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"Qin Songs"   Cipai and Qin Melodies   書畫 painting and calligraphy   some poets 中文   目錄
Qin Poetry and Qin Songs 1 琴詩與琴歌
The Old Toper's Chant : enlarge 2    
As with painting and calligraphy, because qin music was generally created by the same class of people who created classical poetry, often their themes overlap. Such titles as Chu Ci and Hu Jia are important to all three: qin, painting/calligraphy and poetry/song.

"Qin Poetry" is divided here into two categories:

  1. Lyrics that mention qin, qin play or qin players.
    Qin is the musical instrument most often mentioned in classical poetry, including in such famous collections as the
    Book of Songs and the 300 Tang poems.3 On this site such poetry can most commonly be found here:

  2. Lyrics intended to be sung with qin, though there may not be surviving tablature
    This includes not only lyrics clearly intended to be sung but also lyrics attached to what otherwise seem to be instrumental melodies

"Qin Songs" can also be divided into two categories (compare "My qin song repertoire", below):

  1. Melodies clearly intended to be sung4 (e.g., see "short songs" under my repertoire)
    This includes:
            - Melodies for particular lyrics (or a text)
            - Melodies that can be applied to differing lyrics, e.g. ci lyrics or lyrics in lines of fixed length
  2. Primarily instrumental melodies with lyrics/text attached (further comment)
    Here it is often not clear whether the pieces are intended actually to be sung. Examples include:
            - a setting of Wang Xizhi's Lanting Preface).
            - pieces originally published as instrumental melodies, such as those as in 1491

As suggested above, even though many of the texts set to qin melodies are not in a poetic form, qin songs do overlap quite a lot with qin poetry. It is for this reason that qin songs and qin poetry are grouped together here into one section. Nevertheless, there is enough difference that perhaps they should have had separate sections. So now, as a sort of compromise, information more specifically related to qin melodies with lyrics, including qin songs, has been grouped into an appendix. This appendix then has links to further information on the matters outlined, here, beginning with the separate page called qin songs.
 

Appendix: Outline of information regarding qin songs

Sections on this site dealing specifically with "qin songs" include:

 
Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Qin Poetry and Qin Songs
What is written here about qin songs in particular must be considered very tentative. See, in particular, further comment under Qin Songs.
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2. Illustration
See further.
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3. Classic collections
References in the Book of Songs are included on a page devoted to mention of qin in ancient records. Other collections such as the Chu Ci do not mention qin directly, but their poems have become the subject of several qin melodies. 300 Tang Poems is also worthy of mention:

300 Tang Poems (唐詩三百首; Wiki)
This might also be written 300 Poems of the Tang Dynasty or Three Hundred Poems of the Tang Dynasty. Poems in this collection that mention qin include the following:

Others do not mention qin but their lyrics have been used as lyrics for qin songs. Qin songs using such lyrics include:

In addition the melody Autumn River Night Anchorage says it was inspired in part by Zhang Ji's poem Maple Bridge Night Anchor.
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4. "Melodies clearly intended to be sung": those fitting Chinese poetic forms
Leaving aside the old attitude that "if you play then you must sing", "melodies clearly intended to be sung" can be further divided into those with lyrics from verses with lines of variable length (not to mention unregulated verse) and those from verses with lines of fixed length (such as "regulated verse"). However, it is beyond the scope of this website to go into great detail about this topic, though it may be important to a fuller understanding of specific old qin melodies.

This is all related to the fact that qin tablature describes finger positions and playing techniques but does not directly indicate note values (rhythms). Thus, reconstructing old qin melodies (dapu) begins with looking for structures within the musical phrases. If the melodies have lyrics the structures of those lyrics can give clues. Here the Wikipedia article Classical Chinese poetry forms shows something of the complexity of the whole issue of these structures (see, for example, the sections under old, new, regulated, unregulated]).

However, with qin melodies the musical analysis begins with the simple question of whether there are:

Then when reconstructing these old qin melodies trying to decide when poems with fixed or variable line length should similarly have melodic phrases that also have fixed or variable time length/rhythm.
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