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Yueji 樂記

Oct 7, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Yueji 樂記 "Record of music" is transmitted as a chapter of the Confucian Classic Liji 禮記. The art of music was seen as one of the "six arts" (liuyi 六藝), five of which are reflected in the Five Classics (divination in the Yijing 易經, political instructions in the Shangshu 尚書, poetry and songs in the Shijing 詩經, proper conduct in the ritual books, and historiography in the Chunqiu 春秋), while no separate text exists for music.

The Yueji was brought into the present shape by the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE) bibliographer Liu Xiang 劉向 (77-6 BCE). The bibliographic chapter Yiwen zhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書 says that during the time of Emperor Wu 漢武帝 (r. 141-87 BCE), Prince Xian of Hejian 河間獻王 had ordered his retainers to assemble information on the performance of music as described in ancient texts. The result was the book Yueji that was later preserved by Wang Ding 王定, vice chamberlain for the capital (? neishicheng 內史丞), and which then found its way into the hands of Liu Yu 劉禹, Prince of Zhongshan 中山, who compiled an enlarged version, in which he explained the meanings of the different paragraphs.

The result was a 24-juan long book called Wang Yu ji 王禹記 "Record of Prince Yu". At the time when Liu Xiang revised the Yueji it included 23 chapters. The Liang period 梁 (502-557) writer Shen Yue 沈約 (441-513) said that the Yueji was part of the book Gongsun Nizi 公孫尼子 (Gongsun Ni was a disciple of Confucius), a statement that is confirmed in the Zhengyi 正義 commentary on the history book Shiji 史記. It is also known that the Former Han period version inspected by Liu Xiang included a chapter called Dou Gong 竇公 (the name of a music master) that had originally not been part of the Gongsun Nizi.

The received version in the Liji has eleven chapters with implicit titles, while of twelve more chapters nothing but the titles have survived.

Table 1. Parts of the Yueji 樂記
樂本 Yueben The foundations of music
樂論 Yuelun Discussion on music
樂施 Yueshi The outcome of music
樂言 Yueyan Talking about music
樂禮 Yueli Music and ritual
樂情 Yueqing The expressions of feelings in music
樂化 Yuehua The change by music
樂象 Yuexiang The manifestation of music
賓牟賈 Binmou Jia Binmou Jia
師乙 Shi Yi [Music]-master Yi
魏文侯 Wei Wenhou Marquis Wen of Wei
Titles of chapters that are not preserved: 奏樂 Zouyue, 樂器 Yueqi, 樂作 Yuezuo, 意始 Yishi, 樂穆 Yuemu, 說律 Shuolü, 季劄 Jizha, 樂道 Yuedao, 樂義 Yueyi, 昭本 Zhaoben, 招頌 Zhaosong, 竇公 Dou Gong

Fragments of texts called Yueji that have lived on as quotations in many books were collected by Ma Guohan 馬國翰 (1794-1857). He assumes that the chapter on music in the book Lüshi chunqiu 呂氏春秋 (Jixia ji 季夏紀, section Yinlü 音律), is a fragment of the original Yueji. His collected fragments are included in the collectaneum Yuhanshanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書.

Sources:
Chen Ying 陳瑛, Xu Qixian 許啟賢, ed. (1989). Zhongguo lunli da cidian 中國倫理大辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), 185.
Han Linde 韓林德 (1990). "Yueji 樂記", in Li Zehou 李澤厚, Ru Xin 汝信, ed. Meixue baike quanshu 美學百科全書 (Beijing: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe), 656.
Ji Liankang 吉聯抗 (1989). "Liji Yueji 禮記·樂記", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Yinyue wudao 音樂 舞蹈 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 373.
Jiaoyu da cidian bianzuan weiyuanhui 《教育大辭典》編纂委員會, ed. (1991). Jiaoyu da cidian 教育大辭典, Vol. 8, Zhongguo gudai jiaoyu shi 中國古代教育史 (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu shi), Vol. 1, 271.
Jin Zhongming 金忠明 (1996). "Yueji 樂記", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Jiaoyu 教育卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 92.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文郁, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 627.
Lin Chongde 林崇德, Yang Zhiliang 楊治良, Huang Xiting 黃希庭, ed. (2003). Xinlixue da cidian 心理學大辭典 (Shanghai: Shanghai jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1616.
Liu Gangji 劉綱紀 (1992). "Yueji 樂記", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhexue 哲學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1134.
Wu Yueqi 吳玉琦 (1996). "Yueji 樂記", in Feng Kezheng 馮克正, Fu Qingsheng 傅慶升, ed. Zhuzi baijia da cidian 諸子百家大辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning renmin chubanshe), 467.
Yan Guocai 燕國材 (1992). "Yueji 樂記", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Xinlixue 心理學 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 532.
Yang Yanxing 楊雁行 (1997). "Yueji 樂記", in Men Kui 門巋, zang Yanqin 張燕瑾, ed. Zhonghua guocui da cidian 中華國粹大辭典 (Xianggang: Guoji wenhua chuban gongsi), 890.
Zhang Hongsen 張洪森 (1987). "Liji Yueji 禮記·樂記", in Wang Xiangfeng 王向峰, ed. Wenyi meixue cidian 文藝美學辭典 (Shenyang: Liaoning daxue chubanshe), 617.
Zhou Chang 周暢 (1996). "Yueji 樂記", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Yishu 藝術卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 10.

