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Qing Rui 1
- Qin Shi Xu #308 2
琴史續 #308
Qing Rui holding a qin ca. 1870 3        
Qing Rui (1816-1875), a Manchu from Heilongjiang, served as a government official (often military) in various places in China. This includes some time in Hangzhou, where from about 1836 to 1939 he studied guqin from Li Chengyu,4 a master of the Guangling qin school.5

Details of Qing Rui's official marriage are uncertain other than that by his wife, named 聶格爾氏 Nie Ge-er (1820 - ?), he had two sons, but that none of them is known to have had any connection with Qing Rui's musical activities.

At age 27 (around 1843) Qing Rui moved to Canton (Guangzhou), serving as a goverment official in various places including Haikang in the far south of Guangdong (perhaps including Hainan).6 Then around 1862 李芝仙 Li Zhixian (1842 - 1908) became his "local wife".7 She is said to have inherited the Lingnan style of playing, which would have been rather different from the Guangling style Qing Rui had previously learned. Together they shared an interest in both qin and se, and together and separately they taught a number of students. After Qing Rui died in 1875 she continued to teach, and it seems quite likely that overall her "Lingnan style" became dominant.8

During the years 1862 to 1908, when Li Zhixian died, Qing Rui and Li Zhixian personally taught qin to family members in particular, starting a line of players that has extended from father through son down to the present. This so-called line of the Rong Family Tradition is thus as follows:

  1. 容慶瑞 Rong Qing Rui (1816-1875); because of the family connection the family name Rong is sometimes given to Qing Rui himself.
  2. 容葆廷 Rong Baoting (1862 - 1920); only son of Qing Rui and Li Zhixian, he is said to have learned qin from both of them.
  3. 容心言 Rong Xinyan9 (1884 - 1966); he followed his son to Hong Kong; his students included 饒宗頤 Rao Zongyi and Lo Ka-ping.
  4. 容思澤 Rong Size11 (Yung Sze-chak; 1931 - 2001); in the 1950s he moved to Hong Kong.
  5. 容克智 Rong Kezhi (Yong Hak-chi or Hammond Yong;12 teaches in Hong Kong and in 2015 published the 香江容氏琴譜 Xiangjiang Rongshi Qinpu.

Further regarding the style inherited by Rong Baoting, presumably Li Zhixian's influence was most important, since Qing Rui died when Rong Baoting was just 13 hears old. In addition, though, Qing Rui's biography in Qinshi Xu, partially translated below, says that in Guangzhou he had as a house guest the qin player 周竹舲 Zhou Zhuling;13 it is not clear whether Zhou studied with Qing Rui, taught him or simply enjoyed his playing; it is also not clear from this whether Zhou taught others there. The biography does mention a Dream Fragrance Garden (夢香園 Meng Xiang Yuan).14

Some of Qing Rui's art was handcopied in tablature preserved within the Rong family. In addition, in 1870 Qing Rui himself produced a Handbook for Playing Qin and Se Together (琴瑟合譜 Qinse Hepu);15 its eight qin melodies with se accompaniment are listed in Appendix I below.

As for other qin players in Guangzhou outside Qing Rui's family but considered to have been his students, one of these, 孫寶 Sun Bao, compiled 以六正五之齋琴學秘書 Yi Liu Zheng Wuzhizhai Qinxue Mishu (1875). Its contents are listed in Appendix II below. Of its 21 pieces, six are the same titles as pieces in Qinse Hepu, but with mostly different versions of those melodies.

Of Qinse Hepu R.H. Van Gulik wrote the following (Lore, p. 9 fn.; Romanization changed):

At Canton there was published in 1870 a Qin-se-he-pu, 'Handbook for Playing qin and se Together', written by the scholar Qing Rui (慶瑞, pen-name Hui-shan 輝山). Having studied the qin for several years, he became interested in the se, but could find nobody to teach him this instrument. Then he set to work with the handbook of Xiong Penglai...but came to the conclusion that Xiong's method was not in accordance with the rules of ancient music. As his wife, a lady called Li Zhixian 李芝仙, was an able musician, he made her accompany on the se his qin playing, and on the basis of these experiments he fixed a tuning for the se, and composed the notation for eight old melodies, set to be played by the qin accompanied by the se; these tunes are published in his handbook. I have tried out his system....(and) find that he aims at a complete unison effect, each note of the qin being the same as the corresponding note on the se. He introduces a vibrato for the se, to be effected by pressing down a string left of the bridge, as is done while playing the Japanese koto. The results of his method are not very interesting....

