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Handbook List   /   TYCX   /   Zha Fuxi Preface   /   Xumen tradition 首頁
A Comparison of Mid-Ming Melodies
 In five (Xumen tradition?) handbooks published between 1546 and 15611
 
 

The basic aim of qin tablature was to document how someone played a particular melody. The page on dapu discusses such issues as to what extent these descriptions are descriptive or prescriptive. Often the tablature was copied exactly from earlier handbooks, but more often the tablature shows either a few changes or quite radical changes from earlier versions. To what extent did players try to copy and preserve earlier versions? How much, over time, would a particular master change the way he played a melody? Does his tablature mark how he first played it, last played it, somewhere in between? Was it merely intended for use in teaching melodies? Often in oral traditions a player begins by memorizing a particular way of playing a melody; having done that, he or she is free to make changes.

The qin tradition was transmitted orally (by students copying teachers), but then the playing technique was written down: to what extent can analyzing changes from one tablature to another help us understand how the music was actually played at a particular time? In the end there will probably be more questions than answers, but much might also be revealed by such comparative analysis.2

The following chart compares melodies in Taiyin Chuanxi with their occurrences in four other important handbooks published between 1546 and 1561.3 A comparison of the melodies shows a number of interconnections that should be further researched.4 It should be noted that all the melodies probably predate their publication by a number of years. Some of the versions here could document a continuous development. Others might simply show differing developments from an earlier source.

Chart comparing melodies in
five qin handbooks, 1546 - 1561

          \   Handbook
Melody   \         
Taiyin Chuanxi
1552
Taiyin Buyi
1557
Taiyin Xupu
1559
Wugang Qinpu
1546
Qinpu Zhengchuan
1561
  1. Cao Man Yin
     
 # 1. (IV/3)
  long hand
 # 1. (III/305)
  related
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
  2. Gong Yi
      (1425 SPGY)
 # 2. (IV/27)
  Gong Yi
 # 2. (III/310); = 1552
  Gong Yi (Kao)
 X
 
 # 1. SPGY (I/377)
  = 1557
 # 3. SPGY (II/406)
  = 1546
  3. Chonghe Yin
      10 from 1525
 # 3. (IV/28)
  similar to 1525
 # 3. (III/311); = 1552
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
  4. Yang Chun (I)
      see 1525
 # 4. (IV/28)
  similar to 1525
 # 4. (III/311); as 1552
  but many diffs.
 X
 
 # 3 (I/380); closer to
  1557 than 1552
 # 5. (II/409)
  = 1546
  5. Yang Chun (II)
      as 1425
 # 5. (IV/32)
  almost same as 1425
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
  6. Gufang Yin
      3 from 1552
 # 6. (IV/34)
  first
 # 5. (III/314)
  = 1552
 X
 
 X
 
 # 1. (II/402)
  = 1557
  7. Meihua Sannong
      48 from 1425
 # 7. (IV/35)
  related to 1425
 # 6. (III/314)
  related
 X
 
 X
 (see Meihua Yin below)
 # 2. (II/402)
  related
  8. Ziyi Yin
      2 from 1552:
 # 8. (IV/39)
  first
 #14. (III/325)
  completely different
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
  9. Feng Lei Yin
      39 from 1539
 # 9. (IV/40)
  related to 1539
 #15. (III/326)
  related
 X
 
 X
 
 #63. (II/514)
  = 1557
10. Jiadun Yin
      3 from 1552
 #10. (IV/)
  first
 # 7 (III/317)
  identical !
 X
 
 X
 
 X
          (see also: 1647)
11. Gukou Yin
      5 from 1525
 #11. (IV/43)
  similar to 1525
 # 8. (III/317)
  = 1552
 X
 
 X
   
 X
   
12. Qingxu Yin
      see Xuan Mo
 #12. (IV/47)
  similar to 1425
  #9. (III/320)
  = 1552
 X
 
 X
 
 #50 (II/488)
  = 1557
13. Guanghan You
      16 from 1425
 #13. (IV/48)
  almost = 1425
 #10. (III/320)
  similar
 X
 
 X
 
 #51. (II/488); similar,
  but almost = QDY
14. Yiqiao Jin Lü
      35 from 1539
 #14. (IV/50)
  like 1539 but no lyrics
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
15. Jiu Kuang
      6 from 1425
 #15. (IV/52)
  = 1425
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
16. Gao Shan
      41 from 1425
 #16. (IV/53)
  = 1425
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
17. Liu Shui
      34 from 1425
 #17. (IV/)
  = 1425
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
18. Shang Yi
      from
1425 (2)
 #18. (IV/59)
  related
 #11 ...Kao (III/322)
  closer to 1425
 X
 
