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XLTQT / ToC / 1539 version
27. Going with Old-Style Relations (1525)
- Shang mode,2 standard tuning: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, but played as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2
古交行 1
Gujiao Xing    
Versions of this melody, the title of which could also be translated as The Actions of Old-Style Relations, or Old-Style Relations Melody,
4 survive in at least 21 handbooks from 1525 to 1876.5 In addition, two of these handbooks have a related version of the same melody but call it Cloud Bamboo Couch (Yun Zhu Ta).6 The number and variety of mid-Ming occurrences of the melody suggest it was played quite actively during that period, while the differing titles and commentary are evidence of its uncertain origin.

This earliest version, from Xilutang Qintong (1525), is the only one with lyrics: these accompany part of one section; commentary with this version says that the melody praises the friendship between Guan Zhong7 (Guanzi; 720-645) and Bao Shu (also called Bao Shuya).8 Guan Zhong was a minister in the state of Qi, in what is now Shandong province; he is said to have written the earliest Legalist work. Bao Shu was his childhood friend. The commentary adds that Guanzi himself originally wrote the melody, then Chen Zhong and Lei Yi, famous friends during the 2nd c. CE,9 supplemented it, apparently with the melody it uses as a prelude, the Glue and Varnish Intonation (Jiao Qi Yin<.10

The second and third surviving versions, from Feng Xuan Xuan Pin (1539) and Qinpu Zhengchuan (1561) have no commentary. In addition, the former does not pair short melodies with long ones of the same theme. If it did, #49 Kai Gu would have made a good prelude. However, those handbooks which did pair Gujiao Xing with a short melody called that melody either Glue and Varnish Intonation, as here, or Cutting Through Metal Intonation (Duan Jin Yin).11

The fourth version, in Taiyin Chuanxi (1552), has quite a different introduction, attributing the melody to Wang Tong (583-616) (Wen Zhongzi; 583-616). The preface here says he wrote it as a complaint that nowadays relations were all about wealth and power.9 Wang Tong was a famous scholar who is said to have proposed, at age 19, 12 "Plans to Secure Tranquility" to the empire. When these were declined he retired to the countryside in an area northeast of Chang'an, gathering here a large number of disciples. He declined office under the first Sui dynasty emperor.

In later handbooks the most common attribution is this latter one to Wen Zhongzi. The version published in 1670 says it is a revision by Zhou Donggang.12

The afterword to the Gujiao Xing in 1525 retells a version of a story found in various early sources, including Liezi and the Records of the Historian. One of the earliest is Lüshi Chunqiu, translated by Knoblock and Riegel in The Annals of Lü Buwei, p. 675, where it is identified as a fragment from that work, dated 239 BCE, "accepted as probably genuine":

Guan Zhong and Bao Shu were business partners in Nanyang. When it came time to divide the profits, Guan Zhong cheated Bao Shu, taking more for himself. Bao Shu did not consider him greedy, because he knew that Guan Zhong had a mother to support and was impoverished.

The actual 1525 Gujiao Xing afterword begins 管仲與鮑叔賈財...., telling this same story in somewhat different words. It concludes,

....so Guan wrote this melody. Later, Chen Zhong and Lei Yi returned to this idea to continue it with Glue Prelude (膠引 Jiao Yin).

This original 1525 afterword is not yet fully translated.

10 sections (untitled; timings here are from
my recording 聽錄音 14

00.00   1
00.54   2 (harmonics)
01.26   3
02.44   4 (harmonics)
03.46   5
04.26   6
05.19   7 (begins with lyrics added from a similar passage in 1525)
06.23   8 (harmonics)
06.46   9
07.20  10
07.51  Closing harmonics
08.05  End

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. (III/93) Going with Old Style Relations (古交行 Gujiao Xing)
3/xxx; 3308.105 古交 Gujiao gives only a place name (see Different translations). Note that 故交 13466.39 and 5/430 gu jiao have several quotes concerning old friendships, but have nothing that might connect this to the present melody.

