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Songfengge Qinpu
Qin Handbook from the Chamber of Pine Breezes
Includes Shuhuai Cao, Songsheng Cao and Songfengge Qinse Pu2
松風閣琴譜 1
These four handbooks, all published in Volume XII of Qinqu Jicheng, contain music connected to 程雄
Cheng Xiong of 休寧 Xiuning (near Huizhou in Anhui). Cheng Xiong himself was associated with several of the noted qin players of his time, including Zhuang Zhenfeng, a teacher of Jiang Xingchou. Around 1676 Jiang went to Japan, where as the monk Shen Etsu he became the leading qin teacher. It is thus useful to compare the music published by Cheng, Zhuang and Jiang. All of it puts an emphasis on qin songs. Some of the lyrics are old, but most of them seem to have been newly written by Cheng's students following old ci rhythms. Much of the the music is ascribed to Cheng himself, though it is not certain that this means he created the music or simply adapted existing melodies to the texts.4 This is said to have been a characteristic of the Min school of that time, with Cheng's handbooks being their most popular resource.4

The four handbooks can be outlined as follows (links are to the ToC):

  1. Songfengge Qinpu (松風閣琴譜 XII.3)
    11 melodies, three 1st (3 w/lyrics);
    Contains explanations of new (?) finger techniques, but does not seem to use them; uses others techniques it does not explain
  2. Shuhuai Cao (抒懷操 [carefree]; 1682; XII.4)
    37 melodies (all-1st?), all short, w/lyrics first (not to be sung?), then melody; Zha lists it as an appendix to the previous
    New melodies that Cheng Xiong paired with poems that had been written praising him (compare Van Gulik, Lore, p.96)
  3. Songsheng Cao (松聲操; 1687; XII.5)
    45 melodies (15-1st, others mostly as in Shuhuai Cao); also has lyrics written 1st, then melodies; note especially Shui Diao Ge Tou.
  4. Songfengge Qinsepu (松風閣琴瑟譜 ; 1677; XII.6)
    13 melodies (2-1st; 2,4,6,8,10,12 have lyrics); seven are same as Songfengge Qinpu melodies, others are modified; only #13 Da Ya has se tablature

Because in 1956 Zha discovered the latter two handbooks together in Xi'an he lists the latter as an appendix to the former. The latter is apparently the earliest surviving tablature collection for qin and se together; the earliest notation for reviving the se itself is apparently that of Xiong Penglai. Note, however, that around this time Qianqingtang Shumu listed a Handbook for Qin and Se to play together (琴瑟合奏譜 Qinse Hezoupu) in 2 folios (no other information)

For further details see the various Tables of Contents.

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 松風閣琴譜 Song Feng Ge Qinpu (1673; QQJC XII)


2. Various titles)
Listed here; perhaps they were once published as a single handbook.

4. Min school 閩派
See Van Gulik, Lore, pp. 83 and 96. On p. 83 Van Gulik says,

"Many examples of of poems and essays set to qin ('lute') music may be found in the handbook Songfengge Qinpu compiled by Cheng Xiong. The reverse process is followed when new words are made to existing melodies; this is called 填詞 tian ci. Examples of tunes with tian ci may be found in the handbook Shu Huai Cao, the sister volume to theSong Feng Qinpu."

On p. 96, where he discusses different qin school, Van Gulik says of the Min (Fujian) school,

The Fujian School was established later than the others, probably during the thirteenth or fourteenth century. This school tried to adapt qin music to popular instruments such as the cither (guzheng) and the pipa; consequently it is not greatly esteemed by qin experts. Most musicians who, without ambition to become real qin players, still like to be able to play a few easy tunes, are followers of this school. They generally use the Songfeng Ge Qinpu (see page 96), a handbook that gives a great number of simple, short melodies, all accompanied by words. Although I quite agree that the Fujian School does not stand for the highest expression of qin music, it is still worth a closer study, for many of its tunes contain charming melodic patterns."
When reading this it is interesting to wonder what these same "qin experts" thought of the short songs by Jiang Kui, or of Ouyang Xiu saying that as he got older he was happy just to play short tunes.

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