Friday, 31 July 2009

Buddhist Music of the Ming Dynasty, Zhihuasi Temple, Beijing (1993 CD) JVC World Sounds - VICG 5259

Updated re-post.


Buddhist Music of the Ming Dynasty, Zhihuasi Temple, Beijing (1993)
JVC World Sounds - VICG 5259

Music of the Zhi Hua Temple in Beijing, China, performed by musicians from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, ensemble led by Hu Zhihou on the guanzi (double reed pipe).

běijīng zhìhuàsì 北京智化寺 = Beijing Zhihuasi temple


Buddhist Suite "Chui Si Diao"
zhōng táng zǔ qǔ 中堂组曲: chuí sī yuē 垂丝约

01. chuí sī yuē 垂丝约 as "Chui Si Diao" on CD
02. zhòu jǐn táng 昼锦堂 as "Zou Jin Tang" on CD
03. zuì wēng zǐ 醉翁子 as "Zui Wong Zi" on CD
04. jīn wǔ shān 金五山 as "Jin Wu Shan" on CD

Performed by:
Zhōngyāng Yīnyuè Xuéyuàn 中央音乐学院 Central Conservatory of Music,
stated on CD as "Beijing Central Music Academy" and "Beijing National Music Academy"
Lead guanzi 管子 : Hú Zhìhòu 胡志厚

JVC World Sounds VICG-5259 (1993)
Recorded in Beijing, 21 September 1992

From booklet:
アルバム / VICG-5259
\2,548(税込) / \2,427(税抜)
01. Chui Si Diao [sic] 垂絲釣(チュイスーディアオ)(chuisudiao)
02. Zou [sic] Jin Tang 昼錦堂(ズージンタン)
03. Zui Wong [sic] Zi 醉翁子(ズイウォンズ)
04. Jin Wu Shan 金五山(ジンウシャン)

From Amazon Japan:
智化寺の残照 中国最古の仏教音楽
~ 民族音楽 (アーティスト), フー・ジーホウ (演奏), 中央音楽学院民族管楽・打撃楽教研室 (演奏)
1. 垂絲釣
2. 昼錦堂(ズージンタン)
3. 酔翁子(ズイウォンズ)
4. 金五山(ジンウシャン)

Link, 67MB, 192kbps mp3

Alternative link:

Link,80MB, 320kbps mp3, part 1

Link,32MB, 320kbps mp3, part 2

Scans of the CD booklet in Japanese and English, scanned from B&W photocopies in zip folder, 3.3MB:

I think it's worth mentioning the fact that whilst this CD is of music of the Zhihuasi temple in Beijing, it is not actually performed by the temple's monks/priests, who are the keepers and purveyors of this music. The performers are scholar/musicians from Beijing's Central Conservatory of Music who learnt the music from the temple's monks.

For a recording performed by musicians of village music associations, including one former Buddhist monk, who learnt their music in a more traditional way, I recommend the album "Buddhist Music of Tianjin" by the Tianjin Buddhist Music Ensemble released in 1994 (Nimbus NI 5416).

Complete English text from the booklet:

Text on cover:
Zhihuasi Temple, Beijing

Page 5:
JVC World Sounds is a series of CDs featuring the
traditional music unique to many countries, music which
people all over the world enjoy listening to and performing.
The most advanced recording techniques have been used
in order to present the music in all its natural freshness.
This collection featuring musical voices from every corner
of the globe is now being offered by Japan to the world.


Although music as a professional activity has been practised in China for
more than two thousand years, we are no longer able to recreate the sound
of all the music which has been performed through the whole length of
Chinese cultural history. For instance, the Southern Song dynasty (1127-
1279) poet and composer Jiang Boshi wrote a work entitled "Anthology of
songs by the white Stone Hermit" which includes musical notation in the
so-called "common notation" (suzipu) system, but no one has been able to
decipher this notation convincingly for several centuries, thereby making it
impossible for us recreate these art songs today.

