NYQS Meeting, 27 August 2006

Bo Lawergren, John Thompson and Yuan Jungping.
On Sunday afternoon and evening 27 August 2006 the Society held a meeting at the home of Society president Stephen Dydo and his wife, Susan Altabet.

Members attending were:

Jung-Ping talks about his China trip.
Stephen Dydo
Yuan Jungping
Matthew Flannery
Bo Lawergren
Marilyn Wong Gleysteen [Wang Miaolian]
John Thompson
Yip Ming-Mei
Elaine Sheng
Chang Pei-you

Guests were
Sam Jamier
Renee Ren (a student of Jung-Ping)
Susan Altabet
Suzanne Smith
Wu Zhongxian

The meeting was highlighted by two presentations. First was one by Founding President Yuan Jung-Ping, who was visiting from China. Then, after a break for food provided by guests and especially by Stephen's wife, there was a presentation by guest Wu Zhongxian.

Members and guests listen and watch Jung-Ping's talk and slide show.
Yuan Jung-Ping

Jung-Ping, who came to the meeting wearing traditional Chinese scholar's garments, showed the Society a set of 4 guqin DVDs recently produced in China, gave an annotated slide show of his recent experiences in China, and discussed his upcoming plans.

Each DVD in the set of 4 includes several performers, each recorded in a studio. The visuals were produced by filming the players playing qin in a variety of natural environments. As they played they listened to the recording, so their hand movements would follow the music.

Highlights of the slide show included shots from the following places.


Nanhua University, Chia-I (Jiayi), Taiwan, has a large music program, including ethnomusicology, and all students are required to study the qin. As a result he has some very large classes. His photos included shots of the students and classes, as well as the campus

In Taipei, Jung-Ping had an exhibition of his calligraphy in Taipei. In addition there was a Tanbo Yishu Stringed Instrument Conference, where he played You Lan.

Cover of the DVDs - Jing Han Tai Gu. 靜含太古
Shandong Province

Qingdao in eastern Shandong province was developed in the early 20th century as a German concession, and Jung-Ping's photos included a number of interesting old European-style buildings. Several months a year Jung-Ping teaches guqin classes at Qingdao University here. His photos included shots from the university and from his life in the nearby mountains. He has been provided with a cabin at a Daoist center called Lingfeng Daoyuan, in the Hualou mountain area of the Laoshan mountains near the Qingdao city limits. Jung-Ping showed photos from a gathering held here that involved local musicians, artists and writers as well as people involved in film and other media.

Qufu, in western Shandong, is the ancestral home of Confucius. Here Jung-Ping visited the Confucian temple and many other sites, and also ascended nearby Taishan (Mount Tai), the eastern sacred peak of China.

Jung-ping also visited a famous spring in Jinan, the capital of Shandong province.

Liaoning Province

Shenyang is the capital of the northeast province of Liaoning. Jung-ping showed photos of buildings and palaces here and in the nearby countryside. He said the Liaoning Museum was particularly interesting. The museum has paintings of people playing music instruments and drinking. He paid special attention to an inscription by Zhu Yunming, an early Ming dynasty master who wrote a colophon to one of the paintings.

Painting with Zhu Yunming's 祝允明 inscription at the Liaoning Museum.
Gansu Province Jung-Ping traveled all over Gansu province, aided by having been introduced to the police chief of the province. At most places he played some appropriate music on the qin, as shown in the photographs. The prominent places he discussed (from west to east) were Yangguan and Dunhuang, Tianshui and Kongtong Mountain.

Western Jin period wall painting of Boya playing the qin. 西晉畫像磚 伯牙撫琴
Dunhuang, famous for its Buddist relics and its historical position as the entrance to China for people traveling on the silk road from Central Asia, is in the deserts of western Gansu province. In this vicinity Jung-Ping visited the many famous sites. Of especial note was his trip to Yangguan, formerly a gate in the Great Wall about 50 miles west of Dunhuang. Here Jung-Ping played the melody Yangguan Sandie, shortly after which people noted that there was rain for the first time in a long while. About 15 miles southeast of Dunhuang are the Mogao caves. About halfway there is a cave, opened in 1981, that includes a Western Jin period wall painting of Boya playing the qin. Only about 1 foot long, it has lost some of its color since the cave was opened.

Tianshui Folk Museum included an object carved in the shape of a qin, but its function was not clear. Here there is also an old temple dedicated to Fuxi, wcredited in some sources with having invented the qin; it included a Ming dynasty statue of him. There was also a temple once visited by the famous Tang poet Du Fu. Here Jung-Ping found a qin player who had studied from a student of the famous master Wu Jinglue.

Maiji Shan is a famous Buddhist site about 25 miles southeast of Tianshui. The caves here are stunning, but had no qin connection. For this Jung-Ping went north to Pingliang.