Regarding the various stories connected to this melody and its prelude, as with poetry such ambiguity should be considered a strength rather than a weakness.

2. Shang mode (商調 shang diao)
For more on shang mode see Shenpin Shang Yi.

4. Different translations of the title
Such translations depend mainly on the interpretation of 行, here xing but also hang 34850甲33/34: 曲引、歌行. Note also that 3308.105 古交 Gujiao has only that it is an old name for 交城 Jiaocheng, a prefecture southwest of Taiyuan in central 山西 Shanxi province. Gujiao Xing could thus also be translated as Traveling in Gujiao. However, there is no apparent connection between that region and this melody. Zhu Houjiao, the compiler of Fengxuan Xuanpin, was a prince for an area southeast of the Songshan mountain range in Henan Province.

5. Tracing Gujiao Xing
Zha Fuxi's Guide 16/166/-- lists Gujiao Xing in 17 handbooks from 1539 to 1876, somehow omitting the occurrence in 1525 (Xilutang Qintong). The first 12 occurrences are as follows:

  1. 1525 (12; III/91; Zha omits!; misdated)
    Has lyrics in Section 8 (of 12; see footnote below) and the only afterword attributing the melody to Guan Zhong.
  2. 1539 (10; II/176)
    No commentary or lyrics, but lyrics from 1525 Section 8 could be paired with the similar music at the beginning of Fengxuan Xuanpin Section 7.
  3. 1547/1561 (13; II/474)
    No commentary; not in 1546
  4. 1552 (10; IV/72)
    See preface; attributed to Wang Tong
  5. 1557 (13; III/335)
    Similar to 1552
  6. 1579 (11; IV/205)
  7. 1589 (11; VI/26)
  8. 1596 (13; VI/219)
  9. 1602 (11; VI/331)
    Identical to 1589
  10. 1614 (12; VIII/86)
  11. 1647 (12; X/73)
  12. 1670 (two versions, XI/341 and XI/505).
    The first version says it is as revised by 周東崗 Zhou Donggang.

The 1670 hamdbook also has a related melody called 雲竹榻 Yun Zhu Ta, regarding which see below.

6. Cloud Bamboo Couch (雲竹榻 Yun Zhu Ta)
43170.106 has only 雲竹 yunzhu. Zha Guide 42/275/-- lists this title only in 1876, but that version is a copy of one published in 1670 (XI/481). 1876 also has a Gujiao Xing "from 1673", while 1670 has two versions (XI/341 and XI/505). The 1670 version of Yun Zhu Ta begins with a statement that it is 東崗刻古交行 the (Zhou) Donggang version of Gujiao Xing; its preface then says 董庭蘭作 Dong Tinglan created it. The former statement must be referring to the first version of Gujiao Xing in 1670, which says it is 周東崗校譜 tablature revised by Zhou Donggang. The two tablatures seem to be almost identical throughout; however, the Gujiao Xing preface there does not say who created the melody and makes no mention of Yunzhu Ta. The version of Gujiao Xing at XI/505 also makes no mention of Yun Zhu Ta.

The 1876 preface to Yunzhu Ta expands on what was said in 1670 by saying that it is 琴史 Qin Shi that says this melody 董庭蘭作 was created by Dong Tinglan (this is not in Zhu Changwen's biography of Dong Tinglan), adding that it is the same as Cloud Bamboo Chant (雲竹偈 Yun Zhu Ji, a title that can be found in at least one early melody list. However, the 1876 afterword says that, although the melody originated with Gujiao Xing, they are actually much different. Based on what is written above, this is a puzzling comment, presumably based on the fact that the 1876 Yun Zhu Ta is in fact rather different from the 1876 Gujiao Xing (it being a copy from 1673).

7. Guan Zhong (Guanzi; 720-645)
26689.80 管仲 Guan Zhong, full name 管夷吾 Guan Yiwu (also called 管子 Guanzi), was Minister of State for Duke Huan of Qi during the Warring States period. His biography in Shi Ji #62 (see Nienhauser, VII, p.9ff) says that he was very skilled and his policies very influential. He was later said to have written the book called 管子 Guan Zi, a political work with much practical advice (especially economic) on governing. It is said to be the earliest Legalist work, though it was probably written during the 4th to 1st centuries BCE.

