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33. Tale of Clarity in Thought and Action 雙清傳 1
Commonly known as Paired Clarity of Gibbon and Crane (猿鶴雙清 Yuan He Shuang Qing)2 Shuang Qing Zhuan
- Standard tuning:3 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 Crane and Gibbon: Buddhist imagery? 4            

In China both cranes (he) and gibbons (yuan; not monkeys: hou) were popular amongst the literati: desirable as household pets, valued for their melodious calls and graceful movements. In addition cranes were noted for their longevity and gibbons for their ability to inhale good qi. R.H. Van Gulik has written considerably on the role of these two animals in the world of the literati.5 According to him, the painter Yi Yuanji (active 1060s)6 was the first painter known to have painted gibbons, and that after this it became a popular subject. It is perhaps more than a coincidence that commentary on this melody may suggest it originated around the same time.

Another early Song dynasty reference to gibbons and cranes comes from a book on landscape painting by the artist Guo Xi (1020–c. 1090).7 In his book, The Lofty Message of Forests and Streams, Guo mentions gibbons and cranes amongst the reasons for doing landscape painting:8

A virtuous man takes delight in landscapes so that in a rustic retreat he may nourish his nature, amid the carefree play of streams and rocks, he may take delight, that he might constantly meet in the country fishermen, woodcutters, and hermits, and see the soaring of cranes and hear the crying of (gibbons). The din of the dusty world and the locked-in-ness of human habitations are what human nature habitually abhors; on the contrary, haze, mist, and the haunting spirits of the mountains are what the human nature seeks, and yet can rarely find.

The name most commonly associated with Yuan He Shuang Qing comes from this same period. Shi Yangxiu (995-1057)9 was an early Song dynasty scholar official who had a reputation for being both upright and, according to his official biography, having kept gibbons and cranes in his garden. I do not know if this is the sole or main reason he is connected to the melody, or whether he also wrote something that more directly connects him to it.

The present 1511 Shuang Qing Zhuan (Tale of Paired Clarity [in thought and action]) connects its gibbon and crane to forests and streams, as with Guo Xi above, but not to anyone by name; as seen in the translation below, its "upright Song dynasty official who enjoyed the Dao amongst forests and streams" could refer to Shi Yangxiu, but as yet there is no direct evidence to support this. "Enjoying the Dao amongst forests and streams" generally refers to anyone who has gone to the countryside to become a recluse. Although the most common attribution is to Shi Yangxiu, just as often mention is made only of an unnamed recluse, and the only introduction that may mention another personal name is the afterword in 1525, which says the melody was created by a gao taisu (Gao Taisu): either to "an elevated person pure and simple", or to Gao the Pure and Simple (Taisu).10 It is also not clear whether the attribution refers to the words, the music, or both. The lyrics vary considerably within the versions that have lyrics, and I have not been able to trace independently the source of any of the versions. The variety perhaps suggests the lyricists were inspired by the idea, not by any known original text.

Although this is the first surviving version, its age at the time of publication is probably impossible to determine. The melody was apparently quite popular during the Ming dynasty,11 but almost always under the title Yuan He Shuang Qing (Paired Clarity of Gibbon and Crane); the latter title appears first in the second surviving edition, dated 1530. The melody largely disappeared during the Qing dynasty, with Zha Fuxi's Guide listing it in only two Qing dynasty handbooks. The great number and the variety within the Ming dynasty editions suggests a popular melody with an unknown but perhaps pre-Ming dynasty source. This is born out by the vagueness of many attributions as well as their inconsistency; perhaps the Song dynasty references above might even suggest a Song dynasty origin of some form of this melody, with or without lyrics.

Although the earliest two versions of this melody both have lyrics, the style of the music suggests a basically instrumental melody to which lyrics were added: it is difficult, for example, to imagine someone actually singing one syllable for each note of a gun (run down) over seven notes then singing another six syllables for the ensuing fu (run up) back to the seventh string (see further comment), as is done here in 1511.12 The fact that the third version (1539), without lyrics, seems a bit shorter than the others could suggest either that it was (or was based on) an earlier instrumental melody that was later elaborated to add lyrics, or a later one simplified by removing the lyrics, as well as perhaps some of the music associated with them.

