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Taiyin Chuanxi
Transmission of the Great Sounds 1

by Zha Fuxi2
from Qinqu Jicheng, Vol. 4
Beijing, Zhonghua Shuju Chuban Faxing, 1982

(Taiyin Chuanxi), in the collection of the Beijing Library,3 was compiled by Li Ren4 and engraved by Zhou Guishan,5 in five folios. It has a preface by Yang Mao6 dated 1561, a preface by Zhu Qi7 dated 1552, an afterword by Ye Quan8 dated 1561, and an afterword by Li Ren himself dated 1552.

The first folio systematically introduces qin theories one should be well-versed in when studying the qin, such as remarks about qin structure, discussion of qin playing, the technique of putting on the strings, distinguishing the fingers (giving them names) and investigating the tones, correctly plucking the strings, tuning the strings for non-standard modes, the method of holding the qin, origins of qin tablature figures, (right and left hand) finger techniques, basic techniques of playing the qin, (standard modes for the five tones), study of the five sounds and so forth (in fact that was a complete list, except for what was here in brackets). Altogether there are 80 pieces (plus the Caoman Yin9 in the opening section). This includes six pieces in fragmentary form.10 Since this book is a sole copy, this edition allows these fragments to remain as they are.

Yang Mao's emphasis (in his preface) that "the essence is in these three: old modal introductions, intonations and melodies", (plus the fact that) in the handbook there is an intonation before each melody, are both clear evidence that this handbook of Li Ren, like the qin handbooks of Xiao Luan11, emphasizes "melodies must have attached intonations and modal meanings must have attached 'studies'." Although Li's handbook was printed five years after that of Xiao Luan (i.e., his Taiyin Buyi), the four prefaces here all prove that each of the tablatures collected here was passed down from Li Ren's musical ancestors. So, if we focus on reality, the qin school of Xiao Luan of Jiangnan (south of the Yangzi river) originated among the Li family of Jiangbei (north of the Yangzi).

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. The words taiyin immediately connect this book with the following two, #19 Xingzhuang Taiyin Buyi and #20 Xingzhuan Taiyin Xupu. Wu Zhao mentions musical connections. (Return)

2. 查阜西 Zha Fuxi; edited by 吳鉊 Wu Zhao (Return)

3. 北京圖書館; still there? (Return)

4. Li Ren 李仁; see further information. (Return)

5. Zhou Guishan 周桂山 3597.xxx (see QQJC, IV/1, top half, left-most column) (Return)

6. Yang Mao 楊懋 15489.xxx (Return)

7. Zhu Qi 朱齊 14779.xxx (Return)

8. Ye Quan 葉筌 32127.xxx; Bio/xxx (Return)

9. Caoman Yin, which is here written out in longhand qin tablature, is an early version of Xianweng Cao, often the first qin piece one learns. (Return)

10. Gong Yi, Qiu Hong, Qiliang Yi (both versions), Zepan Yin and Li Sao. In this edition see pp.27 and 158-171, which were damaged; at pp 27 and 171 there is a missing page. (Return)

11. 1487-1561 or later; see #19 Xingzhuang Taiyin Buyi and #20 Xingzhuang Taiyin Xupu. (Return)

Return to the annotated handbook list or to the Guqin ToC.