中國民族音樂資料館 Chinese Music Archive

古琴樂曲介紹(4) - Guqin Programme Notes(4)




This piece was the original composition of LI Xiang-ting in mid 1970’s. His composition was described as forming a link between the past and the future. This piece developed a lot of new techniques for the qin and played in a lucid and lively mood like the boat sailing in the way of water rushed down and covered hundreds of miles of land.




This piece was the original composition of ZHU Liang-kai in 1984 and adapted to the qin by CHEN Xi-cheng. It is a modern original musical piece. The music depicts the beauty of one of the ten views of the West Lake in Hangzhou, “Nine creeks in misty forest”. It unfolds a poetic picture with clear water and green mountains in the place called Nine Creeks and Eighteen Gullies, and fires up imagination.




This is a piece firstly published in the Mysterious Scores of Qin (1425).The explanatory notes reads, “The composer of the piece was MAO Min-zhong of the Southern Song Dynasty.” The music symbolizes an ancient Taoist riding on the wind by combining a verity of glissandos, vibrates and high-ranged harmonics in a melody which belongs to a qin mode of Jiao. The spiritual carefree with vivid images is the characteristic of the piece.




This is a piece firstly published in the Boya Xinfa (YANG Lun) (1609). This version was personally passed down by SUN Shao-tao of the Guang Ling School. The content of it was about the story of Mozi grieving for silk. When Mozi saw the white silk were dyed, he thought about that people in the society were just like the white silk, had to be stained and couldn’t remain pure. The chanting style and the rhythmic characteristics contained in the music were unique in expressing the feelings of Mozi, who was signing the above mentioned woeful situation. To perform it perfectly, the author of the Qin Scores of Wu Zhi Zhai had made diligent efforts. According to his self-account, “I began to practice this piece during my childhood but couldn’t fully express its inner meaning through all these years. It was until recent days when I exerted every effort to figure out its secrets that I felt somehow I could perfectly perform it”, we could clearly see that this is a piece manifesting performers’ accomplishments and skills. Actually this is also the case with the listeners.




This is a piece firstly published in the Mysterious Scores of Qin (1425).The explanatory notes reads, “The predisposition of this piece can be compared to a white moon on a pleasantly cool evening. The clouds are light and few stars can be seen because the moon is so bright, the cornelian jade tinkles in the wind, and there is a lot of jade-like dew. Floating like a spirit wanders in the heavens (the Great Net), the immortal wanders in the darkened universe (the Somber Palace). Some jade clinks and other jade tinkles. Nobody can be seen, one just hears the sounds of jingling jade and that’s all, causing those who hear it to be able to bring up thoughts of immortals, and ideas of becoming an immortal (changing ones bones). If one is not among spirits and immortals, how can one have knowledge of this?”




This is a piece firstly published in the Xilutang Qintong (1549). According to the explanation notes of this collection, “One night, when JI Kang played the qin in an inn, he saw some phantoms. Who said to Ji that there was an actor died outside the inn. Next day, Ji sent someone to find the skeleton and buried it well. He then composed this piece in memory.”




This is a piece firstly published in the Faming Qinpu (1530). According to Taigu Yiyin (1609), the compiler YANG Lun’s comment, this is a piece composited by LIU Bo-wen. Liu felt that peace has reigned over the land with tranquil at that time. Then he went out for a travel. One night he composed this piece to express his will at an inn.



This is a piece firstly published in the Zheyinshizi Qinpu (1491). The explanatory notes reads that, this piece cannot be verified of the composer. The music itself depicts a sigh and self lamentation of QU Yuan who was maliciously slandered and unjustly banished from the kingdom. When he came to the pier, he asked the boatman where he could go?




This is a piece firstly published in the Ancient Authentic Qin Music (1634). According to the explanation notes of the Shayan Qinbian, “The original name of the piece was Ascending to heaven and becoming an Immortal. In the old days, Lu Xian found himself likely to soar at the Lake Dongtong after drunke.” The music is a precious ancient piece with lively melody and sincere emotions.




