Jiang Kui
 T of C 
Qin as
Qin in
/ Song
Analysis History Ideo-
Personal email me search me
Qin bios     Gu Yuan     Songs of the Whitesone Daoist 網站目錄
Jiang Kui
- Qin Shi Xu #11 2
姜夔 1
琴史續 #11
New Jiang Kui Public Park in Poyang 3    
Jiang Kui (ca. 1155 - 1221), a major poet, musician and critic, was a native of Poyang, in modern Jiangxi province, hence the new park shown at right. However, his family took him from Poyang to the Hanyang area (by modern Wuhan) when he was about 10;
4 and he lived there until he was about 30, when the important poet and scholar official Xiao Dezao took him to Huzhou, on the south side of Lake Taihu in Zhejiang province (the area is also called Wuxing).5 Jiang spent the rest of his life in that region (including Suzhou and Hangzhou), never achieving important office, but making a living by selling his calligraphy and getting patronage from wealthy friends. He also had artistic friends, such as Fan Chengda.6

Jiang is generally credited with having "written" or "composed" at least 28 pieces, but it is not always clear what his role or his intentions were; it has even been argued that some of his songs were written by the women (female entertainers) with whom he spent a lot of time.7 Pieces attributed to him, collectively known as Songs of the Whitestone Daoist, survive today in written form, thus seeming 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.8 The 28 songs are divided into three groups, with the earliest known publication putting them in six folios, one each for the first two groups, four for the third. In this order these are:

Qinshu Cunmu discusses Jiang Kui's Sketches to Investigate Antiquity of Qin and Se (Qin Se Kaogu Tu).

Qinxue Bielu discusses his Qingyuan Period Music Book (Qingyuan Yue Shu).

His Tuning Strings Method (Ding xian fa)12 is sometimes considered an important book on Song dynasty qin music practice.

Jiang Kui is said to have been a close friend of the important collector of old qin tablature Zhang Yan,13 and two of Jiang's poems connected to Zhang are mentioned in Rao, Chapter 4.

Rulan Chao Pian in her Sonq Dynasty Musical Sources and their Interpretation (see further under Songs of the Whitestone Daoist) writes on page 38 that there are three known composers from the Song dynasty,

  1. Fan Chengda (1126-1191)
  2. Jiang Kui (ca. 1155-1221)
  3. Xiong Penglai (1246-1323)14

Given that many qin melodies are said to have been "composed" by players during the Song dynasty, this raises interesting questions about the meaning of the word "composed".15

The original essay in Qin Shi Xu begins,

Jiang Kui, style name Yaozhang, was from Poyang....

Translation incomplete. 16

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 姜夔 Jiang Kui (1155-1221; Wiki; Anchor Book)
Jiang Kui, 6335.117 姜夔,(江西)鄱陽人字堯章 from 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]).

2. 18 lines; credited source: 海紅寮碎墨

3. Jiang Kui Public Park (姜夔公園 Jiang Kui Gongyuan) in Poyang
In 2008 the government announced that work was beginning on a 姜夔公園 Jiang Kui Public Park in 上饒市鄱陽縣 Poyang, a county within Shangrao City, to the east of 鄱陽湖 Poyang Lake in Jiangxi province. (Note that in 1957 the name of 鄱陽縣 Poyang county was changed to 波陽縣 Boyang County, but in 2003 the original name was restored.)

4. Jiang Kui in 漢陽 Hanyang
Jiang Kui's father was a scholar official. He died a few years after moving the family to the Hanyang area, but Jiang Kui stayed on there (see Nienhauser, op. cit.).

5. 蕭德藻 Xiao Dezao
A noted Song dynasty poet; also mentioned in connection with 揚州慢 Yangzhou Man. 湖洲 Huzhou; 吳興 Wuxing.

6. Fan Chengda 范成大 (1126-1191; Wiki)
31472.83 A noted poet and travel commentator, style name 致能 Zhineng, nickname Stone Lake (石湖 Shi Hu or 石湖居士). Further details of his connections to the qin are here.

He is said to have contributed to Jiang Kui's poems as follows:

See also Shihu Xian.

7. Jiang Kui getting inspiration from female entertainers
This is based on there being number of texts mentioning the women entertainers singing for Jiang Kui combined withe a lack of precise details concerning to what extent Jiang Kui created the music as well as the lyrics.

8. Songs of the Whitestone Daoist (白石道人歌曲 Baishi Daoren Gequ)
Further information on these 28 songs has been moved to a separate page.

9. Jiang Kui: Ancient Lament (古怨 Gu Yuan)
This is the only one of his 28 Songs set for qin; see further details. It was written with qin tablature and lyrics paired side by side.

10. 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). Further information on these songs has been moved to a separate page.

11. Jiang Kui: 17 ci songs (詞調十七首 Ci Diao Shiqi Shou)
These 17 ci settings from his 28 Songs survive in a variation of number notation called "popular notation"(俗字譜 suzi pu. For further details see a separate page.

12. Tuning strings method (定絃法 Ding xian fa)
21570.xxx. Hsu Wen-Ying, The Ku-ch'in, p. 327, 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.

13. Jiang Kui and Zhang Yan
Hsu Wen-Ying, The Ku-ch'in, p. 330, writes (text again edited here), "Jiang was a friend of Zhang Yan, having written poems in praise of Zhang." She goes on to discuss the scores Zhang Yan had acquired through Han Tuozhou, suggesting that Jiang Kui was one of the limited number of people with access to these scores.

14. 熊朋來 Xiong Penglai (1246-1323)
19738.49 says,

Xiong Penglai was from Yuzhang (near Nanchang in Jiangxi), style name Yuke, nickname Tianyongzi. He passed his jinshi degree during 1264-74 then, at the beginning of the Yuan dynasty, taught in the central south (?), leading to his investigation of old calligraphic writing, tuning systems and coordinating this with poetry and song in order to help revive the study of elegant music....He wrote Commentary on the Five Classics, Handbook for Se, Collected Essays and so forth.

Xiong Penglai's 31 ceremonial songs in lülü notation have been transcribed by a number of people (see further). However, although his Handbook for Se Zither (瑟譜 Se Pu) has been preserved in the Siku Quanshu (see in the China Text Project, its notation system is apparently not well understood. This was apparently the first effort made at reviving the se; the next one did not come until the songs published around 1677 by Chen Xiong in his Songfengge Qinsepu.

15. Composers
Qin melodies were written down in great detail, but most likely these were transcriptions of melodies created through playing them, not through writing them down in advance. If during the Song dynasty there were people who wrote down melodies consciously following rules which allowed analyis (see "classical music" in the website glossary), this trend apparently did not catch on. Could this then be compared with the evidence that during the Song dynasty there were all the ingredients for an industrial revolution but for reasons still argued this never happened? There is some further comment under The written tradition of qin miusic.

16. Original Qin Shi Xu biography
The original text begins,

Return to QSCB, or to the Guqin ToC.