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Wine in Hand Asking the Moon
角音 Jue mode: 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 2
Ba Jiu Wen Yue
Calligraphy by Du Zhonggao3
The creator of the music is not stated, but it is generally presumed to be Zhang Tingyu, compiler of the handbook.6
The preface in 1618 is very brief, saying only,
There is no mention of the music.
Music and lyrics 8 (timings follow my recording 聽錄音)
The melody and lyrics are divided into two untitled sections. However, my understanding of the music gives it a natural break between each set of two couplets. Meanwhile the translation here is rather stilted as part of the melody reconstruction process I made it as much as possible word for word; for a smoother translations follow links in the footnote. The result is as follows:
00.12 第壹段 Section 1
01.50 第㒃段 Section 2
Qīng tiān yǒu yuè lái jǐshí? Wǒ jīn tíng bēi yī wèn zhī.
In blue sky having a moon: that comes about how often?
So I now set down my cup and question it.
Rén pān míng yuè bùkě dé, yuè xíng què yǔ rén xiāng suí.
People grasp at the bright moon but cannot do so;
the moon travels, though, going with us right along.
Jiǎo rú fēi jìng lín dān què; lǜ yān miè jǐn qīng huī fā.
Bright, like a flying mirror you approach cinnabar towers,
green mist disappears as your clear brilliance emerges;
Dàn jiàn xiāo cóng hǎi shàng lái, níng zhī xiǎo xiàng yún jiān méi.
But seeing you at night from the sea rising,
how do we know that at dawn you will emerge amongst the clouds, or not?
Yù tù dǎo yào qiū fù chūn, Héng'é gū qī yǔ sheí lián?
The jade rabbit keeps pounding out elixers as autumn turns to spring,
and Heng E by herself nests, with whom having sympathy?
Jīn rén bù jiàn gǔ shí yuè, jīn yuè céng jīng zhào gǔ rén.
Today's people do not see the ancient times' moon,
(but) today's moon used to shine on the ancients.
Gǔ rén jīn rén ruò liú shuǐ, gòng kàn míng yuè jiē rú cǐ;
Ancient peoples and people of today pass like flowing waters;
(but) as we all view it, the bright moon has always been like this.
Wéi yuàn dāng gē duì jiǔ shí, yuè guāng cháng zhào jīn zūn lǐ.
I only hope that whenever we do sing along with wine,
the moon's brightness will keep on shining down into our golden winecups.
02.32 曲終 End
01.50 第㒃段 Section 2
01.50 第㒃段 Section 2
See the footnote regarding some changed characters.
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Ba Jiu Wen Yue 把酒問月 (QQJC VIII/241)
12125.23 is only 把酒 ba jiu. There are two entries:
There have been many translations, including online (e.g., here; #128).
Nevertheless, modern translations seem to suggest raising the cup in toast, and modern images seem to favor the currently popular melodramatic depictions of a cup being raised.
This handbook has a one string melody with lyrics of a similar nature, Shui Diao Ge Tou (VIII/343; see preface); it has lyrics by Su Dongpo that begin "明月幾時有，把酒問青天....")
Jiao Mode (角音 Jiao Yin (5 6 1 2 3 5 6)
In this piece the mode seems to shift between being 6-3 (la-mi) and 1-5 (do-sol). In the former places the note jiao (3, also called jue) has the feel of being a fifth above the tonal center, in the latter a third above; but in both cases it seems to be a significant tonal center. The beginning and ending notes of the phrases in the eight lines are as follows:
For more on jiao mode see Shenpin Jiao Yi of 1425; for mode in general see Modality in early Ming qin tablature.
Calligraphy for 把酒問月 Ba Jiu Wen Yue
The calligraphy above, by 杜忠誥 Tu Chung-kao (Du Zhonggao 1948 - ), was copied from here. In fact, there are many online examples of calligraphy for Li Bai's poem Ba Jiu Wen Yue). Another example, together with an illustration, is on a scroll by Du Jin that also has a poem by Han Yu; that scroll can be seen with the introduction to the melody Ting Qin Yin, which sets the Han Yu poem to music.
Trace Ba Jiu Wen Yue
Zha Guide lists it only here.
Note for note setting
More under Poetry and Song
The original is: 古文評云：李白氣豪，文更豪。
Music and Lyrics
There have been a number of English translations of Li Bai's poem. They include:
The text as it appears in 1618 is given above with transliteration and translation. Here is just the Chinese text by itself. Note that in several places it is different from the version on the scrolls. The places that I can recognize as different from the song text have the calligraphy versions put in parentheses to the right of the present lyrics. The most significant difference is perhaps the last character of row five, 憐 lian (pity) instead of 鄰 lin (neighbor).
The 1618 song text arrangement of the lyrics into two sections is follows:
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