The book of Guanzi, Chapter 58, discusses pitches and note associations. Its discussion of the sanfen sunyi method of determining pitches is included here under Tunings. In the following passage it gives two sets of five note associations (translation from W. Allyn Rickett, Guanzi, Vol. 2; Princeton U. Press, pp. 260-263; details at Amazon).

....(As for) alluvial deposits....when this type of soil is observed, it is called "five shi" because it is five time seven or thirty-five chi down to the water table. It gives forth a sound corresponding to the jiao 角 note. Its water is dark green in color, and its people are strong in physique....

(There follows Rickett's translation of four other associations between musical notes and various types of soil. The passage ends with the following):

Whenever one hears the zhi note....It sounds like a hog that has become aware of being mounted by a smaller pig and squeals in alarm....
Whenever one hears the yu note....It sounds like the neighing of a horse in the wilds....
Whenever one hears the gong note....It sounds like the mooing of a cow that has fallen into a pit....
Whenever one hears the shang note....It sounds like a sheep that has become separated from its flock....
Whenever one hears the jiao note, it sounds like a pheasant ascending a tree to crow....The sound is piercing in order to be clear....

The original Chinese (from this external link) of the whole passage is as follows:

見是土也,命之曰五施, 五七三十五尺,而至於泉,呼音中角,其水倉,其民彊。


For the story of Guan Zhong and 鮑叔 Bao Shu (47070.31: = 鮑叔牙 .32), see next footnote.

8. Bao Shuya


9. Chen Zhong and Lei Yi
Chen Zhong and Lei Yi were great friends in the 2nd c. CE. 42618.586 陳重 says that people in their home county (宜春 Yichun, in Henan) referred to them as 膠漆自堅 Strong as Glue and Varnish. Thus Glue Prelude apparently refers to the previous melody, Glue and Varnish Intonation (膠漆吟 Jiao Qi Yin), "jiaoqi" being a term used for good companions, as on a qin.

10. Glue and Varnish Intonation (膠漆吟 Jiao Qi Yin) (also called 斷金吟 Duan Jin Yin)
"Jiaoqi" is used elsewhere as a substance in qin making. Here though, as most commonly, it is used to mean "best friends", and it is thus appropriate that this is the title used in Xilutang Qintong (1525) for its Prelude to Gujiao Xing.

Of 膠漆 jiaoqi, 30504.50 first says "相持不解 inseparable", quoting a comment "寒而膠漆之作,不堅好也" made about this in a passage from the Li Ji; it then says, "喻交誼之堅也 an analogy for inseparable friendship", giving several references to friendships, beginning with Shi Ji 79, 蔡澤傳 the biography of Cai Ze. There is no mention of qin. In this melody, though, the allusion seems to be to a friendship betweeen Chen Zhong and Lei Yi.

In all, this title is used for this melody in three handbooks:

  1. 1525 (III/90; prelude to Going with Old-Style Relations)
  2. 1614 (VIII/96; comes before Jing Guan Yin)
  3. 1647 (X/78; comes before Qingye Wen Zhong [Qilin Bei Feng])

None of these versions has a preface (in 1525 no preludes have their own preface). However, there is one in Taiyin Chuanxi (1552), where the same melody is called Duan Jin Yin (next).

Intonation of Cutting Through Metal (斷金吟 Duan Jin Yin)
As with the 1525
Jiaoqi Yin, this melody is also used as a prelude to Gujiao Xing:

  1. 1552
  2. 1557 (identical)
  3. 1561

However, for this title 1552 and 1557 have a preface. The preface begins by quoting an afterword to the 易經 Yi Jing called 繫辭 Xi Ci (q.v.), which says,

"二人同心,其利斷金 ...
When two people are of one heart, they can cut through metal.

See also 13929.56 斷金 , where the definition is "喻力能破堅也 analogy for the strength to break metal".