This is a piece firstly published in the Ancient Authentic Qin Music (1634). Qin players simply called this piece the Calm Sands. To date, the identity of the composer is uncertain, though the following candidates were nominated: CHEN Zi-ang of the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 700 to 900), MAO Min-zhong of the Song Dynasty (A.D. 1000 to 1200) and ZHU Quan of the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1400 to 1600). After the score was first published in 1634, it was loved by qin players from different schools. Various versions of the piece were developed. It became one of the pieces of qin music with the largest numbers of published scores. The music depicts the desolate landscape and the flying wild geese of autumn. In the clear weather of autumn, the wild geese fly in the endless sky. The scenery reflects the thoughts of a recluse.




According to the first edition of the Handed-down and Explanation Notes of the Existing Ancient Scores, we found that the piece had three different names, but they were mutually had relationship. The Water Immortal is always referred to Bo Ya’s study of qin from Cheng Lian. The Song of the Autumn Frontier is referred to the sad story of Lady Zhao Jun. While QU Yuan Sends Regards to the Sky is referred to the story of QU Yuan.




This piece was one of the original compositions of XU Li-sun in 1930’s. When he found shelter against anarchy in 1938 at a village, one night he look through the window and saw the moon was high over the phoenix tree. With such scenery, he composed this piece to express his feeling.




The Baishi Daoren Gequ by JIANG Kui was published by QIAN Xi-wu in Southern Song Dynasty (1202). Impression of Apricot Blossoms (Xinghua Tianying) is one of the songs wrote in common characters of Song Dynasty which describes the voyage of the composer in the way to Nanjing.
In 1957, YANG Yin-liu and YIN Fa-lu transcribed the common characters into modern scores. In 2010, TSE Chun-yan transcribed it to the qin and vocal accordingly.




This is a piece firstly published in the Mysterious Scores of Qin (1425). The piece was divided into 10 sections, among which 5 had the same ending, which represented that plum blossom had 5 petals; the theme melody appeared in three different ranges respectively, which formed the three variations, and hence get the name Three Variations of Plum Blossom. The name and the inner content originally had no connections, but the later generations gave strained interpretations to the piece according to its name, and concluded that it was the Tune of Plum Blossom of the dizi piece by Huan Yi of Jin Dynasty. The piece described the noble and serene quality of plum blossom and as the tune turned to be quick and hurried it also showed the blossom’s courage to sway into the wind regardless of the coldness.
Nowadays, we have two different versions of the piece. One is smooth and regular called New Plum Blossom which is referred to Qinpu Xiesheng or Qin Scores of Chun Cao Tang. The other one is free and easy called Old Plum Blossom which is referred to Qin scores of Jiaoan.




This is a piece firstly published in the Taigu Yiyin (XIE Lin) (1511). The explanatory notes reads that, from the famous essay with a similar title by the poet TAO Yuan-ming, this piece expresses the mixed feelings of an officer returning to homeland after dissociating himself from a corrupted bureaucracy.




At 1970’s, the Cultural .Department of China organized a series of instrumental music to imitate operatic songs of Beijing Opera. GONG Yi successfully adapted the Changing of the Beheaded Song from YU Shu-yan’s song to the qin and had Yu’s accompaniments for the new version.




This is a piece firstly published in the Xilutang Qintong (1549). Mr. CHA Fu-xi transcribed the piece based on four different ancient scores, the Qin Scores of Song Xian Guan, the Erxiang Qinpu, the Comprehensive Qin Record and the Xilutang Qintong. The music is transcribed in a tranquil and delicate way, giving rise to the feeling of secluded bitterness.




This is a piece firstly published in the Boya Xinfa (YANG Lun) (1609). Its explanation notes stated that the music should be played to depict the dragon soaring in the sky and the sound should like the crying of the dragon.
Another version said that the composer of the piece was ZHUGE Liang and another title was Cangjiang Yeyu. Notes of the left hand fingering should played to depict raining at the sea.




This is a piece firstly published in the Xingzhuang Taiyin Xupu (1560). This music had been appreciated by the qin players since the Ming Dynasty. The graceful melody vividly depicts the towering mountains, vast waters, tinkling sound of woodcutting and the creak of oars. As for the dialogue, it reminds people of nature. Apart from praising nature through the dialogue of the fisherman and woodcutter, the music also signifies implicitly the immaterialistic sentiment of hermits and their concern for the fate of the country.




