Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li  
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East Winds Work Together
- Gong mode;2 5 6 1 2 3 5 6
東風齊著力 1
Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li
  Long Life and Good Fortune 3
This seems to be a melody intended for the Chinese Lunar New Year - apparently the earliest such surviving (and perhaps also the only such surviving) traditional guqin melody.4 According to the Zha Guide it was not copied into any of the other old handbooks (unless in Japan). Although the significance of its actual title 東風齊著力, tentatively translated as "East Winds Work Together", is not completely clear, the subtitle 除夜 Chuye (New Year's Eve),5 as well as the lyrics themselves, show that it indeed concerns the Chinese New Year, now commonly called the Spring Festival to distinguish it from the Western New Year.6

As noted at the front of the present tablature, its lyrics are (the ci poem) 除夜 Chu Ye by the Song dynasty poet 胡浩然 Hu Haoran.7 The source of the music is not known: at the end of the tablature there is only the comment "revised by Shin-etsu".

Commentary elsewhere suggests that the subtitle connects Hu Haoran's ci poem to a short Tang dynasty 詩 shi poem by Cao Song.8 That poem is also named Chu Ye,9 also begins with the characters "殘臘" (canla), and also mentions the east wind in the first line. "臘 La" is the name for a 12th month sacrifice to ancestors, and thus canla became an expression referring to the year's end.9 As for Cao's "east wind" (東風 dong feng), it apparently is thought to have inspired Hu's "eastern lords" (dong jun).

Another ci poem within the present form was written by the 16th century playwright Gao Lian.12

There are several notable problems with the tablature, most prominent being the one discussed here below.


Music (XII/166) 13 (看五線譜 see transcription; timings follow 聽我的錄音 instrumental recording; with lyrics sung)
The tablature has no divisions, but the standard interpretations of the ci pattern seems to suggest a division into two parts of four lines each. Since by this division the fifth line actually has two rhymes, perhaps the first part of that fifth line should be considered as an intermediary line. This idea is supported by an examination of the lyrics below while listening to the melody. Here the phrase beginning at 00.58 does seem to be an intermediary between the two halves of four lines each (further comment).

The lyrics are as follows:

Cán là shōu hán, sān yáng chū zhuǎn, yǐ huàn nián huá.
Remnants of the 12th month sacrifice are cold,
          As spring begins everything rolls over, already the year is transforming.
Dōng jūn lǜ guǎn, yí lǐ dào shān jiā.
lords of spring rule,
          winding their way into mountain homes,
Chù chù shēng huáng dǐng fèi, huì jiā yàn, zuò liè xiān wá.
Everywhere reed instruments bring glorious tumult.
          there are feasts, and seated arrays of transcendent beauties .
Huā cóng lǐ, jīn lú mǎn ruò, lóng shè yān xié.
In the flower world, golden stoves fill us with heat,
          Wafting ambergris and musk smoke.

Cǐ jǐng zhuǎn kān kuā.
This whole scene is quite remarkable.

Shēn yì zhù, shòu shān fú hǎi zēng jiā.
Profound well-wishing expressed,
          May your
long life and good fortune increase.
Yù gōng mǎn fàn, qiě mò yàn liú xiá.
Jade goblets overflow,
          and no one tires of flowing wine clouds.
Xìng yǒu yíng chūn shòu jiǔ, yín píng jìn, jǐ duǒ méi huā.
Fortunately one can welcome spring with Long-life Wine,
          Silver bottles are refreshed, and many sprays of plum blossoms.
Xiū cí zuì, yuán lín xiù sè, bǎi cǎo méng yá.
Declining to be drunk, in the colorful gardens,
          the myriad herbs are sprouting.

