- An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art
About [Location: HOME > Literature > Confucian Classics > Books on music > Yueji]

Chinese Literature
Yueji 樂記

The Four Categories of Literature
The Yueji 樂記 "Record of Music" is transmitted as a chapter of the Confucian Classic Liji 禮記 "Records of Rites". The art of music was seen as one of the "six arts" (liuyi 六藝), five of which are reflected in the Five Classics (divination in the Yijing 易經, political speeches in the Shangshu 尚書, poetry in the Shijing 詩經, proper conduct in the ritual books, and historiography in the Chunqiu 春秋), while no separate text exists for music. The Yueji that is a chapter of the Liji has been brought into the present shape by the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE) scholar Liu Xiang 劉向. The bibliography Yiwenzhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書 says that during the time of Emperor Wu 漢武帝 (r. 141-87 BCE), Prince Xian of Hejian 河間獻王 had ordered his retainers to assemble information on the performance of music as described in ancient texts. The result was the book Yueji that was later preserved by Wang Ding 王定, vice chamberlain for the capital (? neishicheng 內史丞), and then found its way into the hands of the Prince of Zhongshan 中山, Liu Yu 劉禹, who compiled an enlarged version, in which he explained the meanings of the different paragraphs. The result was a 24 juan "scrolls" long book. At the time when Liu Xiang revised the Yueji it included 23 chapters. The Liang period 梁 (502-557) writer Shen Yue 沈約 said that the Yueji that had been compiled by Gongsun Nizi 公孫尼, a disciple of Confucius, but the chapter Dou Gong 竇公 in Liu Xiang's version had not been part of Gongsun Ni's original. The received version in the Liji has eleven chapters, while the titles of twelve more chapters have survived.
Fragments of texts called Yueji have survived as quotations in many books, and have been collected by the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰. He assumes that the chapter on music in the book Lüshi chunqiu 呂氏春秋 is a fragment of the original Yueji. His collected fragments are included in the collectaneum Yuhanshanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書.

樂本 Yueben The foundations of music
樂論 Yuelun Discussion on music
樂施 Yueshi The outcome of music
樂言 Yueyan Talking about music
樂禮 Yueli Music and ritual
樂情 Yueqing The expressions of feelings in music
樂化 Yuehua The change by music
樂象 Yuexiang The manifestation of music
賓牟賈 Binmou Jia Binmou Jia
師乙 Shi Yi Music-master Yi
魏文侯 Wei Wenhou Marquis Wen of Wei (titles according to Legge)
Titles of chapters that are not preserved:
奏樂 Zouyue
樂器 Yueqi
樂作 Yuezuo
意始 Yishi
樂穆 Yuemu
說律 Shuolü
季劄 Jizha
樂道 Yuedao
樂義 Yueyi
昭本 Zhaoben
招頌 Shaosong
竇公 Dou Gong

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (ed. 1996), Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 627.

October 7, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
Chinese Literature over time