Here it should be pointed out that simply because the qin and se scores were written as though they should be played in unison this does not mean players would have to play that way - or even that it was intended they play that way. It could also be that the intention was for each player to learn the basic melody by playing their respective tablature, but that when they actually played together they would be free to do so in, for example, a heterophonic manner. The extent that they could do this would have to do with their skill and experience.

In Guangzhou Qing Rui also made friends (through Li Zhixian?) in the local Lingnan school. He thus became familiar with their signature handbook, Wuxue Shanfang Qinpu (1836), as well as with the rather speculative Gugang Yipu, a handbook said to have preserved ancient melodies brought to the Pearl River delta at the end of the Song dynasty. However, he and is descendants continued to consider themselves to be Guangling School.

Qing Rui's biography in Qinshi Xu
This entry begins and ends as follows:

Qing Rui, style name Huishan, was from Heilongjiang. When young he studied qin from Li Chengyu of Qiantang (Hangzhou), thus acquiring the rhythm of the way he played. Chengyu also transmitted his method of teaching se zither, without using notation or tablature to teach. Later when Qing Rui traveled all over as an official he tried to vist people good at both qin and se. He could only find a few with some knowledge of se music....

....At times at his Dream Fragrance Garden he would play se while his house guest Zhou Zhuling played qin. Guests who heard this all praised its beauty.

The middle part, not yet translated, mostly concerns se.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a
separate page)

1. 慶瑞 Qing Rui references
Style name 有年 Younian, nickname 輝山 Huishan. In addition to the Qin Shi Xu biography above, primary available reference materials are the biographical essay by Tong Kin-Woon in his Qin Fu and materials in Hammond Yung's 香江容氏琴譜 Xiangjiang Rongshi Qinpu.

2. Original
9 lines; the source given is Chunhu Manlu.

3. Image: Qing Rui holding qin
A copy of this photo was included with the essay about Qing Rui in Tong Kin-Woon's Qin Fu.

4. 李成宇 Li Chengyu (also written zhixin?)
Some of the melodies included in 香江容氏琴譜 Xiangjiang Rongshi Qinpu are attributed to Li Chengyu. No further information as yet other than that he was a 廣陵派 Guangling School qin player living in Hangzhou, and that his skills were learned from 徐越千 Xu Yueqian and 周子安 Zhou Zi'an. However, nothing further seems to be known about any of them. Apparently, though, this is where Qing Rui first became interested in se with qin.

5. Guangling Qin School (廣陵琴派 Guangling Qinpai)
This school (see in chart) was founded in Yangzhou at the beginning of the Qing dynasty by Xu Changyu and others.

6. 廣東海康 Haikang in Guangdong
Haikang is basically the peninsula in southern Guangdong province facing Hainan island (which may at that time have been included in its jurisdiction).

7. 李芝仙 Li Zhixian (1842 - 1908) 李芝仙 Li Zhixian        
Li Zhixian was from 番禺 Panyu (or Punyu), then a village but now an urban area on the south side of Guangzhou. There she is said to have learned the Lingnan style as transmitted through the Gugang Yipu. However, details of this are uncertain.

When she was 20 Li Zhixian became the "local wife" ("側室", often translated as "concubine" but suggesting she was more than that) of Qing Rui, who by then had begun to spend less time traveling and more time in Guangzhou. It is not clear to what extent she would have adapted Qing Rui's style of qin play. Contemporary texts speak not so much about this as about their joint interest in playing qin and se together. It was a few years after they combined forces that he published his 琴瑟合譜 Qin Se He Pu (QQJC XXVI; 1870).

In any event Li Zhixian taught the qin to Rong Baoting (1862 -1920), the only child that she had with Qing Rui, as well as to Baoting's son Rong Xinyan (1884-1966) and grandson, Rong Xinyan. Thus began the "Rong family style" that has come down to the present.

8. Teaching in Guangzhou
See further above. In addition to 晉齋孫寶 Sun Bao did this later include Ye Shimeng?

9. 容心言 Rong Xinyan (1884 - 1966)
He wrote this essay.