Most of the versions with lyrics seem to end with lyrics saying that the crane and gibbon have inspired the writer to create appropriate lyrics. In this were they inspired by Shi Yangxiu? If so it would be most interesting to find someone who would actually state that, there being this melody but no lyrics, he was inspired by Shi Yangxiu's example to go ahead and create some.

Some versions of Yuan He Shuang Qing seem to share some musical motifs with Cranes Cry from the Nine Marshbanks (He Ming Jiu Gao) as published both here in Taigu Yiyin and also in 1425, but I have not compared them closely.

An interpretation by Wang Huade, apparently his own reconstruction, was published on his 1993 Hugo recording, and today there are others who also play it, perhaps based on Wang's interpretation, but I have not yet seen commentary indicating the source of Wang's version.13

Starting with Buxuxian Qinpu (~1556) versions of this Shuang Qing often had as a prelude Shuang He Ting Quan (Yin). However, the latter eventually became an independent melody.14

Original preface15

According to tradition this melody has the sound of an upright Song dynasty official who enjoyed the Dao amongst forests and streams. Its sound is cool in order to be clear, its mode is aloof and pleasantly expansive. Perhaps it is like an old crane calling out to the wind, or a mysterious gibbon calling to (the moon?). It causes people who hear it suddenly to forget their desire to take advantage of things, and instead to think about leaving the dust of society. Thus they call this paired clarity.  
Music and lyrics: Twelve sections16
This is a largely syllabic setting, with lines of the poem irregular in length. The division into 12 sections follows the sectioning in the third surviving version, Faming Qinpu (1530). Taigu Yiyin itself generally indicates sections only with large unnumbered circles. In this tablature there are five such circles, marking six sections. These sections are quite uneven in length (see the Roman numerals below), and I felt the sectioning in Faming Qinpu better reflected the overall feeling of the melody.

Although the 1530 melody and lyrics are in fact quite different from those here, up through the first two phrases of 1530 Section 11 it is easy to find the corresponding passages in 1511; after that the 1530 version adds much material (especially gunfu and other multiple stroke techniques, much of it repeating phrases that have occurred earlier). But both 1511 and 1530, as well as all the other early versions I have examined (through 1539), have near the end a passage that begins with repeats of the note 5 (sol; G in my transcription, which begins its Section 12 with this phrase), has tonal centers on 2 ("D") as well as 5, and also includes several repetitions of a flatted 7 ("B flat"). In the present version this seems to change the mode, giving a feeling that might be compared to G minor. Although all the melodies then end on 1 (C), the first 6 (A) in the closing harmonic coda seems a jarring change; some versions omit this A, and in my transcription I suggest changing it to C.

  1. (I; In harmonics)
    The lyrics begin:

    Gibbon and crane have an uncommon life force.
    Now on the surface , friendship connects them like brothers.
    Where there is wind and moon, they have paired clarity, both becoming beautiful....(translation incomplete)
  2. Ends with harmonic phrase that 1546 marks as from "風 wind" to "月 moon"; sections 5, 7 and 8 end with "play wind to moon" (compare 7, 9 and 10 here)

  3. Harmonics

  4. (II)

  5. Opening phrase similar to opening of Section 4

  6. (III) Begins the same as Section 5

  7. (IV) Closing harmonics missing?

  8. Ends with harmonics

  9. (V) A passage marked "入慢 become slow" is said in 1525 to be "猿啼鶴淚聲 the sound of gibbons calling and cranes crying". Ends with harmonics

  10. (VI)

  11. Feeling of G minor? See comment above.

    Coda (harmonics)

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 雙清傳 Shuang Qing Zhuan
43067.177 has only 雙清 Paired clarity: "存心與行事俱清之意 the idea of clarity in thought and deed." Quotes (楊羲)九華安妃詩:相携雙清內,上真道不邪 a poem by Yang Xi (330—386) and 杜甫,《屏蹟》詩:心迹本雙清 a Du Fu poem called Avoidance #2. Nothing about music. 11/854 adds a few later quotes. See also Yuan He Shuang Qing (next).

2. Yuan He Shuang Qing 猿鶴雙清 (see also above)
21054.13 has only 猿鶴 gibbon and crane: "猿與鶴也。(宋史,石揚休傳)平居養猿鶴。 Gibbon and crane; (Song History, Shi Yangxiu biography) He lived in quiet retirement, raising gibbons and cranes." Nothing about music. See also Shuang Qing Zhuan above.

