Qinshu daquan 琴書大全 "The complete book on the zither" is a compendium on the small zither (qin 琴) written during the late Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Jiang Keqian 蔣克謙 (fl. 1590), courtesy name Guoguang 國光. He hailed from Xuzhou 徐州, Zhili, and was a distant relative to the imperial house. He was an excellent player of the zither himself, but also mastered calligraphy and painting. The book had been begun by his great-grandfather, the father of Empress Zhengde 正德皇后 (1492-1535), and had been finished in 1521, yet Jiang Keqian's father added new material to this collection about the manufacturing of the zither, tunes, tuning, poems and songs. Jiang Keqian continued this work and finished his book in 1590.
Overview table of symbols for the right (youshou zhifa pu 右手指法譜) and left-hand techniques (zuoshou zhifa pu 左手指法譜), and common symbols (tongyong zipu 通用字譜). Click to enlarge.
Position of tones for each string over the fingerboard of a seven-string zither.
Scale notes (hui 徽) inserted into the fingerboard.
Tablature of two songs, Shenpin gongyi 神品宮意, and Yangchun 陽春, played in the key gongdiao 宮調.
The Qinshu daquan is a very rare text. Ming-period prints are to be found in the Music Research Institute of the Chinese National Academy of Arts (Zhongguo Yishu Yanjiuyuan Yinyue Yanjiusuo 中國藝術研究院音樂研究所), the Tianjin Library 天津圖書館 and the Shanghai Library 上海圖書館. These versions has been reproduced by the Zhonghua Shuju Press 中華書局. The book catalogue Qianqingtang shumu 千頃堂書目 lists a text called Yongle qinshu jicheng 永樂琴書集成 that seems to have been identical with Jiang Keqian's book. A copy of this text, found in Taiwan, is a forgery, as the scholar Zha Fuxi 查阜西 (1895-1976) believes.
|Introduction to the zither
|Construction of the zither
|Shapes of zithers
|Scale notes of the zither
|The strings of the zither
|Illustrations to finger techniques
|Playing the zither
|Melodies and tunes
|Historical sages and worthies playing the zither
|Records on the zither
|Literary writings on the zither
|Poems on the zither
|Tablatures for the zither