This is a piece firstly published in the Mysterious Scores of Qin (1425).The explanatory notes reads, “This piece was composed by GUO Mian of the Southern Song Dynasty. GUO was relocated to Heng Shan in Hunan province when his hometown was attacked by Yuan army. He was boating at the junction of Xiao and Xiang Rivers, looking into a distance the Jiu Yi mountain which was enveloped by the cloud. The scene inspired his grievance against the corrupted Southern Song Government and deep regret to his own life experience.




This is a piece firstly published in the Qin Scores of Shuangqin Shuwu (1884). The music depicts the sound of the crying ape and the waterfalls.




This is a piece published in the Qin Scores of Meian (1931). Which was edited by XU Li-sun, according to MAO Shi-xun’s Qin Scores of Long Yin Guan preserved by WANG Bin-lu.
The piece was originally named Chun Gui Yun and renamed in Qin Scores of Meian as the present title. The tune is relaxed and flowing. It sounds like waking up in spring and still feeling sleepy.




This is a piece firstly published in the Xilutang Qintong (1549). According to the comments of Qinpu Xiwei, the piece was composed by CAO Zi-jian. After playing the piece, it seems a wind coming from the evergreen tree.
The concise and mild music depicts a moonlit night with breeze and also the easy mood of people in such a peaceful night.




This is a piece firstly published in the Xilutang Qintong (1549). According to the explanation notes of this collection, “The composer was Boya.” But in Qinyuan Xinchuan, “It was composed by LIU Juan-zi of the Warring States Period.”
The music depicts the moon hangs among the pine, the stream runs on the stones. It is a graceful landscape painting. The tune is plain and variable to imitate the flowing spring and thus brings to the audience to the real situation.




This is a piece firstly published in the Qinxue Renduan (1828). According to the explanation notes, “This piece was composed by ZHU Xi.” But according to the Qin Scores of Wu Xue Shan Fang, “This is one of the qin piece handed down from the Song Dynasty and flourished in Guangdong. Originated probably from the Gugang Yipu.”




This is a piece firstly published in the Mysterious Scores of Qin (1425).The explanatory notes reads, “The composer of the piece was MAO Min-zhong of the Southern Song Dynasty. The work made in accordance with a legend, that is, after King Yu received the abdication from King Shen, he gathered the Lords all of the country at Mt. Tu to prove his power of unification.”
The music is in a qin mode of the Zhi and it was associated to a sadness of the chaos of dynastic change.




This is a piece firstly published in the Qinxue Lianyao of Zhi Xin Zhai (1739). According to the book’s explanation notes, “The name of the piece was Duyi. It depicts the reading sound of the author’s friend when studying the Book of Changes. The rising and falling rhythms gave the composer idea for a qin piece.




This is a piece firstly published in the Xilutang Qintong (1549). According to the explanation notes of this collection, “LIU Shi-long, a distinguished personage of Qi, was fond of qin and always like to wander under the moonlit night.”
The music is delicate and elegant. It is played with the 3rd and the 4th strings tuned in the same pitch.




This is a piece firstly published in the Qin Scores of Song Xian Guan (1614). According to the Qin Scores of Meian (1931), this piece is about mooring a boat in a quiet night of late autumn. The first three sections, with steady rhythm, depict sailing the boat in the middle of the river. The final section close the piece with a rocking and varying rhythm.




This is a piece firstly published in the Qinxue Mipu of Yiliu Zhengwu Zhizhai (1864). According to the comment of the Qin Scores of Shi Meng Zhai, this piece was passed down by SUN Jin-zhai. The music depicts the hermitic life of one who escaped from the social activities and live whoever like.




This is a piece firstly published in the Qin Scores of De Yin Tang (1691). According to the comments of Qinxue Chujin, this piece was composed by YIN Zhi-xian. The music itself is natural, easy and smooth. The sound of it is loud and clear and can get through the whole forest.




