Reconstructions

 

In addition to composing new pieces for the qin, I have attempted to reconstruct music from old qin scores since 2000. Reconstructed pieces are mainly those using special musical scales or having special intonation characteristics, hoping to learn more about the style and expressiveness of qin music in the distant past. Some of the reconstructions were performed in Hong Kong and Mainland, and some were published in CDs. To share my work with others, I have put some of the scores onto this website. Qin lovers are welcome to download the scores for their own practice. These are not for sale nor for publication without my permission.

Because my book Exploring the Secluded has included some of my reconstructions in cipher and tablature notations, this website would only include reconstructions not yet included in my book, as well as recordings of some reconstructions available at the internet.

Lisao (Sorrow on Departure) (Abridged version)

Dahuange qinpu 《大還閣琴譜》 (1673)

  This piece is classified under qiliang tuning, with tightened 2nd and 5th strings. With the 1st string as C, the usually played Shenqi mipu version is in C shang mode. In this Dahuange qinpu version, the first 15 sections utilize G、bB/↓B/B、C、D、F/↑F/#F, constituting a kuyin scale. At the last few sections, there is modulation to another kuyin scale, with C, E, F, G, B as skeletal notes. The musical effect is a bit different from the Shenqi mipu version.

​Download the Score

Daya (Major Odes)

Shenqi mipu 《神奇秘譜》(1425)

  This piece is classified under huangzhong tuning in the 3rd volume of Shenqi mipu. According to the explanatory notes of the piece, this is "court music of the Zhou Dynasty". One of its sections utilizes the special hemitonic pentatonic scale 1, 3, #4, 6, 7 used by the Ming Dynasty scholar Zhu Zaiyu in court music in his Yuelu quanshu. Zhu explained that "music of the Zhou Dynasty does not use the shang note". This might be an early example of the use of this scale in the past.

Download the Score

Xuanmo (Mysterious Serenity)

Shenqi mipu 《神奇秘譜》(1425)

  This piece is classified under gong mode in the 1st volume of Shenqi mipu. Also known as Zuowang, its explanatory notes provide a Daoist background to the piece. The main musical scale used is "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, b7", together with the use of some b3 notes. This is a rare example of the qingshang scale among traditional pieces. Some melodic lines have resemblance to those of the gong mode piece Youlan of Xilutang qintong, and the two pieces might have a common historical origin. 

Download the Score

XuanmoPlayed by Tse Chun-Yan
00:00 / 05:56

Yinde (Hidden Virtue)

Shenqi mipu 《神奇秘譜》(1425)

     This piece is classified under shang mode in the 2nd volume of Shenqi mipu. With the 1st string as do, the pentatonic scale is used together with a characteristic b3 note, giving the piece a special flavor. This piece was developed into another version called Qiujiang yebo in the Qing Dynasty, but the characteristic b3 note was eliminated.

Download the Score

Weibin yin (Singing on the Bank of River Wei)

Songxianguan qinpu 《松絃館琴譜》(1614)

  This is one of the zhi mode qin pieces utilizing the kuyin scale 5, 7, 1, 2, 4 in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasty. The piece is based on the story between King Wen of Zhou and Jiang Ziya.

​Download the Score

Weibin yinPlayed by Tse Chun-Yan
00:00 / 03:32

Zhuangzhou mengdie (Zhuangzi Dreaming as a Butterfly)

Wugang qinpu 《梧岡琴譜》(1546)

  This piece is classified under the shangjue mode. Using standard tuning with just intonation, and with the 1st string as gong (do), the jue (mi) note is emphasized. According to a Ming Dynasty handbook, pieces in this mode usually reflect disappointments and laments on worldly matters. 

Tianfeng huanpei (Jade Pendants in a Heavenly Breeze)

Xilutang qintong 《西麓堂琴統》(1525)

  Guan Pinghu and Zhang Ziqian, qin masters of the past generation, played the Fengxuan xuanpin and Shenqi mipu version of this piece respectively. This reconstruction is based on the Xilutang qintong version. The syncopated rhythmic design is lively, and a bit different from the reconstructions of the past masters. According to the explanatory notes at Shenqi mipu, the piece depicts a cool evening under the moonlight, when one hears the dangling sound of jade pendants of fairies in heaven.

Songyu beiqiu (Songyu Lamenting Autumn)

Xilutang qintong 《西麓堂琴統》(1525)

  This version in Xilutang qintong utilizes qiliang tuning and is the earliest extant version of this piece. Its tuning and melody are different from later versions bearing the same title, and thus is actually a singly surviving piece.

Songyu beiqiuPlayed by Tse Chun-Yan
00:00 / 06:33

Xinghua tianying (Shadows of Apricot Blossoms)

Music and lyrics by Jiang Kui 姜夔 of Southern Song Dynasty

Transcribed by Yang Yinliu and Yin Falu

Arranged by Tse Chun-Yan

​​

   This is one of the 17 pieces written in "popular" notation in the collection of songs Baishi daoren gequ 《白石道人歌曲》 by the Song Dynasty poet Jiang Kui. Transcribed by Yang Yinliu and Yin Falu, the piece is refreshing and elegant. This version is arranged by Tse Chun-Yan, with addition of the qin part.

Download the Score                  Link to Video

Hangong qiu (Autumn in the Han Palace)

Songxianguan qinpu 《松絃館琴譜》(1614)

    Songxianguan qinpu was compiled by the founder of the Yushan School, Yan Cheng. Yan classified this piece into the "yu" (or la) mode. However, the scale used is not simply the anhemitonic pentatonic scale, la, do, re, mi, sol, usually used in "yu" mode pieces passed down from the late Qing Dynasty, but is mixed with a hemitonic pentatonic scale with many do and sol sharpened. This scale is similar to the scale kuyin ("melancholy tone") used in some vernacular genres. The Yushan School favored the antique and the elegant. The theme of the piece is on the Han Palace. The fact that the piece uses the vernacular scale may indicate that the scale has had a very long history, and thus could represent antique music and became acceptable to Yan Cheng.

Hangong qiuPlayed by Tse Chun-Yan
00:00 / 07:18

Dongting qiusi (Autumn Thoughts at Lake Dongting)

Chengjiantang qinpu 《澄鑒堂琴譜》(1718)

 When this piece is played, usually the multi-source version by Zha Fuxi is used. This version from Chengjiantang qinpu utilizes the kuyin scale of vernacular music, emphasizing a slightly lowered ti note, and a slightly raised fa note. However, its serene mood differentiates it from vernacular music.

Please refer to 〈由《洞庭秋思》看民間樂制在琴曲的運用〉

Wong Chun-Fung (qin)

Dongting qiusiPlayed by Wong Chun-Fung
00:00 / 04:20

Baixue (White Snow)

Shenqi mipu 《神奇秘譜》(1425)

 This version utilizes a lot of non-pentatonic notes, in particular the b3 note. Thus, it is quite different from the pentatonic qin pieces from the late Qing Dynasty. The music reflects the crispy sound of the austere and pure bamboo covered with snow.

Please refer to 〈從半音階到五聲音階:明清琴曲音律實踐與意識形態的滙合〉

BaixuePlayed by Tse Chun-Yan
00:00 / 06:13