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06. Cry of the Ospreys
- Standard tuning:2 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
Guan Ju Qu 1
An osprey in flight 3 (further illustration)              
The lyrics of this melody are the first five poems of the Book of Songs (or Book of Odes: Shi Jing). The neo-Confucian interpretation of these five love poems was that as a unit they were actually praising the moral virtues of the wife of King Wen (Wen Wang), virtues imparted to her by the virtues of Wen Wang himself. Their didactic value thus placed them amongst the Shi Jing lyrics considered particularly appropriate for singing at official banquets.4

The melody here is distantly related to most of those published under the title Guan Ju in at least 54 other surviving handbooks published between shortly before 1491 (Zheyin Shizi Qinpu, which has completely different lyrics) and 1894.6 The number and variety of versions, plus the apparent popularity of these lyrics for use in banquet songs, suggest that there were even more versions that have not survived.

Most versions of Guan Ju have no lyrics. The earliest surviving version, from before 1491, sets to music commentary on the Shi Jing poetry. Only two surviving handbooks seem to set to music the complete Shi Jing lyrics for Guan Ju: the present one and the one for five string qin published in Li Xing Yuan Ya (1618). The latter seems to be the only one to set for qin only the complete Guan Ju lyrics; the present version seems to be a suite of related songs involving five of the poems. This again suggests there were probably more song settings that were never written down.7

Here in Taigu Yiyin the lyrics begin by announcing the type of melody, the title and the number of its location in the first section of the Shi Jing collection: "State's Airs #1, Zhou South 1 #1". The lyrics of the first five Shi Jing poems are then paired to music, in order (without numbers, and no titles are given for individual melodies); these poems are then repeated once, about half of their lyrics set to different music. The original tablature is continuous, the poems being separated only by a circle, usually written in the tablature column.8

The original preface (see below) begins with the traditional Confucianist interpretation that the melody, rather than being a simple love song, celebrates the virtue of the consort of Wen Wang. It mentions Zhou Nan (Southern Zhou) and Shao Nan (Southern Shao). Zhou Nan is the first section of the Shi Jing (poems 1 to 11); these are supposedly poems collected in southern Zhou regions. Shao Nan is the second section, poems 22-25; these are poems supposedly collected in the southern Shao region, centered on the city Shao, ruled by Wu Wang's half brother the Duke of Shao.

Preface 9

According to (history), the poem Cry of the Ospreys concerns the virtue of the Royal Consort (of Wen Wang). Confucius said that this poem was joyful but not licentious and sad but not aggrieved, using correctness in expressing emotions and harmony in the spirit of its sound. He also said, "If people don't live as in Zhou Nan and Shao Nan, is this not a case of standing as if facing a wall (i.e., they can't see anything)?" Observing the words of this song, (besides Cry of the Ospreys) it completely records (#2 Cloth Plant), (#3) Cockleburs, (#4) Trees with Drooping Branches, (and #5) Locusts. It presents them as songs with strings. How could it be only for qin and se zithers with bells and drums?  
Music and Lyrics 10   (聽錄音 Listen with 看五線譜 my transcription)
The ten sections (in Taigu Yiyin marked off by circles) are a largely syllabic pairing to music of the lyrics of the first five poems of the Shi Jing, played through then repeated. This setting, though affected by repeats as well as ornaments, largely follows the structure of the lyrics (with one odd exception).

An outline of the way the lyrics are presented is given above, with the structure discussed further below. The music largely follows the standard pairing method of one character (syllable) per right hand stroke, with no characters added for slides. Two main exceptions are indicated by _ _ _ and ...... The former is used where the tablature says to repeat the music but it is not clear whether the lyrics should also be repeated; .... means there are some added right hand strokes (e.g., a gunfu) not paired to lyrics.

國風一,周南一之一:_ _ _ , _ _ _ _ _ .
Guó Fēng yī, Zhōu Nán yī zhī yī; ... .....:
National Airs #1, Zhou South 1 #1

(1. Shi Jing Poem #1: Cry of the Ospreys [{4+4} x 2] x 5 )

Guān guān jū jiū, zài hé zhī zhōu.
"Guan, guan," trill the ospreys, upon the island in the creek.

Yǎo tiǎo shū nǚ, jūnzǐ hǎo qiú. ......
Modest is the gentle lady, the gentlman thinks her fine to seek.

Cēncī xìng cài, zuǒ yòu liú zhī.
Uneven are the floating water plants, they flow by left and right.

Yǎo tiǎo shū nǚ, wù mèi qiú zhī.
Modest is the gentle beauty, he seeks her day and night.

Qiú zhī bù dé, wù mèi sī fú.
He seeks but cannot get her, he thinks of her day and night.

Yōu zāi yōu zāi, zhǎn zhuǎn fǎn cè
Alas! Alas! He twists and turns in his plight.