(Translation tentative.14 )

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. 東風齊著力 Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li references (QQJC XII/170; TKKP III/24; Zha Guide 34/--/502)
For 東風 14827.317/1 has 爾雅 Er Ya say "谷風也 wind from valleys" but then quotes 李白 Li Bai associating it with spring ("東風扇淑氣,水木榮春暉。...."). .317/2 has "春風也 spring winds", quoting 禮記,月令 (see next) suggesting it refers to winds at the beginning of the year, adding the winds 解凉 resolve what is cool or cold. Modern dictionaries suggest these winds are generally good, so "dong feng" might best rendered as "spring breezes".

As for 齊 qi, it could refer to an ancient region in Shandong but more likely suggests a cooperative effort (or perhaps something nimble). The present interpretation of "齊著力" ( is thus "cooperatively making an effort".

As for Dong feng qi zhuo li, 14827.323 東風齊著力 says,

Name of a cipai about which see The Residue of Poetry from Grass Hut (Caotang Shiyu, ca. 1195). The standard form is from the ci poem New Year's Eve by Hu Haoran. The Yueling Chapter in the Book of Rites (ctext) begins, "孟春之月....東風解凍 In the first month of spring....the east winds resolve the cold." In addition, there is the shi poem Chu Ye by Cao Song of the Tang dynasty. Thus we have Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li.

No further comment yet found elsewhere on this melody, and it is not in Wang Di Xian'ge Yayun.

Further vocabulary items:

For an analysis of the cipai itself see, e.g., in That page ends with the statement that during the Song dynasty, "此調祇有此詞,無別首宋詞可校。 This pattern had only these lyrics, so there are no other Song ci to compare it with." So far later listings begin with the one below by Gao Lian of the Ming dynasty. Others online include ones by 曹溶 Cao Rong also from the Ming and quite a few from the Qing dynasty (see, e.g. on this site).

Hu Haoran's poem was also included in the 全宋詞 Complete Song Dynasty Ci Poems.

2. Gong Mode (compare main transcription to that using 1 2 4 5 6 1 2)
According to my analysis of the guqin melodies published in the Ming dynasty, their musical modes are determined by primary and secondary tonal centers. The common term for mode is 調 diao, but the Japanese guqin handbooks from the end of this period call them "音 yin" and say the present melody is in "宮音 gong mode". Characteristics of gong mode melodies from this period, as outlined under the 1425 Shen Pin Gong Yi, show that their relative tuning is generally considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6, with the primary tonal center being 1 (do), i.e., notes equivalent to the open third string. However, a transcription of the present melody suggests something else, in particular that the mode of the second half is rather different from that of the first half. Discussing this requires reference to my transcriptions.

Although my transcriptions use staff notation, they treat the actual music as traditional Chinese notation did (notation for early Western music also apparently did so): as indicating relative pitch. I choose the pitch names (whether do re mi, A B C or 1 2 3) based on how someone singing solfeggio would most naturally do it: avoiding accidentals and focusing on the Chinese standard pentatonic scale of do re mi sol la (1 2 3 5 6; see rationale).

Using the relative tuning 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 to sing the first half (i.e., the first four sections) of Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li generally reveals an avoidance of do. In fact, most phrases in the first half end on 6 (la), there are five occurences of 7 and one of 4# (3 times in a row). However, if my understanding of the structure is correct, that half suddenly ends on 1. On the other hand, interpreting the tuning as 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 makes that half completely follow the standard pentatonic scale 1 2 3 5 6 except that the passage formerly with a row of three F#s is now a row of three 7s. Meanwhile, in the second half using the tuning 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 makes the music purely follow the traditional pentatonic scale of 1 2 3 5 6 (except for one 4#), and end on 1 over 5, while using 1 2 4 5 6 1 2 makes 4 the primary tonal center. In other words, the tonal natures of the two sections are different.

As for primary tonal centers, with the overall tuning considered as 5 6 1 2 3 5 6 this melody seems to have 6 as the primary tonal center for the first half, but then suddenly end on 1; in the second half the tonal centers seem to be on 5 and 2 before again ending on 1. It is uncommon but not unknown for a melody suddenly to end on 1 (do) after throughout seeming to have a different tonal center. This then is my interpretion of the tonality of this melody, even though it is rare for a melody to have such a variety of tonal centers.