3. Tuning and Mode
Although Taigu Yiyin does not group pieces by tuning or mode, this melody is consistently placed in shang mode in later handbooks. Shang mode uses the first string as do (gong, 1), has do as its primary tonal center, with shang alongside so as a secondary tonal center. (Yijinglu Qinxue [1845] has a Yujiao Shuang Qing in three sections, said to be in "Turbid/Corrupt Shang Mode" [濁商音 zhuo Shang Yin], but this must be a different melody.)

4. Image: Crane and Gibbon (at right a gibbon mother is cradling her child)
This image is two parts of a tryptich called Guanyin with Gibbon and Crane by the Song dynasty monk 法常 Fachang (ca 1210 - after 1269). The original is in the 大德寺 Daitokuji, a Buddhist temple in Kyoto; there are many online copies, this one from A net search suggests that the importance of crane and gibbon (猿 yuan, usually translated as "ape" or "monkey", though the better Chinese word for them is "猴 hou") in Buddhism has to do with contrasting martial arts techniques: ape style vs. crane style. However, as Van Gulik has argued,

5. Gibbon in China
Van Gulik's The Gibbon in China (1967) is a fascinating essay in animal lore. In it he wrote that the gibbon was, "a symbol of the unworldly ideals of the poet and the philosopher, and of the mysterious link between man and nature”. The book is discussed in Hin-cheung Lovell, Van Gulik's Gibbon in China, A Dossier of Facts and Fancies, Orientations 12/11 (November 1981).

6. 易元吉 Yi Yuanji (ca. 1000 - ca. 1064; Wiki.)
Well-known for painting animals, gibbons in particular. Maybe not the first to do so, but the first to make it popular to do so.

7. Guo Xi (郭熙; 1020– c.1090)
The Wikipedia entry on Guo Xi mentions gives examples of his art and mentions his book The Lofty Message of Forests and Streams (see next footnote).

8. The Lofty Message of Forests and Streams (林泉高致集 Lin Quan Gao Zhi Ji)
The original text by 郭熙 Guo Xi is as follows:


The translation above, from a University of Washington website, rendered 猿 yuan as "monkeys" (猴 hou; see comment).

Regarding Forests and Streams, 14858.197 林泉 linquan does not mention it as anyone's name; it could also be translated as "woods and springs". 14858.198 林泉生 is a Yuan dynasty official named Lin Quansheng; 14858.199 林泉侯 ("marquis of forests and springs) says this means a woodcutter. 14858.200 林泉高致集 discusses Guo Xi's book. None of the entries makes any connection with Shi Yangxiu (see next footnote).

9. Shi Yangxiu (石揚休; 995-1057)
24574.685 石揚休 Official during 仁宗 Renzong reign. Bio/367: From 眉州 Meizhou (south of Chengdu and east of 峨眉山 Emei Mountain), 字昌言 literary name Changyan, orphaned as a child he studied hard. In 1038 he became a 進士 jinshi (top scholar). 累官 Working hard he became 刑部員外郎 Ministry of Punishments Official (Outer Official) and 知制誥 Administrator of Making Mandates, and同判太常寺sub-prefect in the Court of Sacrificial Worship (in Luoyang). He memorialized the emperor strongly requesting (various matters), and this had benefit at the time. 為人純素忠謹,以律度自居。 In order to be pure, faithful and respectful to people he thought of himself in terms of the ordering of musical tones.

In addition to the present Shuangqing Zhuan he is also associated with the melody He Ming Jiugao. A poem of his about listening to the qin played by the monk Wen Ying is included in 琴書大全 Qinshu Daquan Folio 19B, #87, and discussed in Folio 17, #36.

Regarding the possibility of his connection to 林泉 linquan see above.

10. 高太素 Gao Taisu (gao taisu)
5965.297 defines 太素 as 質之始 the original substance and 質樸 plain and unadorned; it then gives it as the style name of several people, but none of them surnamed Gao.

