Textual research of Ancient Naxi music
Baisha Soft Music of Requiem is on the edge of vanish. The band of Lijiang National Art Ensemble plays this song according to the full score which was sort out by Institute of Musical Studies of China Academy of Art, the Province Song and Dance Troupe, and Musicians of Lijiang County in 1962, also as the most best program only play in important occasions and for important people. The reason for the song is so valuable due to it is one of few pieces of large-scale classical orchestral music in China. This song has been described in details “it was said that this song (Baisha Soft Music) inherited from people of Yuan Dynasty” which means this song is spread in the local people in Yuan Dynasty, not only in Prefecture Annals of Lijiang-Volume of Custom which was edited by Guan Xuexuan, the magistrate of Lijiang Military and Civilian Prefecture, and Wan Xianyan, a Confucian scholar of Lijiang Prefecture, in 8th year of the Chien-lung Emperor, Qing Dynasty (1743), but also in County Annals of Lijiang-Volume of Custom which was published in 6th year of republican period (1917). Therefore, it is concluded that this song has a history of 724 years. Moreover, it is rare for being played by traditional stringed and woodwind instruments and different chapters (existing eight divertimentos which are combined by songs, dances, and music). It is unique melody and “harmonic” never been seen in other place of China. From 1940s to the present, music historians research this song continuously and have published various important theses and survey reports, and they all hold the view that Baisha Soft Music has great research value in this country, even for musicological research of the whole world; furthermore, it is a treasure in classical music art and is honored as the “live music fossil”.
Lijiang Dongjing music was introduced into Lijiang from the Central Plain in Ming and Qing Dynasty and took root in the culture of Naxi nationality. It is the “tune of scripture” of Taoism which means a kind of music play Yuqing Wujing Zongzhen Wenchang Dadong Xianjing and Guandi Jueshi Zhenjing (there are Dongjing association and Huangjing association). And the famous “the Lijiang murals” was printed for about two hundred years from Ming Dynasty Hongwu (1368) to Wanli (1616). And this is the palace for the Mushi Chieftain – Wenchang Palace, Dabaoji Palace, and Liuli Hall, etc. (they are described as “the gorgeous mansion house can be comparable with the imperial palace” in Travel Note of Xu Xiake). There are twelve remaining murals of Ming Dynasty, and eleven of them printing of 18 statues of Taoism, the upper ones are Wenchang, Xuantian, the middle ones are three emperor, and the below ones are four heavenly kings. It is identified that Dongjing music has been “full-matured in Ming Dynasty.” Wenchang (Emperor) is the god of culture, and Wenchang statuses which commonly lying in the place for ritual of Lijiang Dongjing music was introduced from Cuixuan County, Sichuan Province (the 4th year of Zhida, Yuan Dynasty, Zhang Zhongchou written in Preface of Taoism Canon in 1311, “Dadong Xianjing is a kind of word comes from west-shu and never been in the Central Plain”). It is seems be introduced to Lijiang from Sichuang Province during Song Dynasty and Yuan Dynasty.
This kind of music has been lost to the other place of China since it is the combination of Taoism’s tune of scripture and “elegant type soft music” of Confucian. “Soft music” is relative to “hard music” from Yuan Dynasty and the difference is with or without zurna. “Soft music” is the elegant type music of Confucia played by traditional stringed and woodwind instruments. And this “Lijiang Dongjing music” without zurna is the art treasure different from other Taoism’s music in China. It is so rare for this kind of music remains a part of song and tune music which has lost to the Central Plain. The lyric of the melody, such as Water Dragon Chant, Waves Washing the Sand, and A Goat on a Hillside, just be remained as admirable literatures of classical Chinese, in the other word, these melodies have be lost. For instance, Water Dragon Chant, primitive name is Melody Singed by Dragon, it is said that this melody was created by Zheng Shuzu, a Minster of North Qi Dynasty (from 562 to 565), “Shuzu can play Qin (a traditional musical instrument) and create Ten songs of Dragon by himself which people spoke highly of them’’. And the melody is a piece of melody played by traditional Qin with five chords (Biography of Zheng Shuzu, Volume 26, Book of North Qi). Li Bai (birth in 701 and dead in 762) had written “Play Water Dragon Chant by bamboo flute” in his Lyric of Melody Written in the Palace in the high Tang period had proved that the melody had been altered into Water Dragon Chant only play by bamboo flute. Moreover, the current Emperor, Zhu Yuanzhang edited Nine Joyful Melodies for Banquet of the Swallow Music (music plays for banquet) by himself, which included Water Dragon Chant for greeting meal and eating meal in 15th year of Huwu (1382).