3. Image: Long Life and Good Fortune (壽山福海 Shoushan Fuhai)
The calligraphy above was by the Taiwanese artist 張李德和 Zhang Li Dehe (1893-1972; her husband was 嘉義醫士張錦燦 a doctor in Jiayi named Zhang Jincan). She grew up in Taiwan under Japanese rule and died while visiting her eldest son in Japan. There is an account of her in Chapter 6 of Yuko Kikuchi, ed., Refracted Modernity: Visual Culture and Identity in Colonial Taiwan (DeGruyter). Her calligraphy here was copied from, where the description dates it to 1943 and says it is in the Jiayi Museum:


Regarding the words of the calligraphy, "Long Life and Good Fortune", it is in line 7 of Hu Haoran's poem and literally means "life long as mountains and fortune deep as the seas". 5798.4 壽山福海 identifies it as the title of a poem by 劉基 Liu Ji (Wiki: 劉伯溫; 1311-1375). The complete poem is,



I have not yet located a translation.

4. Melodies for the New Year
There is some discussion here about programs for the New Year.

5. 除夜 Chu Ye (New Year's Eve; also "除夕" Chu Xi
42606.2 除夕 ("舊俗以陰曆十二月未日之夜未除夕") and 46202.20 除夜 ("卽除夕也") identify both as popular old terms for Lunar New Year's Eve. First references for each are:


6. References to spring and the new year
For example, the "Three Yangs" (三陽 San Yang; 10.153), from 三陽初轉 in the first line, refer specifically to the first three months of the new year (compare the phrase 三陽開泰 the great brightness of spring brings great contentment).

7. 胡浩然 Hu Haoran; Bio/xxx; Song dynasty poet apparently known only for a couple of Spring Festival poems) called New Year's Eve (除夕 Chu Ye). Currently some other of his ci poems can be read here.

8. 曹松 Cao Song; Bio/xxx; a Song dynasty poet apparently known only for a couple of Spring Festival shi poems) called New Year's Eve (除夕 Chu Ye). See next footnote.

9. 除夜 Chu Ye, a 詩 poem by 曹松 Cao Song
This Tang dynasty poem also apparently entitled 除夜 Chu Ye (New Year's Eve) but otherwise not actually mentioning, was in the form (5+5) x 4. The poet, Cao Song (828 - 903), was quite well-known: over 100 of his poems survive. The one called Chu Ye is as follows:


Canla (the last day of the year) is about to end,
        the spring wind can be heard arriving (from the east).
There's little time left for tonight,
        but the coming and going years are still arguing for equal share.
Daybreak and darkness still fight to the last.
        The way to spring is filled with fragrant air.
In the early morning I will hold high my glass,
        and respectfully give my first toast to Lord Yao!

Thanks to 劉成漢 Lau Shing Hon for this translation. Two other poems by Cao Song are translated here. Could the lyrics be sung to another melody structured (5+5)x4, such as Bie Gu Cao?

As for toasting Emperor Yao, during the 15th day of the New Year it was common to toast 天官大帝 Tianguan Dadi (the Heaven-controlling Great Emperor, a common appellation for 帝堯 Emperor Yao) as this was said to be his birthday. It has also been said of Yao that his nine sons all became drunkards and so he said wine itself was a good thing, but it could hurt many people.

Compare 除夜 Chu Ye by 文天祥 Wen Tianxiang (1236-1282)
This more famous poem, said to have been written while in prison, has a different tone.


There are empty spaces between heaven and earth, and time is just passing me by.
Nearing the road's end there is alarming wind and rain, the remote frontier fills with ice an snow.
Life ends as does the year, and my life and experience will be forgotten.
No more Tusu wine dreams at New Year; lights are turned off before the evening has ended.

Translation very tentative.

