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Rao Zongyi: An Historical Account of the Qin
  from the close of the Song to the Jin and Yuan Dynasties 1

9. Zhe-tablature and the evolution of Xumen qin studies 2 九,浙譜與徐門琴學之流衍  

(Translation still being edited.)

The term Zhepu (Zhe Tablature) originated in the Yuan dynasty. Yuan Jue wrote:

"In recent years throughout the north and south the [style of] qin studied around Wu (Suzhou and environs) is called Zhepu; this is the fault of Chief Minister of Imperial Granaries (Sinong) Yang Zuan, who lied about its real source." {Shi Luo Daoshi [part of Qingrong Jushi Ji]}

Thus the tablature passed down by Shouzhai (Yang Zuan) and his house guests (menke) is Zhepu.

Xu Shen

There is speculation about Zhe melody qin tablature saying it began with Xu Shen. Qianqingtang Shumu 2 lists Xu Shen's Meixuewo Shanrun Pu, with the note:

"Of Ningbo. During the Yongle era (1403-25) he had an official position as xundao (teacher in a local Confucian academy). The tablature of Zhe melodies thus originated."

Zhejiang Tong Zhi (196, first part of Fang Ji} refers to Cheng Hua's Siming Jun Zhi:

(Xu) Shen's style-name was Hezhong and his ancestors were from Qiantang. His great-grandfather (i.e., Xu Tianmin) was named Yu, nickname Xueting; his father was named Mengji, nickname Xiaoshan; both were scholars skilled in qin. Later his father served in officialdom away from home in Siming, so he moved there. Shen was by nature prudent and sincere, and stayed at home, devoted to studies; he taught Chun Qiu Jing around his hometown. Those who graduated from his teaching were often cautious like their teacher. His writings were neither vulgar nor superficial, and he was famous in his time for qin. During the Hongwu era, Emperor Taizong from his pre-imperial residence summoned him and rewarded him with a generous sum. When he came back he succeeded at the imperial examination for his knowledge of Ming Jing [so he became jinshi] and became xundao (guiding official?) of his town school. Shen's family was known for qin and Shen was especially skilled; he mastered it and had a natural proclivity.... [This part is somewha confusing. It's somebody from his same town who based on familial/marriage ties studies under him] And there are many students from far and near. His descendants all inherited the family legacy and to this day the Zhe style is called the "Xu school".

Shen was the descendant of his great grandfather Yu and his father Mengji, and was famous for his qin. Yu was the Xu Xuejiang (i.e., Xu Tianmin) who exchanged performances with Yang Shouzhai.

Xu Yu (see under Xu Shen)

Jiao Hong's Guo Shi Jing Ji Zhi list Xumen Qinpu, 10 Folios, written by Xu Yu of the Song dynasty. Note that Xu Yu should be Xu Yu [difference: 于 vs. 宇]. Zhe Zhi claims that his style name was Xueting, which may be Xuejiang, who was familiar with Shouzhai. The characters "ting" and "jiang" are similar in form and easily mistaken. Ci Yuan says: "The late Yang Shouzhai was divine at qin and deeply knowledgeable about music theory.... Those who traveled with him were Zhou Caochuang and Si Meichuan (named Yue; Qiantang Xian Zhi of the Wanli era records the inscription on Si Meichuan's tombstone: "Yue of Wu. Skilled in music theory".) Every time Xu Xuejiang, Xi Qiuya {name Yu? Fu? [淢 yu over 火 huo]), and Li Shangyin (name Penglao) gathered, they always composed melodies after designating titles. Shouzhai, however, was extremely strict in his meter [律], and composed with care for every character; hence he wrote Five Principles for Writing (ci) Lyrics (Zuo Ci Wu Yao). Wang Yuanliang and Xu Xuejiang especially had many works from musical exchange. {See Hushan Lei Gao; folio 2 has He Xu Xuejiang, which [is related to] this affair. Folio 4 has the three (?): Zhejiang Ting He Xu Xuejiang and Da Xu Xuejiang.} Shen Qi Mi Pu says: "Zepan Yin, composed by Xuejiang. Wuzhizhai Qinpu says: "Xuejiang composed Zepan Yin and Guanghan Qiu."

Xu Mengji (see under Xu Shen)

Zhejiang Tong Zhi (178), referring to Yu Qian Zhi: "Xu Mengji enjoyed studies and excellent at literature. He became a maocai early in life [note: maocai = 秀才/xiucai, scholar]. He studied under the shanzhang of Yishuyuan [shanzhang: respectful title for a hermit teacher who lives in seclusion in the mountains] and perused meticulously Confucian studies [?]. He inherited a family legacy for poetry and published Qinyu Zayan. In later years he had the nickname Xiaoshan Zhongren." Qianqingtang Shumu 29 has Mengji's Qinyu Zayan. Yuan Poetry Written Chronicles (Yuan Shi Jishi (24) [says that] Mengji, style name Defu, was from Yuqian, Hangzhou. He wrote Xihu Zhu Zhi Ci with Yang Tieya.

Xu Qiushan (see under Xu Shen) was another person of that time:

Wuxi Ji 2: "During the Zhiyuan era, (Mao Min)zhong accompanied Ye Lanpo and Xu Qiushan of Wulin [Hangzhou] on a trip to the capital. The three were all skilled in qin and received the appreciation of the Zaizhi [=宰相, prime minister?]."

Suzhou Fu Zhi: "Yin Wen of the Song dynasty had the style name Wenbi and was from Taichang. He studied qin from Mr. Xu Qiushan and learned from him elegance and propriety. During the Dade era (of the reign of Emperor Chengzong of the Yuan dynasty), the Princess of Lu country [in Shandong? She was apparently the daughter of Emperor Renzong of Song] summoned him to play Hujia Shiba Pai." Xu Qiushan and Xu Xiaoshan may have been brothers [or of the same generation: not sure how to translate 行].

