The 4-juan long book is based on Zhu Quan's 朱權 (1378-1448) book Tangyue dise pu 唐樂笛色譜 from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644), where the seven musical modes (qidiao 七調) for the transverse flute (di 笛) are expressed by the signs 四, 乙, 上, 尺, 工, 凡 and 六. If the symbol 四 is the key (lowest) note of the scale, the symbol 乙 corresponds to the tone biangong 變宮, 上 to the tone shang 商, 尺 to the tone jiao 角, 工 to the tone zhi 徵, 凡 to the tone bianzhi 變徵, and 六 to the tone yu 羽.
In a long, nine-tone scale (jiusheng 九聲), the symbol 高四 refers to the tone gongqing 宮清, 高上 to the tone shangqing 商清, 高尺 to the tone jiaoqing 角清, and 高工 to the tone zhiqing 徵清.
According to the scores for vertical and transverse flutes (xiaodi sezi pu 簫笛色字譜) it can be seen that the music masters of the Jin 金 (1115-1234) and Yuan 元 (1279-1368) periods did not adhere to the nine-tone scale, although they still used the name of this ancient system.
Mao Qiling explains the ancient system of the five notes (wuyin 五音) and the twelve scales (shi'er lü 十二律) and criticizes the imperfect description of this system in the chapter on the pitch pipes Lü shu 律書 in Sima Qian's 司馬遷 (145- c.86) history book Shiji, and also Cai Yuanding's 蔡元定 (1135-1198) Lülü xinshu 律呂新書 from the Song period 宋 (960-1279). Mao comes to the conclusion that the ancient writers regularly copied the statements of older texts without considering the practical use of music, and the method how musical modes were used in reality.
The book is said to have been transmitted by Mao Qiling's father Mao Jing 毛鏡, whose courtesy name was Mao Jingshan 毛竟山. This is the reason why the book is known under the present title. The postface of the book, Caiyitang lunyue jianshuo 采衣堂論樂淺說, with 14 paragraphs, is certainly also written by Mao Qiling, but the latter alleges that it had been authored by his older brother Mao Wanling 毛萬齡.
The Jingshan yuelu is included in the imperial series Siku quanshu 四庫全書. The edition in the series Xihe heji 西河合集 (Mao Qiling's collected writings) is the original from the Kangxi reign-period 康熙 (1662-1722), with supplementary paragraphs added during the Qianlong reign-period 乾隆 (1736-1796).