11. 容思澤 Rong Size (Yong Sze-chak; 1931 - 2001)
His recordings with the 2015 publication come from previously published ones such as this one.

12. Hammond Yong (容克智 Yong Hak-chi [Rong Kezhi])
Hammond, who learned qin from his father 容思澤 Yong Sze-chak, actively teaches today. He and his group of students have also been active in both making qins and re-making standard factory qins. Hammond now plays solely with silk strings; he has several recordings posted on YouTube (go to the site) and in 2015 published Xiangjiang Rongshi Qinpu (further below).

13. Zhou Zhuling 周竹舲
No further information as yet.

14. Dream Fragrance Garden (夢香園 Meng Xiang Yuan)
No further information as yet.

Handbook of the Rong Family Tradition
(香江容氏琴譜 Xiangjiang Rongshi Qinpu)

  Book cover (see inside)      
In 2015 容克智 Hammond Yong published this handbook, which has three folios in traditional binding plus an audio DVD. The full title would be better translated as "Qin Handbook from the Rong Family of the Pearl River Estuary". Related terms are "容氏家族琴學傳承 Rongshi Jiazu Qinxue Chuancheng" (Rong Family Tradition of Qin Study) or simply "容氏家族琴学 Rongshi Jiazu Qinxue" (Rong Family Qin Study).

Note the use of 香江 Xiang Jiang ("香江 Fragrant River") rather than 香港 Xiang Gang (Fragrant Harbor, the standard term for Hong Kong). In Cantonese the two terms are pronounced almost the same, and some people believe Xiang Jiang to be the original name for what is now called Hong Kong. Whatever is origins, as used here it is intended evoke the connection between 香江 Hong Kong and the 珠江 Pearl River, which comes down to Hong Kong and Macau through Guangzhou (Canton). Recently this term has acquired some currency, but since 2017 the official term for this region has become 粵港澳大灣區 Yue Gang Ao Dawan Qu (Yuè Gǎng Ào Dàwān Qū; Jyut6 Gong2 Ou3 Daai6 Waan1 Keoi1): Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

In addition to a number of essays this handbook includes tablature for 33 melodies taught from this lineage (below; no transcriptions). Some of them come from old family scores going back to Qing Rui himself; others can be found in handbooks such as those mentioned in Appendices I and II. The enclosed DVD has recordings of 19 of the 33 tablatured melodies on 34 tracks (15 of the melodies are each recorded first by Yong Sze-chak then by Hammond himself ("Yong Hak-chi"), making 30 tracks in all; on the remaining four tracks Hammond plays three pieces [tracks 1, 21 & 26] and his father one [track 12]). The recordings by Yong Sze-chak, made between 1986 and 1995, all use metal strings. Hammond's recordings were all made in 2014 using silk strings, to which he had recently returned.

Tablature and Recordings in
Xiangjiang Rongshi Qinpu (Hong Kong 2015)
With indication of tracks on the accompanying DVD
(YSC = 容思澤 Yong Sze-chak; YHC = 容克智 Yong Hak-chi; none = no recording)

