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Chinese Literature
Taiyin daquan ji 太音大全集 "Complete Works of Antique Music"


The Taiyin daquan ji 太音大全集 "Complete Works of Antique Music" is the oldest extant collection of theoretical discussions on the small zither (qin 琴). The collection was compiled by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Yuan Junzhe 袁均哲. It describes methods of constructing the music instrument, how to play it, and hot tunes are noted down.
The book is based on a much older text, Tian Zhiweng's 田芝翁 Taigu yiyin 太古遺音 "Remnant Texts on (Zither) Music from the Remote Past" from the Song period 宋 (960-1279). It was 3 juan "scrolls" long and was revised by Yang Zuyun 楊祖雲 during the Jiading reign 嘉定 (1208-1224) who gave it the title Qinyuan xuzhi 琴苑須知 "Must-Knows from the Zither Garden" and presented it to the throne. During the Yongle reign 永樂 (1403-1424) of the Ming period Zhu Quan 朱權 acquired three different editions of this text and rearranged it to a 2 juan long book with the old title Taigu yiyin. Yuan Junzhe made use of this version as the core part of a new compilation and enriched it with various other texts on the zither. The result was the 5 juan long Taiyin daquan ji. This collection was published in several different versions and is therefore available in various shapes. Of the oldest version, the 2 juan long Taigu yiyin only fragments exist in the Beijing Library 北京圖書館. There is the 5 juan long reprint by Yuan Junzhe from the Zhengde reign 正德 (1506-1521), and a manuscript version from the Zhengtong reign 正統 (1436-1449) that is largely identical tot he Zhengde version, except a poem included in the third juan. During the Jiajing reign 嘉靖 (1522-1566) a new edition was published by Wang Liang 汪諒 with the title Xinkan Taiyin daquan ji 新刊太音大全集.
The book of Yuan Junzhe is important because it includes a lot of ancient texts on the qin zither and music scores for this instrument that have not survived anywhere else. Such are the works by Zhao Yeli 趙耶利, Chen Jushi 陳居士 and Chen Zhuo 陳拙 from the Tang period 唐 (618-907) and Tang Zhiweng and Yang Zuyun from the Song period.
The Zhonghua shuju press 中華書局 has published all three versions of the text in the collectaneum Qinqu jicheng 琴曲集成 from 1963.


Source: Wu Zhao 吳釗 (1989). "Taiyin daquan ji 太音大全集", 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, p. 632.
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November 22, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail