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Heruo Bi 1 賀若弼

Heruo Bi (544 - 607; see also in QSCB) was a military leader with literary talent. As a general in the army of the first ruler of the Sui dynasty, Sui Wendi (Yang Jian), Heruo Bi played a leading part in the defeat of the Chen, paving the way for the unification of China under the Sui.3 However, under the second Sui emperor a rival faction caused Heruo Bi to be executed and his family either sold into slavery or executed.

Heruo Bi is said to have created Ten Short Melodies in Gong Mode, listed below. These qin songs are mentioned in early literature but not included in any of the early lists of existing songs, but they are listed in a passage from the Song dynasty work Xiangshan Yelu by Wu Monk Wen Ying.4 The passage there calls their creator "Heruo Yi" of the Sui dynasty, but this must mean Heruo Bi. It lists the titles but does not mention the qin, adding that the Song Taizong Emperor was particularly fond of the them, but was not happy with some of the titles, and so he changed them.5

The titles of the Ten Melodies in Gong Mode (with two variant titles) are:6

  1. 不博金 Bu Bo Jin (石博金 Shi Bo Jin?); Taizong called it 楚澤涵秋 Chu Ze Han Qiu
  2. 不換玉 Bu Huan Yu; Taizong called it 塞門積雪 Sai Men Ji Xue
  3. 峽泛吟 Xia Fan Yin (泛峽吟 Fan Xia Yin? 夾?)
  4. 越溪吟 Yue Xi Yin
  5. 越江吟 Yue Jiang Yin
  6. 孤猿吟 Gu Yuan Yin (孤憤吟 Gu Fen Yin?)
  7. 清夜吟 Qingye Yin (see comment below)
  8. 葉下聞蟬 Yexia Wen Chan
  9. 三清 San Qing
  10. 失名 (the name is lost)

Regarding Qing Ye Yin (Peaceful Evening Prelude), there is a surviving qin melody of this title. In addition, the preface in Tianwenge Qinpu (1876) to the melodically unrelated Liangxiao Yin (which also translates as "Peaceful Evening Prelude") says that Heruo Bi created it. This attribution, found with none of the other versions of Liangxiao Yin, is perhaps made by analogy with Qing Ye Yin. However, there is no reason to believe there is any melodic connection between either of these melodies and any melody Heruo Bi may have written.

Heruo is also mentioned in several articles included in QSDQ:

  1. Folio 11, #20 (IV.223) has a list of "10 Short Melodies for Qin" attributed to him, with commentary.

  2. Folio 16, #60 (IV.367) has some further comments.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Heruo Bi 賀若弼 (544 - 607)
Heruo Bi (Bio/1812; 37569.52), from Luoyang, had the style name 輔伯 Fubo (Fubai). See also Arthur Wright, The Sui Dynasty, pp.142-148 and 168. His name is often mistakenly romanized as He Ruobi.

3. Yang Jian 楊堅 (540 - 605)
Yang Jian, later 隋文帝 Sui emperor Wendi, established the Sui dynasty by marrying his daughter to Emperor Jingdi of the Northern Zhou then persuading Jingdi to abdicate. As Wendi he then conquered the neighboring Chen, eventually unifying China under his rule. One of his sons, Yang Xiu, is said to have made a thousand qins.

4. Xiangshan Yelu 湘山野彔
By 文瑩 Wen Bao. 宋太宗 Song Taizong; 賀若夷 Heruo Yi; 賀若弼 Heruo Bi.

5. This is further discussed by Xu Jian in his Introductory History of the Qin (QSCB), Chapter 6 (p. 112).

6. 10 Short Melodies in Gong Mode 宮調十小調子 Gongdiao shi xiao diaozi
In Xiangshan Yelu by Wen Bao (see above) the list is called 宮調中十小調子 Gongdiaozhong shi xiao diaozi. Elsewhere they are called 宮聲十小調 or simply 宮聲十調 Gongsheng Shidiao. The article by Wen Bao, with its list, is quoted in QSDQ, XVI, p.367; the list can also be found, with a couple of changes, in QSDQ, XIII, p.289. Xu Jian discusses the list in a paragraph on Heruo Bi in the chapter on Sui and Tang dynasty qin specialists in his Outline History of the Qin, Chapter 5. A. (p.53), using the alternate versions given above. He also mentions them again in the first paragraph of his chapter on Diaozi and Caonong (Chapter 5. a., p.112).

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