTube this interpretation (posted by Tao Liu) for flute and percussion of Section 1. The extremely slow style (4'46" for that section only) suggests that the interpretation was inspired by Japanese court music (gagaku) as played today. Gagaku did include music brought to Japan from Tang dynasty China. However, the extremely slow style of its contemporary performance most likely developed in Japan several centuries after its arrival there.

Other melodies attributed to Jiang Kui have many non-pentatonic notes, but the music of his Nishang Zhong Xu is basically diatonic throughout (scale 1 2 3 4 5 6 7b with 1 as the primary tonal center or 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 with 5 as the primary tonal center); this made it awkward adapting it for a qin using standard tuning. As for my own reconstruction, linked above, the melody seems so different from other melodies I have worked on that I am not convinced I have yet found the right clues to its interpretation.

38. Recording of 長亭怨慢 Chang Ting Yuan Man by 袁中平 Yuan Jung Ping (YouTube)
As mentioned above (together with a copy of Yang Yinliu's transcription), in his YouTube performance ("Lament of Departure") Yuan Jung Ping begins with a 30 second prelude, then plays the melody twice on the qin, the first time reciting the lyrics as he plays, then on the repeat singing them.

Without accidentals (and not considering possible ornamental notes) Jiang Kui's Chang Ting Yuan Man as generally interpreted is a hexatonic (six tone) melody with the note collection 1 2 4 5 6 7 (1) and the tonal center 4. With the tonal center 1 the note collection becomes 1 2 3 4# 5 6 (1; compare "Lydian" and see my own transcription). Picken, Pian and Yang have basically the same result: Picken and Yang transcribe the same Chinese note symbols using the note collection 1 2 4 5 6 7; Pian (pp.106-7) transcribes them as 1 3b 4 5 6 7b, making 3b the main tonal center.

Jung Ping largely follows the interpretation of Yang Yinliu, who writes out his interpretation of what he considers as ornaments. However, based on this understanding of the original note collection being 1 2 3 4# 5 6 7, with 1 as the main tonal center, then what Jung Ping has done is change the mode by flattening all the 4#s to 4. There are 8 occurrences of this relative pitch: with the words 香 xiang, 人 ren, 情 qing, 高 gao, 去 qu, 玉 Yu, 一 yi and 並 bing.

Jiang Kui himself says the mode is 中呂宮 gong on zhonglü; if someone interprets gong to mean "C" then that might be justification for changing the mode to C (or Ionian). Since I have not examined all other transcriptions I do not know whether in making this change Jung Ping is actually following a different existing intepretation, whether he made this change for the sake of qin tuning, or whether it was for another reason, such a personal taste. To my knowledge he has not discussed his reasons for this change.

To play this piece on the qin Yuan Jung Ping has in fact devised an original qin tuning: from standard tuning 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 he has raised the forth string a whole tone and the 5th string a half tone, giving 1 2 4 6 7b 1 2 (with A=440 his first note on the video is actually B, making the open first string A=55 or 110); the harmonics on the 5th and 9th studs (hui) thus become 5 6 1 3 4# 5 6. If he had instead used the tuning 1 2 4 6 7 1 2 then the harmonics on the 5th and 9th hui would have been 5 6 1 3 4 5 6. This suggests that the change was not done for the sake of tuning; perhaps it was for personal taste combined with a belief that for a gong mode piece Jiang would not have actually called for the F#s.

39. Melodies transcribed in Pian's Sonq Dynasty Musical Sources and their Interpretation
In addition to the Jiang Kui Songs of the Whitestone Daoist discussed above, Pian also has transcriptions and analyses of the other known sources of music published in the Song dynasty.

Pian wrote (p.VII) "Eighty-seven different musical examples are found in Sonq sources." The following is a full outline by category of her transcriptions of these in her book:

  1. Music in Popular Notation (俗字譜 suzi pu [sample]; pp.99-137)

  2. Pieces in Qin Tablature (pp.137-154)

  3. Music in the "pitch-pipe notation" (律呂譜 Lülü pu [sample-center: 七月]; pp.154-173)
    • Twelve Songs from the Shi Jing as recorded by 朱熹 Zhu Xi in his 儀禮經傳通解 Yi Li Jing Chuan Tong Jie (pp.154-173; QQJC XXX/391-398)
      Included in the Se Pu (see p.9 and below as well as p.96 and Fengya Shiershi Pu; also transcribed by Picken
      Poem #s and title translations are from Waley/Allen; all have lyrics; some have settings for qin elsewhere
      1. 鹿鳴 Lu Ming (Shi Jing #161 The Deer Cry)
      2. 四牡 Si Mu (Shi Jing #162 Four Steeds)
      3. 皇皇者華 Huang Huang Zhe Hua (Shi Jing #163 Bright Are the Flowers)
      4. 魚麗 Yu Li (Shi Jing #170 Fish in the Trap)
      5. 南有嘉魚 Nan You Jia Yu (Shi Jing #171 In the South There Are Lucky Fish)
      6. 南山有臺 Nan Shan You Tai (Shi Jing #172 Nutgrass Grows on the Southern Hills)
      7. 關雎 Guan Ju (Shi Jing #1 The Ospreys Cry)
      8. 葛覃 Ge Tan (Shi Jing #2 The Cloth-Plant Spreads)
      9. 卷耳 Juan Er (Shi Jing #3 Cocklebur)
      10. 鵲巢 Que Qiao (Shi Jing #12 Magpie's Nest; called "召南 Shao Nan" [its section title])
      11. 采蘩 Cai Fan (Shi Jing #13 Gathering White Aster)
      12. 采蘋 Cai Ping (Shi Jing #15 Gathering Duckweed)

    • Ten Ritual Songs of Yue by Jiang Kui (pp.173-188)
      Outlined further

  4. Music in "gong che notation" (工尺譜 Gongche pu [sample-left side: 七月]; pp.188-231)
    A popular form functioning much like the lülü notation in the pieces just mentioned

Much of the qin music in such sources as Shen Qi Mi Pu is thought to date from the Song dynasty or earlier, but there are no specific details of their Song dynasty publications/manuscripts, and so were not considered here.

Return to Qin poetry and songs, or to the Guqin ToC.