Cēncī xìng cài, zuǒ yòu cǎi zhī.
Uneven are the floating water plants, they can be picked left and right.

Yǎo tiǎo shū nǚ, qín sè yǒu zhī.
Modest is the gentle beauty, qin and se zithers
11 her friendship invite.

Cēncī xìng cài, zuǒ yòu mào zhī.
Uneven are the floating water plants, they can be gathered left and right.

Yǎo tiǎo shū nǚ, zhōng gǔ lè zhī.
Modest is the gentle beauty, with bells and drums we bring her delight.

(2. Shi Jing Poem Poem #2: Cloth Plant [{4+4+4} x 2] x 2 then [{4+4} x 3] x 1 )

Gé zhī tán xī, shī yú zhōng gǔ, wéi yè qī qī.
The cloth-plant's spread, extends to the middle of the valley, the leaves are luxuriant.

Huáng niǎo yú fēi, jí yú guàn mù, qí míng jiē jiē. ........
The oriole is in its flight; Perching on the densely foliated trees, its song is sweet.

Gé zhī tán xī, shī yú zhōng gǔ, wéi yè mò mò.
The cloth-plant's spread, extends to the middle of the valley, its leaves are extensive.

Shì yì shì huò, wèi chī wèi xì, fú zhī wú yì.
These I cut and steam, making fine linen and making course linen, for clothing that never becomes tiring.

Yán gào shī shì, yán gào yán guī.
Speak to my nurse-tutor, tell her I'm going home.

Báo wū wǒ sī, báo huàn wǒ yī.
Then I'll wash my private garments, and wash my outer clothing.

Hài huàn hài fǒu, guīníng fùmǔ. ........
But whether washed or not, I'll return to comfort my parents.

(3. Shi Jing Poem Poem #3: Cockleburs [4+4] x 2, then [4+4+6+5] x 2, then [4+4] x 2 )

Cǎi cǎi juǎn ěr, bù yíng qīng kuāng.
Variegated are the cockle-burs, but I could not fill a shallow bucket.

Jiē wǒ huái rén, zhì bǐ zhōu xíng.. ......
Lamenting for my beloved, I lay them on the road to Zhou.

Zhì bǐ cuī wéi, wǒ mǎ huī kuì.
I am climbing those rocky peaks, my horse is worn out.

Wǒ gū zhuó bǐ jīn léi, wéi yǐ bù yǒng huái.
I thereupon pour liquor into this golden cup, so that I won't be heartsick.

Zhì bǐ gāo gǎng, wǒ mǎ xuán huáng.
I am climbing that high cliff, my horse is sick and worn out.

Wǒ gū zhuó bǐ sì gōng, wéi yǐ bù yǒng shāng.
I pour liquor into this (rhino-) horn cup, so that I won't be heartsick.

Zhì bǐ jū yǐ, wǒ mǎ tú yǐ.
I am climbing that rocky hill, my horse becomes disabled.

Wǒ pú fū yǐ, yún hé xū yǐ.
My groom becomes sick; I cry, Alas! How wretched!

(4. Shi Jing Poem Poem #4: Trees with Drooping Branches [{4+4} x 2] x 3] )

Nán yǒu jiū mù, gé lěi lèi zhī.
The south has trees with drooping branches, cloth-creeper brambles bind them.

Lè zhǐ jūnzǐ, fú lǚ suī zhī. ......
Pleasure to our lord! Fortunate actions soothe him.

南有樛木,葛藟荒之。 _ _ _ _ , _ _ _ _ .
Nán yǒu jiū mù, gé lěi huāng zhī. ....,....
The south has trees with drooping branches, cloth-creeper brambles cover them.

Lè zhǐ jūnzǐ, fú lǚ jiāng zhī.
Pleasure to our lord! Fortunate actions protect him.

Nán yǒu jiū mù, gé lěi róng zhī.
The south has trees with drooping branches, cloth-creeper brambles entwine them.

Lè zhǐ jūnzǐ, fú lǚ chéng zhī.
Pleasure to our lord! Fortunate actions fulfil him.

(5. Shi Jing Poem Poem #5: Locusts [3+3+4+3] x 3)

Zhōng sī yǔ, shēn shēn xī. Yí ěr zǐ sūn, zhèn zhèn xī.
Locust wings are humming, May your descendants be numerous.

Zhōng sī yǔ, hōng hōng xī. Yí ěr zǐ sūn, shéng shéng xī.
Locust wings are whirring. May your descendents form an endless line.

Zhōng sī yǔ, yī yī xī. Yí ěr zǐ sūn, zhé zhé xī.
Locust wings are buzzing. May your descendents remain together.