11. 1552 preface (IV/72)
This introduction, also found in several later handbooks, tells the story of Wenzhongzi creating this piece, as follows

Wen Zhongzi said, If relationships are based on advantange, when the advantage is no longer there, stuggle ensues. If relationships are based on influence, when the influence is gone, opposition ensues. Relationships nowadays are based on influence and advantage. A person who had the Dao regretted that new ones were not like the old ones, and this wrote this melody.

12. 周東崗 Zhou Donggang; also written 周東岡 Zhou Donggang
Connected to Yangchuntang Qinpu? A brief introduction to Zhou Donggang in Qinyuan Xinchuan Quanbian (1670) (QQJC/XI, p.214) says: "金谿人。作琴譜,作溪山秋月 From Jinxi (Jinqi? 41049.1220 in Jiangxi, east of 臨川 Linchuan); he wrote qinpu (a qin handbook?) and 溪山秋月 Xi Shan Qiu Yue". The 1670 handbook has two versions of Xi Shan Qiuyue (XI/356ff [松絃館譜] and p.484ff [no source given]), but it does not mention the name Zhou with either. Zha indexes this title as 28/224/-- , with the earliest version (1602) attributed to Shen Taishao. However, these are all musically related to 箕山秋月 Jishan Qiuyue (from 1589, which Zha indexes separately as 29/230/441. The preface to the first surviving Jishan Qiuyue, in the 1589 edition of Boya Xinfa (QQJC/VII, p.157), says it was revised by 會稽處士毛繼祖 an heir of Mao from Kuaiji. However, the 1609 edition of the same book says the revision was by 周桐菴 Zhou Tong'an (see Zha Guide, p.230). This perhaps suggests that 作琴譜 "wrote qinpu" means copying down the way someone played a melody. Does this also suggest that Zhou Donggang and Zhou Tong'an were the same person?

The melodies Qinyuan Xinchuan Quanbian does connect to Zhou Donggang are Gujiao Xing (p.341 周東崗校譜, "his revision"; see also the related Yunzhu Ta on p.481) and the melody that follows it, Yu Qiao Wenda (p.343 周東岡譜, "his tablature"). At present I haven't found any earlier connection of either Zhou name with either of these titles, so the possible connection between the two Zhou names is at present only speculation.

Appended at the end of the handbook are alternate versions of melodies already included, saying they come from 周本 the Zhou volume, but this refers to a modern edition in the collection of 周子沐 Zhou Zimu (see XI/3-4).

Hanguzhai Qinpu (XVIII/384) has a 周東岡琴訣 Zhou Donggang Qin Jue.

13. Afterword
the original 1525 afterword is as follows:

遂作此操。後陳重雷義復作膠引繼之。 Not yet translated.

14. Lyrics
The following lyrics from Xilutang Qintong Section 8 could be paired with the similar music in Fengxuan Xuanpin at the beginning of Section 7.

古交如真金,百鍊色不回。 Gu jiao ru zhen jin, bai lian se bu hui.
今交如暴流,倏忽生塵埃。 Jin jiao ru bao liu, shu hu sheng chen ai.
Old relations are like true gold, in 100 smeltings the color does not go back.
New relations are like a flash flood, suddenly they give rise to dirt.

The first of these two lines is quite well-known; the two lines together are said to have originated as the first two lines of the sixth of a set of nine poems called Ancient Ideas, Nine Poems (古意九首 Gu Yi Jiu Shou) attributed to 貫休 Guan Xiu (823-912). The whole of the sixth poem is:

古交如真金,百鍊色不回。 Gu jiao ru zhen jin, bai lian se bu hui.
今交如暴流,倏忽生塵埃。 Jin jiao ru bao liu, shu hu sheng chen ai.
我願君子氣,散為青松栽。 Wo gu jun zi qi, san wei qing song zai.
我恐荊棘花,只為小人開。 Wo kong jing ji hua, zhi wei xiao ru kai.
傷心復傷心,吟上高高台。 Shang xin fu shang xin, yin shang gao gao tai.

The last three lines have not yet been translated.

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