This is what has been investigated of the affairs of the Xu school. During the Jiajing era of the Ming dynasty, Huang Xian nicknamed Wugang compiled Qinpu Zhengchuan (should be Wugang Qinpu?); Wugang studied qin from the eunuch Dai Yi of Zhulou (or was Zhulou his  nickname?]; Dai had studied from an outstanding student of the Xu school, Zhang Zhu of Gusu. This handbook had old tablature that had undergone editing by such people as Meixuewo {Xu Shen}, Piaoweng {Xu Tianmin}, Qiushan Xiaoshan {Xu Mengjie} and others, which suffices to demonstrate that Wugang's tablature came from the qin tablature of the Xu family. {If one holds that Qiu Hong was from Guo Chuwang's tablature, it differs from others thought to have come from the Emaciated Immortal), and is also passed down from the Xu school.

(Chart showing the Xu tradition lineage)

(compare chart by Chen Chengbo)

The (qin handbooks) of Xumen qin studies are here listed again:

Xu Yu (Yu), Xu Men Qinpu, 10 folios
Xu Shen, Meixuewo Shanrun Qinpu
Huang Xian, Wugang Qinpu (and) Zhengchuan (Qinpu)

Note that Jiangyunlou Shumu lists Xushi Qinpu, one volume; Zhejiang Tong Zhi has Taiyin Zhengpu, 10 folios, which, citing Qiantang Xian Zhi, says: "written by Xu Boling", and is also a book from the Xu school. {Qiantang Zhi Ji Xian of the Wanli era: "Xu Boling, style-name Yanzhi, nickname Tuoguan Daoren. Had a clear knowledge of music theory and was especially skilled in yuefu [style music?]. Wrote Yin Jing Juan, 20 folios [may also be Yin Jing Jun]." The time period was between the Zhengde and Hongwu eras.}

Huang Yuji claims that tablature of Zhe style originated from Xu Shen; based on research evidence, its actual source was Xu Yu. (Did this quote also come from Qiantang Zhi Ji Xian?)

(One should also consider the possibility that the Zhe tradition originated with the family of Zhu Changwen [1041 - 1100].) Only Jiangyunlou Shumu lists a (handbook by) Zhu Boyuan, Zhe Cao Qinpu, 1 volume. (However), Mianshui Yan Tan Lu mentions a Zhu Changwen Qin Handbook. Boyuan was a style name of Zhu Changwen; Changwen was from Suzhou. {Changwen studied under Sun Mingfu of Taishan in the second year of the Zhihe era. Later he wrote Chunqiu Tongzhi.} His Qin History (Qin Shi), according to his own preface, was dated the first month of the seventh year of the Yuanfeng era. Also abbreviating the affairs written down by his descendants, he was called Changwen and his ancestors were from the Yan town in Yuezhou. He wrote Qin Tai Zhi. Changwen's Qin History, Folio 5, has a biography of his ancestor Yi, a shangshu [official position]:

(Zhu) Yi, style name Yannian, was from Yan xian [county] of Yuezhou. From a young age he had elegant interests and was deeply involved in the way of the qin. He chose to live in Siming and had an older sister who was virtuous and gentle. He studied qin books laboriously and was later given the title Guanghui Dafu. In the first year of the Zhidao era, the emperor ordered an envoy Pei Yu to visit Ershua to see the books. He heard that Guanghui was talented and virtuous and ordered for her to go to the capital. After Guanghui entered the palace, the shangshu was summoned to speak with the emperor. He played the qin and the Emperor Taizong was greatly pleased.

Thus Changwen's ancestor Zhu Yi, the younger brother of Guang Hui, was famous for qin during the reign of the Emperor Taizong. The Zhe Cao Qinpu that he passed down may have come from Yi; if so, then the Zhe style did not come from Xu.

The Zhe style of the Xu school was especially popular during the middle period of the Ming dynasty; it was after Yan Cheng of Yushan that there began a so-called Yushan school. Hu Wenhuan, in Wenhuitang Qinpu, wrote: this tablature are all Zhe-style passed down personally. He also said: "Qin especially esteems Zhe style, as if the music has sea salt" (! Is this a colloquial way of describing value?) Thus qin players all rely on Zhe style melodies for esteem; and Zhe tablature really did come from the Xu school. Tracing its source, it is as close as Yang Zuan or as far as Zhu Yi. Those who discuss qin history cannot be ignorant of these things.

(Continue with 10. Supplementary account)

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)
Prof. Rao's original article had no footnotes, so the footnotes below are all added by the translator. The text above uses the brackets { } for Prof. Rao's original bracketed phrases, while the brackets ( ) and [ ] indicate comments added by the translator. In addition, some of the paragraphs in the original article have been sub-divided, with a particular effort being made to highlight Rao's various quotes from historical sources.

1. Song, Jin and Yuan Dynasties (see also article reference)
The period covered in Rao Zongyi's essay includes (with dates, capital city [modern name]):

北宋 Northern Song (960-1126; 東京 Dongjing [開封 Kaifeng])
遼朝 Liao (907-1125; various, including 大定府 Dading Fu - the Central Capital: 中亰 Zhongjing [寧城 Ningcheng?])
南宋 Southern Song (1127-1280; 臨安府 Linan Fu [杭州 Hangzhou])
金 Jin (1115-1260; 汴京 Bianjing [開封 Kaifeng] as well as 中都 Zhongdu [北京 Beijing])
元 Yuan (1206-1280-1368; 大都 Dadu [北京 Beijing])

2. Initial translation by 金秋雨 Jin Qiuyu.

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