The late musicologist Yang Yinliu began research on the notation employed
in this work in 1947 with the aim of translating this early notation into actual
sound. His work included analysis of the literary structure of poems in the
ancient classic "The Book of Odes", as well as investigation of the musical

Page 6:
form of ancient folk songs. But in spite of his concentrated endeavours, he
did not succeed in realising the goal he had originally set himself.

Chinese musicologists have through the years thus spent much time and
effort striving to give sound to their silent music history.

Since 1949 Chinese musicologists have conducted large-scale surveys of
their nation's popular music and have acquired vast quantities of musical
notation. But all they arranged to do for a long time was to accumulate
abstract notation and the texts of folk songs dating from the age of The "Book
of Odes" down to the present. They have still not yet managed to decipher the
scores they have obtained with any degree of success.

Over the last few decades it has become easier for musicologists to con-
duct surveys of popular music all over China, although it is no longer possible
to conduct a meaningful comparative survey of folk music nationwide.
A particularly exciting discovery was, however, made during the 199Os. it
became evident that the monks of the Zhihuasi Temple in Beijing were still
performing music on the basis of scores dating from 1693 employing the
song dynasty "suzipu" notation system. This discovery marked the first step
towards the realisation of the goal which we Chinese musicologists had for so
long been hoping to achieve.

The Zhihuasi Temple has a history dating back to when it was erected as a
mausoleum for a senior eunuch of the Ming dynasty, and its monks have
maintained the temple's performance tradition over the ensuing centuries by
means of handing on the tradition only once in every generation. There
seems no doubt that the music performed by these monks employing scores
dating from 1693 includes pieces with a history stretching back much further
into the early Chinese musical past.

Several specialists including professor Hu Zhihou of the Department of
Ethnomusicology at the Central Music Academy in Beijing have for the past

Page 7:
six years conducted comprehensive research on the "suites" still performed at
the Zhihuasi Temple, and have themselves learned to perform the music.
They play one of these "suites" on this disc, which is likely to have enormous
importance and value for future research on early Chinese music.
(Zhao Feng)

Commentary to the music

The Zhihuasi Temple in Beijing was erected in 1446 during the Zhengtong
era of the Ming dynasty as a private mausoleum for the senior eunuch Wang
Zhen. The temple is well-known both architecturally and for its extensive
Buddhist library, but it is also renowned as one of the most important extant
cultural assets for specialists in Chinese Buddhism and music. The music of
the temple occupies the core position among Buddhist music still performed
in the Beijing area.

Twenty-five or six generations of transmitters of this tradition have passed
during the period of more than five hundred years since the temple was first
erected, and the training of those who inherit the temple's traditions con-
tinues today with great rigour. Monks and musicians attached to the temple
have to begin their training before reaching the age of twelve, and thereafter
undergo a severe course of instruction lasting seven years. On condition that
they have already undergone lengthy training, apprentices from other tem-
ples are assessed as to whether they have attained the standards enabling
them to perform together with apprentices trained inside the Zhihuasi Tem-
ple. The rules and techniques of performance are strictly prescribed, and no
changes in or arrangement of the traditional repertoire are permitted under
any circumstances. It is because of this strict adherence to tradition that the
music of the Zhihuasi Temple has been transmitted faithfully down the

Page 8:
centuries to reveal the aspect of Chinese musical culture in past ages.

The music of the Zhihuasi Temple may be divided into three elements, that
is to say recitation of the sutras, instrumental performance, and ritual imple-
ments. One of the most distinctive features is the performance by three wind
instruments. The music consists of both pieces in single movements and
suites of several pieces. Whereas the pieces in single movements consist of
a single standard melody ("qupai"), the suites consist of combinations of
several "qupai". These multiple-movement suites are classified further into
"zhongtang" and "liaoqiao" pieces, the former being performed at daytime
ceremonies and the latter during firework displays in the evening.

The oldest scores extant in the Zhihuasi Temple are manuscripts dated the
33rd year of the Kangxi era of the Qing dynasty (1694), and include forty-
eight pieces for wind instruments. The scores are in the hand of Yonggan,
twenty-fifth in the line of inheritors of the tradition. A further two fragmen-
tary sets of scores are possessed by the temple, meaning that the total
number of instrumental pieces for which notation is possessed is sixty-six.