This was the original composition of XU Yuan-bai, at the year after the victory of the War against Invasion, on his way backto Hangzhou. The composer reflected upon the hard years during the war, and the same rain fell on Xihu Lake. Complicated feelings rushed and filled his bosom, the composer couldn’t but put his emotion into music. There are ten sections to the piece. The start of the music appears fishermen drawing their boats on the lake, singing their favorite songs while drinking wine. At the deep of the read marshes, the whole atmosphere is heavenly.




This is a piece firstly published in the Xilutang Qintong (1549). According to the explanation notes of this collection, “This piece was composed by two famous eccentric poets in the Tang Dynasty after they saw a drunken fisherman singing on the drifting boat. Another qin score collection held that this was in fact based on another poem about the fisherman’s disdain towards the world and his enjoyment of wine and solitude on the drifting boat in a moonlit night. However, nobody plays these two versions again. The contemporary version was passed down by the late Qing Dynasty qin player ZHANG Kong-shan, which is a different piece of music with the same title as that of the Ming Dynasty ones. However, the above explanation of the music is still valid.




This was the original composition of XIA Lian-ju in 1950’s. He had been the supervisor and officer in charge of the Museum of Seals and Paintings at Shandong. He was fond of collecting antiques. Some of his beloved items were a qin made in Tang Dynasty and an inkstone named Plum and Moon. In order to express his deep feelings, he composed this piece.




This is a piece firstly published in the Zheyinshizi Qinpu (1491). The explanatory notes reads that, this piece was composed by WANG Wei who was a poet of the Tang Dynasty. He wrote a poem titled “Seeing off Yuen Er at Anxi”. This poem was made into a song called “Song of Wei City”. The whole song can be divide into 3 parts, with a basic tune and its variations repeating 3 times. This song was also called “Song of Yangguan” since the following words appeared in the lyrics : “After you go through Yangguan towards the west, you will not find any friends”. This song was made into a song with qin accompaniment, then into a piece for solo qin. The emotion of the music is sincere, vigorous and depressed, expressing the singer’s care and thoughts for his friend who is going to part from him. It is a typical farewell song.




This piece was the original composition of TSE Chun-yan in 1986. Yifan is a mode commonly used in Guangdong music, with emphasis on si and fa (that is, the Yi and Fan in the Gongche notation respectively) and which can be grouped under the Zhi mode.
This composition modulates between two sets of Yifan modes a fourth apart, which ultimately merge together towards the end.



This is a piece firstly published in the Qin Scores of Wen Hui Tang (1596). According to the comments of the Definitions on Qin Fingerings, this is a short piece of primitive simplicity. It depicts the hermit is fond of the mountains and waters.




This is a piece firstly published in the Qinshu Qiangu (1738). According to the book’s explanation notes, “The original title of the piece was Weibian. We could find it only in the Qinshu Qiangu.” This piece describes Confucius’s hard study of the Book of Changes.




This is a piece firstly published in the Qinxue Rumen (1864). This is a piece of Min (Fujian) School, made by ZHU Tong-jun. It depicts the unstable gathering like the wind and clouds coming together to form a storm which aroused multi-layer of waves with surging momemtum.




The ancient story records that Bo Ya was good at playing qin and only Zi Qi could perceive the meaning and conjecture in his music. They became bosom friends due to the mutual appreciation. It was recorded that High Mountains and Flowing Water were separated into two individual pieces after Tang Dynasty. The Music was originally found in Mysterious Scores of Qin. Later in Qing Dynasty, FENG Tong-yun passed down them to ZHANG Kong-shan, they were published in the Qin Scores of Tian Wen Ge and became the famous pieces of Sichuan. HOU Zuo-wu based on this and played them together to form one piece again. The music depicts the high mountain and expressing the gentlemen’s interest in the mountain scenery and the fondness in flowing water.




This is a piece firstly published in the Xilutang Qintong (1549). The style of this piece is unique, with vivid mood and variable tune. There are total nine parts. The speed and tempo of each part are similar, except for the beginning and end. However, the colourful spirit realm was revealed by the tone variety and the adoption of multi scales. The piece was quite popular in Tang Dynasty. Tang qin player XUE Yi-jian included the piece in his score and stated it was composed by Emperor Yu. However, it possibly to be product of Wei or Jin Dynasty. Telling from its plain and candid music features.




