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Zhuang Zhenfeng
- Qin Shi Xu #174 2
莊臻鳳 1
琴史續 #174

Zhuang Zhenfeng (ca. 1624 - after 1667), style name Die'an, was from Sanshan (modern Yangzhou). While still young he followed his father to Nanjing. Here apparently while in ill health the young man began his qin studies with a doctor from Changshou named Baiyun (White Cloud), who had specifically been brought to Nanjing to take care of him. Later Zhuang had another teacher from Changshou, this time the prominent master Xu Hong, one of the founders of the Yushan school.

It is not clear exactly when or how often Zhuang went to Hangzhou or whether he ever actually lived there, but it is said that he was particularly fond of West Lake and that in general he liked to go out into natural environments. Eventually he became a well-known qin master in Nanjing,4

Zhuang presumably played many standard Yushan school melodies, but he also became known as a creator of new melodies. The qin handbook associated with him, Qinxue Xinsheng (1664),5 consists of melodies he apparently created himself (except for its Shitan Zhang, a Buddhist chant). Of note here is that, although Yushan melodies rarely included lyrics, eight of the 14 melodies in his own handbook, have lyrics. Two people closely associated with Zhuang were also well-known for qin songs: his student Jiang Xingchou, who later went to Japan and became the monk Shin-Etsu,6 and the Min school player Cheng Xiong, whose Songfengge Qinpu emphasized qin songs. Details of the relationship between Zhuang and Cheng should be explored further, particular with regard to their settings for qin of ci songs.

Zhuang is also said to have been a skilled qin maker,7 but he is perhaps best known through his qin handbook Qinxue Xinsheng. Presumably Jiang Xingchou took a copy of it with him when he went to Japan, but it is not clear which of its melodies he may have played or taught.

Qinxue Xinsheng has two folios, with 14 melodies in all. All but the third melody, the Buddhist chant Shitan Zhang, seem to have been his own compositions.8 The source of the (other) melodies he played and presumably taught is not known (further details of the handbook).

Melodies attributed to Zhuang that are also collected in other handbooks included:

Although eight of the 14 melodies in Zhuang's handbook have lyrics, only one of the four melodies attributed to him does: Li Yun Chun Si.

Qin Xue Xinsheng includes an essay called 16 Qin Sound Methods of Diean (i.e., Zhuang Zhenfeng). Is this the original version of the Sixteen Rules for Qin Tones generally attributed to Leng Qian (ca. 1310 - ca. 1371)?

Zhuang Zhenfeng's entry in Qin Shi Xu (see original text 11)
Not yet translated; it gives as its source 思古堂集 Si Gu Tang Ji.

After saying Zhuang was from Yangzhou, it says he was a good qin player particularly friendly with and praised by Han Jiang, adding that he was good at selecting the right wood for making qins. The rest of the entry, beginning from "毛稚黃先舒為之序云" seems to be a quote from a preface by Mao Zhihuang, i.e., Mao Xianshu.

Regarding Mao's preface, I have not yet found it in the QQJC copy of Qinxue Xinsheng so this perhaps refers to a preface in the Si Gu Tang Ji, a book attributed to Mao himself. It seems to connect Zhuang and Han with Hangzhou, where Zhuang particularly enjoyed the scenery of West Lake.


Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Zhuang Zhenfeng references
莊臻鳳 Bio/611 and Zha Fuxi's preface (XII/p.I) say 字蝶菴 style name Die'an, from 三山(金陵) Sanshan (Nanjing), but 琴史續 Qinshi Xu #174 says he was "揚州人 a man of Yangzhou". Xu Jian (p.153), who gives his dates as ca. 1624 - after 1667, also says he was from Yangzhou, but that when he was young he followed his father to Nanjing. (Note that his near contemporary Zhang Dai also had the nickname Die'an.)

26 lines (Return)

4. Although one might assume his teaching took place in Nanjing, I have not seen direct mention of this. He also often visited Hangzhou.

5. 琴學心聲諧譜 Qin Xue Xinsheng Xiepu (1664; XII/1-164; Table of Contents)
By Zhuang Zhenfeng (莊臻鳳 Bio/611) of Nanjing (金陵), teacher of Shin-Etsu
Its 2 folios have 14 melodies; 8 have lyrics. All but the Buddhist chant Shitan Zhang have their earliest publication here. This, however, does not necessarily mean they were Zhuang's own compositions: only four of the pieces are directly attributed to him, including the popular Wuye Wu Qiufeng.

6. Jiang Xingchou
He could have studied with Zhuang in either Nanjing or Hangzhou.

7. The Qinshi Xu biography says he was good at selecting wood for qins; this suggests he also either made them or supervised their making.

8. New compositions by Zhuang Zhenfeng
The new melodies in Qinxue Xinsheng are generally marked "三山莊臻鳳蝶菴子製 Sanshan's Zhuang Zhenfeng, (style name) Die'an, made this himself."

9. An Immortal Crane in the Clouds (雲中笙鶴 Yunzhong Sheng He) (XII/78)
This composition by Zhuang Zhenfeng, in Huangzhong mode (lowered first string, raised fifth; 1 3 5 6 1 2 3), survives only from here and >1802. However, a comment attached to the melody Hujia Shibapai as published in 1820 stated that it was one of four melodies using this tuning that was still extant (played?), the others being Yunzhong Shenghe, Da Ya and Qiu Yue Zhao Maoting.

笙鶴 26531.22 says 仙鶴名 the name of an immortal crane.

10. Pear-White Clouds, Spring Thoughts (梨雲春思 Li Yun Chun Si) (XII/78)
See separate entry

11. Zhuang Zhenfeng in Qin Shi Xu
The entry begins (see complete .pdf),

莊臻鳳,字蝶庵,揚州人。善鼓琴。為韓畕所稱。賞能自擇良材斲之所著《琴學心聲》毛稚黃先舒為之序云: 琴者古人之心聲也。古樂壞矣....


Not yet translated. 26 lines. Its stated source/reference, 思古堂集 Si Gu Tang Ji, by Mao Xianshu, has a modern reprint. Online references say it is in Volume 210 of 四庫全書存目叢書: 集部思古堂集: 4卷, 首1卷, 毛先舒.

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