NYQS Meeting, December 10, 2005

The yaji convenes in Bo's living room while Bo photographs from a helicopter. Clockwise from top left: John, Peter, Rebecca, Matthew, Mingmei and Stephen.

On 10 December 2005 the following members of then New York Qin Society (NTQS) attended a Society meeting at the home of Bo Lawergren: Stephen Dydo, Matthew Flannery, Rebecca Flannery, Bo Lawergren, Peter Reis, John Thompson, Yip Ming-Mei. Members gave the following comments on their activities.


Bo Lawergren

In October and November Bo traveled to Amsterdam, then to Hong Kong, Shanghai and Wuyi Shan, a mountain range on the border between Fujian and Jiangxi provinces.


In Amsterdam from October 5-9 several members of NYQS gave papers at the 10th International CHIME Meeting, "Exploring China's Musical Past".  


Bo Lawergren, "The Qin: From Central Asia to Central China."

Rembrandt Wolpert, "Metronomes, Matrices, and other Musical Monsters"

Elizabeth Markham, "Tang melody in Heian editions: data for the historical musicologist, options for the experimental performer?"

Yi Mingmei, "Women Qin Players in the Musical Heritage of China from the Han to the Present

Rembrandt chaired a panel, "Yuefu Labs", during which Elizabeth gave a presentation and Stephen Dydo performed four new pieces for qin and pipa.


Stephen and  Mingmei also took part in a qin concert on the final day.  


See the October 8 meeting notes for more on this.


Bo added that at CHIME he was asked to write two articles for translation into Chinese. One, on musical discoveries in the tomb of the Marquis Yi of Zheng, is for a large two-volume book to be published in China in connection with an anniversary of the tomb's discovery. Other important scholars worldwide will also be contributing articles. The other article, for the Journal of Wuhan Archeological Museum, will concern the origins of the qin.


In Hong Kong Bo visited Yang Yuansheng, a Ph.D. candidate in the Hong Kong University Department of Music (topic: Manuscripts in Japan on Chinese Music), and went with him to see Ruan Shichun, an accomplished maker of Tang dynasty string instruments. Ruan has made a copy of the pipa in the Shosoin Treasure House, Nara, for Rembrandt Wolpert. Bo believes this instrument has been played by Wu Man.


In Hong Kong Bo also visited Dr. Tong Kin-Woon. Bo also visited the qin collector Benny Shum.


From October 23–28, 2005, in Wuyishan, Fujian Province, Bo attended a conference of APSE (Asia Pacific Society of Ethnomusicology). His topic was "Transmission and Change of the Chinese Qin, Between the Zhou and Tang Dynasties."


From Nov 3-6, 2005, at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Bo attended, together with members Elizabeth Markham and  Rembrandt Wolpert, the "2005 Symposium on Ancient East-Asian Tablature Notations." They gave the following presentations: 


Rembrandt Wolpert, "Re-Interpreting Sino-Japanese Instrumental Notations"

Elizabeth Markham, "Parameters of Melody and Time Captured for Early Instrumental Gagaku"

Bo Lawergren, “Instruments on Japanese Raigo paintings and their Chinese and Central Asian sources”


With regard to his own paper, Bo showed members a book called Descent of Amitabha and the Heavenly Multitude. Descent (raigo in Japanese, laiying in Chinese) paintings often show these Buddhist celestials descending with and/or playing musical instruments; Bo's paper described this and analyzed what we can learn from them about music of the day.


Peter Reis

Peter, in Paris last month, went to the Museum of Music Instruments at the Cite de la Musique in the northeast corner of the city. He looked unsuccessfully for qins, but found an interesting set of what the msueum claim to be Tang dynasty horses with figures of women musicians on top. The women seem to be playing the instruments, some of which were missing. They were in excellent shape, but it was not clear how carefully there provenance had been documented; they were acquired only recently. Peter showed pictures he had been able to take.


John Thompson

John spoke about his recent trip to Beijing and Hong Kong, a short trip left over from the trip he had to cut short in June. In Beijing he gave a performance for the Chinese Cultural Society at Beijing Normal University (now actually a regular university, but it keeps the old name for posterity's sake). The audience was a mixture of students, faculty and qin players from outside. At the end Han Jie, who teaches qin at the university, presented John with a poem he had written commemorating the event.


John the played Hanjie Cao (Melody of Han Credentials), discussed in some detail in the minutes for the November meeting. He played the modal prelude, Yingzhong Yi, several times, and also highlighted some of the more descriptive passages.


Yip Mingmei

Mingmei attended a recent talk at the China Institute by an expert on calligraphy found outdoors on rocks. She had been told that there would be some discussion of qin-related calligraphy, but there was only one item, a large rock face inscribed with Gao Shan Liu Shui (High Mountains, Flowing Streams).


Mingmei played three melodies, all according to the versions in Yinyinshi Qinpu, the handbook of her teacher in Hong Kong, Cai Deyun.


Wuye Wu Qiufeng (Parasol Leaves Dance in the Autumn Breeze)

This melody is first found in Qinxue Xinsheng (1664), a handbook of compositions by Zhuang Zhenfeng. Zhuang was a teacher of Jiang Xingchou , who went to Japan in 1676, where he became well-known as the monk Shin-Etsu. The melody occurs in 21 handbooks to 1899, and seems to have changed very little since the


Pingsha Luoyan (Geese Settle on the Sandbank)

This time Mingmei played a different version from the one she played in the November meeting.


Guiqulai Ci (Come Away Home)

Mingmei again played this famous song with lyrics by Tao Yuanming (see minutes of the November meeting.)



Stephen Dydo

Stephen also played three melodies.


Pingsha Luo Yan (Geese Settle on the Sandbank)

This version, which Stephen learned from Jung-Ping, is different from Mingmei's version. It was passed down by Wu Zhaoji.


Qi Yan Hui (Mourning Yan Hui)

This melody was initially printed in Jinyu Qinkan (1937). Stephen learned it from the tablature in Guqin Quji (1962).


Kongzi Du Yi (Confucius Recites the Book of Changes)

See minutes of the November meeting.




John Thompson


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