#   title romanized CD track page in handbook; further comments
1. 猗蘭 Yi Lan 1. YHC p.15: "李成宇先生授 given by teacher Li Chengyu";
also first piece in 1836 but 1836 pu is somewhat different
2. 瀟湘水雲 Xiao Xiang Shui Yun 2. YSC
3. YHC
p.19: "李成宇先生授 given by teacher Li Chengyu";
47th piece in 1836; 1836 pu also different
3. 釋談章 Shitan Zhang 4. YSC (10.54)
5. YHC (12.24)
p.24: "韓子十耕原搞 originally copied out by Master Han Shigeng"
not in 1836; related to 1722a; no lyrics
4. 塞上鴻 Saishang Hong 6. YSC
7. YHC
p.29: "李成宇先生授譜 tablature given by teacher Li Chengyu"
5. 梧葉舞秋風 Wu Ye Wu Qiu Feng 8. YSC
9. YHC
p.34: "李成宇先生授譜 tablature given by teacher Li Chengyu"
6. 鷗鷺忘機 Oulu Wang Ji none
p.37: ”參訂古譜 examined old tablature" but same (though adding comments) as 1836 pu, which says "from Gugang Yipu". Also very similar to 1677.
7. 雁落平沙 Yan Luo Ping Sha 10. YSC
11. YHC
p.39: "李成宇先生授譜 tablature given by teacher Li Chengyu"
8. 搗衣 Dao Yi 12. YSC p.42; 1836 pu somewhat different
9. 水仙 Shui Xian 13. YSC
14. YHC
p.47: "趙孟梅道兄授孟";
1836 pu is same.
10. 汜橋進履 Si Qiao Jin Lü 15. YSC
16. YHC
p.52: "孫西耘道兄授譜 tablature given by (Qing Rui's) friend Sun Xiyun"; title and music as in 1836 but afterword is different. Usually called 圯橋進履 Yiqiao Jin Lü; 汜 si = (name of ?) stream.
11. 漁樵問答 Yu Qiao Wenda 17. YSC
18. YHC
p.55; starts same as 1836 pu but then diff.
12. 良宵引 Liang Xiao Yin 19. YSC
20. YHC
p.58; not in 1836
13. 梅花三弄 Meihua Sannong 21. YHC p.59: "參訂古譜 examined old tablature"; not same as 1836
14. 玉樹臨風 Yu Shu Lin Feng 22. YSC
23. YHC
p.63: "參訂古譜 examined old tablature", but same as 1836, which says "from Gugang Yipu". Actually almost same as 1677.
15. 碧澗流泉 Bijian Liu Quan 24. YSC
25. YHC
p.65: "古岡遺譜 Gugang Yipu"; 1836 pu same.
16. 雙鶴聽泉 Shuang He Ting Quan None p.68: "參訂古譜 examined old tablature", but same as 1836, which says "from Gugang Yipu".
17. 風雷引 Feng Lei Yin None p.70
18. 神化引 Shenhua Yin None p.74: "參訂古譜 examined old tablature", but same as 1836 (adding comments), which says "from Gugang Yipu".
19. 懷古 Huai Gu None p.77: "古岡遺譜 Gugang Yipu"; 1836.
20. 洞庭秋思 Dongting Qiu Si 26. YHC p.79
21. 春曉吟 Chun Xiao Yin 27. YSC
28. YHC
22. 挾仙遊 Xie Xian You None p.83; 11+1 sections; seems same as 1836 (XXII/396)
23. 清夜聞鐘 Qing Ye Wen Zhong None p.86
24. 漁歌 Yu Ge None p.92
25. 搔首問天 Sao Shou Wen Tian 29. YSC
30. YHC
p.99; pu seems same as 1836 (recording by Yong Sze-chak also on BiliBili)
26. 樵歌 Qiao Ge None p.103
27. 岳陽三醉 Yueyang San Zui None p.108: "武林李氏訂 fixed by Mr. Li of Wulin"
28. 碧天秋思 Bi Tian Qiu Si None p.114: no source given for #24-#33
29. 關雎 Guan Ju None p.117
30. 山居吟 Shan Ju Yin None p.121
31. 墨子悲絲 Mozi Bei Si None p.124
32. 雁度衡陽 Yan Du Hengyang 31. YSC
32. YHC
33. 白雪 Bai Xue 33. YSC
34. YHC
        pp.137-173 (end): essays and charts


14. Dream Fragrance Garden (夢香園 Meng Xiang Yuan)
This was a villa in Guangzhou belonging to 鄭績 Zheng Ji, a well-known local painter who wrote a foreword for 琴瑟合譜 Qin Se He Pu.

15. Qing Rui's Qinse Hepu (see image with its ToC below)
The melody in the image is Liangxiao Yin, the first melody in the handbook. The text accompanying the melody mentions Qing Rui, his concubine Li Zhixian and a friend. As for the music itself, the first line has the se part, the second line is the corresponding qin melody. Both begin in harmonics, but it is not clear what "harmonics" is meant when playing the se. The ornament in the se part apparently has to do with left hand vibrato to the left of the moveable bridge.