Translations:
Cook, Scott (2002). "Yue ji—Record of Music: Introduction, Translation, Notes, and Commentary", Asian Music, 62/2: 1-96.
Legge, Li Ki.

Further reading:
Brindley, Erica Fox (2012). Music, Cosmology, and the Politics of Harmony in Early China (Albany: State University of New York Press).
DeWoskin, Kenneth J. (1983a). A Song for One or Two: Music and the Concept of Art in Early China (Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan).
DeWoskin, Kenneth J. (1983b). "Early Chinese Music and the Origins of Aesthetic Terminology", in Susan Bush und Christian F. Murck, ed. Theories of the Arts in China (Princeton: Princeton University Press), 187-214.
DeWoskin, Kenneth J. (2002). "Chinese Philosophy and Aesthetics", in Robert C. Provine, Yosihiko Tokumaru und J. Lawrence Witzleben, ed. The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Vol. 7, East Asia: China, Japan, and Korea (New York/London: Routledge), 97-104.
Liu, J. (2014). "Art and Aesthetics of Music in Classical Confucianism", in Vincent Shen, ed. Dao Companion to Classical Confucian Philosophy (Dordrecht/New York: Springer), 227-244.
Middendorf, Ulrike (2005). "Thematische Progression: Verkettung, Konnexität und Hierarchien musikalischer, emotionspsychologischer und staatsphilosophischer Konzepte im Yueji (Aufzeichnungen über die Musik)", Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung, 29: 79-123.
Cai Zhongde 蔡仲德 (1999). "Xunzi Yuelun yu Yueji 《荀子·乐论》与《乐记》", Wenshi zhishi 文史知识, 1999/9.
Hao Mingchao 郝明朝 (2004). "Liji Yueji fei Wang Yu ji kao 《礼记·乐记》非《王禹记》考", Zhongguo wenhua yanjiu 中国文化研究, 2004/3.
Jin Zhong 金钟 (1979). "Guanyu Gongsun Nizi de Yueji de duandai he pingjia wenti: Jian yu Yueji pizhuzhe shangque 关于公孙尼子的《乐记》的断代和评价问题——兼与《乐记》批注者商榷", Renwen yinyue 人民音乐, 1979/7.
Sun Xingqun 孙星群 (2005). "Yueji chengshu yu Zhanguo zhongqi de lizheng: Yi Hubei Guodian Chumu zhujian wei ju 《乐记》成书于战国中期的力证——以湖北郭店楚墓竹简为据", Tianjin yinyue xueyuan xuebao 天津音乐学院学报, 2005/3.
Yang Helin 杨合林 (2011). "Liji Yueji yu Shiji Yueshu dui du ji 《礼记·乐记》与《史记·乐书》对读记", Wenxue yichan 文学遗产, 2011/1.
Yao Chunpeng 姚春鹏, Yao Dan 姚丹 (2011). "Cong Guodian Chujian zai lun Yueji chengshu niandai 从郭店楚简再论《乐记》成书年代", Kongzi yanjiu 孔子研究, 2011/4.
Zhang Qiqun 章启群 (2010). "Lun Yuelun yu Yueji de genben qubie: Jian lun zhanxingxue dui Xian-Qin rujia liyue sixiang de chongji yu zhenghe 论《乐论》与《乐记》的根本区别——兼论占星学对于先秦儒家礼乐思想的冲击与整合", Zhexue yanjiu 哲学研究, 2010/2.