This is a piece firstly published in the Qinpu Zhengchuan (1547). According to the explanatory notes of Taigu Yiyin (YANG Lun) (1609) reads that, “This piece was composed by SU Dong-po. When Su completed his poetic work at Mount Yun Long and with a wish to prolong a pleasant diversion, he composed this qin piece.”




This is a piece firstly published in the Mysterious Scores of Qin (1425).The rhythm of the tune is some times dance alike depicting the crane’s movement, while the timbre of fingering parallels the cry of the crane with the sound of the qin.




This is a piece firstly published with this name in the Xilutang Qintong (1549). It was publish with same content and named Forgetting Vulgar for short in Mysterious Scores of Qin and more than twenty other collections thereafter. According to the explanatory notes of Mysterious Scores of Qin, “The music was composed by LIU Zhi-fang”. The structure of the tune is different at each conclusion sentence of the three sections. Its mood is serene and far reaching as if the player is strolling alone in the wood. Such a clear bright night, the flowers are sending off its scent. The drum is sounding quietly. One’s mind is as ease. How can anybody possibly bear vulgar thoughts at such a moment?




This is a piece firstly published in the Mysterious Scores of Qin (1425).The explanatory notes reads, “The piece was an ancient tune. It depicted the sceneries of the frontiers in autumn which might affected one’s homesick.”




This is a piece firstly published in the Mysterious Scores of Qin (1425).The explanatory notes reads, “The composer of the piece was the same as the Autumn Moon over a Thatched Pavilion.” The music expresses the composer’s profound memory of his old friends. The deep feeling and intense woe are depicted in the rushing melodies. When the emotion is quieted down, only the endless longing lingered.




This is a piece firstly published in the Qin Scores of Song Feng Ge (1677). According to the Qin Scores of Chun Cao Tang’s comment, the music depicts the homesick feeling of one who travels along the mountain in springtime.




This composition originated from an ancient pipa solo Xiao and Drums at Dusk. The available earliest score could be dated back to 1895 from the album of WU Wan-qing of Wuxi. LI Fang-yuan further developed the piece in 1875 and changed the name into Xunyang Pipa. The composition was further modified by WANG Yu-ting who changed the title into The Moon over Xunyang. In 1925, developments were made to orchestral music by LIU Yao-zhang and ZHENG Jin-wen and was given the title Moonlight over the River in Spring. In 1958, CHEN Chang-lin adapted it to a qin solo piece. However, the contents and conception remain the same throughout all the changes in titles and arrangement. It is still a soothing and peaceful melody delicately depicts the waters and villages of Jiangnan that is like a charming Chinese painting.




This is a piece firstly published in the Qinxue Xinsheng (1664). This was one of ZHUANG Zhen-feng’s compositions. The music is melodic, especially the combination of its long and short phrases depicts vivid images of parasol leaves dancing at the autumn wind, reflecting the composer’s literary disposition and aesthetic approaches.




The compiler of the Mysterious Scores of Qin (1425) attributes the piece to CAI Yong (132-192). The music describes a feeling of playing the qin at a thatched pavilion and under the moonlight. The tranquility is the ideal state. The melody is slow and subtle, with the notes sometimes beyond its pentatonic quality.




This is a piece firstly published in the Mysterious Scores of Qin (1425).The explanatory notes reads, “According to the History of Qin, this piece was said to be written by CAI Yan. Yan alias Wen-ji, was the daughter of CAI Yong. At the end of the Han Dynasty, Yan was seized by the army of a foreign country and became the queen of that country. She gave birth to two boys in 12 years, and the foreign king liked her very much. In a moonlit night in spring, Yan was travelling in a carriage when she heard the sad sound of hujia (a wind instrument of the foreign country made from leaves). In melancholy, she wrote a poem. CAO Cao, a Chinese general and a friend of CAI Yong, felt pity for Yong because he had no descendants. Cao sent a messenger to the foreign country to bring back Yan by giving the foreign king a great piece of gold as a gift. The two sons of Yan were left in that country. People of that country missed Yan very much and played the hujia to express their sadness.”
DONG Ting-lan, a qin player of the Tang Dynasty, was good at playing this piece, depicting the sound of the hujia by the qin. Li Qi wrote the following words in a poem titled “Listening to Dong producing the sound of hujia”, “The daughter of Cai wrote the music with the sound of hujia and divided it into 18 parts.” In Mysterious Scores of Qin, the music consists of exactly 18 parts. Later, a song with qin accompaniment was composed with the title “Sound of Hujia with 18 Parts” which was inspired by the same story, but had nothing musically in common with this piece.