11. Tracing Shuangqing Zhuan
Zha Guide 14/151/268 has 15 entries from 1511 through 1618, there are two more not in the guide from this period, then another two from the Qing dynasty, dated 1722 and 1884, with all the later ones except 1571 called Yuan He Shuang Qing. These 19 are as follows:

  1. 1511 (I/295; Shuang Qing Zhuan); 6 unnumbered sections, first in harmonics; lyrics throughout; attrib. "林泉 Linquan"
  2. 1525 (III/116); 10 sections, titled; no lyrics; quite different from others; afterword attrib "gao taisu"
  3. 1530 (I/335; Yuan He Shuang Qing); 12 sections; lyrics similar to 1511; no preface but attrib. Shi Yangxiu
  4. 1539 (II/127); 10 sections but seems to follow same outline; no commentary or attrib.
  5. 1546 (I/394); 9 sections; no commentary or attrib.
  6. 1561 (II/414); identical to 1546
  7. 1552 (IV/67); 12 sect., titled; not in the Zha Guide; preface attrib. only Song recluse
  8. 1557 (III/330); 9 sect; preface as 1552
  9. 1579 (IV/213); 14 sections; no commentary or attribution
  10. 1571 (QF/242); called Shuang Qing; 12 sects, titled but unnumbered; preface has no attribution
  11. 1585 (IV/370); 12; lyrics
  12. 1589 (VI/32); 9
  13. 1589 (VII/79); 12; Yang Lun Taigu Yiyin; attrib. Shi Yangxiu; "異類和同"?; lyrics
  14. 1590 (V/477); 14
  15. 1596 (VII/25); 12; lyrics
  16. 1611 (VIII/32); 12; identical to 1596
  17. 1618 (VIII/209); 12; lyrics almost same as 1585
  18. 1802 (XIX/254); related; "太古遺音" (i.e., 1589): same music but no lyrics
  19. 1884 (XXVII/343); 12; "from 中屏先生處"; “removed common 太古遺音 lyrics then edited"; compare 1589

I have written out a transcription of my reconstruction from 1511, but have not yet learned it fluently enough to record it.

12. Pairing lyrics to runs such as gun and fu
For Taigu Yiyin (1511) see, e.g., QQJC I/296, bottom right, lines 3 and 4. The same passage in Faming Qinpu (1530; I/336 top left 3rd and 4th lines) has fewer characters but is quite vague about the pairing.

In the above 1511 example the tablature said to gun 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 then fu 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 , pairing each with a character except the last one (7): I interpret the repeated 1 as a mistake so the latter six characters are each shifted down one and 7 gets its needed character. On the other hand, later in 1511 (see, e.g., I/297, top right, lines 5-6), there is a gun fu paired to two characters, with no strings indicated; the next cluster is a stopped position on the seventh string, again paired to one character; here it seems clearly intended that one character is to be paired on a run from 7 to 1, the second on the run back up from 1 through 6, with the third character paired to that 7th string. If within 1511 this is not an inconsistency in pairing, it should mean that the first gunfu is done slowly enough that characters could be sung with it (whether or not the intention was actually to sing this at all), whereas with the second gunfu it should be played at a normal speed, i.e., too fast for singing. When I try to play this I do try to make this distinction, though there is no separate evidence that this is not, in fact, simply sloppy inconsistency on the part of someone. If I cannot make that musically satisfying then I either give up the melody altogether, or assume that the pairing was done for totally ideological reasons, not musical ones, and thus interpret the melody as a purely instrumental one. This latter is what I mostly did with my Zheyin Shizi Qinpu reconstructions.

13. Wang Huade recording of Yuan He Shuang Qing (王華德,蜀中琴韻,1993)
The Hugo CD recording notes don't bother to give the source of Wang's version. Its Chinese preface is as follows:


Although this does mention the version in the 1511 Taigu Yiyin, this clearly is not the one Wang used: it begins like the 1589 Taigu Yiyin version, and throughout uses motifs from there, but is overall very different.

This is written in 2012. Currently I am living in Singapore and do not have access to my copy of this CD (I didn't bring my metal string CD recordings with me here), so I do not have access to the English translation or the recording itself. (At that time I did find it online.)

14. Shuang He Ting Quan 雙鶴聽泉
Zha Guide 27/221/--; Dahuan'ge Qinpu (1673) seems to be the first to have it as a separate melody.

15. Original preface
The original preface is as follows,


The copy in Zha's guide seems to change a few characters from the version in the handbook.

16. Original lyrics
The original lyrics begin,



The rest have not yet been put online.

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