11. 殘臘 Canla: the last day of the year in the lunar calendar
16860 no 殘臘; also not at 臘 30682. The original meaning of 臘 la is "dried meat". Because of the 臘 la sacrifice, "臘月 la yue" became a name for the last month of the year. "臘 La" is often also used for "蠟 la" meaning "wax". For example, 臘梅 and 蠟梅 are both used to refer to the plant wintersweet (image).

12. 花朝 Hua Chao by 高濂 Gao Lian (fl. 1573-1581)
"Hua Chao" ("Birthday of Flowers"?) is the subtitle for another poem in this form, by the famous playwright, poet and essayist Gao Lian. The birthday of flowers is said to occur on the 12th day of the second lunar month.

Gāo yǔ rú sū, nuǎn fēng yù zuì, jǐn zhàn qún fāng.

Jiāo yuán qī jìng, huā qì àn fú xiāng.

Chù chù hóng xīn bái nèn, wǔ sī sī, liǔ qiàn wēi huáng.

Dòu chūn fēng, zhī tóu hú dié, shā shàng yuān yāng.

Jǐng wù mèi sháo guāng.
          Xǐ liáng chén, shān róng shuǐ yàn chūn yáng.

Huǎn xún fāng cǎo, yuē yǒu zài hú shāng.

Fú zuì bàng huā suí liǔ, gèng háo yín, fēng yuè cháng yáng.

Yuàn dōng jūn, hái lián wǒ bèi, shōu shí xiū máng.

Also not yet translated, but it seems related more to later in spring than to the time of New Year.

13. Music and lyrics
As of this writing I have not tried singing other ci poems in this form to the present melody.

On YouTube, however, there is a performance of this melody, at present linked here. It says it was played and sung by 秋月 Qiu Yue on 31 December 2021 based on the version in the Corrected Toko Kinpu as well as another tablature it refers to as the "桂川本 Katsuragawa Volume" (this seems to refer to the source of the present volume, i.e., the one called 和文注音琴譜 Hewen Zhuyin Qinpu in QQJC).

For Dongfeng Qi Zhuo Li these two sources (referred to here as TKKP and HWZYQP) are basically identical. Here are some further details:

Musically and structurally it does not make much sense for the second half of the poem to begin with a double slide left over from first half. However, there does not seem to be any available outside analysis trying to determine if this is a mistake and if so what sort of mistake

My own interpretation has the first half of the piece end on 1 (do or C; this is the end of line 4 in my transcription). This differs from the tablature as printed, which has line 5 (此景轉...) begin with a slide - almost certainly a mistake. Further in this regard, the lack of clarity with the interlineal explanations written next to the song words "煙斜" in HWZYQP is particularly unfortunate. Later in the piece there are the phrases "林鐘同音" and "太簇同音", seemingly an attempt to specify the relative pitches to be played. Next to 煙斜, however, 林鐘 and 太簇 appear together with 和音, 和合 and some other marks that are completely illegible. Perhaps if they were legible they could help solve the problem of the seemingly unpaired slides. As it is my tentative solution is to pair the 勾剔歷 with 花叢裏 (TTTP omitted the 勾 and in in HWZYQP it is clearly intended as a correction rather than an extra note), then interpret the two figures next to 滿 as two separate instructions instead of one being a correction of the other (i.e., first pluck sixth string 9th position paired with 爇, then pluck open sixth string paired with 龍. TKKP omitted plucking the open sixth; playing both assumes the editor was confused). Adding these two omitted strokes then pushes forward the next lyrics and thus allows the 潑剌 to be paired with the 此景 at the beginning of the next phrase. (A problem with this is the pairing of 幸有 with 勾剔歷 as shown in my transcription m.14 and m.31).

There are several other places where the tablature here is problematic. The transcription hopefully make clear my understanding of how to solve these problems. (In my transcription, circled figures are my interpretation of the problematic figures, which are usually in squares below, connected by lines.).

14. Last line
Elsewhere, for example in 《檮杌閑評,第二十一回》 (ctext, #36), the last line is changed to "試看取,千悶爆竹,歲火交加。"

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