In the second year (1383), Lijiang Chieftain Mude (Ajia-Ade) went to Nanjing to present himself before Zhu Yuanzhang, the Emperor. In the other word, Mude had been entertained in the Palace, Nanjing, in his 72 years. And the Emperor was listening Water Dragon Chant, the music played in meal time, when he had meals. Mude was given the title of “Gaoming” (a title in Ming Dynasty) by the Emperor and was granted a golden belt with silver word read “Being Sincere to Serve the Country Worthily,” a silver wand, six gold ingots (the highest award), full clothes, and hats (sees to The Grace of the Emperor, History of Ming Dynasty- Biography of Yunan Chieftain, and Officials Chart of Mu Family). It is proved that the traditional stringed and woodwind instruments music of Jiangnan literary intellectuals which had been altered by Taoism’s music began to be introduced to Lijiang by Ming Dynasty Lijiang Fresco and above mentioned. However, whether the melody of Water Dragon Chant is the original melody inherited from Tang and Song Dynasty? Zhou Fan (styled Shanfu, the former member of Dongjing association), a scholar of Lijiang Naxi nationality matched Water Dragon Chant written by Zhang Yan, South Song Dynasty with the melody of Water Dragon Chant, Dongjing music. These two parts were combined together perfectly in meter, punctuation, and sentiment, just as “put one’s shoes on his own feet.” This is a pioneering research in the history of Naxi nationality music. Is the melody of Waves Washing the Sand same as the melody of the same name (this melody is recorded in the Imperial Music Office Record written by Cui Lingqin, a scholar of Tang Dynasty) in the high Tang period? The Imperial Music Office Record written in Tang Dynasty has collected several pieces of Waves Washing the Sand in neat verse style (four sentences with seven words), two of them were written by Liu Yuxi, six pieces were written by Bai Juyi, two pieces were written by Huangfu Song, one piece was written by Sikong Tu; and the mixed verse style (two parts, five, four, and seven words in the first three sentence, seven and four words in the last two sentences) was created in the late Tang Dynasty, the authors were Lv Dongbin (from 798 to unknown) and Li Yu, the last Emperor of South Tang Dynasty (from 937 to 978). Waves Washing the Sand of Lijiang Dongjing music was matched by the writer with the mixed verse style (two parts, five, four, and seven words in the first three sentence, seven and four words in the last two sentences) of the same name written by Li Yu in 1985 and had be approved by the music theoretical cycle in the performance in Beijing played by Dayan Ancient Music Concert in 1993 and symposium, and then the melody was believed as the original of Waves Washing the Sand which was written in late Tang Dynasty. The “tune of scripture” Eight Diagrams of Lijiang Dongjing Music is expounded and proved by experts as one of the two Taoism songs created and issued by the Emperor Li Longji, Emperor Xuanzong in February of the 29th year of Kaiyuan, Tang Dynasty (741). The two pieces of melodies created by Emperor Xuanzong are Rainbow Skirt and Feathered Costumes Song and Ziwei Eight Diagrams Song. The former one has been lost. And the melody of the latter one is “this stuff,” which means the music of 1254 years ago is still “be alive” in Lijiang. A Goat on a Hillside is the names of the tunes in Tang Dynasty, but existing A Goat on a Hillside in Lijiang is proved to be “the North Song” (a kind of poetic drama was popular in the north area in Jin and Yuan Dynasty) of Yuan Dynasty.
It is proved that there are eight pieces of songs in Dongjing music same or similar with Chengde Detached Palace Music Chart.
It is a happy event of music, which is the most difficult intangible cultural heritage to preserve, for the preservation of these melodies.
The happy journey begins here