Fifty-six instrumental pieces and thirty pieces for ritual instruments are
included in the "Yinyue foshi ji" (Anthology of Buddhist Ritual Music) of 1903,
while a further thirteen 137 instrumental pieces are included in a handwritten
manuscript possessed by the Chengshousi Temple.

The following combinations of instruments are employed in the music of
the Zhihuasi Temple, based on division into wind instruments and ritual

Instruments used in the wind ensemble:
Guan (double-reed pipe) (2)
Sheng (bamboo mouth organ) (2)
Di (flute) (2)

Page 9:
Yunluo (set of gongs) (2)
Taigu (drum) (1)

Instruments used in the ritual ensemble:
Taigu (drum) (1)
Bo (cymbals, performed by the first guan-player) (1)
Nao (small gong, performed by the first di-player) (1)
Xianzi (pertormed by first sheng-player) (1)
Dangzi (pertormed by the first yunluo player)

Four modes - "zheng", "bei", "jie", and "yue" - are employed in the music of the
Zhihuasi Temple. Various conventions govern performance on each of the
instruments. The "guan" lead the ensemble, the sheng play ornamental figures
with finely articulated rhythms, and the yunluo gongs invariably play the main
note of the phrase on the latter half of the previous beat. Each instrument
thus has its own designated role.

The music of the Zhihuasi Temple has a history which can be traced back
to ancient times, and it today occupies the most important position in
Chinese Buddhist music. Its importance became clear after attention was
drawn to it during the 1950s by Buddhist scholars and musicologists. ln
order to uncover and preserve this valuable musical legacy, members of the
Beijing Musical Research Association and of the Percussion Research Divi-
sion within the Department of Ethnomusicology at the Beijing Central Music
Academy went for instruction in this music to the present inheritor of the
tradition, the monk-performer Xuzeng, with the full understanding of the
Buddhist Society of Beijing.

I hope that the exquisite sound of this wonderful music from the distant
past will resound throughout the world.
(Hu Zhihou)

Page 10:
Planning : Liu Hongjun
Notes : Zhao Feng, Hu Zhihou

Production : Soh Fujimoto
Mastering engineer : Naruto lmaizumi

Jacket design : lkko Tanaka
Jacket editor : Yukio Yui
English edition : Robin Thompson

Date of recording: 21 September 1992
Place of recording : Beijing, China

Supervision: Dr. Tsutomu Oohashi
(Professor of National lnstitute of Multimedia Education)
Cooperation: National lnstitute of Multimedia Education

CD case back cover:
1. CHUI Sl DIAO 17:14
2. ZOU JIN TANG 15:13
3. ZUI WONG Zl 3:27
4. JlN WU SHAN 12:15

Traditional Music Ensemble of The Beiiing National Music Academy
Leader: Hu Zhihou

Date of recording; 21 September 1992
Place of recording: Beijing, China


From page 1 (my version from Japanese):
Buddhist Suite "Chui Si Diao"
zhōng táng zǔ qǔ 中堂组曲: chuí sī yuē 垂丝约

01. chuí sī yuē 垂丝约 as "Chui Si Diao" on CD
02. zhòu jǐn táng 昼锦堂 as "Zou Jin Tang" on CD
03. zuì wēng zǐ 醉翁子 as "Zui Wong Zi" on CD
04. jīn wǔ shān 金五山 as "Jin Wu Shan" on CD

Performed by:
Zhōngyāng Yīnyuè Xuéyuàn 中央音乐学院
Central Conservatory of Music minzu ensemble, Percussion Research Divi-
sion within the Department of Ethnomusicology at the Beijing Central Music Academy
中央音乐学院 stated as "Beijing Central Music Academy" and "Beijing National Music Academy"
Lead guanzi 管子 : Hú Zhìhòu 胡志厚


gasburner said...

I have never heard music like that before. I listened to it while I ate lunch - thank you : )

huqinbloger said...

You're welcome :)