(6. Repeats lyrics of #1, new music; [{4+4} x 2] x 5 but does not repeat "Guo Feng yi, Zhou Nan yi zhi yi")

(7. Repeats lyrics of #2, new music in first 2 of 3 stanzas (lyric structure is [{4+4+4} x 2] x 2 then [{4+4} x 3] x 1 )
(Poem Two of the Shi Jing has three stanzas of six lines each. According to the meaning of the lyrics the character (syllable) count should be [{4+4+4} x 2] x 2 then [{4+4} x 3] x 1. However, the musical settings in Sections 2 and 7 of Guan Ju Qu do not follow this.

(8. Repeats lyrics and music of #3 [4+4] x 2, then [4+4+6+5] x 2, then [4+4] x 2 )

(9. Repeats lyrics and music of #4 [{4+4} x 2] x 3 ])

(10. Repeats lyrics and music of #5 until the last 1½ sections, which provide the lyrics with new music [3+3+4+3] x 3 )

All this makes one suspect that perhaps after the five poems had been set to music in five sections someone decided to repeat the lyrics of these five sections, adding new music, but when they got two thirds of the way through Section 7 they realized they were doing it incorrectly; so then, instead of going back and re-doing these parts, they just gave up and repeated the earlier music. On the other hand, this might also just be considered as evidence that the music was written down from a live performance in an oral tradition, rather than written as a conscious composition. (See also further.)

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Guan Ju Qu 關雎曲
42402.191 關雎 Guan Ju begins by saying it is the name of a bird, same as 魚鷹 yuying (fish hawk, etc.). It then mentions the Shi Jing poem; although the poem's lyrics have been set to qin melodies such as Guan Ju Qu, the entry does not mention qin or music.

2. Tuning and mode of Guan Ju Qu: 徴調 zhi mode?
Taigu Yiyin does not group melodies by tuning or mode. However, the modal structure here suggests it could be considered as a zhi mode melody: with the tuning considered as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2, the primary tonal center is 5 (zhi, equivalent to the open 4th string, also called zhi), and the secondary tonal center is 2. In addition the 1491 version of Guan Ju, which is vaguely related, is said to be in zhi mode. However, the closing note of Guan Ju Qu is a diad on 5 over 1 instead of the expected 5 over 2. The significance of this modal change is unclear, unless perhaps based on the idea that 1 should be the most important note.

3. Image: osprey flying
This image is from the website of Mayo Park in North Carolina.

4. First five poems of the Shi Jing
It is said that Zhu Xi, in particular, praised the lyrics of the first two books in the Shi Jing: those of South of Zhou (周南 Zhou Nan; Shi Jing #1 - #11); and those of South of Shao (召南 Shao Nan [sometimes romanized as Zhao Nan]; Shi Jing #12 - #25). Another Shi Jing poem set for qin but also said to have been popularly used for banquet songs is Lu Ming.

6. Tracing Guan Ju Qu
Zha Guide includes a tracing chart under Guan Ju.

7. Other settings?
Guan Ju is perhaps the most popular of the Shi Jing poems: how could there be only one or two settings of its lyrics for qin? In fact, there are very few surviving settings for qin of any Shi Jing poems.

It seems quite possible that this version of Guan Ju, with two methods of playing most of these five poems, was written down more as a guideline for how such poems could be played than as a suggestion that it always be performed as structured here, with all five poems sung consectutively then all repeated as a whole. Thus also, perhaps the tablature was written down by someone trying to recreate an amalgamation of various versions heard on different occasions.

8. Structure
The overall structure of the five poems can be outlined as follows:

  1. ([{4+4} x 2] x 5)
  2. ([4+4+4] x 4) + ([4+4] x 3)
  3. ([{4+4} x 2] + [{4+4+6+5} x 2] + [{4+4} x 2])
  4. ([{4+4} x 2] x 3])
  5. ([3+3+4+3] x 3)

The most problematic of these seems to be the second, with its grouping of three four-character phrases, as discussed above. The tendency in Ming dynasty qin music to use couplets leads here to an inclination to change the poetic structure of ([4+4+4] x 2), i.e., (4+4+4+4+4+4) into a musical structure of ([4+4+4+4] + [4+4]).

9. Original preface
The original Chinese text is as follows:
Not yet translated

10. 關雎 Guan Ju Music and lyrics The Chinese lyrics by themselves are as follows (pdf section 1):

  1. 關關雎鳩,在河之州。窈窕淑女,君子好逑。

  2. 葛之覃兮,施於中谷,維葉萋萋。

  3. 採採卷耳,不盈傾筐。嗟我懷人,寘彼周行。

  4. 南有樛木,葛藟累之。樂只君子,福履綏之。

  5. 螽斯羽,詵詵兮。宜爾子孫,振振兮。


11. Qin and se zithers
Although the 25-string se zither is no longer played, qin and se together remain today a symbol of marital harmony. Thus my wedding announcement included the calligraphy Qin Se He Ming (Qin and se resound together).

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