In the Royal Museum of Kyoto, Japan, there sits one hand-written tablature of Orchid in Seclusion, which is believed to be the oldest qin score. It is attributed to QIU Ming of the Southern Dynasty, although the composer did not put down his signature. A prefix “Jie Shi Diao” was found on the score, so it is sometimes referred to as Orchid in Seclusion, in Jie Shi Diao. In 1884 YANG Shou-jing brought the facsimile back to China and it was subsequently included into the Gu Yi Series. A lot of qin players have published their transcriptions of this piece. They highlight some inner qualities found in the music: the hidden resentment, the sadness, the brightness, the frankness, the elegance, the unworldliness and the passion. Which characterize someone who resembles an orchid in a deep valley. Who is very depressed because nobody recognizes his talent.




This is a piece firstly published in the Boya Xinfa (YANG Lun) (1609). It has another name called Guiyuan Cao. The music was originally composed in the classic operatic kunqu style of the Qing period, but was subsequently modified into the piece as we know it today.
The title of the piece alludes to the love story of Nong Yu and Xiao Shi of the Qin period. While the music itself depicts the feelings of the Southern Song poet LI Qing-zhao’s longing for her husband ZHAO Ming-cheng and tells of her grief at their being apart.




This piece was the original composition of ZHU Jian-er in 1998 and premiered on October 9, 1999 with CHEN Xie-yang conducting the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. This symphony , written after LIU Zong-yuan’s poem Fishing in Snow for chant-recital, the qin and orchestra in one movement. It is not merely writing song for Chinese ancient poem nor portraying the poet’s miserable life, but using the artistic concept of this poem passed upon today’s viewpoint, this Symphony has combined chant-recital and special rendition of the Chinese ancient instrument qin together with modern symphonic technique, to display the noble spirit and high moral gualityof independent personality.





















《靜 聖香引》

一縷縷悠遠的青煙,伴隨著彌久而莊嚴的佛音,在山林間,在殿堂上,闡釋著禪的大妙境界。 使人心生歡喜,心明性悟,開啟了禪境帶給我們的智慧之路。

《禪 觀自在》


《行 進終南》


《定 慧海航舟》


《願 大相般若》


《回向  金剛圓滿》







Puan Scripture《釋談章》又名《普庵咒》,它的樂譜最早見於明末《三教同聲琴譜》(1592年),清代大套琵琶曲和佛教絲竹曲中也有《普庵咒》這個曲名,根據琴譜旁之梵文字幕的發音看,像是幫助學習梵文發音的曲調。古代曾有普庵禪師,可能是本曲的緣起。樂曲使用了較多的撮音,幫助音樂造成古剎聞禪、莊嚴肅穆的氣氛,曲式上不同於一般樂曲,有些類似絲竹曲中曲牌聯結的形式。





《即興吟唱王維詩 “陽關”》

這是李祥霆演繹的一首以唐代王維詩 “陽關”為題的即興琴曲吟唱作品。





































題材取自東晉詩人陶淵明的詩文《桃花源記》,曲譜的後記也摘其序文大概: “晉太康中,武陵漁者操舟溪行迷失道,見桃花夾岸,落英繽紛,遂沿溪而入,得異境,桑麻村落,男女怡然。爭來問訊,云是秦人避亂居此,不知有漢,無論魏晉,如日送歸,他日覓之不可得矣,故有是曲。” 樂曲描繪寧靜和諧的田園、怡然快樂的人群。音樂語言質樸古老,旋律優美流暢,表達意境明晰顯然。