An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Xilutang qintong 西麓堂琴統

Nov 16, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Xilutang qintong 西麓堂琴統 "Scores for the zither from the Hall of the Western Slope" is a collection of musical tablatures for the small zither (qin 琴) compiled during the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) by Wang Zhi 汪芝 (mid-16th cent.), courtesy name Shirui 時瑞, style Yunlan Shanren 雲嵐山人. He hailed from Shexian 歙縣, Anhui, and was a famous zither player and song collector during the Jiajing reign-period 嘉靖 (1522-1566).

His collection of 25 juan length is the product of thirty years of work. The first 5 juan include statements on the zither that are mainly based on Xu Li's 徐理 Qintong 琴統 and the book Taigu yiyin 太古遺音 from the Song period 宋 (960-1279). The rest of the book consists of the tablatures for 170 different songs. Part of them dates from the Song period, but the greater number of the melodies are rare compositions from later times, like two versions of the song Guanglin san 廣陵散 or the songs Shenren chang 神人暢, Jianxuan mingjun 間弦明君, Fengyun you 風雲游 or Song Yu beiqiu 宋玉悲秋.

Figures 1. Charts of the Xilutang qintong 西麓堂琴統
Chart for tuning strings (right); metaphysical context of the five musical tones.

Wang Zhi's collection is of high value for the history of music in China. It only survived in three different manuscripts that were reproduced by the Zhonghua Shuju Press 中華書局 and in the collection Qinqu jicheng 琴曲集成 from 1963.

Li Cheng 李程 (2013). "Guyin yanzou zhi meixue chutan: Yi Xilutang qintong wei li 古琴演奏之美學初探——以《西麓堂琴統》為例", Yueqi 樂器, 2013 (11): 56-57.
Tang Chen 唐宸 (2014). "Ming Wang Zhi Xilitang qintong chengshu shijian kaobian 明汪芝《西麓堂琴統》成書時間考辨", Zhongguo yinyuexue 中國音樂學, 2014 (3): 52-54.
Wu Zhao 吳釗 (1989). "Xilutang qintong 西麓堂琴統", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Yinyue wudao 音樂•舞蹈 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 714.
Xie Wuying 謝武穎 (2021). "Xilutang qintong bianzhuan tili ji shiliao laiyuan chutan 《西麓堂琴統》編撰體例及史料來源初探", Yishu daguan 藝術大觀, 2021 (31): 133-135.
Yang Yuting 楊玉婷 (2020). "Xilutang qintong yanjiu shuping 《西麓堂琴統》研究述評", Beifang yinyue 北方音樂, 2020 (13): 47-48.