VOLUME 4, No.2 JOURNAL March 2003
    Main Menu
選  項
Year 2000
Year 2001
Year 2002
Year 2003
NYQS Officers Election for 2003~2005

Date: 19 January 2003
Time: 1:00-6:00PM
Place: Bo's Apartment, Lower Manhattan
Minutes: Matthew
Attending: Peiyou Chang, Stephen Dydo, Matthew Flannery, Bo Lawrengren, John Thompson, Marilyn Gleysteen-Wong, Mingmei Yip, Jung-Ping Yuan.
Guests: Aldolovni Acosta, Zdravko Balzekovic, Bao-yu Cheng, Elaine Sheng, Susan Altavet, Janette Leung, Eva Wen.

NYQS Gathering At Bo's Apartment. From left to right (front row): Jung-Ping Yuan. Aldolovni Acosta. Mingmei Yip. Janette Leung. (2nd row): Eva Wen. Zdravko Balzekovic. Marilyn Gleysteen-Wong. (3rd row): Matthew Flannery. Peiyou Chang.
This gathering of the Society commenced with a business meeting at whichnew officers were elected. With Stephen moderating, the following were elected for two-year terms:
President: Jung-Ping
Journal Secretary: John
Treasurer: Peiyou
Photographer: Bo

2003~2005 NYQS President Yuan Jung-Ping.
The post of photographer was created on the spot as an unfilled need. The two remaining offices Corresponding Secretary (Marilyn) and Webmaster (Stephen), were created last year and therefore will be filled on years alternate to the other posts. There was discussion of whether a vice president was needed, which was decoded om the negative.

Several versions of a mission statement of the Society have been circulating among the members. It was agreed that Jung-Ping will consult with each member with concerns about the statement to arrive at a definitive version. Matthew agreed to put it into final editorial shape.

After the business meeting, food was served, including some from Zabar's contributed by Aldolovni and noodles from Lili's contributed by Mingmei.


John Playing “Yuan You.”
John led off our discussions by showing and discussing four albums each illustrating a qin melody. The title and subtitles of the four melodies clearly connect them with four poems from the Chu Ci (Songs of Chu), a famous collection of poems attributed to Qu Yuan (332-295) and his followers. The melodies and their corresponding poems are as follows:

“Li Sao,” 18 sections, each titled with a line from the poem “Li Sao.”
“Yuan You,” 8 sections, each titled with a line from the poem “Yuan You.”
“Song Yu Bei Qiu.” 9 sections, each titled with a line from the poem “Jiu Bian.”
“Zepan Yin.” 4 sections, each titled with a line from the poem “Yu Fu.

Since the Song dynasty there has been a tradition of illustrating these poems either individually or as parts of albums, so John commissioned the Hangzhou painter Bai Yunlito brush illustration in the Southern Song style corresponding directly to the titles of the qin melody.

John discussed the modes used in these pieces, nothing that within the qin repertoire tunings using a raised fifth or raised second and fifth strings appear to have been associated, at least since the Song, with the music of the ancient kingdom of Chu (corresponding roughly to Hubei and Hunan provinces). Also though primarily pentatonic, they often add non-pentatonic notes, apparently for special effect.

John then cited Alfreda Murck's The Subtle Art of Dissent, which analyzes how artists used poetry and painting to express opinions in ways that outsiders would not understand. Perhaps the most famous example cited by Murck are poems on the theme of the Xiao and Xiang rivers in Hunan province. The qin melody “Xiao Xiang Shui Yun (“Clouds over the Xiao and Xiang Rivers”) does not seem to have as many overt political implications as the famous painting “Xiao and Xiang Ba Jing (“ Eight views of the Xiao and Xiang Rivers”), but it still conveys the theme of separation from homeland, and important one in this region since officials were often exiled to Hunan province. The preface to “Xiao Xiang Shui Yun” clams that the Song dynasty qin player Guo chuwang wrote its melody one day when clouds over the two rivers blocked his view of the Jiuyi mountains. In the face of this symbolic separation, he wrote this piece “to express his loyalty to his country.” His feelings of separation were piqued by the burial of the legendary emperor Yu Shun in the Juiyi mountains: the separation of Guo from the cloud-hidden military control by the Southern Song over north China.