Appendix I: Table of Contents for
琴瑟合譜 Qinse Hepu
(QQJC XXVI; 1870)
  A page from Qing Rui's Qinse Hepu  
Qing Rui published this "Handbook for Playing Qin and Se Together" as part of an effort to encourage a revival of the se through arranging qin melodies so that they could also be played on se. It includes the following eight qin melodies, each aligned with an arrangement for se zither:

  1. Liangxiao Yin (XXVI/150)
    A few differences from 1875 #14

  2. Yu Qiao Wenda (XXVI/152)
    More differences from 1875 #7

  3. Yan Luo Pingsha (XXVI/157)
    Numerous differences from 1875 #18

  4. Wu Ye Wu Qiu Feng (XXVI/160)
    Differences from 1875 #9

  5. Chun Xiao Yin (XXVI/164)
    Not in 1875

  6. Dongting Qiu Si (XXVI/167)
    Not in 1875

  7. Shitang Zhang (XXVI/170)
    Hammond Yong's YouTube rendition is from here (comment); quite similar to 1875 #16

  8. Saishang Hong (XXVI/179-183)
    Hammond Yong's YouTube recording is from here; quite a few differences from 1875 #10

Appendix II: Table of Contents for
以六正五之齋琴學秘書 Yi Liu Zheng Wuzhizhai Qinxue Mishu

1875; XXVI/231-262

The front page says this handbook is "長安市上彈無絃琴者晉齋孫寶草創 a rough copy by Sun Bao, nicknamed Sun Jinzhai, player of a stringless qin in Chang'an Town". Sun, born in 1819, is said to have been a student of Qing Rui and Qing Rui's teacher Li Chengyu. Of its 21 pieces, six are the same titles as in Qinse Hepu, a handbook compiled by Qing Rui himself, but with mostly different versions of those melodies. The pages with tablature are all marked Private Tablature for Qin Study (琴學秘譜 Qin Xue Mi Pu). The title is clearly a reference to the early Guangling School handbook Wuzhizhai Qinpu (1722).

  1. Sheng Jing (Da Xue Zhangju; 4 sections; XXVI/231)
    Confucian lyrics: the 大學 Da Xue

  2. Mohebanruopoluomiduo Xinjing (1 section; XXVI/2)
    Buddhist lyrics: the Heart Sutra; only here

  3. Huangdi Yinfu Jing (7 sections; XXVI/233)
    Daoist lyrics: the "黃帝陰符經 Yellow Emperor's Hidden Talisman Classic" (details); the lyrics begin, "觀天之道,執天之行盡矣...."); only here

  4. Oulu Wang Ji (3+1 sections; XXVI/234)
    Commentary with each section

  5. Kai Gu (4+1 sections; XXVI/235)
    Commentary with each section

  6. Gao Shan (8+1 sections; XXVI/236)
    Commentary with each section

  7. Yu Qiao Wenda (7+1 sections; XXVI/238)
    No commentary; compare version in Qinse Hepu

  8. Qiu Sai Yin (9+1 sections; XXVI/239)

  9. Wuye Wu Qiufeng (8+1; XXVI/241)
    Afterword; compare version in Qinse Hepu

  10. Saishang Hong (16+1; XXVI/242)
    Foreword and afterword

  11. Canghai Long Yin (7+1; XXVI/244)

  12. Yuhua Deng Xian (30+1; XXVI/246)
    Zha Guide; preface attributes it to Wulingxianzi

  13. Qiujiang Yebo (3; XXVI/250)
    Compare Yin De in chart

  14. Liangxiao Yin (3; XXVI/251)
    Afterword; compare version in Qinse Hepu

  15. Gengxin Diao Wei (1 section; XXVI/251)
    Only here; no commentary other than "清徵調宮音 qingzhi diao, gong yin" (mode)

  16. Shitan Zhang (XXVI/252)
    See in chart; compare version in Qinse Hepu

  17. Feng Xiang Xiao Han (1; XXVI/254)
    Short song

  18. Pingsha Luo Yan (7+1; XXVI/255)
    See in chart; compare version in Qinse Hepu

  19. Qiao Ge (11; XXVI/256)
    Copies preface, lyrics and music from 1589

  20. Gu Er Xing (5; XXVI/259)
    Only here; "長安市上彈無絃琴者孫晉齋譜 tablature of Sun Jinzhai"; lyrics

  21. Zui Yu Chang Wan (12; XXVI/261)
    See in chart; foreword and afterword

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