Han Yu
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Han Yu
Han Yu2                        
Han Yu (768-828), one of the Tang dynasty's most influential poets and essayists, is best known for his "ancient style prose" (gu wen), part of an aim to "return to antiquity" (fugu; see comment under
HIP.). In this he is often paired with Meng Jiao (751 - 814).3 By the Tang dynasty the written language had changed, and gu wen was an effort to return to ancient ways. Gu wen writers did not try to reproduce the earlier styles, rather "they wrote in a new style based on the ancient (pre-Qin and Han) ideals of clarity, conciseness, and utility."4

Ronald Egan in his article "Music, Sadness and the Qin"5 writes that Han Yu mentions the qin four times in his poetry. These are perhaps the four included in Qinshu Daquan (QQJC, Volume V), as follows:

Folio 18, #67 (V. 406)
Folio 19B, #35 (V. 424/5); set to qin in the melody Ting Qin Yin 6)
Folio 19B, #36 (V. 425)
Folio 19B, #37 (V. 425

However, Han Yu is also credited with having written a set of 10 poems called Qin Cao (qin melodies; cao in ancient times often referred to laments).

Music for the 10 Qin Cao poems of Han Yu 7

Taigu Yiyin includes melodic settings of these 10 poems, all written in the voice of people of earlier times: Taigu Yiyin thus lists them in their supposed chronological order. These titles constitute 10 of the 12 cao on a famous list, overall title Qin Cao, attributed to Cai Yong (133-192).8

Because Taigu Yiyin groups pieces according to the person with whom the melody is associated, Han Yu's poems are not all together. Below they are listed according to their order in Han Yu's Qin Cao. At the end of each entry is the order in Taigu Yiyin (TG), the order in Cai Yong's Qin Cao (CY), then the page reference for the Zhonghua Shuju edition of Yuefu Shiji (they start on p. 839).

  1. Jiang Gui Cao (About to Return Melody); CY1; TG14; Yuefu Shiji, p.841
  2. Yi Lan Cao (Esteemed Orchid Melody); CY2; TG13; Yuefu Shiji, p.840
  3. Gui Shan Cao (Turtle Mountain Melody); CY3; TG15; Yuefu Shiji, p.842
  4. Yueshang Cao (Yueshang Melody; CY4; TG10; Yuefu Shiji, p.832
  5. Ju You Cao (Gloomy-Detention Melody); CY5; TG05; Yuefu Shiji, p.829
  6. Qi Shan Cao (Mount Qi Melody); CY6; TG04; Yuefu Shiji, p.832
  7. Lü Shuang Cao (Walking-in-the-Frost Melody; CY7; TG11; Yuefu Shiji, p.833/4
  8. Zhi Zhao Fei Cao (Pheasants' Morning Flight Melody); CY8; TG19; Yuefu Shiji, p.837
  9. Bie Gu Cao (Parting Snowgoose Melody); CY9 (Bie He); TG18; Yuefu Shiji, p.845
  10. Can Xing Cao (Partial Form Melody); CY10; TG17; Yuefu Shiji, p.842

Han Yu apparently did not write poems for the other two cao on Cai Yong's list:

  1. Shui Xian (Water Spirit), attributed to Bo Ya; CY11; not in Yuefu Shiji9
  2. Huai Ling (Cherished Mount), attributed to Bo Ya; CY12; not in Yuefu Shiji10

There are also qin settings for these poems in several other handbooks. In particular:

The 1539 settings seem to be unrelated musically to those in 1511, but those I have examined from 1585 (and its companion 1573), though different from 1511, still have a clear relationship.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Han Yu (768-828)
44126.317 韓愈,字推之 Han Yu, style name Tuizhi, often called 昌黎 Changli because according to 14116.101 he was 封號 enfeoffed there (Changli is north of modern Tianjin in Hebei Provincel; Giles says Han Yu's ancestors were from there, though he was born in Henan); he was later canonized 文公 Wen'gong. 古文 Gu wen; 復古 fugu. See Stephen Owen, The Poetry of Meng Jiao and Han Yü. Translations of Han Yu are included in many collections, but I know of none with only his work.

2. Image
This image from Sancai Tuhui was copied from 44126.317 .

3. Meng Jiao (751 - 814)
7107.107 孟郊,字東野 Meng Jiao, style name Dongye, was "the eldest and most difficult of the fugu writers who gathered around Han Yu at the turn of the ninth century" (ICTCL). Owen, op. cit., pp. 18 and 186, mentions that Han Yu praised Meng Jiao in his "rather dour" Preface on Seeing off Meng Jiao (see also Murck). Meng Jiao's own lyrics are mentioned or quoted in connection with,

Xiangfei Yuan
Pei Lan
Lienü Yin

Other relevant poems included two in Qinshu Daquan,

Folio 19, #6
Folio 19, #55

4. Charles Hartman in Nienhauser, Indiana Companion to Traditional Chinese Literature, p.388.

5. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies #57, p.53.

6. 聽琴吟 Ting Qin Yin (Listening to the Qin)
Zha, Guide, 29/226/433: this melody was published in 1589 (QQQJ, VII, p. 73) and three later handbooks. It is set to the Han Yu poem 聽穎師彈琴 Listening to Reverend Ying Play the Qin (translation in Egan, Controversy, p.48). Reverend Ying was well-known as a qin player.

7. Music for the 10 Qin Cao poems of Han Yu
I have written out transcriptions for all 10 settings but have only recorded a few (example).

8. The list of 12 cao can be found in Taiyin Daquanji. Qinyuan Yaolu gives introductions to each melody.

9. 水仙 Shui Xian; see Shuixian Qu

10. Huai Ling
Huai Ling has been written two ways: 壞陵(操) Ruined Mounds (Lament) and 懷陵操 Cherished Mounds Lament. For further details see the note with Qin Cao.

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