Marilyn added that poetry was a standard form of scholarly protest, nothing that the literati often hid current feelings and political views by couching them in terms of older forms of expression and by reference to past events that symbolized, however, modern events, people, and governments.

John preface remarks by Stephen on Buddhist influences on qin and zhen music by noting that “Pu An Chou” as it is played today appears to have been the middle section of a much longer work, “Shitan Zhang.” These two pieces have had along and complex history that, between them, yielded at least 49 editions for various instruments and voices. John handed out a sheet detailing its qin versions, beginning with one from the Sanjiao Tongsheng, a handbook dated 1592, and concluding with another from the 1970s.

Stephen Dydo play Pu An Chou.
Stephen began by commenting that the zheng is played with picks on all fingers and thumb except the fifth and that its strings are either plastic or, sometimes, metal. He noted that the zheng version of “Qian Sheng Go” is technically difficult; especially, it uses the left thumb to press strings. This is unusual in zheng music and requires a shift from the customary upper arm position. He then played another, technically easier zheng version of “Qian Sheng Fo.” Ot os based on one written out by Liang Tsai Prin, who, in Taiwan in the 1950s, was responsible for the revival of the zheng as a solo instrument..

Stephen pointed out that Buddhist influences on qin music are scarce. Of “Pu An Chou,” there seem to have been at least two qin versions that do not appear to be musically related as well as a third version for the zheng. He commented that the Chinese do many interesting things in interpreting popular music, but that their usual structure consists of a musical skeleton to which the performer is expected to add his own variations and embellishments. To demonstrate this, he played a Buddhist related piece for zheng, the “Qian Sheng Go (or”Sacred Temple [and Hill] of Buddha”) in the two versions (on simple, one complex) recorded by Yang Xiu-ming. The composer Chu Yun also has written his own version of the “Qian Sheng Fo” in northwestern style. Much of his music is based on the revival and interpretation of this ancient style from the northwest.

Janette Leung demonstrated
Janette Leung demonstrated the sound and techniques of the zheng by playing “Xiangshan She Gu (“The Temple Drums of Xiangshan”) on her instrument. She noted that this piece is another with some Buddhist connections since it depicts scenes of pilgrims flocking to attend the annual Xiang Hui (Incense Festival) in the central region of Shanxi province. While not strictly Buddhist, this piece is Buddhist-inspired in that its theme is of a religious nature and part of it evokes an other-worldly atmosphere. Altogether, the “Xiaangshan She Gu” nicely blends local color with modern playing techniques and an overall religious tone.

The “Xiangshan She Gu” is another piece representation of the Shaanxi zheng style. Written in the early 1980s by Qu Yun of the Xi'an Conservatory of Music, it has a heavy regional flavor uncommon among other contemporary pieces for the zheng. Indeed, all pieces from Shaanxi are modern. Shaanxi was known as Qin during the Warring States period (476-221 BCE), from which we have the earliest extant records noting the existence of the zheng. For this reason, the Shaanxi zheng of that time is known as the Qin zheng. However, none of its music survives. What is now known as Shaanzi zheng music are modern pieces that incorporate archaic traits of the Qin region's secular music style known as Yan Yue, type of court music. Yan Yue emphasizes such elements as the “crying note,” the “laughing note”#4. B7. And the like.

Stephen and Susan
Finally, Stephen and Susan played a modern western piece influenced by Buddhist music, Stephen's “Offering.” It was composed for guitar (Stephen) and flute (Susan) in 1995. It was composed to complement a Buddhist celebration that begins with an offering to the Buddha. It provides a meditative framework that also encourages the production of offerings. It has been played in this context many times since then.

everyone look at the new qin which by Jung-ping bought from China.
Jung-ping's antique qin bought from China.
Mingmei Yip
Peiyou Chang

Copyright © 2002 New York Qin Society. All rights reserved.