 # 6. QPSY (I/384)
  = 1557 (+ see SPGSY)
 #25. QPSY (II/448)
  = 1546 (+ see SPGSY)
19. Huaigu Yin
      20 ? from 1552
 #19. (IV/59)
  first
 #12. Si Gui Yin
  (III/322); related
 X
 
 #14 Yikuang Yin
  (I/399); = 1557
 #10 Yikuang Yin
  (II/425); = 1546
20. Yi Lan
      34 from
1425
 #20. (IV/60)
  related
 #13 (III/323)
  related
 X
 
 #10. (I/389)
  = 1557 + 入古商泛
 #20. (II/438)
  = 1546
21. Teng Liu Yin
      see Wang Ji
 #21. (IV/63)
  similar
 #16 (III/327)
  = 1552
 see Jin Shan Yin below
  (III/410); missing
 X
 
 see Jin Shan Yin below
  (II/517); sim.; = 1559
22. Bai Xue
      34 from 1425
 #22. (IV/64)
  similar to 1425
 #17 (III/328)
  similar
 X
 
 # 8. (I/385)
  = 1557
 #27. (II/449)
  = 1546
23. Junzi Yin
      2 from 1552
 #23. (IV/66)
  first
 #18 (III/329)
  = 1552
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
24. Yuan He Shuang
      Qing
; 17 fm 1511
 #24. (IV/67)
  similar (no L)
 #19 (III/330)
  similar (no L)
 X
 
 #12. (I/394)
  = 1557
 # 7. (II/414)
  = 1546
25. Duanjin Yin
      see Jiao Qi Yin
 #25. (IV/71)
  first
 #22. (III/334)
  = 1552 (but see end)
 X
 
 X
 
 #43. (II/473)
  = 1557
26. Gu Jiao Xing
      20 from 1525
 #26. (IV/72)
  related
 #23. (III/335)
  similar
 X
 
 X
 
 #44. (II/474)
  = 1557
27. Zhaozhao Yin
      two
 #27. (IV/75)
  first
 #24. (III/337)
  = 1552
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
28. Chang Qing
      10 from 1425
 #28. (IV/76)
  = 1425
 #25. (III/338)
  similar
 X
 
 #9. (I/387)
  = 1557
 #19. (II/436)
  = 1546
29. Duan Qing
      6 from 1425
 #29. (IV/79)
  = 1425
 #26. (III/340)
  similar
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
30. Chun Jiang
      also Qiu Jiang...!
 #30. (IV/81)
  related
 #21. (III/333)
  related
 X
 
 X
 
 #64. (II/516)
  = 1557
31. Qiu Feng
      4 from 1525
 #31. (IV/83)
  similar
 X
 
 #10 (III/424)
  very similar to 1552
 X
 
 #69. (II/524)
  = 1559
32. Kechuang Yehua
      24 from 1511 (L)
 #32. (IV/86)
  related (no L)
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 #49. (II/482)
  related
33. Si Xian Cao
      from 1511 YSC
 #33. (IV/88)
  related (no L)
 #27. Yan Hui (III/341)
  related, no L
 X
 
 #7. YSC (I/384)
  related
 #26. YSC (II/448)
  = 1546
34. Gui Qu Lai Ci
      29 from 1511
 #34. (IV/91)
  related (no L)
 #20. (III/332)
  unrelated! (no L)
 X
 
 #13. (I/397)
  = 1557 (but has L!)
 #9. (II/423)
  = 1546 (L)
35. Xiang Fei Yuan
      18 from 1511
 #35. (IV/93)
  similar (no L)
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 Folio 2 (II/418)
  only the lyrics, no pu
36. Xue Chuang
      7 from
1539 (L)
 #36. (IV/94)
  related (no L)
 X
 
 #14. XCYH (III/429)
  related (pref: GDY)
 X
 
 #71. XCYH (II/527)
  = 1559
37. He Ming Jiugao
      9 from
1425
 #37. (IV/97)
  = 1425
 #28. (III/343)
  related
 X
 
 #11. (I/392)
  = 1557
 #6. (II/411)
  = 1546 (comp. below)
38. Jiao Yi
      from 1425
 #38. (IV/101)
  almost = 1425
 #29 ...Kao (III/346)
 
 X
 
 #15. (I/400)
  = 1557
 #11. (II/426)
  = 1546
39. Lingxu Yin
      14 from 1425
 #39. (IV/102)
  = 1425
 #30 (III/346)
  almost = 1425
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
40. Liezi Yu Feng
      40 from 1425
 #40. (IV/103)
  like 1425
 #31 (III/347)
  similar
 X
 