A few miles west of Pingliang in Gansu province, in the Kongtong Mountain range, is the Kongtong Daoist Center. Here Jung-Ping found Ming dynasty inscriptions commemorating the legendary meeting between the Yellow Emperor and Guangchengzi. This meeting is the subject of the qin melody Asking about the Dao at Kongtong Mountain (Kongtong Wen Dao). There were buildings here said to be pre-Tang, but it was not clear how long this site has been associated with Guangchengzi.

Wu Zhongxian.
Wu Zhongxian

Wu Zhongxian is a qigong master and qin player living in Portland, Oregon. There is detailed information about him on his website. He discussed his work, including a synthesis of qigong and guqin music that he calls 琴心 qinxin.

Mr. Wu was on his way back to Portland from upstate New York, where he was conducting qigong workshops at a yoga center. Originally from Zhejiang province, he said he was originally trained in China as an engineer at a university in Xi'an. He worked as an engineer in the aerospace industry, but also met qin players such as Wang Huade in Chengdu. Living in Xi'an he was particularly interested in studying with Li Mingzhong, but for quite a while was only able to correspond with him. Wu subsequently received some guidance in finger techniques, but had lessons only later, after he had published his book on qigong,

Having given up his engineering career to focus on qigong, Wu eventually left China and moved to Oregon. Here the classes he teaches include Wudang school Taiji and Qigong. His book on qigong is now published in English as Vital Breath of the Dao, Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong (Laohu Gong).

Wu Zhongxian played two qin melodies, Liu Shui and Pingsha Luoyan.

Bo demonstrates the differences of the sound box and string's position between Chinese modern Konghou and the ancient konghou.

In addition to the formal presentations there were some other events of note. Bo Lawergren followed on the discussion from the previous meeting with more information on the relationship (especially the differences) between the recently invented Chinese konghou and the ancient konghou. Chinese literature calls the former a harp, but it is, in fact, a lyre. With its lack of antiquity and misunderstanding of basic definitions, it it a problematic entity. Preferably, a new name should have been invented too.  As it is, people may assume it has something to do with the glorious konghou of the past, an instrument that disappeared ca. 1100 A.D.

As a counterpoint to Wu Zhongxian's Liu Shui (Flowing Streams), Zhongping played Shi Shang Liu Quan (Springs Flowing over Rocks), which his Wumen master Wu Zhaoji said could be considered his school's Liu Shui (Flowing water).

John played and sang Wenjun Cao for Suzanne.
John played and sang Wenjun Cao (Melody of Wenjun) from Fengxuan Xuanpin (1539). He later played Gu Guan Yu Shen (Meeting Spirits in a Lonely Mansion) from Xilutang Qintong (1549).

Peiyou played two closely related melodies, 古琴吟 Gu Qin Yin and 相思曲 Xiang Si Qu. The lyrics, identical in both, are connected to a story about 蘇東坡 Su Dongpo and a courtesan. For Gu Qin Yin Peiyou followed the version from 琴學入門 Qinxue Rumen (1864) as transcribed in 古琴曲集 Guqin Quji, Vol. I, p. 196. For Xiang Si Qu Peiyou did her own reconstruction based on the earliest surviving version, in Xinkan Zhengwen Dueyin Jieyao Qinpu (1573). This handbook is an early version preserved in Taiwan of 楊表正 Yang Biao-zheng's 重修真傳琴譜 Chongxiu Zhenchuan Qinpu (1585), but the melodies for Xiang Si Qu in these two handbooks are somewhat different from each other. (There are sounds of Peiyou's playing of these two pieces at her website.)

Stephen played Qiusai Yin (Autumn on the Frontier) as transmitted by Wu Zhaoji (it is included on the first disc of Wumen Qin Music and  there is a transcription of Wu Jinglue's interpretation in Guqin Quji, I, p.152). First found in  Wuzhi Zhai Qinpu. (1722), it was later called Shuixian Cao (Water Sprite Melody) and Sao Shou Wen Tian (Shake Head and Ask Heaven).

Yip Ming-Mei.
Marilyn, taking advantage of having finally had another lesson with Jung-Ping, played the version of Yang Chun she is learning from him.

Mingmei played Jiu Kuang and Wuye Wuqiufeng.

Renee Ren played Ping Sha Luo Yan.


The meeting ended with the reminder that on Saturday September 2nd, the Society would hold a meeting at the home of John Thompson, where we would welcome a visit from Jim Binkley. Jim (who was a roommate of John Thompson in Taiwan) is one of two qin builders in North America (or perhaps one of three, counting Bo), the translator of Yuguzhai qinpu (see his website), and an interesting qin player.

John Thompson

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