 #16. Yu Feng Xing
  similar (I/400)
 #12. Yu Feng Xing
  (II/426); = 1546
41. Shangjiao Yi
      fm 1425 SPSJY
 #41. (IV/105)
  almost = 1425
 #32 (III/348)
  = 1552
 X
 
 #17. (I/402)
  = 1557
 #13. (II/426)
  = 1546
42. Shenhua Yin
      8 from 1425
 #42. (IV/106)
  very similar
 #33 (III/)
  very similar
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
43. Zhuangzhou
      Meng Die
; 1425
 #43. (IV/107)
  similar
 #34 (III/349)
  similar
 X
 
 #18. (I/402)
  = 1557
 #14. (II/428)
  = 1546
44. Zhi Yi
      fm 1425 SPZY
 #44. (IV/109)
  similar
 #35 ...Kao (III/351)
  almost = 1552
 X
 
 #19. (I/404)
  SPZY; = 1557
 #21. (II/440)
  = 1546 (compare ZY)
45. Huitong Yin
      8 from 1525
 #45. (IV/110)
  quite different
 #36 (III/351)
  = 1552
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
45. Yu Hui Tushan
      37 from 1425
 #46. (IV/111)
  similar
 #37 (III/111)
  similar
 X
 
 #22. (I/407)
  = 1557
 #58. (II/500)
  = 1546
47. Chunyi Yin
      see Weibin Yin
 #47. (IV/115)
  1st of two; similar
 #38 (III/355)
  second
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
48. Wen Wang Si
      Shun
; fm
<1491
 #48. (IV/116)
  related
 #39. Wen Wang
  (III/356); related
 X
 
 #20. Wen Wang Cao
  (I/404); = 1557
 #22. WWC (II/440);
  = 1546 (comp. below)
49. Shanju Yin
      46 from 1425
 #49. (IV/118)
  related
 #46 (III/367)
  related
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
50. Qiao Ge
      54 from 1425
 #50. (IV/120)
  similar
 #47 (III/368)
  similar
 X
 
 #23. (I/410)
  similar
 #59. (II/502)
  = 1546
51. Xiangjiang Yin
      see DTQS
 #51. (IV/123)
  very similar to DTQS
 #44 (III/364)
  = 1552
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
52. Yu Ge
      from 1525
 #52. (IV/124)
  similar
 #45 (III/365)
  similar
 X
 
 #24. (I/412)
  = 1557
 #60. (II/505)
  = 1546
53. Shuangye Yin
      3 from 1525
 #53. (IV/128)
  almost = 1525
 #40 (III/358)
  = 1552
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
54. Yan Guo Hengy-
      ang
; 20 fm 1539
 #54. (IV/129)
  almost = 1539
 #41 (III/359)
  see also 1525
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
55. Guan Ju
      54 from
<1491
 #55. (IV/132)
  related
 #48 (III/370)
  related
 X
 
 #21. (I/406)
  related
 #57. (II/499)
  = 1546 (+ see below)
56. Yu Yi
      from 1425 SPYY
 #56. (IV/135)
  similar
 #49 (III/372)
  similar
 X
 
 #26. SPYY (I/416)
  = 1557
 #29. SPYY (II/452)
  = 1546
57. Ganhuai Yin
      rel. HWDT
 #57. (IV/136)
  similar ("HWDT Yin")
 #50 (III/372)
  similar
 X
 
 #25. HWDT (I/415)
  = 1557 GHY
 #28. HWDT (II/451)
  = 1546
58. Zhi Zhao Fei
      40 from 1425
 #58. (IV/137)
  similar
 #51 (III/373)
  similar
 X
 
 #27. (I/416)
  similar
 #30. (II/452)
  = 1546
59. Qinshan Yin
      only these two
 #59. (IV/140)
  first
 TYBY#52 (III/375)
  = 1552
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
60. Pei Lan
      41 from 1539
 #60. (IV/141)
  similar
 #53 (III/376)
  similar
 X
 
 #28. (I/419)
  = 1557
 #31. (II/455)
  = 1546
61. Wu Gan Yin
      only these two +
 #61. (IV/145)
  first
 #54 (III/378)
  = 1552
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
62. Wu Ye Ti
      32 from 1425
 #62. (IV/146)
  = 1425
 #55. (III/379)
  almost = 1425
 X
 
 #29. (I/422)
  = 1557
 #32. (II/458)
  = 1546
63. Huangzhong Yi
      (1425, SPWYY)
 #63. (IV/150)
  related
 #58 ...Kao (III/382)
  related
 X
 
 #32. (I/426)
  = 1557
 #35. (II/462)
  = 1546
64. Qiusai Yin
      1425, HYQS
 #64. (IV/150)
  = 1425
 #59 (III/383)
  = 1425
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
65. Longshuo Cao
      from 1425
 #65. (IV/151)
  similar
 #60. (III/383)
  similar
 X
 
 #33. ZZY (I/426)
  = 1557
 #36. ZZY (II/462)
  = 1546
66. Fugu Diao
      see
1525
 #66. (IV/154)
  almost = 1525
 #56. (III/381)
  = 1552
 X
 
 #30. (I/424)
  = 1557
 #33. (II/460)
  = 1546
67. Nanfeng Chang
      see 1525
 #67. (IV/155)
  different
 #57. (III/381)
  = 1552
 X
 
 #31. (I/424)
  = 1557
 #34. (II/460)
  = 1546
68. Guxian Yi
     
1425; 1525
 #68. (IV/157)
  1525: like Qingshang !
 #71. ...Kao (III/399)
  = 1425 (exc. 1 note)
 X
 
 #40. SPGXY (I/434)
  = 1425
 #46. SPGXY (II/476)
  = 1546
69. Feiming Yin
      from 1425
 #69. (IV/157)
  almost = 1425 (unclear)
 #72. (III/399)
  similar
 X
 
 #41. (I/434)
  = 1557
 #47. (II/476)
  = 1546
70. Qiu Hong
      from 1425
 #70. (IV/158)
  = 1425? (damaged)
 #73. (III/400)
  related
 X
 
 #42. (I/435)
  = 1557
 #48. (II/477)
  = 1546
71. Qiliang Yi
      from 1425
 #71. (IV/165)
  related
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
72. Qiliang Yi
      "= Chushang Yi"
 #72. (IV/166)
  stopped sounds related
 #61. ...Kao (III/385)
  like S. P. Chushang Yi
 X
 
 #34. SP... (I/428)
  = 1557
 #37. (II/465)
  = 1546
73. Zepan Yin
      9 from 1425
 #73. (IV/166)
  = 1425 (damaged)
 #63. (III/387)
  = 1425
 X
 
 X
 
 #53. (II/493)
  = 1557
74. Li Sao
      39 from 1425
 #74. (IV/168)
 
 #64. (III/388)
 
 X
 
 X
 
 #54. (II/493)
  = 1546
75. Chu Ge
      15 from 1425
 #75. (IV/172)
  similar (note sect. titles)
 #62. (III/385)
  similar (s.t's as 1552)
 X
 
 #35. (I/428)
  = 1557
 #38. (II/465)
  = 1546
76. Qu Yuan Wen Du
      15 from
<1491
 #76. (IV/175)
  like <1491 but no lyrics
 #65. (III/391)
  similar
 X
 
 #36. (I/430)
  = 1557
 #40. (II/470)
  = 1546 (comp. DQY)
77. Ruibin Yi
      from 1425
 #77. (IV/177)
  quite different
 #66. (III/392)
  almost = 1552
 X
 
 #37. (I/431)
  = 1557
 #41. (II/471)
  = 1546
78. Leji Yin
      see Yu Ge Diao
 #78. (IV/177)
  like YGD but no L
 #67. (III/393)
  = 1552
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
79. Ao Ai Ge
      fm <1491 Yu Ge
 #79. (IV/178)
  Ao Ai; related but no L
 #68. (III/393)
  related
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
80. Jiuyi Yin;   from
      Fan Canglang
 #80. (IV/182)
  "also: FCL"; = 1425
 #69. (III/396)
  = 1425
 X
 
 X
 
 #55. (II/496)
  = 1557
81. Xiao Xiang Shui
      Yun
; from
1425
 #81. (IV/183)
  almost = 1425
 #70. (III/397)
  similar
 X
 
 #38. (I/431)
  = 1557
 #42. (II/471)
  = 1546 (+ see below)
           
82. Feng Bo Yin
     
 X
 
 #42. (III/361)
  only here
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
83. Zuiyu Chang
      Wan
(1525)
 X
 
 #43. (III/362)
  2nd; almost = 1525
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
           
84. Jin Shan Yin
      also above
 X
 
 X
 
 #1. (III/410)
  1st of 2 with this title
 X
 
 #65. (II/517)
  = 1559
84. Xiaoshao Jiuche
     Fenghuang Laiyi
 -ng   /   X
 
 X
 
 #2. (III/410)
  1st of 5
 X
 
 #66. (II/517)
  = 1559
85. Geng Shen Yin
     
 X
 
 X
 
 #3. (III/414)
  only here
 X
 
 X
 
86. Geng Ge
     
 X
 
 X
 
 #4. (III/414)
  1st of 14
 X
 
 #23. Binfeng Ge
  (III/444); sim. to 1559
87. Chumu Yin
      almost = Yin De
 X
 
 X
 
 #5. (III/418)
  1st of 2 with this title
 X
 
 #61. (II/511)
  = 1559
88. Mu Ge
     
 X
 
 X
 
 #6. (III/418)
  1st of 13
 X
 
 #62. (II/511)
  = 1559
89. Fu Hai Yin
     
 X
 
 X
 
 #7. (III/421)
  only here
 X
 
 X
 
90. Qi Lin Bei Feng
     
 X
 
 X
 
 #8. (III/422)
  1st of 15
 X
 
 #67. Qingye Wen Zh...
  (II/521); sim. to 1559
91. Youshi Yin
      (almost = Chun -
 X
  Xiao Yin)
 X
 
 #11. (III/426)
  this title only here
 X
 
 X
 
92. Kou Jiao Ge
     
 X
 
 X
 
 #12. (III/427)
  1st of eight
 X
 
 #68. (II/523)
  = 1559
93. Goudeng Yin
      prelude:
XCYH
 X
 
 X
 
 #13. (III/428)
  1st of 2 (but cf TFHP)
 X
 
 #70. (II/527)
  = 1559
94. Fei Qiong Yin
     
 X
 
 X
 
 #15. (III/431)
  only here
 X
 
 X
 
95. Shishang Liu
      Quan
 X
 
 X
 
 #16. (III/431)
 
 X
 
 #17. (II/433)
  2nd of 19; = 1525
96. Kaigu Yin
      like Kai Gu
 X
 
 X
 
 #17. (III/432)
  1st of this title
 X
 
 X
 
97. Yu Qiao Wenda
     
 X
 
 X
 
 #18. (III/433)
  1st of over 40
 X
 
 X
 
 
     
 
 
 
 
 Taiyin Xupu #19-38 :
    none relevant here
 
 
 
 
 98. Meihua Yin
      var. of
above
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 # 2. (I/377)
  quite diff from 1425
 # 4. (II/406)
  = 1546
 99. Qingdu Yin
      cf.
GHY above
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 # 4. Qingdu Yin (I/382)
  seems = GHY!
 #18. Qingdu Yin
  (II/434); = 1546
100. Shenpin Gu-
        shang Yi
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 # 5. (I/384)
  sim. 1425; compare SY
 #24. (II/488)
 = 1546; compare SY
101. Miaopin
        Qingshang Yi
 (#68. [IV/157])
 "Guxian", but like 1525
 X
 
 X
 
 #39. (I/434)
  diff fm Guxian; = 1551
 #45. (II/476)
  = 1546
           
102. He Ming Jiugao
      L: see
1511
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 #8. (II/419)
  compare above
103. Zhi Yi
      like
1425
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 #15. (II/430)
  compare SPZY
104. Wen Wang Cao
     
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 #16. (II/430)
  compare above
105. Diao Qu Yuan
     
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 #39. (II/468)
  (comp. QYWD)
106. Guan Ju
     
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 #52. (II/490)
  compare above
107. Xiao Xiang
          Shui Yun
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 X
 
 #56. (II/497)
  compare above

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Comparative chart: Xumen tradition?
I began working on this chart in an attempt to try to understand better Ming dynasty melodies said to belong to the famous "Xumen Orthodex School". What connection could these melodies have with melodies as played by the famous Song dynasty master Xu Tianmin?
(Return)

2. Oral vs. written tradition
Although qin music was written down, it was also to a great extent an oral tradition. When I began to study my teacher told me to watch him and not look at the tablature. It is also important to note that some people probably only played from memory, never looking at tablature. As for the tablature, there was probably a lot of music written down to aid the learning process but that has not survived. Often people must have had only tablature of individual pieces, copied out by hand, not whole handbooks.
(Return)

3. Four handbooks selected
See Xu Jian's History, Chapter 7.A.1., and note in particular that the compiler of Wugang Qinpu was born in 1485, and the comiler of Taiyin Buyi and Taiyin Xupu was born in 1487.
(Return)

4. Exploring interconnections
Melodies in these handbooks should also be compared with melodies in the other handbook published during the same period (1546 - 61), Buxuxian Qinpu (ca. 1556), as well as the slightly earlier Xilutang Qintong (1539).
(Return)

Return to the Taiyin Chuanxi intro, to the annotated handbook list or to the Guqin ToC.